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The Sitcoms of Norman Lear [Paperback]

by Sean Campbell
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 27, 2006 0786427639 978-0786427635
Archie Bunker, George Jefferson, Maude-the television sitcom world of the 1970s was peopled by the creations of Norman Lear. Beginning in 1971 with the premier of All in the Family, Lear s work gave sitcoms a new face and a new style. No longer were families perfect and lives in order. Mostly blue-collar workers and their families, Lear s characters argued, struggled, uttered sometimes shocking opinions and had no problem contributing to-or at least, acknowledging the turmoil so shunned by 1960s television. Significantly, not only did Lear address difficult issues, but he did so through successful programming. Week after week, Americans tuned in to see the family adventures of the Bunkers, the Jeffersons, and Sanford and Son. With a thorough analysis of his sitcoms, this volume explores Norman Lear s memorable production career during the 1970s. It emphasizes how Lear s shows reflected the political and cultural milieu, and how they addressed societal issues including racism, child abuse and gun control. The casting, production and behind-the-screen difficulties of All in the Family, Sanford & Son, Maude, Good Times, The Jeffersons and One Day at a Time are discussed. Each show is examined from inception through series finale. Interviews with some of the actors and actresses such as Rue McClanahan of Maude and Marla Gibbs from The Jeffersons are included.

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A great book...thorough...a must-own." --Sitcomsonline

About the Author

Writer Sean Campbell lives in New Jersey.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 207 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers (October 27, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786427639
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786427635
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,259,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
In his first book, Sean Campbell provides us with an overview of the genius of Norman Lear, the TV producer who was responsible for such ground-breaking shows as _All in the Family_, _Good Times_ and _Maude_. Chapter by chapter, Campbell takes one of Lear's monumental shows and runs through its history from conception to cancellation to examine the political issues prevalent at the time (or political debates inspired by their address on Lear's shows), the show's behind-the-scenes conflicts, and even Lear's constant battle with network execs, who were put-off by a sound as everyday as that of a flushing toilet Campbell shows a genuine interest in these programs and the creative tussles that each show underwent, and he presents these to us in a tone as accessible and inviting as the Bunker living room.

The viewpoint that Campbell maintains throughout the book is to show us the mission of Norman Lear to regard television not as mindless, but as sensible--entertainment that informs and challenges our assumptions of people and the world while amusing us. If there is indeed a Golden Age of television, Campbell makes a great case for that age to be headlined by Normal Lear. Campbell shows us how Lear challenged the rigid confines of 'appropriateness' on national airwaves. These challenges weren't to just shock or dismay the people of America, as many have bastardized the idea of artistic challenge, but to present on television the world people lived in--how they talked and what issues they were discussing--not a fantasy world where housewives happily did their chores in pearls and father (who puffed on a pipe in the living room while perusing the evening edition) always did know best.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Book by an Amazing Young Author July 20, 2013
By Kathy
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book absolutely blew me away. To think that the author was only in his teens when he did all the research and wrote this story is fascinating. Having watched all of these shows while growing up in the 70's, I never really understood the depth of the message of these shows until I read this book. I hope that this young author delves into other areas of writing as well. The book is extremely well-written and very interesting - highly recommended if you were a fan of Lear or of these groundbreaking shows.
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