"Edith's 50th Birthday": As Edith is about to get raped by the man who broke into her house, she panics when she realizes she left her cake in the oven. She and the rapist rush into the kitchen, Edith takes the burnt cake out, and slams it in the guy's face before running out of the house.
Perhaps the greatest-ever CMOA on the part of a Studio Audience, who immediately fill the studio with deafening cheers once Edith evades her would-be rapist, even stamping their feet on the bleachers.note The sequence was shot in one uninterrupted take. The studio audience got tenser and tenser as it went on that there was a good chance that they'd actually rush the set to save Edith. That's how much tension is being released in those cheers. All by itself, it elevates the scene from great to unforgettable.
And in the second part of the episode, both Gloria and Edith get crowning moments. Gloria calls her mother out on why she refuses to identify the rapist when he's caught, even though it would stop him from doing this to other women; getting increasingly angry before finally screaming, "You're not my mother anymore!" Edith, in response, slaps her across the face, breaks down, and then confidently walks towards the front door.
"Come on, Archie."
What really makes the above work is that Gloria faced a similar situation in an earlier season - the roles are basically reversed here.
Any time Edith tells Archie to "STIFLE!"
In "Unequal Partners" Archie wants to go on a fishing trip at 6.30 the following morning, but Edith has already agreed to host the wedding of two of the residents of the Sunshine Home at 12 PM. A lengthy argument ensues, during which Edith gets more and more worked up until Archie declares that the argument is over and she lets loose with this:
Edith: Now, I ain't leavin' here tomorrow till after that weddin', and neither are you.
Edith: No, them people is dependin' on us, and I'm dependin' on you, and if you walk out on me tomorrow, you can keep on walkin'! Now the argument is over!
During a lengthy strike, everyone in the family tries to find work, including Edith, over Archie's protests:
Archie. If a woman don't have no experience, then she should stick to unskilled labor. Like being a wife.
Edith. But that don't pay nothing.
Archie But it ain't supposed to pay nothing, Edith. You're supposed to be satisfied with what you call your unseen rewards.
Edith. How would you like an unseen dinner??!
And again in "Edith Breaks Out", when Edith refuses to stop her volunteer work at the Sunshine Home:
Archie. Edith, that was an order.
Edith. I ain't taking no orders. I can be a Sunshine Lady if I wanna be. And I wanna be. And I am.
Archie. You are in trouble, Edith. You are in big trouble.
Edith. No, you are. 'Cause I ain't getting your dinner on the table until you take back what you said!!! About my work bein' nothin'! (runs up the stairs)
Archie. What I said — goes! And you don't gotta get no dinner for me 'cause I'm going down to Kelsey's.
Edith. (racing back down the stairs) Oh, nooooo, you ain't gonna slam this door in my face 'cause this time it's gonna be your face! And I'm gonna be the slammer!!!
"Archie and the KKK". An episode in which Archie is invited to join a meeting of the local chapter of a group which seems to share his political and social beliefs. Upon discovering that this group is, in fact, the local branch of the Ku Klux Klan, and that they intend to set a cross alight on Mike's lawn, he tries several gambits to get them to change their minds. Finally, he pulls out a card nobody would have ever seen coming from him:
Klansman 1: There's a whole lot of us, Bunker.
Archie: Well, lemme tell you, there's a whole lot of us.
Klansman 1: Us who?
Archie: Us blacks!
Klansman 2: Whaddaya talkin' about?
Archie: I'm talkin' about my gall bladder operation last year, when I had to take one of them transflusions there, they put me full of blood!
Klansman 2: What blood?
Archie: Black blood, buddy! A whole lot of it! I think, enough to fill up a six-pack!
Klansman 1: So that's what's wrong with ya.
Archie: Nothin' wrong with me, hey, I notice I sing and dance better! But, the main thing that does to me, see, that gives me the right to call out a whole gang of my black blood brothers, to come with me and back me up, see? And if we catch youse guys burnin' any crosses, we're gonna come up here, and we're gonna bust your honky heinies!
Mike giving a raspberry to God. Archie can only say "WOW!"
"The Draft Dodger," the seventh-season Christmas episode where the Bunkers host Mike's friend, David Brewster (a draft dodger) and Archie's buddy, Pinky Peterson (whose son died in the Vietnam War), earns its star when – after Archie went on an angry rant against draft dodgers – Pinky (the "Gold Star father," as Archie calls him) diffuses the explosive situation by calmly telling how he wishes his son could be there right now, enjoying Christmas dinner. He goes on to explain he held the same opinions about the Vietnam War as Archie did … until his son was killed in action, then develops an unlikely friendship with Brewster. Pinky's impassioned speech – which ends with him wishing Brewster a merry Christmas and a handshake – was one where you could hear a pin drop. Prior to everything unfolding, Edith, Mike and Gloria (who are in the know from the start) try to conceal the truth about Brewster from Archie.
The second half of "Cousin Liz" qualifies both in-universe and for the series as a whole. Archie and Edith attend the funeral of Edith's cousin Liz, where they meet Liz's long-time roommate, Veronica. Liz has left Edith a valuable antique tea set (worth at least $2,000), but Veronica asks Edith if she might let her have it. When Edith asks why, Veronica, in very stilted terms, reveals the truth about her relationship with Liz—they were deeply in love with each other. Edith gets several Crowning Moments in the scene: she immediately accepts Veronica's love as legitimate, remarking that she wishes Veronica hadn't told her about the situation—not because she disapproves, but because it deeply saddens her to realize that Veronica has lost the love of her life. Edith also tells Veronica that she can certainly have the tea set, as she is Liz's true next of kin (to put this in perspective, arguments are still being made in 2014 about property laws for same-sex couples).
Later, when Edith tells Archie the truth, he is completely stunned, but still insists on keeping the set. Edith firmly tells him "No," and outright declares that she is "disobeying her husband." When Archie threatens legal action, Veronica panics—she works at a school (as did Liz), and the public revelation of her sexuality would cost her her job. Archie realizes this, but still plans on going through with a lawsuit. This leads to an exchange that convinces Archie to let Veronica keep the tea set; this argument, despite being almost forty years old, sounds remarkably familiar:
Archie: Who the hell wants people like that teachin' our kids? I'm sure God don't! God sittin' in judgment—
Edith: Well sure he is, but he's God! You ain't!...She can't help how she feels. She didn't hurt you, so why should you wanna hurt her?
Finally, this episode aired in 1977, when it was considered taboo to even mention gay people on television, let alone present them as being in long-term relationships.note A 1977 NBC TV-movie, Alexander: The Other Side of Dawn, broke ground in depicting any homosexuality on television. Barry Harman, one of the episode's writers, pointed out that a rerun of the episode aired the night before Californians voted on a law that would have barred homosexual individuals from working in public schools; the law was not passed, and Harman suggested that the message of the episode may have had something to do with it.
Archie punching Theresa's brother(who he had mistaken for her abusive ex boyfriend) when he tries to enter the house.
In one episode Lionel takes Archie's niece out dancing. Archie, who still believes whites and blacks have don't belong in relationships, beings to lecture Lionel on the subject. Lionel, who's known for always taking Archie's idle bigotry with good humour, promptly gives his own speech to Archie on the subject, telling him that when it comes to black and white and all the opinions Archie has, he can put a lid on them.
A meta example is that Archie was intended to be disliked by the audience, but Carrol O'Connor's performance turned him into one of the most beloved TV characters of all time.