All In The Family and Archie Bunker's Place

All In The Family (1971-1979)
Archie Bunker's Place (1979-1983)
Type: Series Revamp
Group: 1

    Okay, Archie Bunker's Place was not a spin off in the normal sense of the term. It was a continuation of All In The Family in a new form so different from the original conception that it was given a new title and became, hey, a new show.

    The original All In The Family bounced around social issues in the setting of a "family" thus the title (duh). But by the time Archie Bunker's Place rolled around, that was no longer the case. Archie Bunker's daughter and son-in-law had moved away and out of the show leaving only Edith Bunker of the original "family" for Archie to bounce off of and Edith's role was never one of deep social conflict. She was more the ditzy peace maker. Then she was killed off once Jean Stapleton who played her decided to leave the show. So the story moved more to the bar Archie had bought, a bar being a good place to bring in lots of people of varying beliefs, ethnicities etc for Archie to conflict with and play off of.

    Unfortuantely, at least to my mind, this just didn't work as well as the original format. When the conflicts were literally all in the family, it was just better. Families can fight like wolves over issues but you still know, even if unspoken, they care about each other. People in a bar can conflict but not necessarily with the same underlying feeling. On top of this, to keep the conflict alive, more and more ethnic characters were introduced to bounce off Archie: A Jewish partner at the bar, an Irish cook, a Puerto Rican busboy, Archie's Jewish niece (whom he adopted). The problem was Archie's character started to grow, to become less of the extermist biggot in his views. Its only logical. How many biggots really hang out in a crowd of friends so multi-cultural? But it meant a loss of an edge that was at the heart of the show.

    At the end, Carroll O'Connor ended up more than a bit bitter. CBS cancelled the show after it had wrapped its final season. That meant when the last episode was filmed, the cast didn't KNOW it was the last show and get a chance to produce a true finale. Carroll O¹Connor wanted the chance to film such an episode but was denied by CBS. As an interesting side note, the exact same thing would later happen with the All In The Family inspired series Married With Children, with that show's star and father Ed O'Neill angry at the FOX network for the same exact reason.

Other All In The Family Crossover Links
All In The Family and Gloria
All In The Family and The Jeffersons
All In The Family and Maude
All In The Family and 704 Hauser Street

Links To All In The Family Web Sites
Archie Bunker's Fansite

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