- "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 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.
- Some credit needs to go to Archie's behavior in the second episode. It's shown to take place some time after the first one, and Archie is shown to be completely attentive to Edith's obvious trauma. He's clearly frustrated by it, but he never shows that to Edith; furthermore, his anger is clearly directed at himself, as he feels both powerless to help her and too stunted by his own upbringing to even discuss the subject aloud. Later, when Gloria (who, as noted above, was previously a rape victim herself) explains what Edith is going through, Archie does something completely out of character—he listens to what his daughter has to say patiently, takes her advice, and uses it to help calm Edith down. Those are Hidden Depths to the extreme.
- 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!!!
- 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:
- "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 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.
- 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 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 don't belong in relationships, begins 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.
- "The Elevator Story" gives us Hugh Victor Thompson III, an African-American professor (played by Badass Baritone Roscoe Lee Brown, who delivers his lines with steely grace). From the start of the "trapped in an elevator" ordeal to the end, he verbally smacks Archie around for the latter's racist views. One particularly awesome moments occurs when Archie trots out his military service to claim superiority:Archie: I saw a lot of action in the war!
Hugh: During KP or latrine duty?
Archie: As a soldier in the Army Air Corp, that's the only place we'd see you people.
Hugh: As an officer in the Intelligence Service, I would have never seen you.
- "Edith Has Jury Duty" is full of these:
- As the title suggests, Edith is chosen to be on jury duty for a high-profile case. After Archie discovers that she could be sequestered for weeks, or even months, for deliberations, he starts claiming he's sick and gives his wife a huge list of tasks to do to care for him, including calling the courthouse and saying she won't be coming after all. Archie goes upstairs...and Edith puts the phone down, sits back at the table, and keeps eating, asking Mike and Gloria to get the things her husband asked for. When Gloria asks if Edith really plans to wait on Archie hand and foot, she replies: "No—you are. I'm gonna be on jury duty!"
- The case, a highly-publicized murder trial concerning a young Hispanic man named Rodriguez, sees eleven of the jurors convinced that he is guilty...no points for guessing who the holdout is. In one scene, Edith eats dinner with a rich, nasty woman named Lydia who's also on the jury and sick of being away from her home. Lydia tries to convince Edith that Rodriguez must be lying about his claims of innocence, and spouts very racists beliefs that "those people" are born liars. Edith refuses to listen, and Lydia tries pointing out that three witnesses saw Rodriguez enter the apartment building where the murder took place...and Edith rightly points out that if "those people" are all liars, why should the jury believe the neighbors and not the accused man? Lydia's too stunned to answer, and the studio audience applauds Edith's wisdom.
- In the same scene with Lydia, Edith reveals some of her earliest Hidden Depths (this episode takes place in the first season) when she explains that no one has ever cared about her opinions, and further that she's never had to make any important decisions in her life. Her serving on the jury is the first—and, she believes, the last—time anyone has taken her ideas and beliefs seriously, and she refuses to compromise those beliefs: "I don't want to be wrong." It's simple, but it's powerful.
- And finally, there's the episode's ending, which reveals that Edith is right. It turns out a Caucasian taxi driver was the true culprit, and Edith's purity of heart and refusal to bow to pressure has saved an innocent man from prison.
- A meta example is that Archie was intended to be disliked by the audience, but Carroll O'Connor's performance turned him into one of the most beloved TV characters of all time.
- When Archie is briefly without work, Edith decides to get a job herself (the above quote about an "unseen dinner" comes from this episode). But an even more awesome moment comes later, when Louise Jefferson offers to give Edith a position working the cash register at Jefferson's Dry Cleaning store. This in and of itself is a mix of fantastic and heartwarming. But later, George refuses the idea of Edith working there...and Louise pulls off another awesome moment by slyly mentioning that Archie will be happy, as he certainly wouldn't want Edith working at the Jeffersons' business. George falls for the trick and immediately gives Edith the clerk position. Score one for Louise.
Awesome / All in the Family