Archie Bunker gets to loudly voice his opinions in his own bar...instead of at home.Archie Bunker's Place
(a continuation of the critically and commercially acclaimed sitcom All in the Family
) aired from 1979-1983 on CBS
. While not as popular as its predecessor, the show maintained a large enough audience to last four seasons, ending its run in 1983.
Following the previous series, Archie Bunker
(Carroll O'Connor) and his wife Edith (Jean Stapleton) continue to nag each other and deal with Archie's very conservative
views, all while attempting to raise their adopted grandniece, Stephanie, who is rapidly growing up. The major difference in the series is that most of the stories were set at Archie Bunker's Place, the neighborhood tavern
he'd purchased in 1977 (in the eighth-season premiere of AITF
). The tavern was the place for him to sound off on current issues, get support from his friends, and argue with the bar's liberal, Jewish co-owner Murray Klein (Martin Balsam).
The series, like its predecessor, was set in the New York City
borough of Queens. The opening and closing themes used re-scored instrumental
versions of the songs from AITF
Although not as well-regarded as the original series, Archie Bunker's Place
still had a number of heartbreaking moments. The show is probably best known for the second-season premiere "Archie Alone", which had Edith die off-screen between seasons of a stroke. This was because Jean Stapleton believed the character had grown as far as it could, and there was no more that could be done with it. The episode earned O'Connor two Emmy Awards for his performance.
This show provides examples of:
- Aftershow: The show represented a retooling of the previous series away from the family life of Archie and simply onto Archie and his wife (and later, just Archie.)
- The Bus Came Back: The season 1 episode "Thanksgiving Reunion" has the Stivics (from AITF) returning for a visit from California, while the season 3 two-parter "Gloria Comes Home" has Gloria returning to reveal that she and Mike divorced, which was done to set up Gloria.
- Murray returns for a season 4 episode.
- The Cameo: Sammy Davis Jr. (who had previously guested on AITF) and other celebrities appear during the series.
- Celebrity Lie: Inverted in the episode "The Return of Sammy".
- Christmas Episode: The "Custody" two-parter (season 2), "Father Christmas" (season 4).
- Cousin Oliver: Stephanie, though she was introduced in AITF. Though instead of being used as a ploy to keep innocent and childish storylines prevalent, she actually brought a lot of dark episodes, and matured and grew up like any adolescent.
- Directed by Cast Member: Carroll O'Connor
- Disappeared Dad: Stephanie's father, Floyd Mills. He had appeared on and off since 1978 (the final year of the old All in the Family show) to beg the Bunkers for money and/or to try to take his daughter back. His final appearance came in the 1981 episode "Growing Up is Hard to Do," where a now 13-year-old Stephanie is celebrating her bat mitzvah. Floyd shows up drunk and to beg for more money ... which Stephanie finally obliges. Her act of selflessness (which impresses Archie) marks the last time Floyd is seen or heard from ... his fate left unresolved (perhaps a nod to real life).
- Dom Com: At least for the first season...kind of.
- Downer Ending: The first season episode "Thanksgiving Reunion", although not really having a downer plot, marks the last time all the Bunkers are seen on-screen together (Mike and Gloria come over for dinner, and their marital arguments come to a head). Soon afterwards, Mike and Gloria divorce, and Edith dies. The second-season premiere, "Archie Alone", also has a very depressing ending.
- Executive Meddling: Executives at CBS prevented O'Connor from filming a true series finale. O'Connor was reportedly so angry that he wouldn't work with the network for a decade afterwards.
- Franchise Zombie: Despite being a sequel series that didn't have the input of original creator Norman Lear, the show still ran for four years (and with a diminished cast).
- From the Ashes
- Heroic BSOD: Edith's death numbs Archie so much that he spends most of the second-season premiere dumbly refusing to believe she died. He breaks down when he's alone at the end of the episode, though, and laments that he didn't know she died until he tried to wake her by shaking her body.
- Norman Lear had one in real life, as he had grown so attached to the characters on that he felt like he was killing a real person.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Archie softens up a bit in later seasons, especially when he gains custody of Stephanie.
- Killed Off for Real: Edith dies off-screen between seasons due to a stroke. A major part of the Season 2 opener is Archie trying to cope with her death.
- Left Hanging: The show was abruptly cancelled at the end of the fourth season without resolving all the loose plot threads from the series.
- Long Runner: Along with All in the Family, the Bunker's story ran for a massive 13 seasons.
- Poorly Disguised Pilot: "Gloria: The First Day", a repackaged (and unaired) episode which was intended to be the pilot for the series Gloria.
- Put on a Bus: Murray Klein gets married and moves to California at the end of season 2.
- Rearrange the Song: The show features new, instrumental versions of AITF's opening ("Those Were the Days") and closing ("Remembering You") themes.
- Secretly Wealthy: Mr. Van Renseleer, the blind patron of Archie's bar.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Much like the original series, the source of most of the comedy comes from Archie and Murray's interactions at the bar.
- Very Special Episode: Several relating to teenage pregnancy, drug and alcohol use, although much like its predecessor, none of them were specifically called "very special episodes." And then, there was the episode where viewers learned about Edith's death.