The social upheaval and woke social change of the youth of the late ’60s gave way to…more social upheaval and woke social change in the 1970s. It also led to a fierce resistance to change by, generally speaking, the older, more conservative generation that President Nixon called “the silent majority.” All across America, lots of families’ family time consisted of aging parents arguing with their long-haired, liberal offspring about the Vietnam War, equal rights, and the merits — or lack thereof — of Nixon.
Norman Lear deftly put all of that up on the screen, and appealed to both sides, with All in the Family. Most of the action in this play-like series took place in the sitting room of the New York brownstone of Archie Bunker (Caroll O’Connor), an angry, working-class, unrepentant, epithet-spewing racist butting heads with his daughter Gloria (Sally Struthers) and her husband Mike, whom Archie not-so-affectionately called “Meathead.” Attempting to barely keep the peace was Archie’s wife and Gloria’s mother, Edith “Dingbat” Bunker. All in the Family was one part sitcom, one part public affairs discussion series, and it so resonated with Americans that it stayed atop the ratings all the way until the disco era.