All in the Family: Complete Third Season
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The hilarious landmark comedy series ALL IN THE FAMILY returns for its third season with its flawless sense of ensemble chemistry, precision timing, and lasting political relevance intact (and went on to win both the Emmy® and Golden Globe® for Outstanding Comedy Series). These characters have become television's first dysfunctional family: blue-collar conservative Archie (Carroll O'Connor), his long-suffering but loving wife Edith (Jean Stapleton), "little girl" Gloria (Sally Struthers), and her liberal husband "Meathead" Mike (Rob Reiner). Series creator Norman Lear broke nearly every rule and taboo, but the characters' foibles produced some of television's biggest laughs. They could also make us cry, in the heartbreaking "Gloria, the Victim", or shock us, in "The Bunkers & the Swingers" (1973 Emmy® for Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy). The model for sitcoms to come, ALL IN THE FAMILY brilliantly and intimately portrayed the American family while reflecting the socia
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I really feel that this season really picked up with episodes like Edith and the Swingers and Archie is Branded, which I believe is the most disturbing episode of any of the All in the Family episodes. Everybody seemed to really hone in on their character and the results played out on the screen. My one downside is that the individual season sets have no extra features, but this could just be me applying a modern day expectation to a time when things like DVD sets or even VHS releases were not even a consideration.
There are twenty-four episodes; and truthfully they all deserve much commentary and praise. I will list some of the episodes that I believe to be particularly important or well done; and hopefully this will be of some use to you.
"Archie And The Editorial." After a TV station's general manager gives an editorial to the effect that "guns must go," Archie becomes incensed and wants rebuttal time on the TV station--and he gets it, too. Archie and his family then get robbed at gunpoint at Kelsey's bar in their own neighborhood! Also look for a subplot about Gloria looking for work at a local department store.
"Gloria And The Riddle." Gloria gives the Bunker household a seemingly impossible riddle: A father and his son get into a car crash; and the father is killed. When the boy is rushed to surgery, the surgeon says "I can't operate on this boy; he's my son." Who's the doctor? There's also a subplot about Mike wanting Gloria to sew a button on his shirt partly because she's his wife.
"Flashback: Mike And Gloria's Wedding, Parts 1 And 2." On Mike and Gloria's second wedding anniversary, Edith gets out their wedding album to reminisce. We get an elaborate two part flashback about Archie meeting Mike's family, Archie not wanting Chinese food at the wedding, Mike storming out of the heated discussion out of pure frustration, and Archie clashing with Mike's uncle over whether they use have a priest or a reverend perform the marriage ceremony. Look for two great scenes in which Archie and Edith each give Mike and Gloria "advice" for young married couples; and the laughs are big when Edith plays "Here Comes The Bride" on the piano.
"Class Reunion." It's Edith's thirtieth high school reunion--but Archie won't take her and Edith doesn't want to go without Archie. Edith's cousin drops by to entice her to go; and Edith does decide to go--with Archie to monitor her--after Edith hears that her big high school crush, Buck Evans, will be at the gathering. The scenes in which Edith finally reunites with Buck and Archie meets Buck are terrific.
"Everybody Tells The Truth." Mike and Archie are having yet another disagreement. The refrigerator is dead and Archie and Mike clash as to how everyone behaved that evening. Mike tells the story of Archie coming home like a frothing at the mouth stark raving lunatic bullying the family and the repairmen; while Archie insists that he was an angel while everyone else was picking on him and treating him poorly. There's quite a controversy about a knife that the repairman's assistant used, too.
"Gloria The Victim." Believe it or not, they actually manage to handle the topic of attempted rape with a touch of humor here and there about foot-long hotdogs--and it all works well. Gloria is assaulted by a man as she walks past an empty construction site on a Saturday when she assumed nobody was there and she could "save a few steps" getting home from work. Fortunately, she is not raped; but the police detective gives everyone a lesson about just how tough it can be to convict a man accused of rape.
Overall, there's so many positives about All In The Family I couldn't list them here even if I tried. This three DVD set will bring you many laughs over and over again; and there are some very tender, poignant moments that are unforgettable as well. I highly recommend this DVD set for anyone who likes this sitcom; and it's even a great starter DVD set for people just discovering All In The Family as you can easily grasp who is who in the Bunker household.
People still have prejudices today but they tippy-toe around them out of fear. I don't recommend that we all speak up about every thought that crosses our minds or that we express ourselves in personally insulting ways, but some of this so-called political correctness is turning people into sheep who are afraid of offending someone.
America has a few articulate people who aren't afraid to speak up today but they are often threatened and ridiculed for telling the truth by the very people who claim to be the victims of prejudice. Why should any group be given a pass on freedom of expression while others bite their tongues?
My husband and I find the episodes of All in the Family an amusing and mostly honest portrayal of the 60s. We watch them when we want a good laugh.