In remembering the late Jean Stapleton, naturally we all got to thinking about All In The Family. Ken Levine (the blogger, TV writer, baseball broadcaster and disc jockey -- not the video game guy) had an interesting take on Edith Bunker:
There would be no ALL IN THE FAMILY without Jean Stapleton.... Archie Bunker – played so masterfully by Caroll O’Connor – was the most bigoted, crude character television comedy had ever seen (up until that time). Forget how funny he was. The audience needs some cue to know it’s okay to laugh. Otherwise, they just hate him and that’s that.... He was a man panicked because the only world he knew was changing and he had no idea what his place in it would be...So why did we accept Archie Bunker? Because Edith loved him. Because the person with the kindest heart on the planet knew he wasn’t really hateful, he was just railing. We loved her and if she loved him then he couldn’t be so bad after all.
Then I had a thought about Archie Bunker: Bigoted, hateful, blaming those he disliked and/or feared for all the wrongs he suffered, feeling like the white man was being squeezed out in favor of those with different coloring or sexual orientation. In the 1970s, he was a figure of comic relief. In 2013, he'd be elected to Congress.