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All in the Family: Complete Fourth Season
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38 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2005
This fourth "All in the Family" DVD will cover the 1973-74 season, including the following episodes:

* "Archie the Gambler" (Edith demands that Archie stop gambling)

* "Henry's Farewell" (Henry Jefferson is moving. Neither Henry nor Archie wants to have an integrated farewell party at his house)

* "We're Having a Heat Wave" (A two-parter that introduced the Lorenzos to AiTF).

* "Edith Finds an Old Man" (Edith brings home a nursing-home runaway)

* "Archie and the Kiss" (Archie against the Rodin statue)

* "Archie and the Computer" (Archie learns his lesson about computer errors)

* "The Games Bunkers Play" (Mike doesn't like hearing how his friends perceive him)

* "Edith's Conversion" (Horse-meat and Catholicism make Archie angry)

* "Archie in the Cellar" (Archie gets locked in the cellar)

* "Black is the Color of My True Love's Wig" (Gloria's new wig creates strife in her relationship with Mike)

* "Second Honeymoon" (Archie and Edith go to Atlantic City for their 25th anniversary)

* "The Taxi Caper" (Archie agrees to drop charges when he is mugged by the son of a city politician)

* "Archie is Cursed" (Archie and Irene Lorenzo argue over men and women in sports)

* "Edith's Christmas Story" (Edith gets some bad news)

* "Mike and Gloria Mix It Up" (Mike and Gloria fight)

* "Archie Feels Left Out" (Archie has a half-century crisis)

* "Et Tu, Archie" (Job insecurity)

* "Gloria's Boyfriend" (A man with Down's Syndrome has a crush on Gloria)

* "Lionel's Engagement" (A surprise awaits George Jefferson about Lionel's fiancee)

* "Archie Eats and Runs" (Archie and mushrooms)

* "Gloria Sings the Blues" (Gloria has issues with her marriage)

* "Mike's Graduation" (Mike graduates from college... or does he?)

* "Pay the Twenty Dollars" (A dispute over possibly counterfit money)
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2005
It's bad that the season does not have subtitles, when is so important when you have deaf problems.

Should not this subtitles be a part of the standard procedures for the realeases ?

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2005
FINALLY, season 4 of All In The Family has been released! I don't understand why Columbia Home Video is waiting so long to get these out. Season 4 contains some of the best episodes yet. The antics of the Bunker household continue as Archie, Edith, Gloria and Mike bring taboo subjects and everyday issues into our homes. We also see the addition of three new characters, Betty Garret (Irene Lorenzo) Vincent Gardenia (Frank Lorenzo) and Sherman Hemsley as George Jefferson. Combined with the cast regulars, Season 4 makes for a huge non-stop laughfest. One of my favorite episodes is when Archie accidently locks himself in the cellar and gets smashed on Polish Vodka. In Archie's haste to make a will, he is so wasted that he thinks he's dying, and therefore believes that God is coming for him, which really turns out to be the oil delivery man--who is black! Plenty of other goodies in season 4 too. I'm finally glad to see these videos coming out on DVD. My old VHS copies are so worn out they barely play anymore. Thank you Columbia Home Video, but please don't wait so long getting these titles out. Thank-YOU to the cast of AITF for the many laughs and all the memories.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2005
In the reality-based TV era, it's nice to be able to watch the classics on DVD. AITF took sitcoms to another level by using controversy, politics, and Americana and wrapping them in a funny package. AITF helps us to laugh and cry, but probably most importantly it helps us to reflect upon ourselves through real-life issues. Thanks again Columbia Tri-Star for putting this landmark series out on DVD. They are worth the wait!!!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2005
Yep the discs are complete. The person who posted his message warning that the last disc only had 6 episodes either dosen't know about the 3rd episode menu screen with epsidoes 23 & 24 or maybe he did get a bum set after all.

And yes the picture quality on this set is lousy. Disc 1 is the worst. My brother had VHS copies of this series that he made when the show was rerunning on cable and I keep telling him not to throw them out just because these DVDs are getting released. His tapes are just as good -- if not better sometimes -- than what Columbia House is selling us here.

I was going to get the Jeffersons season 3 that also came out the same day but maybe I won't now.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2005
Transfer is not great, but this series is a classic. Despite the lack of special features, this set is a must-have. Being able to watch the series develop from beginning to end is essential. The strength of AITF is in it's humorous spin on political and moral issues. The only reason I give this 4 stars instead of 5 is because of lack of attention to detail. The stories themselves sell this DVD box set. Personally, I can live without a bunch of extras as long as I get the uncut eps as they were aired. The Bunkers rule!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
All in the Family's fourth season certainly gave us terrific entertainment; and even though the quality of the transfer to DVD isn't perfect I still recommend this for anyone who enjoys high quality control comedy. These episodes may have been filmed way back when but they're still every bit as hilarious now as they were then. Yes, some of the most biting shock value is gone but the jokes remain fresh and the poignant scenes (of which there were many) still standout as great theater. The fourth season comes in a three DVD box set with a list of the episodes along with a couple of sentences that tell you in general what each episode is about.

Although all the episodes are really very funny and occasionally quite moving, there are a few episodes that stick out in my mind as being particularly well done.

"Henry's Farewell" Henry Jefferson is moving away from the neighborhood and neither George nor Archie is willing to host an integrated farewell party in their homes for Henry. When the party finally goes underway at Archie's house, look for great comedy and some very touching moments. An outstanding episode.

"We're Having a Heat Wave" This is a two part episode that shows just how frustrated The Bunkers and The Stivics can get with each other when "the heat is on." This two part episode also introduces Irene and Frank Lorenzo (Betty Garrett and Vincent Gardenia) to The Bunkers; The Lorenzos eventually take the place of The Jeffersons who will move out of the neighborhood (and onto their own spin-off show).

"Archie and the Computer" Archie learns that he is dead--because of a hole punched into a computer card. Archie tells them to fill in the hole!

"Black is the Color of My True Love's Wig" Gloria is incensed when she thinks Michael likes being alone with her only if she wears her new wig.

"Second Honeymoon" This is one of my very favorite episodes ever. Archie and Edith have a fight over what they're going to do for their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. Edith wins the fight and she decides how they'll spend their time alone together.

"Archie Feels Left Out" Archie has a mid-life crisis; he insists that his next birthday is number forty-nine, and not fifty.

"Lionel's Engagement" This is one of the funniest episodes of this season. Just wait until George Jefferson finds out that his future daughter-in-law has a white father and a black mother!

"Archie Eats and Runs" The Bunkers become hysterical when Edith thinks she may have accidentally bought poisonous mushrooms for Archie's dinner. What happens when they get to the hospital?

"Pay the Twenty Dollars" A fight erupts over some potentially counterfeit money. How will The Jeffersons and The Bunkers ever resolve their dispute?

All in all, this is one heck of a season of All in the Family. I highly recommend this three DVD set.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 29, 2006
NBC loves to hang the moniker "greatest ____ ever" on its TV shows as if saying so makes it so. First, The Cosby Show was the greatest sitcom ever, then Seinfeld, then Friends. Of course, according to NBC, ER is the greatest program in the history of television, so we all have to discuss comedy programs in and of themselves. If NBC spent nearly as much time creating good new shows as it does in shamelessly overhyping their old shows, they probably would still be ahead of CBS in the ratings.

For my money, no sitcom will ever top the great All in the Family in any respect -- acting, writing and overall influence. To get an idea of what dire straits TV comedy was in before All in the Family, take a look at an episode of one of the other sitcoms that was on the air at the time: Family Affair, The Brady Bunch, the last, sad days of Bewitched, The Beverly Hillbillies. The country had grown up, but television sitcoms had stayed rooted in the same dated themes of the 1950's and 1960's: either sterilized white bread families or gimmicky hocus pocus that took the place of the quality writing of classics like I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners and The Dick Van Dyke Show. Subjects like Vietnam, flower children, drugs, poverty, racism, homosexuality and rape were taboos.

Enter Archie, Edith, Mike and Gloria who dealt with all those issues and more head on in every episode. While Carol Brady scolded her children for saying the word "stinker," Archie Bunker held a lengthy dissertation on the phrase "god damn it." While Samantha Stevens was still dealing with her wacky witch and morlock relatives, the Bunkers were coming face to face with a transsexual. While the perpetually backwards residents of The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction and Green Acres discussed barn dances and pig raising, the Bunkers talked about the bombing of Cambodia and Watergate.

To be sure, Archie Bunker was a caricature -- a personification of all the old time, outdated prejudiced values that were so out of step in the early 70's. Creator Norman Lear's political perspective is cleary on the side of Mike and Gloria Stivic rather than Archie or Edith. However, Lear, who modeled the character of Archie on his father, wisely gave Archie Bunker a good soul. It's clear that deep down, Archie is a good person who can't deal with the changes in his life and the country without lashing out angrily at them.

The supreme achievement of All in the Family is that it takes all that anger and controversy and makes them funny. In the episode where the Jeffersons move into the neighborhood, for example, Archie's bigoted opposition to letting a black family could have made the situation ugly and very, very unfunny. However, Archie's opposition and fear is lampooned, making the point that discriminating on the basis of race is ridiculous. It's certainly deeper and more meaningful than Soup Nazis or finding out which two members of the Friends ensemble will sleep with each other next.

In addition, the cast is probably the best ever assembled for sitcom with the possible exceptions of The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Carroll O'Connor as Archie, Jean Stapleton as Edith, Rob Reiner as Mike Stivic and Sally Struthers as Gloria are absolute magic together and still manage to convey how much they love each other even while they argue about and disagree about everything. In addition, the supporting cast would later include so many great actors and actresses as so many great characters that All in the Family would spawn five spinoffs. A true measure of how much the characters come to mean to the audience is in the episode "Gloria's Pregnancy." When Gloria miscarries, Archie goes to comfort her. Even though he can't find the right words to say, the look that passes between Archie and Gloria is extremely moving and touching. The characters yell and scream the most horrible things at each other, but when push comes to shove, they are a real, loving family.

No matter how much NBC and other networks may hype their sitcoms as being the best ever, All in the Family will always be king. The show made television grow up and meet the issues of the day head on while still making the audience laugh and care.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I've been a fan of "All in the Family" from its inception as a mid-season replacement in January 1971. Through nine seasons I looked forward to the next episode. I watched the summer reruns. When earlier years made it to daytime TV I watched them as well. As far as I was concerned, "All in the Family" was the funniest half hour on television. Once the DVD's came out I picked them up as well and have watched all of them at least twice.

After the first three seasons I thought it couldn't get any better. I was wrong. Season 4 was better still. This season marked the first appearance of George Jefferson as well as of Frank and Irene Lorenzo. George and Irene were destined to be fixtures on the program. Frank (Vincent Gardenia) dropped out after one season. (The excuse for why Frank wasn't around was that he was out of town on business.)

Some of my personal favorites from Season 4 include:

"We're Having a Heat Wave." This is the one that marks the first appearance of the Lorenzos, who are in the process of moving in next door. Needless to say, Archie and Irene tangle for the first time.

"Edith Finds an Old Man." Edith picks up Mr. Quimbley, who has "broken out" of a nursing home, and brings him to the Bunker house in his pajamas. Archie, of course, is not happy with the thought of a stranger under his roof, especially when Edith invites that stranger to spend the night.

"Archie in the Cellar." Archie gets trapped in the basement while the rest of the Bunker household is gone for the weekend. Finding a bottle of Polish vodka, he gets plastered. In his drunken state he is convinced he is going to die. However, he is rescued by the heating oil delivery man, whom Archie thinks is God about to take him away. It turns out the oil delivery man is black. While on his knees, Archie delivers the classic line, "Forgive me, Lord. The Jeffersons was right."

"The Taxi Caper." Archie is mugged by a young hoodlum. He is all for pressing charges until he is bought off for one hundred dollars by the father of the boy, who is a local politician who doesn't want his reputation ruined.

"Gloria's Boyfriend." Gloria is befriended by George, a packer at the local supermarket, who has limited mental capacity because he suffered anoxia at birth. Archie has a stereotypical reaction when Gloria brings George home with her.
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27 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2005
It took them HOW long to put out Season 4 and I get RED striped lines on the transfer? Not mention in general the whole thing looks blurry. Sanford and Son Season Three came out the same way. What a dissappointment. There are 3 very pronounced, wide "bars" of discoloration that run horizontally throughout the episodes I've watched, it becomes very noticable on close ups, often making the skin appear purple. This saddens me to no end because Andy Griffith (much older) and Kung Fu look so absolutely excellent, there's just no excuse for the treatment this series has been getting. (Update: I popped in Disc 2 and 3 and fortunately, at least the first episodes weren't afflicted with this, maybe it's just Disc 1.)

About the actual show: I must agree with another reviewer here that the show seems to have already dealt with so many social topics in other seasons and so effectively that Season 4 seems limp by comparison. They do seem to try and make the show "bigger" by delving more into friends and neighbors, but mostly I feel it's not successful, because the casting is really hit or miss.

I actually do like the Mike character here and his performance in the Games Bunkers Play may be the best here for Season 4. The main problem even with the established characters is that in previous seasons they have been drawn with such definition that there is little to NO room for expanding their horizons making even the best episodes here predictable. And being a Season 4 it no longer has the luxury of the "shock value." Many of these episodes I have never seen before.

I have many Columbia House VHS tapes but mostly they were episodes from Seasons 1 through 3, but somehow Season 4 doesn't have the same magic as those. I have watched some of the previous episodes 20-30 times, I just don't see many of these episodes here getting that kind of play.
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