Essay on Audience Cared About Norman Lear's All in the Family

Essay on Audience Cared About Norman Lear's All in the Family

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In an interview in 1974, Producer and show creator Norman Lear said of his television sitcom, All in the Family: “People laugh harder at the things they care the most about.” ("Day at Night: Norman Lear, renowned TV producer ("All in the Family")." ) If that is true then the viewers most certainly must have cared about the topics being addressed on the show because All in the Family topped the Neilsen ratings, ranking number-one, from 1971 to 1976. As with any successful producer, Lear’s and co-producer Bud Yorkin’s primary goal was to get ratings. The fact that All in The Family arguably became one of the most influential television sitcoms ever aired was just a bonus. The show became a soap box for its creators, producers and writers to broadcast their political views as well as provide them with a vehicle to combat what they saw as social injustice. By featuring relevant themes of social significance such as death, divorce, racism, rape, and homosexuality, each week, the program put the spot light on topics previously discussed in hushed tones behind closed doors. While high ratings may have been the first priority, the producers definitely had an additional agenda to try to bring about social change by stimulating dialog and debate within families, neighborhoods, local hangouts, anywhere Americans would congregate.

All in the Family, broadcast live in front of a studio audience from January 1971 through April 1979, revolved around the life of main character Archie Bunker, played by actor Carroll O’Conner. Archie was a white, working class, Irish-American living in Queens, New York. He is a WWII veteran, is politically conservative, very opinionated and extremely outspoken. Bothered by the changes he sees occurring in...

... middle of paper ... himself or his family, he seems to know an awful lot about life and how things ought to be. The part of Mike seems to be the most likely of the characters to be the mouth piece for the shows creators, writers and producers. Rarely is Mike made to look silly or ignorant. On occasion Archie will have the upper hand but for the most part when Mike and Archie are debating, Mike through a well articulated view is usually the victor.

Other characters are introduced in one time or recurring roles as the subjects of the issue du jour. The Jeffersons, who start out as neighbors of the Bunkers’. George and Louise Jefferson own a chain of dry cleaners and are doing pretty well financially, eventually they move out of the borough and into the city and they eventually get their own show, The Jeffersons.

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