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Headscratchers / All in the Family

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  • Does it annoy anybody else that Mike cheated on Gloria in "Gloria Suspects Mike" and got a complete whitewash on it, whereas Archie was totally crucified for his similar lapse in judgment and reminded of it numerous times?
    • That's because he didn't cheat on her. As Linda came on to him, he was tempted but resisted and ultimately ran from the house. In the next scene Archie gets him drunk hoping he'll speak the truth; and he does, but Archie has passed out by that time.
      • They still had a passionate kiss, and Mike didn't back out right away. They made out for a few seconds and then Mike pulled out of the situation...which is exactly what Archie did.
  • Why is there any laughter in the scene where the rapist was attacking Edith? This is quite possibly the darkest, scariest, and saddest moment in sitcom history, and the audience is cracking up at every other line like it was a completely normal episode. Granted, the audience DID shut up for the most disturbing parts of the scene, but I always felt that from the minute Larson revealed himself, there should have been complete silence.
    • Two words, comic relief. All in the Family is a sitcom, not a thriller, and the script was clearly written with comedy in mind, excepting the most serious tension-building moments. Why do you think Archie was coming back into the house for something as ridiculous as a punchbowl? Or that Edith was going on and on about dumb things while the rapist goes from befuddled to blank to annoyed? They laughed because that's what the writers intended, but I think the most important audience reaction to the whole scene was the utter screaming, foot-pounding ovation that Edith saving herself earned.
    • Also, it might be a case of nervous laughter. There's something ludicrous about the idea of a fifty-year-old woman being sexually assaulted—not funny, mind you, but absurd. The audience could be laughing because they don't expect anything really serious to happen. Notice that the laughter stops when Larson pulls out the gun and begins to threaten Edith and Archie's lives—all of the sudden, it's not funny anymore, because it seems inevitable.
      • Calling the rape of an older woman absurd carries Unfortunate Implications, implying that younger women are the only ones deemed attractive and "rapable" to rapists.
      • Because for many the alternative, that absolutely no one is safe, is simply too horrifying for many to consider.

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