Back in 1971, a new TV show called All In The Family premiered, and it quickly became a hit. The show was about a blue-collar American named Archie Bunker, played by Carroll O’Connor, who grew up during the Great Depression.
And there’s no denying that Archie Bunker was a beloved television character. As he starred in “All in the Family” for years, millions of Americans felt they could relate to Bunker’s perspectives on what it meant to be an American. He may not have been one of the most articulate characters on TV, but he is one of the most memorable. He never worried about being patriotic and was always politically incorrect.
The show’s themes were so relevant that they are still hotly debated today. One episode that stood out was “Archie and the Editorial,” which aired in 1972. In this episode, Archie saw a TV editorial about gun control and was not happy. He argued with his son-in-law, Michael, whom he called “Meathead,” about the Second Amendment. Archie believed that crime would go down if everyone had a gun, while Meathead did not believe in the Second Amendment.
Archie decided to contact the TV station to give a rebuttal, and the result was must-see TV that is still relevant today. Archie was a traditionalist, while Meathead was an educated liberal who couldn’t make it on his own and lived with Archie and his wife, Edith. The gun control episode highlighted the difference between the two. Despite their differences, the family always found a way to get along.
During the episode, Archie watched the news and got angry when gun control came up. He turned off the TV and argued with Meathead. A few days later, Archie made his news debut. He slicked his hair down to look more professional and suggested that hijackings could be stopped if everyone on board a plane carried a gun.
This suggestion got laughs in 1972, but after the 9/11 attacks, some form of that suggestion actually happened. The U.S. increased the number of air marshals to thousands with a focus on domestic flights.
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In the episode, Archie also explained that “What was the first thing the Communists done when they took over Russia? Answer: Gun control.” While Meathead rolled his eyes, Archie was right about the Soviet Union’s actions when they seized power. On December 10, 1918, the Council of People’s Commissar mandated that Soviet citizens turn in their firearms, and failure to do so led to swift criminal prosecution. The Founding Fathers who wrote the Second Amendment may have foreseen what tyrannical regimes would do to take power.
Although the show was meant to make Archie sound like a fool, he was spot on about gun control in some ways. The show’s overall message was that while Americans may have clashing opinions, what unites us is much more important in the end. Despite their political differences, Archie and Meathead always found a way to put their family first. All In The Family is a classic show that tackled important issues that are still relevant today.