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Series / All in the Family

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"Boy, the way Glenn Miller played
Songs that made the hit parade
Guys like us, we had it made
Those were the days!
And you knew where you were then
Girls were girls, and men were men
Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again
Didn't need no welfare state
Everybody pulled his weight
Gee, our old LaSalle ran great
Those were the days!"
— "Those Were the Days", the iconic theme song composed by Lee Adams and Charles Strouse and sung by Archie and Edith Bunker

A groundbreaking and controversial CBS sitcom from Norman Lear, based on the British sitcom Till Death Us Do Part and airing from 1971–79 (and on to 1983, if the run of Archie Bunker's Place is counted). The series has consistently been rated one of the greatest television shows of all time. It was the highest-rated show in the US for five consecutive seasons between 1971 and 1976, earning numerous Emmy and Golden Globe awards (as did each of its lead actors) as well as a Peabody during its run.

The show was, at its heart, a Dom Com focused around the Bunker family of Queens, New York and its titular head, Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor), an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist of the first order. Archie was a blue-collar dock worker with conservative and broadly bigoted views, which he was unafraid to voice at any opportunity. Archie's major foils were his wife Edith (Jean Stapleton), his daughter Gloria (Sally Struthers), and his son-in-law Mike Stivic (Rob Reiner). Mike, who was not-so-affectionately nicknamed "Meathead" by Archie ("You heard me. Meathead. Dead from the neck up. Meat... head."), was every bit as opinionated and vocal as Archie himself, but liberal and socially active. This usually resulted in a verbal sparring match between the two, with Mike's solid, intellectual, but sometimes idealized arguments clashing with Archie's stance, usually full of malapropisms and wayward logic but also with a closer personal relationship to the situation at hand and an ability to be so cleverly obtuse that Mike was unprepared to answer him. Around all this, Edith simply wanted to avoid conflict, trying her sweet best to defuse the frequent conflicts and to just keep a peaceful home — no easy task when two of the people thrived on conflict.

From the start, All in the Family broke a large number of unwritten network rules, particularly the ones pertaining to the type of content that was, and wasn't, considered acceptable to feature on prime time commercial television. Archie's language was laced with various epithets common on the street but never previously heard on TV. Mike and Gloria made it clear that they had an active and enthusiastic sex life. Even the Bunkers' toilet was the first one heard being flushed on air. As the show continued, it tackled a wide variety of taboo topics, either directly, or through the medium of Archie's debates with Mike and others. These included race relations, gender roles, homosexuality, war, economy, political current events, abortion, rape, child custody, and other issues that, if not new in the 1970s, were most certainly not brought up in a comedy show.

The impact of the show was such that it became the focus of a heated national debate on whether the use of comedy was an appropriate means by which to combat prejudice and social inequality. Never before had a situation comedy, light family fare for the most part, ever treaded such heady waters. Very few shows had tried to combine controversy and comedy before.

The show's success inspired quite a few spinoffs directly or indirectly resulting from the show or characters appearing during its run, and several of them were critical and commercial successes in their own right.

  • Maude (1972-1978)
  • The Jeffersons (1975-1985)
    • Which spun off Checking In (1981)
  • Archie Bunker's Place (1979-1983), an After Show focusing the location on Archie's bar.
  • Gloria (1982-1983), a spin-off starring only Gloria, the premise being that Mike left her to live in a hippie commune so she takes their kid and goes on a journey to find herself... In the Big City.
  • 704 Hauser (1994), about an African-American family living in the former Bunker residence.

This show provides examples of:

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    Tropes A–F 
  • '70s Hair: Mike and a number of his hippie friends.
  • Abusive Parents: In the "Two's a Crowd" episode, a drunken Archie reveals details of his abusive father to Mike.
  • Actual Pacifist: Mike usually refuses to fight anyone for any reason, the one time he did hit someonenote , he spent the whole episode regretting it.
  • An Aesop: In "Writing the President": whether you agree or disagree with the President (or your Congressman, city councilman, school board member, etc.), write and let him know your opinions and explain your stance. Even if two sides cancel each other out — as Archie and Mike ultimately do — an opinion expressed is better than one never stated.
  • Affectionate Nickname:
    • Archie usually addressed Gloria as "Little Girl".
    • While "Meathead" certainly wasn't one of these, it arguably became at least somewhat of an Insult of Endearment over time. Ditto "Dingbat".
  • Affectionate Parody: "All in the Family: The Opera", performed on The Sonny & Cher Show. The skit included Caroll O'Connor himself as The Censor. Archie defeats him by singing, essentially, Screw the Rules, I Have Ratings.
  • All Women Are Prudes: Discussed in the episode "The Joys of Sex". Edith tells Archie that before they got married, her mother told her that there'll be one thing about marriage she won't like, but it's the wife's duty. Edith assumed it was doing the laundry. Later, she figured out her mother meant sex, which Edith actually enjoyed, but couldn't admit this to her mother.
  • Angry White Man: Archie may be the prototypical example on screen.
  • Animated Adaptation: It inspired several of these.
    • The Barkleys, the 1972-73 story of opinionated bus driver Arnie Barkley, his wife Agnes, daughter Terri, son-in-law Roger, and son Chester. All played by different breeds of dogs.
    • Also indirectly inspired the syndicated 1972-74 series Wait Till Your Father Gets Home.
    • The Simpsons episode "Lisa's Sax" parodies the opening, with Homer and Marge in place of Archie and Edith.
    • The Family Guy opening credits sequence is a Shout-Out to the show, and one episode ("Stewie Loves Lois") parodies the Closing Credits sequence.
    • The Netflix original animated series F is for Family is essentially a new version of the series set in 1973, though with some differences such as the cast being younger and having three young children rather than an adult daughter and son-in-law, and the wife searching for an identity outside the home. Despite this, the show hits all the marks, the father even has the same clothes as Archie!
    • Seth Macfarlane has often said that the original idea behind American Dad! was to have "All in the Family in the 21st century", with the ultraconservative Stan and the die-hard liberal Hayley taking Archie and Mike's places respectively. (However, the show lost that idea relatively early on.)
    • South Park was semi-inspired by the show, Matt and Trey mentioned that Eric Cartman was inspired by the idea of how one could adapt Archie Bunker's character to the 1990's. They eventually concluded that an adult character like him would no longer be acceptable, but that a kid spouting a stream of ignorant garbage would be fine. They were right.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: In "Gloria Poses in the Nude", there's a Hungarian painter called Szabo Daborba. While "Szabó" is a common Hungarian family name meaning "tailor", Daborba is not a name in Hungarian. Szabo is also used as if it was his given name (in Hungarian name order, family name is followed by the given name).
  • Attempted Rape: Happens to Gloria in "Gloria the Victim" and Edith in "Edith's 50th Birthday".
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other:
    • Every now and then in each season they need to make an episode that reminds the audience that yes, Archie is an asshole and gets frustrated with Edith a lot, but for all their squabbles, he loves her just as much as she does him, if not even more so.
    • Archie always considered Gloria his "Little Goil" ... and meant that with pride and the love only a father could have. Gloria, for all she disagrees with her father, dearly loves her father, too and can unfailingly count on him in time of need.
    • Archie and Mike get one of these just before the Stivics leave for California.
  • Back for the Dead: The final appearance of minor character Beverly Lasalle ended with her being beaten to death by a gang.
  • Back to School: An episode revealed Archie had secretly been working toward his high school diploma, since The Depression forced him to drop out of school.
  • Bank Toaster: In "Edith Versus the Bank", Edith explains to Archie that there's money in the bank that can't be used for a time, as she took it from the main account and opened several new accounts just to get a heating pad, an electric blanket and a radio.
  • Bathroom Break-Out: In "Edith's 50th Birthday", Edith tries using a bathroom break to escape her attacker, a rapist. Unfortunately, the rapist is too smart for this trick. Edith draws a few chuckles when she says, "I'll go later" in a very non-comedic moment.
  • Bathroom Stall Graffiti: In the episode "Archie is Worried About His Job", Archie expects a phone call late at night, but he gets a guy who misread a number on a toilet wall instead.
  • Bested at Bowling: In "Archie Is Cursed", Archie and Irene Lorenzo settle an argument with a game of billiards. He tries to get out of the game by faking a back injury, but he gets caught and loses to the woman anyway. It proves that women can compete against men in sports. Especially considering that Irene is a Wrench Wench.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Several examples:
    • Edith, in "Edith's Problem." Framed around Edith going through the early stages of menopause, this classic episode became known for Jean Stapleton's comic timing and portrayal of Edith's irritability and mood swings as she deals with the symptoms. Her attempts to put Archie in his place – "Stifle, stifle, STIFLE!" – made this episode.
    • That all said, there were times where Archie – and more than once, even Mike – pissed Edith off. Archie's cases came when he too often opened his mouth, going on tirades about how certain things were "God's business" ... to which Edith would throw it right back at him and say, "Then you let God tend to that business" (and in essence, you butt out). Mike would do it when he either wasn't thinking or when he'd go on the occasional tirade about Archie and how life is better for him than he – this hateful, ignorant racist asshole – truly deserves; Edith, while admitting she doesn't always see eye-to-eye with her husband, would set her son-in-law straight very swiftly and decisively.
    • Lionel Jefferson, the young black neighbor of the Bunkers who most of the time put up with Archie's brow-beating and ill-educated attempts to deal with racial harmony. However, in "Lionel Steps Out," he puts Archie in his place (and none too gently) when he crosses the line and tries to stop him from dating his white niece.
  • Big Applesauce: Turning into The Big Rotten Apple.
  • Big Blackout:
    • The episode "Archie and the KKK" begins during the 1977 NYC blackout, and includes discussion of the real-life looting and arson that took place.
    • Another episode, "Mike and Gloria's House Guests", has Archie and Edith staying at Mike and Gloria's house after their furnace goes on the blink. This naturally leads to tension between the family members, until a power outage brings them together.
  • Big Eater: Mike. Archie often mocks him over it.
  • Big "SHUT UP!":
    • Stifle it, Edith!: Archie, whenever he was losing an argument or he perceived someone – usually Edith – was saying too much. He rarely if ever yelled it, but was clearly annoyed or irritated whenever he would say it.
    • "I don't care what Robin says. Robin, shut up." from Gloria.
  • Bigot vs. Bigot:
    • Archie vs. Mike.
    • Archie vs. Henry/George Jefferson.
    • Near the end of Archie vs. the KKK [Part 2], after Mike learns that Archie was involved with the KKK, gets livid and tells Archie that he is no longer welcome in their apartment. Archie, remembering that his blood donor was African-American, turns Papa Wolf on the KKK.
  • The Big Rotten Apple: While for the most part it only touches the Bunkers peripherally, the city's '70s decline and its attendant challenges (crime, rioting, blackouts, recessions, etc.) is definitely part of the background to the show.
  • Bilingual Backfire: In the episode "The Elevator Story", Archie is stuck in an elevator with several people, including a Puerto Rican man. He tries to use the elevator phone, while the man tries to get his attention. Archie says "Can somebody translate what I'm saying to this spic here?" The man responds: "Is not necessary, mister, this spic is speak English!" Archie, however, is completely unfazed.
  • A Birthday, Not a Break: "Edith's Fiftieth Birthday" is marked by a visit by a rapist. Chilling words when the rapist tells her "Happy birthday!" upon learning of what that day is, seemingly more determined to give her his "present".
  • Birthday Party Goes Wrong: The episode "Edith's Fiftieth Birthday"... although the surprise party ends in a way nobody would expect. Edith comes running into Mike and Gloria's house (after fighting off an attempted sexual assault in her own living room) out of breath and everyone starts singing "Happy Birthday," thinking she's just arrived – albeit early – for her party. note 
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: Early episodes tended to throw jabs at CBS' Standards and Practices, most famously by metaphorically flushing the warning that preceded the very first episode.
  • Black Is Bigger in Bed: Archie asks his black neighbor George Jefferson if black men possess extra stamina in bed and if a white man can increase his to match it. George has some fun with him by saying yes, but it comes with these terrible urges to shine shoes and carry other people's luggage.
  • Black Republican: George Jefferson ran for public office as a Republican. Archie was confused because George "didn't look like a Republican" but then later signs his petition in exchange for a 15% discount on dry cleaning. George reneges on the deal after getting enough signatures but then Archie finds out the real reason why George is running - to repeal a zoning law that prevented him from expanding his business.
  • Blackface: In the episode "Birth of the Baby", Archie is forced by his lodge to appear in blackface in a minstrel show. Right before he's supposed to go onstage, he's informed that his daughter has gone into labor, so he ends up in the hospital in blackface.
  • Bleak Abyss Retirement Home: Averted with the Sunshine Home, where Edith first works as a volunteer, then as an employee. It doesn't have a lot of frills, but has a warm, laid-back ambiance and the residents are happy. The one time Edith does CPR, it's on a visitor, a 40ish high-stress businessman who has a heart attack at his mom's birthday party.
  • Blood Transfusion Plot: Archie needs blood for a gallbladder operation, and is horrified to learn the only compatible donor is a black female doctor from the West Indies. He eventually relents and actually thanks her, and a few seasons later proudly proclaims to the KKK that he has black blood in him.
  • Blowing a Raspberry: Archie Bunker had this as his catchphrase.
  • The Board Game: Yep, the show had one. It was a party card game that asked people how they would honestly react to various social situations. The slogan: "Is there a little Archie in all of us?"
  • Born in an Elevator: One episode features Archie stuck in an elevator with several people, including a pregnant woman, who eventually gives birth.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Inverted with Archie and Mike. Both characters were deliberately written as stealth parodies of each side of the political spectrum, and neither character was meant to illicit much sympathy. It was frequently implied that Edith was wiser than both men despite her tendency toward literal mindedness.
  • Bottle Episode: You'd be hard pressed to find an episode from season 1 that left the Bunker home. Heck, the living room for that matter.
  • Breather Episode:
    • The 1977-1978 season is acclaimed for having some of that series' darkest and most memorable episodes: Archie buys Kelsey's Bar and is addicted to amphetamines, Edith's cousin comes out of the closet, Archie has an all-too-close encounter with the Ku Klux Klan, Edith witnesses a murder, Edith is nearly raped, Archie admits to Mike he was abused as a child, Mike gets a job offer in California, Mike and Gloria say goodbye. But, lest we forget, there were a number of lighter episodes – Edith being hired to do a TV commercial, Archie hosting his first Super Bowl party (even if he was robbed that day), Archie wants to go on a fishing trip but must host an impromptu wedding between two old codgers and a few others. Even though themes of ethics and morals came into play for several of the "lighter" episodes, they were considerably easier and more family friendly than the most memorable of the season's episodes.
    • Speaking of which, each one of the seasons, from the second season on, had episodes that were played more for laughs (in the vein of the traditional sitcom of the 1950s and 1960s) than to break another of TV's taboos or address a controversial topic. One of the first – and perhaps the signature episode of the entire series – was a 1972 episode featuring a beloved singer and dancer named Sammy Davis Jr..
  • Brotherhood of Funny Hats:
    • Archie is a member of the Kings of Queens lodge.
    • In a Season 8 episode another "civic" organization invites Archie to join: The Kweens Kouncil of Krusaders.
  • Building of Adventure: The Bunkers' house, 704 Hauser; it was the subject of one ofthe spinoffs.
  • Bury Your Gays: Beverly LaSalle. She shows up an a female impersonator to whom Archie give mouth-to-mouth then returns for a second episode where dating her is used as a means to humiliate a friend of Archie's in a prank war. In her third and final appearance her brutal (and off-screen) murder near Christmas is a test of Edith's faith.
  • Bus Full of Innocents: Possible Trope Namer — one episode had Archie injured in a minor accident, which was as much his fault as the other person's. Thinking that the only person who would really be out would be a "giant insurance company", Archie rejects a settlement offer and instead contacts a lawyer, pushing a very skewed version of the incident. The lawyer later comes by the house to tell him the bad news: they're gonna have to drop the suit and take a much-reduced settlement. When asked why, the attorney notes that there were witnesses that dispute Archie's story. Archie still wants to try, but:
    Lawyer: Mr. Bunker, let me give you some free legal advice: In a court of law, you can't beat —
    The rest of the cast in unison: A STATION WAGON FULL OF NUNS.
  • But I Read a Book About It: In the episode "Edith Writes a Song," Mike tries to placate two African American burglars whom Archie has racially insulted, by explaining that Archie doesn't know what it's like to grow up in the inner city. One of the burglars responds, "Oh, and you do?" Mike sheepishly replies that he learned about it in his sociology course.
  • Butt-Monkey: Archie, frequently; Mike, occasionally.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Gloria does this a lot. She chides Archie for his treatment of Edith, and takes him to task for his bigoted remarks, particularly against women. At times she hits him on top of the head. Despite this, however, they love each other dearly and it shows.
  • Camp Straight: In the episode "Judging Books By Covers", Archie thinks one of Mike's friends, Roger is gay because he acts effeminate. He isn't, but it turns out one of Archie's old drinking buddies, an ex-football player is gay. Archie refuses to believe that, even when the guy tells him personally.
  • Cathartic Chores: After being attacked by a rapist, Edith obsessively irons clothes and makes the bed because she's afraid to leave the house and identify him to the police.
  • Celebrity Resemblance: In a flashback which showed when Mike and Gloria first met, Mike claimed that he grew his beard because he looked like Fred Astaire and it was easier to change his look than learn how to dance.
  • Celebrity Star: One of the most famous examples is the episode "Sammy's Visit", featuring Sammy Davis, Jr.
  • Censorship by Spelling: In "Gloria's Boyfriend", Archie does it in front of George, a mentally disabled stock boy: "I know how to talk to a D-U-M-M-Y!". George, however, knows how to spell and he gets upset.
  • Cerebus Syndrome:
    • The first seasons treated issues more lightly (almost bordering in farce, such as the Dream Sequence in "Writing the President") while later seasons tended to be closer to a comedy-drama. Also Archie progressed from being a total Jerkass to just a grump, while Mike's hypocrisy was increasingly played up.
    • Archie Bunker's Place often looked more like a drama with humorous undertones than a sitcom with a lot of "very special episodes".
  • Chain Letter: The season 6 episode "Chain Letter" has Archie experiencing a run of bad luck after throwing one of these away.
  • Character Catchphrase: Archie had a few.
    • "You're a pip, Edith."
    • "Stifle yourself, Edith."
    • "Dummy up, you".
    • "Whoop-de-do, whoop-de-doo, whoop-de-doo!"
    • "Aw, geez."
  • Characterization Marches On: Although the show is remembered as one of the earliest sitcoms to have its characters undergo real Character Development over time, it also indulged in this:
    • Archie in the early seasons is depicted as prudish in the extreme, to the point of not even being able to say the word sex, and even the other characters (including Edith) wonder how he was ever able to conceive Gloria. In the later seasons he and Edith are much more readily depicted as having a healthy sex life - one episode ends with him propositioning her (which she accepts) and in another she comments that they were already sexually active when they were only engaged. She tells a friend that being with Archie is less like the 4th of July and more like Thanksgiving.
      • In fact, in "Gloria's Shock" (season 5), during a discussion about when or if couples should have children, Michael points out that lots of babies are born simply because somebody forgot to go to the drugstore. Edith and Archie exchange a meaningful look. We're not sure if they were married or just engaged when this happened.
  • Christmas Episode: Several, perhaps the most famous being "The Draft Dodger", in which Archie invites a friend who lost his son in the Vietnam War for Christmas dinner while Mike invites a friend who is a draft dodger...with completely unexpected results.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Frank and Irene Lorenzo, an Italian Catholic couple who moved into the neighborhood, began appearing in season 4. Frank was phased out without explanation after one season; Irene hung on a couple more years before vanishing without a trace herself.
    • Maude would feel like one if you'd never heard of her spin-off. After the Poorly Disguised Pilot where the Bunkers visit her, she's only mentioned once, in the episode "Mike and Gloria Meet." However, she never appeared again in the Bunkers' world, and they never made an appearance on her series. Even the Jeffersons appeared again after being spun-off.
  • Cigar Chomper: Archie.
  • Clip Show: There were two of them, both titled "The Best of All in the Family". The first was hosted by Henry Fonda midway through season 5, while the second was hosted by Norman Lear toward the end of the ninth and final season.
  • Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: Archie and Mike have a bet as to who can hold out longer: Archie without a cigar or Mike without food. Archie starts to tempt Mike by eating in front of him; Mike counters by smoking cigars in front of Archie. They finally decide to end in a draw, with Mike eating and Archie lighting up on the count of three. On "3" Mike puts food in his mouth but Archie draws the match away from his cigar, with a "Ha!"
    • Also, when Mike finds several cigars Archie stashed:
      Gloria: Daddy, you're supposed to play fair! Michael is, and this is no picnic for him, you know!
      Mike: Don't say "picnic", Gloria.
      Gloria: I'm sorry, honey.
      Mike: Don't say "honey", Gloria.
  • Color Me Black: Played With in a couple of episodes. In one episode Archie has a gallbladder operation and ends up getting blood donated from a black person, much to his consternation. The next season when the KKK move into Queens he invokes the transfusion as having made him part black, so he can call on his black brothers to protest the KKK meeting house.
  • Comically Missing the Point: In "The Games Bunkers Play", Mike asks Gloria who she would save if he and her mother were drowning and she could only save one. Then the following exchange occurs:
    Gloria: That is not a fair question!
    Mike: Why not?
    Gloria: Because I can't swim!
  • Compressed Abstinence: Archie and Mike have a bet over who can last longer (of a 48 hour limit): Archie without a cigar or Mike without eating. (Mike's a Big Eater.) They start taunting each other: Mike starts smoking in front of Archie and Archie eats in front of Mike. They decide to call it a draw, with Archie lighting up & Mike eating on the count of three; but Archie pulls the lighter away from his cigar just as Mike starts eating, therefore he wins the bet.
  • The Con: In an early Season 1 episode, dnvious that the Jeffersons — a black family and Mike and Gloria's friends — got a large settlement and used it to open a dry cleaning business, Archie decides that he has an aching back from his own recent fender-bender so that he, too, can get rich. It would not be Archie's last such scheme.
  • Condescending Compassion: Deconstructed in the episode "The Games Bunkers Play". Throughout the series, Mike is a staunch liberal who supports civil rights for black people and acts friendly towards the Bunkers' black neighbor Lionel, whom he always wants to discuss racial issues with. During the game in the episode, Lionel reveals to Mike that he finds Mike's attitude towards him patronizing and he feels like Mike just sees him as a representative of all black people he can talk to. Mike tries to defend himself and point out how much of a bigot Archie is with his attitude. Lionel then points out that Archie's attitude is a result of him being an ignorant boob who doesn't know any better. Mike, on the other hand, is smart enough to know but treats Lionel less like an individual person than Archie does.
  • Content Warnings: This was read before the first episode:
    "The program you are about to see is All in the Family. It seeks to throw a humorous spotlight on our frailties, prejudices, and concerns. By making them a source of laughter we hope to show, in a mature fashion, just how absurd they are." Following that, we hear a flushing noise and out steps Archie with a newspaper tucked under his arm. How's that for a series opener?
  • Continuity Nod: Multiple references are made in "Return of the Waitress" to Archie's near-affair with another woman in "Archie's Brief Encounter" (the Season 7 opener). The same actress who played Denise — here, hired as a waitress at Archie's Place — returns to reprise her role as the woman who nearly led Archie astray.
  • Construction Catcalls: Gloria's near-rape in "Gloria the Victim" apparently started out as this before escalating.
  • Convenient Miscarriage: One episode before Gloria and Mike successfully had a baby featured Gloria finding out she was pregnant and then losing the baby almost immediately afterward.
  • Cool Old Guy: Justin Quigley, the octegenarian troublemaker whom Edith befriends in "Edith Finds an Old Man" and whom Gloria thereafter adopts as a surrogate Grandfather. He appears in three further episodes, usually to give Archie advice about aging or his health.
  • Cousin Oliver: The addition of Stephanie Mills, Archie and Edith's 9-year-old niece. While some saw this as ruining the original dynamic, others viewed this as opening up new possibilities for storylines. Stephanie would remain throughout the rest of the series and was a prominent character on Archie Bunker's Place.
  • Crisis of Faith: One episode has Edith undergo one of these after Mike and a family friend are mugged on Christmas Eve, with the friend subsequently dying. Ironically, it's Mike who convinces her to reconsider.
  • Crushing Handshake: A flashback depicting when Michael first met Archie, Michael attempted to give him a firm handshake after Gloria told him that it tends to leave Archie with a good first impression. Unfortunately, the handshake waz too firm. Things went downhill from there.
  • Crying at Your Birthday Party: Edith narrowly escapes a rapist and runs next door where a surprise party is being held for her. While everyone is singing for her, Edith breaks down crying. Everyone seems to assume emotional Edith is happy crying, but Archie knows that something is very wrong.

  • Cultural Translation: All in the Family is the American version of the British show Til Death do Us Part.
  • Dad the Veteran: Archie fought in Italy during "The Big War" in the army air corps, and he loves to bring it up.
  • Daddy's Girl: Despite their often strong differences and loud disagreements, Archie reveres Gloria very much and can be counted on in her times of need.
  • Damned By a Fool's Praise: In the first-season episode "Archie Writes the President" — which he does upon learning Mike wrote a letter to President Nixon critical of his economic policies. In a Dream Sequence, Archie narrates his letter, showing Edith, Gloria and Mike and all — even Mike — nod approvingly and pat him on the back for "telling it like it is."
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Archie Bunker and his son-in-law Mike ("Meathead") Stivic with Archie being the archetypal working-class WASP conservative, while Mike is an intellectual Polish-American progressive. They naturally argue all the time.
  • Debating Names: When Mike and Gloria Stivik welcome their new son home, Mike wants to name him Stanislaus, after his father. Archie grimaces at the name, not because it's Polish, but knowing that school kids can be cruel, and will truncate Stanislaus to "Louse". Eventually, everyone agrees on Joseph, and he's called Joey thereafter.
  • Defacement Insult: The Bunker house gets a swastika spraypainted on the front door, but it isn't intended for them. They live at 704 Hauser, and a Jewish activist lives at 740 Hauser. The activist comes over & explains the situation, and then gets blown up with a Car Bomb right outside the Bunker house.
  • Did You Die?: After Edith is the victim of an Attempted Rape, she talks to Archie about it, and this happens:
    Edith: He had a gun. He said he was going to kill me.
    Archie: Did he?
    Edith: No.
  • The Ditz: Edith, much of the time.
  • Divine Race Lift: Archie and Henry Jefferson get into an argument over the race of both Jesus and God, Henry claiming that they are both black. It comes up in another episode when Archie accidentally locks himself in the basement, gets drunk and becomes convinced he's dying and that the furnace man trying to rescue him is God coming to take him to heaven. Then "God" turns out to be a black guy, causing a horrified Archie to fall to his knees begging forgiveness for everything he's ever said about blacks.
    Archie: Forgive me Lord, the Jeffersons was right!
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune:
    • The opening credits featured Carroll O'Connor and Jean Stapleton singing (with Stapleton also playing the piano) in character as Archie and Edith, in front of the live studio audience (who would applaud at the end). Several different versions were used throughout the show's run. The first season's version is the only one to feature audience laughter during the song (when Edith shrieks on the high note "And you knew were you weere theeen"). Ironically, it's the version where she draws it out the least; each new version of the song has her drawing it out more and more. Each new version also places ever-greater enunciation on certain lyrics, particularly "Gee, our old LaSalle ran great". Archie and Edith are increasingly affectionate with each other in each new version, to reflect their growing affection for each other in-series: in season 1 they barely look at each other, in season 5 they lean into each other, and in season 9 Edith embraces Archie as he leans into her.
    • This was a very literal example... CBS didn't want to waste money on an opening title sequence for a show that wasn't likely (in their opinion) to go past 13 weeks (if it even aired at all). Lear created this now-classic opening since it was all he could afford.
    • Carroll O'Connor is credited as co-writer for the closing theme, a piano instrumental called "Remembering You". (He wrote the lyrics, which are never heard, though O'Connor sometimes sang them when he made appearances elsewhere.)
  • Domestic Abuse:
    • Archie constantly criticized and insulted Edith. However, he never physically assaulted her.
    • Edith slapped Archie (and once, Gloria) in very serious situations. Gloria slaps Mike in a similar fashion in a couple of episodes. She also pulls Archie's hair and Mike's moustache, mostly to stop more intense arguments.
  • Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off!: Season 9's "Stephanie and the Crime Wave", where Archie wants to threaten to spank Stephanie for stealing and not explaining herself. In the end, Archie relents when he realizes Stephanie was insecure about her place in the Bunker household.
  • Doorstop Baby: Stephanie Mills, introduced in season 9, is a variation of this trope. While not an actual baby (she was about 9 years old when first introduced), she was left on the Bunkers' doorstep by her alcoholic father, who also happened to be Edith's nephew.
  • Downer Ending: Some episodes that were more serious wouldn't have a happy ending, if any proper conclusion at all, only fading to black.
  • Draft Dodging: A Christmas special had one of Mike's friends, a draft dodger living in Canada, coming down to the Bunkers' place after Mike invites him over for Christmas dinner. One of Archie's friends, who lost his son in Vietnam, also comes over. The friend understood why Mike's friend went to Canada, told Archie that he didn't like the war, and would've like to have Christmas dinner with the guy. Archie was the one who felt and looked foolish.
  • Dreadful Musician: Edith tends to sound like a cat being tortured when she sings. She also loves to sing, much to Archie's chagrin.
  • Dream Sequence: "Writing the President" (the second episode) had one.
  • Drink-Based Characterization: Edith always gets Archie a can of beer when he comes home from work.
  • Driven to Suicide: Mocked. Archie would pantomime killing himself whenever Edith went on a long Motor Mouth rant.
  • Drop-In Character:
    • The Jeffersons (particularly Lionel), in the early seasons; and then the Lorenzos (particularly Irene), after the Jeffersons' departure.
    • Mike and Gloria sort of became this after they moved next door.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Not played for laughs in one episode. Archie's boss has to lay off a worker, and tells Archie to recommend one of the guys he supervises. A smart man would choose "Stretch" Cunningham, the slacker who does nothing but tell jokes all day and never works. However, being the type of guy he is, Archie eventually does the stupid thing and lets Stretch keep his job because he's white, lays off the competent Hispanic worker, giving all sorts of lame excuses as to why, including that the other workers would hate him for choosing the other two over Stretch, and that he actually thinks the guy's jokes are good for morale. (Not that his family actually believes it.) In The Stinger, when he comes home from work, hours late and exhausted, he tells Edith, "You know that Stretch Cunningham? He ain't so funny."
  • Dumb Is Good: Played with: At first, the somewhat ignorant Archie is decidedly cynic and rude, while his intellectual son-in-law Mike is very idealistic and nice. But as the show progressed, we see that Archie is not as abrasive as he seems, as well the "Meathead" proves that he's rather selfish and condescending towards the same minorities he supposedly supports.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Probably the template for television depictions, and an almost deliberate subversion of all previous Dom Com shows. But for all the bickering between Archie and the Meathead, Archie calling his wife Dingbat and belittling his Little Goil, he was also intensely loyal to his family and would stick up for them when the chips fell, and in the end, they acrually did care for each other.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The show changed quite a bit from the time it was shopped to studios in 1968 (under the title "Justice For All") to the time it debuted on CBS in 1971. When the show was officially picked up to series, several things changed between the official pilot and the rest of the episodes. While O'Connor and Rob Reiner had their roles nailed down, Jean Stapleton used a very low, non-shrill voice for Edith, in addition to being much more sarcastic with Archie, Sally Struthers' Gloria was much more sexually provocative (wearing hot pants and miniskirts as a sign that she was a sexually liberated woman, at least for her time) and the entirety of the early episodes focused on a single argument between Archie and Mike (with no B-plots). The series also debuted with a "Presented For Mature Audiences" disclaimer (which was jettisoned after a few episodes because there was no audience complaints).
    • In the first couple episodes Jean Stapleton used her actual voice when portraying Edith, and the character was just as brusque and sarcastic as Archie.
    • Only the first season featured background music, and in the second episode "Writing the President", there's even a daydreaming sequence - the only time the series ever went inside a character's head.
    • Also audience laughter could be heard through the theme song, especially after Stapleton screeches out "And you knew where you were the-e-en."
  • El Spanish "-o":
    • Archie Bunker uses a bit now and then. When he lost his job and signed up for unemployment, he asked the Hispanic applicant next to him for a pencil.
      Applicant: No hablo inglés.
      Archie: What I need is a pencilito so I can fillo out the formo. note 
      Applicant: No comprendo.
      Archie: Forgetto.note 
    • In "Fire", both Edith and Puerto Rican boarder Teresa are flailing in near panic. Archie tells them "Stifle, you, and stifle-ito, you." note 
  • Elective Mute: Robin can speak, but she believes that "words are a waste of time", so she only speaks with her eyes and facial expressions. Her boyfriend Paul translates for her.
  • Embarrassing Hospital Gown: When Archie goes to the hospital for a gallbladder operation he's seen trying to hold his johnny shut and complaining that he didn't even know which side he was supposed to "expose to the world."
  • Embarrassing Nickname:
    • "Shoebooty", what the other kids called Archie when he was little because his parents could only afford to give him a shoe and a boot to wear as a pair of footwear, according to the Bottle Episode where Archie and Michael are locked in the cellar.
      Archie: They used to holler, "Tooty fruity, here comes Shoebooty." And they kept calling me that until they found out my name was Archibald, and they thought that was funnier. And then I wished they'd go back to "Shoebooty".
    • "Boom Boom" Turner note  in her first appearance, though she doesn't seem to mind as much when we see her again.
  • Enemy Mine: One episode had Archie and Henry Jefferson teaming up to try and keep a Puerto Rican family from moving into the neighborhood.
  • Entendre Failure: In the episode "The Bunkers and the Swingers", Edith answers an ad in a magazine, which was written by swingers, but she doesn't get the innuendo and thinks they're just looking for friends. When they show up, Hilarity Ensues.
  • Ethnic Menial Labor: Played with in the case of Lionel Jefferson, a young black man who would come by the Bunker house once a week to pick up their dry cleaning. Archie, a cranky old racist, initially takes a condescendingly affectionate attitude towards Lionel, but it evaporates the moment he learns that Lionel's family own the dry cleaner, make a lot more money than he does, and want to move into their neighbourhood. He eventually forms an Odd Friendship with Lionel's father, George, whose business skills and hard work he can't help but admire. And eventually the Jeffersons would get their own Spin-Off.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Archie may be quite racist, but he was completely abashed when he joined what he thought was a Brotherhood of Funny Hats with some other people who shared his views only to realize that they were in fact The Klan. Mortified, Archie told them off and quit the club.
  • Everyone Is Christian at Christmas: Oddly enough, Mike enjoyed celebrating Christmas even though he was an out-spoken atheist. His view was that Jesus was a good man whose birth was worth celebrating, even if he (Mike) didn't believe that he was actually the Son of God.
  • Evil Stole My Faith: Season 8's "Edith's Crisis of Faith." Her steadfast Christianity — she defined it far better than Archie ever did or could — is one of Edith's defining traits, and makes her who she is. So when she witnesses her son-in-law, Mike, and the family's friend, Beverly LaSalle jumped and brutally beaten in a robbery attempt, and Beverly dies of his injuries, Edith wonders why God allowed the bad guys to win. She temporarily renounces her Christianity ... until Mike tells her that maybe God didn't want this to happen, but merely it was just bad guys being, well, bad guys. Edith realizes that some things aren't meant to be understood — i.e., why evil exists in the world (a large reason why Mike years earlier renounced his Catholic vows) — and that she has not only good memories of the family's friendship with Beverly ... and a lot more to be thankful for.
  • Expensive Glass of Crap: An old friend of Archie's is coming over, he likes an expensive scotch. Archie gets an empty bottle of the expensive stuff and fills it with a cheap scotch instead, saying his buddy won't know the difference. When the friend comes over, he mentions that he's been having money trouble and is forced to drink substandard scotch; his taste buds have gotten so used to it that even the fine scotch Archie is serving him tastes like the cheap stuff now.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!:
    • In the episode "Archie in the Lock-Up", after Michael gets back from a protest that had turned ugly, Edith and Gloria ask him where's Archie, who they had guilted into going after him.
      Michael: Yeah, but Gloria, how could he find me? I mean, the place was a madhouse, with people running around, yelling, screaming, the cops arresting everyone. (Beat as his eyes widen in realization) Oh boy.
    • Another episode plays this for laughs. Edith has Archie on a healthier diet per his doctor's orders, which is already making him grouchier than usual. He takes his anger out on Mike for separating his food before eating it, explaining that the best way to enjoy a meal is mixing everything together. Archie goes on to describe how this makes the sandwich the perfect food...and soon works himself into such a hunger that he declares "I gotta have a sandwich, Meathead!" Cue him running to the kitchen.
  • External Combustion: The episode "Archie Is Branded" ends with a member of the Jewish Defense League getting blown up in his car in front of the Bunkers' house.
  • Fine, You Can Just Wait Here Alone: When the Bunkers' niece Stephanie (whom they've taken in) is reluctant to go with them on their trip to California to visit Mike and Gloria, Archie uses this gambit (after all, it worked on Gloria at that age when she didn't want to go to the Catskills with them).
    Archie: You want to stay here, that's okay. Hey, there's plenty of food out there in the ice box, and you learned a little about cooking from your Aunt Edith there. You can take care of the house, a big girl like you. Starts to get cold, there's the gauge over there; you shove it up a little bit there. Only thing is you gotta stay in the house all the time. You can't go nowheres and you can't let nobody in the front door, or in the back door neither. And the most important thing of know that little door to the attic up there?
    Stephanie: Yeah.
    Archie: That door must be kept locked. By day, and by night.
    Stephanie: Why?
    Archie: Oh, ho ho...what you don't know...won't hurt you. So that's it. You stay here, all alone. We'll see you in nine, ten days or so. Have a nice time...all by yourself. Merry Christmas. And...(lowering voice a bit)...don't be scared!
    (Bunkers go outside)
    Edith: Archie, are you sure...
    Stephanie: (racing outside) AUNT EDITH!!! HERE I AM!!!
  • Finger Gun: A Running Gag has Edith telling a long involved story full of digressions while Archie pantomimed killing himself to avoid having to listen to the rest of it. One of these had him carefully "loading" his finger followed by "shooting" himself in the head.
  • First-Name Basis: Mike addresses his father-in-law as Archie (or "Awch"), while in contrast he always calls Edith "Ma".
  • Flowery Insults: In the episode "The Man in the Street", Archie makes an anti-Semitic remark to Levy, an Orthodox Jewish TV repairman who can't immediately fix his set because it's almost sundown on Friday.
    Levy: Mr. Bunker, I can only answer that insult with an old Jewish expression: Tzun a leben in a hoyz mit a toyznt tsimers un zolt hobn a boykhveytik in yeder tsimer. ("May you live in a house with a thousand rooms, and get a stomachache in each room.")
    Archie: What the hell does that mean?
    Levy: You'll never know, but believe me, I got even.
  • The Food Poisoning Incident: After potentially being served bad mushrooms, Archie gets taken to the hospital for a painful anti-toxin shot. Of course, it's only after the shot that Edith realized the mushrooms she served didn't match the recalled brand.
  • Forgotten Theme Tune Lyrics: In 1972, a full single version of "Those Were the Days" was released, containing three additional stanzas, which were never used on the show. In addition, the original, unaired 1968 pilot contains lyrics that don't even appear on the single.
    • The closing theme "Remembering You", played as an instrumental for piano by its composer Roger Kellaway, actually has lyrics; Carroll O'Connor wrote them, earning him co-author credit for the song despite his lyrics never being heard on the show itself. O'Connor sang his lyrics in live performances on several occasions.
  • Former Bigot: Archie Bunker became this over the course of the series. While he still held some outdated views, he became more accepting of others. He actually quit a club he was part of who held similar racist views when they insulted Archie's black maid.
  • Formerly Fit: In the episode "Class Reunion", Edith reminiscences about Buck Evans, a handsome track star with a fine head of hair. Archie is clearly irritated and jealous. When they actually meet Buck, he's fat and bald, though Edith finds him as charming as ever.
  • Founding Day: In the episode "Mike's Move", after hearing a particularly racist rant from Archie on what makes America great, Mike says "I think we just heard Archie Bunker's Bicentennial Minute", a reference to TV spots that aired during the mid-70s.
  • Fox News Liberal: In-universe. When Archie complains to a local TV station about their pro-gun-control editorial, the station manager gives him airtime to present a rebuttal, thus cynically satisfying the letter of the then-extant Fairness Doctrine while violating its spirit by putting on a "pro-gun-rights" advocate who undercuts his side with absurd arguments (such as a suggestion that airlines "pass out the pistols" to the passengers to prevent hijackings).
  • Freudian Slip: In "Class Reunion", Edith doesn't want to go to her class reunion without Archie, but changes her mind when she finds out that her old crush, Buck Evans, will be there. When Archie hears this, he decides he will go too. When Gloria asks if it's because of Buck Evans, he answers: "No! Because no real man lets his wife go out alone at night after Buck! Dark!"
  • Frivolous Lawsuit: Archie Bunker tries to cook up a whiplash suit in "Oh My Aching Back". Because of his unambiguous prejudices, he also insists on having a Jewish lawyer. He gets one, but said lawyer senses the case isn't kosher, and bails.
  • Fun with Flushing: This was a Running Gag on the show; the Bunkers' upstairs toilet had a really loud flush that could be heard anywhere in the house. The first one heard in the premiere was the very first to be heard on network TV ever.

    Tropes G–M 
  • The Gambling Addict: Archie used to be one, and only could quit when Edith threatened to leave him.
  • Game Night Fight: Mike invites the Lorenzos and Lionel over for a game night with him and Gloria, bragging about how much fun it will be with Archie out of the house; unfortunately, the game reveals some of Mike's own insecurities and entitled views, and he ends up flipping the board and storming out.
  • Gay Aesop: Archie was just sure that Mike and Gloria's new friend was a "fruit" but later found out it was his own ex-jock buddy who was gay (the episode ends with him still having his doubts, however. After all, a "fruit" can't hit that hard... right?). The actor who played Archie, Carroll O'Connor, was an advocate of Gay Rights in Real Life. The only thing that disappointed him more than receiving hate mail from people who disliked his character's homophobia was receiving fan mail from people who agreed with it.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Actor Lori Shannon, a gay female impersonator (he was a man), who played the role of Beverly La Salle.
  • George Jetson Job Security: In "Archie Is Worried About His Job", Archie, as foreman at the Pendegrast Tool and Die Co., has a secure job. Instead, he might have to be the one to lay off several co-workers, some who are brand new and others who have been on the job for many years.
  • Get Back in the Closet: When Archie concedes that Veronica is a lesbian and the surviving partner in her relationship with the now-deceased Liz, Archie does fire a parting shot — that she needs to find a real man to settle down with.
  • Girls with Moustaches: In an episode where Edith is starting to go through menopause, she mentions how when her aunt Elizabeth underwent hormone treatment for her own menopause she grew a mustache.
    Gloria: Nowadays, with simple hormone treatment, there are no unpleasant manifestations.
    Edith: Well, my Aunt Elizabeth went through this, and she didn't get manifestations ... she got a mustache!
  • Glad I Thought of It: While he doesn't say this exactly, Archie lives up to the spirit of this trope in "Archie Eats and Runs" when Mike suggests they check to see if Edith served poison mushrooms for dinner, only to immediately have Archie dismiss it and then repeat the idea verbatim to Edith not a second later.
  • Glass Eye: When Sammy Davis Jr. is going to come over, Archie warns Edith not to mention Sammy's Glass Eye; of course Archie accidentally does so himself as soon as Sammy shows up.
  • Good Old Ways: The theme song has Archie and Edith describing the way things were when they were kids. The series is actually all about them dealing with the way things have changed since then.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: While we're clearly meant to see Archie as a blue-collar bigot with horribly outdated, racist, sexist, and generally socially backward thinking, he's also an overall nice guy who loves his daughter, spoils his grandson, had a troubled childhood that explains most of his nasty behavior, and is generally trying to keep up with a world that's changing extremely fast. On the other hand, we have Mike, who is a liberal and typically stands for everything Archie doesn't like, including positive ideas including the civil rights movement and equal rights for women. However, he can be just as narrow-minded and selfish as Archie, and perhaps even more so, as he tends to claim a moral high ground in every argument (regardless of whether it's justified). The overall theme of the show seems to be that while there are certain things—such as rape or racial profiling—that are definitely wrong, there aren't any easy answers to major problems like war, poverty, and violence, and both sides are represented by people who are equally good and bad regardless of position.
    • Individual episodes of the show had this treatment as well. One Christmas episode saw a draft dodger and a war veteran whose son was killed in Vietnam both at the Bunkers' house simultaneously (though Archie and the veteran didn't know about the draft dodger's status at first). When they find out, Archie reacts with fury, but the veteran responds with kindness and understanding instead of rage.
    • In another episode, the Bunkers' door is branded with a swastika. A local member of a Jewish defense league shows up to explain the situation and expresses the philosophy that sometimes violence is necessary when it comes to fighting back against inequality. Archie agrees, Mike disagrees, and neither is shown as being correct—and in the end, the young man is killed by a car bomb. The final shot of the episode is the Bunkers reacting in horror, as opposed to any further moralizing.
  • Guilt by Association Gag: After a news report about a protest Mike is attending indicates that things are starting to turn ugly, Gloria inveigles Archie into going to find Mike and bring him home. A bit later, Mike returns home and describes what went on up to the point where he left just as the cops were starting to arrest everybody in sight. Cue horrified realization and a cut to Archie in jail along with a bunch of hippie protestors.
  • Guilty Pleasure: Archie's usual leisure time is spent drinking beer watching football, like the typical blue-collar worker he is; but he also reads Dennis The Menace comic books when nobody is around and may have a whole trunk full of them.
  • Happily Married: At the end of the day, Archie absolutely adores his sweet, silly wife, and Edith adores him right back.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: "Lionel the Live-In" contains the first time (of many) George will refer to Jenny Willis — Lionel's fiancee introduced earlier in 1974 — as a "zebra" (her father is white and her mother is black).
  • Hates Everyone Equally: Archie may very well be the Trope Codifier, considering this is his attitude towards everone but Edith and Gloria.
  • Head-Tiltingly Kinky: Archie once accidentally gives Edith a Playgirl to read. She tilts her head while watching a picture, then turns the magazine upside down.
  • Heat Wave: The season 4 opener ("We're Having a Heat Wave") and its followup ("We're Still Having a Heat Wave").
  • Henpecked Husband: How Archie Bunker thinks of himself: A flighty Dingbat of a wife that doesn't jump at his every command and drives him crazy with her yapping; a Meathead of a son-in-law that argues with him about everything; and his liberal Little Goil who would rather emulate Jane Fonda or Gloria Steinem than "know her place" in society.
  • Heroic BSoD: Edith has one after she's almost raped.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: George Jefferson, for the first couple of seasons. Also, Henry Jefferson's wife (and Lionel's aunt), Ruby.
    • Reverend Felcher is frequently mentioned but only appears onscreen once, in "The Saga of Cousin Oscar".
  • Hey, You!: Archie insists on addressing his son-in-law Michael as "Meathead." The number of times he uses Michael's actual name can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Actually averted with Mike. He does have a problem with religion and is outraged when Archie baptizes his son behind his back, but in the long run Archie's the one who always picks fights with Mike about it. And in an episode where Edith has a Crisis of Faith, Mike of all people is the one who helps reaffirm her belief in God.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Edith is not by any definition pleasant to hear when singing. But that doesn't stop her from carrying out one of her favorite tunes at any given moment.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: In Season 8's "Cousin Liz" episode, Archie and Edith go to a motel to attend the funeral of Edith's cousin Liz. Archie is hoping to receive the silver tea service set which has been in Edith's family for 100 years. Veronica approaches Edith, asking to keep the service, stating that she and Liz had afternoon tea from the service for 25 years. Veronica struggles to explain her relationship with Liz, saying it was "more like a marriage". An understanding Edith reluctantly gives the tea set to Veronica, much to Archie's chagrin. If Archie were to publicize Veronica's lesbianism, she would have lost her teaching job and been ostracized by the community. Edith tells Veronica to keep the tea set and Archie ultimately relents and suggests that she should go and find herself a man.
  • House Fire: The 1977 episode "Fire," where a small electrical fire breaks out in the Bunkers' home. There's no apparent damage, but Archie (to receive a insurance settlement) tries to blame his boarder, Teresa.
  • Housewife: Edith was a stay-at-home mother before she volunteered at the retirement home.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: Archie is rude and uncouth, speaking down to Mike (who he calls "Meathead") frequently, calling Edith a "Dingbat" and yelling at her, and getting into nasty verbal conflicts with his neighbor George. But if anyone else insulted them, there'd be hell to pay.
  • I "Uh" You, Too: Happens twice in the episode "The Stivics Go West". Mike tells Archie he's going to miss him, and later that he loves him. Both times Archie finds it impossible to reciprocate.
  • Iconic Outfit: Archie's white shirt, dark brown pants, white socks and black shoes.
  • Ignore the Disability: When Sammy Davis Jr. visits, Archie repeatedly warns Edith not to mention his glass eye, then promptly does so himself.
  • Imagine Spot: In "Archie Writes the President," sees Archie have his own Imagine Spot – he reads his letter to President Nixon in praise for his performance, with the entire family gathered around, nodding in approval as a patriotic hymn plays as background music. (The letter, by the way, was inspired after Archie learns that Mike had written Nixon, critical of his policies.)
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Edith Bunker is sweet and nice to everyone and completely honest, providing a contrast to her bigoted, Jerkass husband, Archie, whom she tolerates with endless patience. In the episode "Archie and Edith Alone", Archie even calls out her for it: "Good thing, that's you all over! Always doing good! Edith the Good! You never get mad at nobody, you never holler at nobody, you never swear, no, nothing! You're like a saint, Edith! You think it's fun living with a saint? It ain't!" He challenges her to "do something rotten"; she tries to insult him, then crash a bowl of flowers, but she can't do either.
  • Indignant Slap: Edith is a very kindly and loving woman who has the patience to even put up with Archie Bunker as her husband. But when she does get angry, she is very much a case of Beware the Nice Ones.
    • In one episode, Archie has promised her that he won't gamble anymore. While he's in the upstairs bathroom they get a phonecall, which Edith answers, with one of Archie's friends asking her to tell Archie that he placed a bet for him, $10 for Glowworm in the fifth. When Archie comes downstairs and tries to crack a lame joke, Edith slaps him after telling him what the message was, as Archie had broken a promise to her.
    • In the second half of "Edith's 50th Birthday", Edith had been attacked by a would-be-rapist in the previous half, and Gloria was trying to convince her mother to go and report it, as Edith had done for her a few seasons back. Edith flat out refuses, prompting Gloria to accuse her mother of being a Hypocrite and declaring she wasn't her mother anymore. Infuriated, Edith slaps Gloria, but it snaps her out of her own depression. She apologizes to Gloria, then grabs her coat to go to the police station to ID the rapist. Gloria then cries from the pain, physical and emotional, of the slap, while her husband comforts her.
  • Informed Judaism: In "Stretch Cunningham, Goodbye", Archie is invited to the funeral of his co-worker Jerome "Stretch" Cunningham. Archie and Edith arrive... at Stretch's synagogue, where he learns (to his surprise) that Stretch's birth name was Jerome Cohenheimer, and he proceeds to deliver the eulogy.
  • Innocent Bigot: Archie Bunker, as neighbor Lionel Jefferson reports, is a bigot because he's an idiot and doesn't know better. At Lionel's engagement party, Archie messed up big time by assuming all black people call their mothers Mammy. Naturally this didn't score points with George Jefferson or with his mother, but he was at least sincerely mistaken.
  • Insane Troll Logic:
    • In "Henry's Farewell", Archie tricks George Jefferson into entering his house by claiming that standing on his stoop counts as being inside his house. George, caught up in the argument, chases him into the house, thus breaking his vow.
    • Archie's explanation to Mike of what a "balanced meal" was.
    • The argument between Archie and Henry over whether God is white or black.
  • Instant Soprano: Mike spoke in falsetto after having a vasectomy. (He was only kidding.)
  • In-Series Nickname: Meathead. Archie also calls Gloria "little girl" and Edith "Dingbat" while Mike calls him "Arch".
  • Irishman and a Jew: Caroll O'Connor and Rob Reiner, though the characters they played were not written to match their real-life ethnicities (Bunker was a WASP and Stivic was Chicago Polish). Viewers picked up on a lot of subtext, however; O'Connor based many of Archie's speech patterns and mannerisms on blue-collar Irish-Americans he had known growing up, while Reiner made no attempt whatsoever to sound like a Polish-American from Chicago.
  • Ironic Birthday: Edith runs into a surprise birthday party for her after being attacked by a rapist.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: Played with in "Edith's 50th Birthday," the episode where Edith is almost raped. At the end of the episode, Edith rushes over to the Stivics, where a surprise birthday party (that she knew about) gets started for her. Hearing everyone sing "Happy Birthday" and "For She's A Jolly Good Fellow" when we know what's just happened to her fits this trope.
  • It's Not Porn, It's Art: In "Archie and The Kiss", the latest high-decibel argument in the household de Bunker centers on this — Archie believing Auguste Rodin's sculpture "The Kiss" is pornography and Gloria adamantly disagreeing.
  • It Will Never Catch On: In the episode "Mike and Gloria's Wedding" (set in 1970) Archie tells to Mike: "Nixon make a trip to Red China? Never in a million years, buddy!"
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: Archie has become very cynical after living through The Great Depression, World War II and the counterculture of The '60s.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Archie and Mike constantly butted heads about everything from race relations to women's liberation to how to best put on socks, with Archie taking on a stereotypically old-fashioned, conservative (read: right-wing) opinion and Mike a liberal, ostensibly more "enlightened" (read: left-wing) one. Creator Norman Lear was clearly a left-leaning liberal himself (as was Carroll O'Connor, who played Archie), but many episodes made it clear that Mike's beliefs were occasionally misguided, and that Archie did have good (if brusque) points to argue about certain topics.
    • In one episode, Archie points out that big corporations sold everyone on the idea of electricity for decades (to the point of making life nearly unlivable without it), then, after reaping massive profits, turned around and started to tell people to cut electricity usage, as they now saw value in the "energy-saving" market.
    • One episode has Mike and Archie arguing about stealing, with Mike claiming that only poor and hungry people steal. Archie counters that, during a recent blackout, people made off with new cars from a dealership; Mike blusters that it's society's fault for generating a desire for expensive things and asks "What are they supposed to do?" Archie's Armor-Piercing Response: "They're supposed to go out and work for a buck!"
    • When Edith is nearly raped in one two-part episode, Gloria immediately wants to call the police and report it. Archie points out that, when Gloria herself was sexually assaulted, the cops warned her that a lawyer for the defense would twist the story around to make her look like she was leading on the guy, a sadly common tactic in actual rape cases.note 
      • In the same episode, Edith suffers from severe post-traumatic stress after the attempted rape, and doesn't want to talk or think about the situation. Gloria is eventually forced to provide some Tough Love, pointing out that Edith's silence means that other women are in danger (indeed, the rapist has assaulted another woman by this point), and that she can't begin to heal until she faces the incident head on. She isn't subtle at all about the situation and comes across as rude, but it proves to be the necessary catalyst to help Edith.
    • In the episode "Archie Eats and Runs," Archie is right when he says that when one tiny thing goes wrong, it's human nature to panic. He's also correct about the food-tasters ancient kings used to have, in a rare display of Archie being educated about something.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Archie gradually developed into one of these as the years went by. While he was a bigot, his attitudes came about more due to the society he grew up in, rather than genuine malice or racism. Once he actually got to know other cultures and peoples better, he was able to accept them at least a little more easily.
    • When he turned down an invitation to join a Ku Klux Klan-like lodge and burn a cross in "commie" Michael's front yard, he told the group he was black because he had once had a blood transfusion from a black woman.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: In "Beverly Rides Again", Archie hopes to get the better of Pinky Peterson, who has been pulling pranks on Archie, by having him go out on a date with Beverly La Salle, played by Lori Shannon, a male transvestite who was a female impersonator, only to have Pinky get wise to the scheme [or so he believes]:
    Pinky: So, you're Beverly La Salle from out of town, huh? Is that your real name, or your stage name?
    Beverly: My God, you know!
    Pinky: I recognized you the minute you came in! I saw them putting up your picture today.
    Beverly: I'm so embarrassed, Mr. Peterson! I would never have done anything like this on my own.
    Pinky: Bunker put you up to this, didn't he? I knew he was up to something.
    Beverly: I'm glad you know; now we can go out to dinner and have a good time, and I can go back to the motel and change.
    Pinky: No, no. Since Archie lined this up, let's let him think we're pulling this off.
    • Later on, the Bunkers, Pinky, and Beverly go out to dinner at a Chinese restaurant, and Pinky pretends to warm up to Beverly while two-timing his wife, Doris:
    Pinky: I really want to thank you, Arch. This is something new. I never felt like this before.
    Archie: Yeah, but... look, isn't it a shame about poor Doris, you know, your sweetheart who loves you? She's gonna be broken-hearted.
    Pinky: Oh, Doris is the same old thing. Beverly is something different.

    • A little later on, unbeknownst to the audience until later on, Archie has secretly made a phone call to Doris, and Beverly has to take off his wig to clear up the misunderstandings:
    Edith: Mr. Peterson, I got something to tell you! You see, Archie is playing a joke on you! Go on, tell him, Archie.
    Archie [slightly annoyed]: All right, Edith, yeah. All right, it's a joke. That's right, Pinky, it's a joke, and the joke is on you for a change, and a helluva joke it is.
    Pinky: You mean that Beverly's a guy?
    Archie: Beverly- [Pinky laughs hysterically, Archie turns to Edith] Did you say something to him? I can never catch this guy at nothin'-
    Pinky: I got you again, Bunker!
    Archie: Aw, jeez!
    Beverly: You told me you wanted him to have his revenge. You rat! [Beverly punches Pinky]
    Pinky: Beverly, sweetheart, you're the only dame I ever loved! I love you! [Pinky's wife Doris enters the restaurant just as Pinky starts to hug her and hits Pinky with her purse] Doris!
    Archie: Doris, I thought you was never gonna get here!
    Doris: Is this what you mean by "going bowling with the boys"?
    Pinky: Oh, Doris, I can explain everything!
    Doris: Oh, Archie, you were so right! Thank you for calling me and tipping me off to this philanderer!
    Archie: Doris, I couldn't do nothing else.
    Edith: Archie, that was a terrible thing to do!
    Archie: I had to stand by Doris.
    Pinky: Doris, you don't understand! Beverly, explain it to Doris.
    Beverly [deniably]: I don't know what you're talking about. [teasingly] Same time tomorrow night, Pinkums?
    Pinky: Doris, Beverly isn't a lady!
    Doris: Not if she's out with you, you crumb!
    Edith: Oh, no no no, he means that she- I mean he- ain't a woman.
    Pinky: Yeah, show 'em, Beverly.
    Beverly: Should I, Mr. Bunker?
    Archie: Yeah, go ahead, but be careful of the things you show, 'cause we could get locked up here.
    Beverly: All right, showtime! [Beverly takes off the wig, revealing him to be a man in drag]
    Doris: What is wrong- It's a man!
    Archie: Yeah.
    Pinky: You see, Doris, I wasn't out with a woman, I was out with a man!
  • "Kick Me" Prank: Archie Bunker plays victim to several of his buddy, Pinky Peterson's pranks, including Pinky putting a sign that says "Kick Me Hard" on Archie's back, which Edith jokingly does later when Archie gets home.
  • Knight of Cerebus:
    • The aforementioned Klan.
    • Stephanie's alcoholic father.
    • The assaulter on Edith's birthday, even compared to the man who tried to attack Gloria.
    • The unseen kids who assault Mike and Beverly, beating the latter to death, are indirectly responsible for Edith (temporarily) losing her faith in God.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Archie, and occasionally Mike.
  • Last Episode, New Character: In an episode that finished out the sixth season, viewer meet Harry Snowden, the faithful bartender of Kelsey's Bar and trusted friend of Archie's that would remain with the Archie Bunker franchise until the last episode of Archie Bunker's Place.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The episode where Archie "meets" George Jefferson, only to learn at the end that he's actually met George's brother, Henry, since George refused to go into Archie's house. Late-arrivals can figure this out if they saw later episodes with Henry, or if they saw episodes with George Jefferson. And if not that, they just might figure it out if they see this episode after being familiar with the spin-off.
  • Less Embarrassing Term: Mike's "shoulder bag for men".
  • Letters to the Editor: The basis of plot in the eighth-season episode "Archie and the KKK" starts with Mike's letter to a local newspaper giving his thoughts on looting, arson, vandalism, etc. during a recent citywide blackout; his opinion takes the typical liberal attitude: It's not the criminal, but the black man's response to perceived injustice and frustration with an economic system geared toward affluent whites and against already impoverished African Americans and other minorities, and that when the government engages in the same activity as the criminals did, it's "free enterprise." Unusual in that letters to the editor were rarely a topic even mentioned in a situation comedy.
  • Like a Son to Me: Subverted in "The Stivics Go West", after Mike thanks Archie for the years he gave him a home and says he's "been like a father to me."
    Archie: Well hey, you know, you've been just like a son to me. You never did nothin' I ever told you to do.
  • Like Father, Like Daughter: When Gloria stands up to Archie, she gives as good as she gets, even using some of his pet phrases and blowing him a raspberry.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Archie Bunker. Almost ALWAYS wearing a worn out white button-down shirt and dark slacks, even on nights and weekends in his own house.
    • In the early seasons, Mike is rarely seen not wearing his blue denim shirt and jeans. His wardrobe gets a little snappier after he gets the teaching job.
  • Little Known Facts: Archie Bunker was known to mix this trope with Serious Business, offering up some absurd idea about how to do a simple task, such as eating dinner or putting on a pair of pants, then giving bizarre, pseudo-factual explanations as to why his way was best (for example, when you're eating dinner, you have to combine the various items on your plate and take small bites of each, rather than eating one thing at a time—if you do that, all of the pea nutrients might go to your hands, for example). Normally, this was was when he started mixing this trope with ideas about social issues that things got a little more serious, though no less funny. For instance, in the famous episode with Sammy Davis Jr., Archie remarks that God obviously doesn't want integrated society, as "He put you over in Africa, and He put the rest of us in all the white countries"; Sammy quickly replies "Well, you must have told him where we were, 'cause somebody came and got us."
  • Living in a Furniture Store: The Bunker's house has a pretty clean and sparse living room (though the furniture, especially Archie's famous chair, looks suitably old and worn). Considering the amount of running around in each episode, along with being filmed in front of a live studio audience, they couldn't really be bothered to fill the setting with too much junk.
  • Local Hangout: Kelsey's Bar, which Archie purchased in Season 8 and renamed Archie's Place.
  • Locked in a Room:
    • "Archie in the Cellar" (season 4) has Archie locking himself in the basement while the rest of the family is gone for the weekend. He gets drunk, comes to believe he's going to die before he's found, and narrates his will into a tape recorder.
    • "Two's a Crowd" (season 8) has Archie and Mike locking themselves in the storeroom at Archie's Place, getting drunk, and opening up to each other. The episode comes late in the run and is the fullest attempt to explain Archie's attitudes.
  • "London, England" Syndrome: Archie loses his Christmas bonus after he messes up a shipment meant for London, Ontario.
  • Lonely at the Top: In the episode "Success Story", one of Archie's friends comes over for a party, and shows off his success. The friend seems on top of the world, until Mike walks in and overhears a blistering phone call between the man and his son, in which the son all but cuts off ties with him.
  • Lonely Funeral: In "Edith's Final Respects," Edith — to her surprise — is the only one to attend her Aunt Rose's funeral. (This is a twist on the trope, as Aunt Rose was fairly well respected. However, Rose is also very aged and had few surviving close friends or family that were able to attend the funeral, a reflection of real life.)
  • Long-Runners: Counting the continuation Archie Bunker's Place Carroll O'Connor played Archie for an astounding 13 seasons and 300 episodes between the two shows. Almost unparalleled for a live action American sitcom character.
  • Love at First Sight: Double Subverted with Mike and Gloria. When they first meet, they instantly find each other unsympathetic, and it only gets worse when they start to talk. However, they still eventually bond over a shared love of ballroom dancing, and they end up having sex (which is the first time for Gloria).
  • Lowered Recruiting Standards: Archie's lodge is in trouble for not having any black or Jewish members. So he suggests that they invite one black to join - Solomon Jackson. And one Jew - also Solomon Jackson. At the end of the episode Jackson accepts their invitation to join, and promises to invite all his black friends and all his Jewish friends to join too.
  • Make-Out Kids: How Archie sees Mike and Gloria.
  • Makeover Fail: Gloria, on a whim, buys herself a brunette wig and has some fun showing it off. Mike finds himself extremely attracted to her as a brunette and, when the two start getting frisky with each other, asks her to put it back on. Gloria is offended by the fact that he's only showing that much interest in her because of the wig and, refusing to be "the other woman" in her own marriage, sends him to the couch for the night.
  • Malaproper: Archie, leading to many Funny Moments. If he uses a big word, pretty much every time he uses it incorrectly.
  • Manchild: Mike often comes off as one of these. Gloria even calls him out on it a couple of times.
  • Man Hug: In "The Stivics Move West", the final scene between Archie and Mike ... where Archie, after some initial discomfort, lets down his guard and hugs a clearly emotional Mike back.
  • Mathematician's Answer: When Mike asks Archie a rhetorical question.
    Mike: Why'd you go out and fight the Nazis?
    Archie: I was drafted!
  • May–December Romance: A Season 9 episode saw Archie's brother, Fred (who is in his mid-50s), marry an 18-year-old girl.
  • Meanwhile, Back at the…: "Edith's 50th Birthday" cuts between the attempted rape scene in the Bunkers' living room and the Stivic house, where Archie and Mike are arguing over the whereabouts of a punchbowl for the surprise party they've got planned for Edith.
  • Milestone Celebration: The 100th and 200th episodes of the series were Clip Shows, but not in the traditional sense of wrapping a "recalling old times" storyline around past clips. Rather, these were special guest stars – Henry Fonda for the 100th show, in December 1974, and Norman Lear for the 200th show (from March 1979) – providing commentary, narrating clips and introducing interview excerpts from the main cast members. A 20th anniversary special also aired in 1991, featuring retrospectives from cast members and ordinary people who agreed to be interviewed for the special.
  • Minstrel Shows: In "Birth of the Baby", Archie's lodge puts on a ministrel show. When Mike argues that this offends black people, Archie retorts that it doesn't, because they're not allowed in anyway.
  • Miss Conception: Led to a Very Special Episode.
  • Mistaken for Dying: In "End in Sight", Archie believes this about himself when, during a physical, he is told about a spot on his liver that the doctor would like to take a closer look at. Archie takes self-pity on himself and locks himself in his room, waiting out the rest of his life.
  • Moral Myopia:
    • This is how Archie judges himself. In his mind it is totally okay to lie and cheat ("a bit") just to get his way and he'll take great offense at being called on it, to the point where it seems he's forgotten he's lied in the first place.
    • Mike has long advocated for women's equality and job standing, but when he realizes a female surgeon will be performing emergency surgery on him ... it becomes clear his support for women's liberation is nothing but hot air.
  • The Moving Experience: In "Lionel Moves into the Neighborhood", Lionel teases to Mike and Gloria that his family is moving ... then in the dramatic reveal tells that the address is 702 Hauser Street, the house right next door to the Bunkers!
  • Mouthy Kid: Stephanie, in season 9.
  • Moving the Goalposts: One of Archie Bunker's favorite fallacious debating tactics. If anyone ever comes up with solid counter to his arguments, he'll get a look of disgust and try to steer the conversation in a different direction entirely. He only ever admits he's wrong when he's well and truly cornered.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: Most of the family members or their friends and neighbors are very much like normal, real people you would most likely meet, or at least in the 1970's. They all have either deep flaws or moments of stubbornness but everyone, even Archie, as been portrayed as rather decent or well-meaning to some extent.
  • My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting: The show famously dealt with issues that polarized American society in the 1970s and ridiculed them.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: After learning of Gloria's infidelity in "California, Here We Are", Archie angrily confronts Gloria: "How could you do a thing like this to your family?" Then, jerking a thumb at Mike: "And him."

    Tropes N–S 
  • Never Mess with Granny: Happens whenever Edith faces trouble. One episode in particular: alone at home, she is about to be raped when smoke starts coming out of her kitchen. She gets away from the rapist to go take her baking out of the oven... and shoves the burning hot cake into the would-be rapists face (and the audience goes absolutely wild cheering her).
  • Never My Fault: One of Archie's other major character traits: he was lighting-quick at diverting blame.
  • Never Win the Lottery: In "Edith's Winning Ticket", Archie's fuming when he learns that the lottery ticket that Edith was holding wasn't theirs ... it was Louise Jefferson's.
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: There is an episode where a pair of hippie friends of Meathead's come to visit. For once, Gloria and Meathead come around to Archie's point of view about them. Mostly, because the guests believe in wife-swapping.
  • New Parent Nomenclature Problem: We never see a flashback episode about how they arrive at this, but Mike calls his mother-in-law "Ma" (as does his wife/her daughter) while he calls his father-in-law by his given name.
  • New Year Has Come: "New Year's Wedding"
  • Nice Mean And In Between: Edith is the motherly, warm-hearted one in contrast to her cranky, bigoted, Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist husband, Archie, who bickers with his son-in-law Michael who can be opinionated, but is nicer than Archie.
  • No Guy Wants to Be Chased: In "Mike and Gloria Mix It Up", Mike resents Gloria coming on to him, thinking that the man should make the first move; this sets up a big argument between the two.
  • No Warrant? No Problem!: Archie gets arrested for possession of a weapon without a permit when he lets a policeman into his house, but the case is thrown out of court because the officer didn't have a search warrant. The plot is meant to deliver An Aesop about why cops have limits on how they can enforce the law.note 
  • Noble Bigot: Archie is a decent man at heart who clings to outdated ideas and prejudices. A big part of the show is Archie's family showing him the errors of his ways. The difference between Archie and real bigots is especially evident in an episode where he meets the KKK.
  • Nobody Poops: An historic aversion, as this show was the first instance ever of a toilet being heard flushed on network TV.
  • Nostalgia Filter: The entire point of "Those Were the Days", and to an extant, most of Archie's bigotry comes from wishing for a more innocent (or so he thinks) time.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Rob Reiner makes no attempt at sounding like a Polish-American from Chicago; he pretty much talks like a New Yorker all the way through.
  • Odd Friendship: Maybe "friendship" is too strong a word, but all things considered, Archie got along pretty well with Lionel and vice-versa.
  • Off on a Technicality: Archie is on trial after a policeman he called to report a mugging found a can of tear gas in Archie's home despite the latter not having the necessary license. During the trial, Archie asks what happened to the criminal who originally mugged him and the judge replies he was released due to him having had his Miranda rights read to him in English despite him not being a native English speaker. Gloria is then shocked at the thought of the criminal being released and her innocent father being jailed... until the discussion brings to light the fact that the officer who found the tear gas didn't have a warrant, which causes the case to be dismissed. The judge then states the episode's Aesop that despite the justice system not being perfect and sometimes letting criminals go free, it ensures that everyone's rights are respected.
  • On Three: Gloria and Mike are fighting; Mike locks himself in the bathroom. Gloria says she's going to break the door open "on three". Mike opens the door as she says three (because he assumed it was "one, two, three, then hit")—and Gloria slams into him (she started running at "two" to hit on "three").
  • One-Drop Rule: Invoked when Archie is recruited into a new social club that turned out to be a front for the Ku Klux Klan, and once he learns this he wants out. He eventually tells them he has "black blood"note .
    Mitch: There's a whole lot of us, Bunker.
    Archie: Well let me tell you there's a whole lot of us.
    Mitch: "Us" who?
    Archie: Us blacks.
  • One Head Taller: Mike and Gloria (Rob Reiner is 6'2, Sally Struthers is 5'1). It made their first kiss rather awkward.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: The only time Archie seemed genuinely angry over a political disagreement, rather than just annoyed or disgusted, was when he was confronted with a draft dodger.
  • Outside/Inside Slur: Lionel Jefferson calls a real estate agent an "Oreo cookie", explaining to the Bunkers that it means "black on the outside, white on the inside." The insult backfires with Archie, who says, "Yeah, he seemed like a decent guy to me, too."
  • Parental Abandonment: In the ninth-season opener, Edith's chronically drunk cousin, Floyd, leaves his daughter Stephanie on their doorstep and leaves (presumably to get help, find work or go on his drinking binges). Although Floyd does appear from time to time — continuing into Archie Bunker's Place — to regain custody of (or make contact with) Stephanie, he in fact has "abandoned" her ... and by early 1981, Archie (who by now is widowed) has been granted full custody of Stephanie.
  • Passed in Their Sleep: "The Saga Of Cousin Oscar". At least Cousin Oscar went peacefully, without barking orders at Archie, Mike and the others.
  • Person as Verb: Archie Bunker became a cultural phenomenon so rapidly that as early as 1972, sociologists and pundits were discussing the "Archie Bunker vote" (otherwise known as the White Working Class; later called "Reagan Democrats") in that year's elections. It turns out the show accurately predicted that "Archie Bunker" voters would overwhelmingly break for Richard Nixon. He even won Archie's native Queens, the last time to date that a Republican presidential candidate has done so.
  • Pie in the Face:
    • Or birthday cake, rather. Into the face of an attempted rapist.note 
    • Archie pushes Mike's face into the Mortgage Burning cake when he finds out Mike rented the Jeffersons' old house next door.
  • Place Worse Than Death: Mike and Gloria are house hunting and Archie, wanting to get rid of Mike, keeps suggesting that he "Try Jersey":
    Mike: I hate Jersey!
    Archie: Everybody hates Jersey! But someone has to live there!
  • Political Overcorrectness: Archie did this intentionally. When a black man said that Hispanic people tended to avoid birth control, Archie responded, "Well ain't that the black calling the kettle pot?"
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: For both Maude and The Jeffersons.
    • The back door pilot for The Jeffersons was Season 5 episode "The Jeffersons Move Up". The opening scene has Edith, the only All in the Family regular to appear, dropping by to say goodbye to George and Louise—and then the entire rest of the episode takes place in the Jeffersons' new penthouse. All the characters of The Jeffersons are then introduced except for Florence the maid, who appeared in the first official episode of The Jeffersons the next week. Of course, this was less jarring than most backdoor pilots, as George and Louise had been recurring characters on All in the Family and the Willises had also appeared (played by different actors).
  • Porn Stache: Mike had one. Though every time he shaved it off everyone would comment that he looked ridiculous without it. Fans agreed.
  • Precision F-Strike: One episode had Edith go through menopause, and shout "Damn it!" during one of her mood swings out of nowhere. The episode is worth watching just for the audience's stunned reaction.
  • Prefers Going Barefoot: Robin from "Mike's Hippie Friends Come to Visit" is perpetually barefoot, being a hippie girl.
  • Prejudice Aesop: A lot of episodes focused on this as the main lead, Archie, grew up in a time where prejudice was a common thing and, while comedic, dealt with him coming to terms with the changes of the era, how such thinking is becoming outdated and his moral fiber being put to the test when some acts of prejudice become a bit extreme for his liking.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: One of the few sitcoms to invert the trope. Archie, the main character, is clearly written to be a buffoon, with supporting characters Mike and Gloria supposedly providing voices of reason.
  • Public Exposure: In "Gloria Poses in the Nude", Gloria does so for one of Mike's friends, an abstract painter. Mike is fine with it, but Archie thinks the painter just wants to seduce her.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Henry Jefferson moves upstate in season 4; the rest of the Jeffersons "move on up" to Manhattan (and their own series) in season 5; Mike, Gloria and Joey depart for California at the end of season 8.
    • The Bus Came Back: George Jefferson appears in a season 8 episode, as does Louise Jefferson in season 9. The Bunkers travel West to visit the Stivics for Christmas in season 9. A grown up Joey (played by yet another actor) appeared in the pilot episode of 704 Houser.
  • Quietly Performing Sister Show: For all intents and purposes, this is what Sanford and Son is: both shows were developed by Norman Lear, and Fred is essentially a black Expy of Archie.
  • Rage Quit: The 1973 episode "The Games Bunkers Play" sees the cast (on Mike's suggestion) play a game called Group Therapy, a truth-or-dare type game where participants – instead of being asked softball questions – are asked tough, hard questions and the participants must answer truthfully and honestly. Mike was hoping to have some fun opening up about his friends and family, but the odds aren't in his favor, to say the least ... he's always the target of well-meaning but blunt criticism about his attitudes and such. Eventually, Mike goes into a rant and storms out of the room. He goes on a tirade about Archie and how he got everything in the world but (in his view) didn't deserve it. Edith takes Mike aside and essentially tells her son-in-law about why Archie is the way he is.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: In one ep., Archie and Mike have two radically different impressions of a young minority worker doing a job for them at the house: Archie sees him a threatening hoodlum, Mike as a harmless goofy kid. The truth, as usual, is somewhere in between.
  • Reaction Shot: Seen constantly, especially when Archie is shown reacting to one of Edith's long-winded speeches.
  • Real Men Hate Affection: Archie hates showing affection, and is disgusted by Mike and Gloria for doing so.
    Gloria: You know, Daddy, that's the trouble with your whole generation! You're afraid to show affection openly.
    Archie: We ain't afraid the show affection openly! We believe in showing it openly where it belongs, behind closed doors!
  • Real Time: "Mike The Pacifist" takes place over twenty minutes, entirely on a subway car.
  • Reality Has No Soundtrack: Although there are a few isolated incidents of Sentimental Music Cue in the first season, the series is well-known for a complete lack of incidental or background music, helping to enhance the "stage play" atmosphere of the production.
  • Rejected Apology: The Season 1 episode "Success Story" sees one a visiting friend of Archie, Eddie Frazier, trying to reconnect with his estranged son via phone. Viewers hear only Eddie's side of the conversation, as he is desperately trying to plead for forgiveness for some unknown offense, but apparently to no avail as the person on the other end of the line hangs up. Mike has overheard part of the conversation; Eddie tries to put up his bravado but realizes Mike is on to him, forcing him to admit, "He (his son) told me to stay the hell away from him!" In the end, Frazier is clearly trying to keep check of his emotions while others toast him for being such a success and inspiration.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Archie was once misreported as dead by the Veterans Administration.
  • Required Spinoff Crossover: Surprisingly averted. None of the Bunkers or Stivics ever appeared in an actual episode of The Jeffersons (save via old footage in a Clip Show) or Maude. Archie did have a cameo in the original, unaired pilot for Gloria, however.
  • Rogue Juror: Edith did it when she was on Jury Duty, even reusing an argument from the film: when one racist juror says "those people" are born liars, Edith asks why she believes a key prosecution witness who is the same race as the defendant, to big applause from the audience.
  • Rooting for the Empire: In-Universe in "Two's a Crowd", when Archie says to Mike: "You're the kind of guy who watches a John Wayne movie and roots for the Indians!".
  • Running Gag:
    • "Reverend Fletcher..." "Felcher." "Whatever!"
    • Mike and his empty pit of a stomach.
  • Ruptured Appendix: Stephanie came down with appendicitis on her birthday.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: In "Archie the Babysitter", the second Joey soils his diaper, the other guys split the scene.
  • See You in Hell: Zig-Zagged when Archie was prematurely announced as being dead, a rumor that spreads far enough to reach an insurance company that calls Edith. Angered, Archie takes the phone:
    This is Archie Bunker talking' to ya from the grave! Wish you were here!
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Archie and Mike have several conversations — or, rather, arguments — like this, which are treated (especially by Archie) as very Serious Business indeed:
    • In the episode "Gloria Sings the Blues", Archie and Mike argue about whether you should put on your socks on both feet and then your shoes, or your the sock and the shoe on one foot, then the other one.
    • In the episode "Archie's Raise" they argue about whether it's okay to put mustard on a pretzel.
    • In the episode "Mike and Gloria Split", they argue in one episode whether it's a better idea to tuck both sides of a sheet into the bed and slide in through the top, or fold over a corner and lay down through the untucked side.
    • Another episode had Archie and Mike arguing over the proper way to eat a meal. Mike believes in eating all of one part then moving on to the next, while Archie insists one should have a little of each so it all gets mixed up in your mouth.
  • Series Fauxnale: The season 8 finale "The Stivics Go West", which sees Mike and Gloria leave for California, became this after it was decided to continue the show for another year.
  • Sexy Shirt Switch: Mike and Gloria are shown sharing a pair of pajamas.
  • Shoddy Knockoff Product: In the 1973 episode "Hot Watch," Archie buys a designer Omega watch from a street salesman for $25, a great bargain for a watch that might be worth $300. Designer watch? Omega? A bargain? Nope – it's a cheap, poorly made watch that breaks within minutes, but Archie – and Mike, who is concerned that the watch might have been stolen – don't find out the truth until a jeweler points out that the watch is actually an Onega.
  • Shoehorned First Letter: Challenging the rest of the family to guess the name of a big-band leader with the initials "EC", Archie said the answer was "Xavier Cugat". When Mike told him that "Xavier" begins with an "X," Archie insisted that "No human being begins their name with an 'X'!" and that Xavier was spelled "E-G-Z-A-V-E-R."
  • Shot in the Ass: Archie has shrapnel in his "kiester" from WW2.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In "Archie's Chair", Archie mentions a junk shop with minority people.
    • In "Mike's Move", a shout-out to TV spots aired in the 70s: At one point, Archie — frustrated over the media's portrayal of immigration issues and that WASPs like him had apparently lost their voice in the matter — delivers one of his typical monologues about the history of American immigration and the meaning of the Statue of Liberty. When Archie is finished, Mike replies, "I think we just heard Archie Bunker's Bicentennial Minute."
  • Shower of Love: Mentioned in "The Very Moving Day", when Gloria finds out that she's pregnant, and she and Mike blame each other for the time they had sex without protection:
    Gloria: Well, there was a cold shower in the house, you know!
    Mike: I know, I took one, it didn't help!
  • Significant Monogram: When Mike and Gloria had a son, they were going to name him after the two grandfathers: Stephen Archibald Stivic. Archie complained that his name should come first, until Mike mentioned his initials would then be A.S.S. Eventually, they named him Joseph.
  • Silent Credits: In "Archie Is Branded", which ends with a man from the Hebrew Defense League being blown up in his car.
  • Simpleminded Wisdom: Edith, big time. She lived with her blue-collar, bigoted husband Archie, feminist daughter Gloria, and liberal, atheist son-in-law Mike, and often seemed uninformed or unaware of the major political and sociocultural debates that the other three had. However, Edith was often the only person who was able to apply practical, plain-spoken solutions to issues, whether it was solving a riddle about a female doctor, not allowing racism to tint her opinions while she served on a jury, or defusing a potentially catastrophic argument by rhapsodizing about maple syrup. She also embodied the principles of kindness and embracing those different from her (without being condescending, as Mike tended to do) that the rest of her family could get too caught up arguing about to practice. For example, Edith happily called the African-American Louise Jefferson her best friend while their respective husbands refused to even speak to each other, "adopted" the gay drag performer Beverly Lasalle as a member of her family, and immediately accepted her lesbian cousin Liz's longtime relationship with her "roommate" Veronica as completely legitimate. It's not for nothing that critics considered Edith, who spoke plainly but wisely, the "anti-Richard Nixon," who was very intelligent but widely perceived to lack honesty and common sense.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: For a show about two opposing sides constantly opposing and bickering at each other, the shows heart, love, humor, and family dynamics surprisingly make this a more idealistic show. Probably one of Norman Lear's most optimistic shows come to think of it.
  • Smarter Than You Look: It was apparent that Edith was much more intelligent than she let on, she just had a tendency to ramble and was a Cloud Cuckoo Lander.
  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome:
    • A really weird example with Justin Quigley, the Bunker's adopted Grandfather. In his first episode, he claimed to be 82. In "Archie's 50th Birthday" he turns 83. Then in "Archie's Weighty Problem" he suddenly claims to be 92 (without a change in actor; Mustin was 91 when this last episode was filmed and had been playing younger than he was before).
    • Joey Stivic, Archie's grandson, also undergoes this, though it spans four different series:
      • Joey was born in "Birth of the Baby", which aired in December, 1975. Like most infant characters on television, he was initially played by twins (Jason and Justin Draeger). His lone appearance on All in the Family after his parents depart the series as regulars (in "California, Here We Are") sees him played by Cory R. Miller, born August 15, 1975 (four months older than his character).
      • When Joey returns for the "Thanksgiving Reunion" two-parter on Archie Bunker's Place in 1979, he is played by Dick Billingsley, born January 6, 1975 (just about a year older than his character).
      • The actor most closely associated with the role of Joey is Christian Jacobs, who played him in the short-lived Gloria spinoff. He was born on January 11, 1972, and the character of Joey was aged up to make up for this four-year gap (depicted as a preteen instead of the seven-year-old child he should have been).
      • Joey made one final appearance on 704 Hauser, a failed spinoff set in the Bunker home (after Archie had sold it to a new family), reminiscing about his childhood in the Bunker home. This childhood must have taken place before his parents even met, because he was played by Casey Siemaszko, born in early 1961 (almost fifteen years before Joey Stivic). The character, who should have been barely out of high school, looked and acted like a man in his thirties. He also had a drastic change in appearance and temperament: all previous incarnations of Joey took after his mother in looks, whereas Siemaszko's Joey was essentially a carbon copy of his father (ironically, unlike Rob Reiner, Siemaszko actually is Chicago Polish).
  • Social Semi-Circle: Archie, Edith, Mike and Gloria sat around the two thirds of their dining table facing the camera, leaving the third facing the audience free.
  • Some of My Best Friends Are X:
    • Arch-racist Archie Bunker denies that he is, well, racist. When challenged, it turns out that all these "friends" are actually shoe-shines, waiters and other people who work for him, rather than anyone he actually socializes with. So not only would his statement not be an adequate defense, it isn't even true.
    • His liberal son-in-law Mike turns out to not be much better. While he's very friendly and sociable to the Bunkers' black neighbor Lionel, the only things he ever talks to him about are race politics and civil rights developments. Lionel reveals in one episode that it makes him feel that Mike considers him just a representative of the black community he can talk about issues with rather than a real friend (Archie on the other hand at least treats Lionel like an individual).
  • Something Something Leonard Bernstein: The classic performance of the theme song ("Those Were the Days" by Charles Stouse and Lee Adams) by O'Connor and Stapleton was infamous for a couple of mumbled/garbled lines (most notably "Gee, our old LaSalle ran great"), which left viewers arguing about them for years.
  • Special Aesop Victim: In "Archie Is Branded," the Bunker family is mistakenly targeted by neo-Nazis. A charismatic Jewish vigilante named Paul Benjamin visits and promises his group will protect them, leading to an argument with Mike about the cycle of violence. Archie surprisingly takes a shine to Paul, and is devastated when he's abruptly killed by a car bomb in front of the house.
  • Special Guest:
  • Springtime for Hitler: Inverted, when Archie is determined to do everything he can to avoid being forced into retirement (including dyeing his hair jet-black). Oddly enough, it works...but turns out at the end that if he had taken the retirement deal he would've gotten a severance package worth more than his salary.
  • Standardized Sitcom Housing: A simple two-room house downstairs. The front door opened into the living room (stage right, to the audience's vantage point), with a staircase at the top of the stage to the audience's vantage point and the dining area at the end of the living room. Behind the living room (or stage left, as viewers can see it) is the kitchen. There is a back door, which opens into the alley, where presumably there is the garage. (Although no mention of a car is ever made; in fact, Archie is known to borrow vehicles for personal use.) Upstairs is the bathroom and two bedrooms; presumably to the left (from the staircase) is Mike and Gloria's room (this later was Stephanie's room) and Archie and Edith's room. Below the staircase to go upstairs is the staircase for the basement.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Invoked many times over the course of the series by Archie towards Edith. One episode in particular, "Edith Breaks Out", has Archie essentially try to force her to stay at home after she tells him of her volunteer work at a senior citizen's home. When he threatens to call the man in charge of the home and tell him that Edith won't be going over there any more, she blows a gasket and calls him out for trying to pigeonhole her into the role of a housewife, and storms out the front door while the audience hollers in appreciation.
  • Stealth Insult: Archie was frequently on the receiving end of these, most often from Mike.
    • Sammy Davis, Jr. gives a fantastic one to Archie in his episode:
      Sammy: If you were prejudiced, you'd walk around thinking that you're better than anybody else in the world. But I can honestly say, after having spent these marvelous moments with you... you ain't better than anybody.
      Archie: Can I have your hand on that, Sammy?
    • At his going-away party, Henry Jefferson gives a toast to Archie:
      Henry: It's been a great experience, living on this street and watching this wonderful family of Edith, Gloria, and Mike. I want to thank you, Bunker, for letting me know and letting me see that some white folks are better than other white folks.
      Archie: Well, I wish the whole world could learn that.
  • Stock Lateral Thinking Puzzle: Gloria's riddle — 'A man and his son are in a car accident and the man is killed. The boy is rushed to hospital. The doctor takes one look at him and says "I can't operate on this child, he's my son!" How is that possible?'note  Edith is the one who figures it out. While it's to be expected that Archie wouldn't guess it, this solution doesn't occur to Mike either, though Mike at least gets the point after being told the answer.
  • Story Arc:
    • The first six episodes of Season 8 cover an arc about Archie buying Kelsey's Bar and the challenges he overcomes in making his new venture successful.
    • Episodes 17-19 of Season 8 centers on Mike accepting a job in California and his family moving with him there
  • Straight Gay: In the episode "Judging Books By Covers", Archie thinks one of Mike's friends is gay because he acts effeminate. He isn't, but it turns out one of Archie's old drinking buddies, an ex-football player is gay. Archie refuses to believe that, even when the guy tells him personally.
  • Straw Character:
    • Archie, who was intended to be a caricature of working-class conservatives.
    • Archie would be balanced out by the liberal Mike and Gloria, who usually ended up getting the last word.
    • Archie got used as a strawman in-universe when he complained about a pro-gun-control editorial by a local TV station. The station manager realized that by giving Archie air time to present an "opposing view", he could stack the deck even further in his favor while following the letter of the then-extant "Fairness Doctrine". Sure enough, Archie made his side of the debate look absolutely ridiculous by suggesting that airlines should "pass out the pistols" to passengers before each flight to prevent skyjackings.
  • Strawman Ball: In one episode, Mike inherits $200 upon the death of a relative and decides to contribute all of it to the George McGovern campaign. While $200 may seem a drop in the bucket to modern audiences, for the time period (and some like Mike with limited income), it was far from nothing and many viewers were irked by Mike contributing the whole amount to a politician, rather than, say, buying a month's worth of groceries for the Bunker family or repaying Archie for some of the freebies he's had along the way.
  • Strike Episode: "The Bunkers and Inflation" is a four-part strike episode. When representatives of the union Archie belongs to unsuccessfully negotiate a new contract with Pendegrast Tool & Die, it begets a strike. The situation for the Bunkers worsens as time goes on, and they have to dip into their meager savings, take food donations, and try to get jobs elsewhere. In part 4, an arbitrator is able to negotiate a settlement, which Archie gladly accepts. Mike isn't sure, and says they should have rejected the contract flat because of the lack of a cost-of-living escalator.
  • Studio Audience:
    • Lampshaded in the closing credits, with a voiceover by Rob Reiner: "All in the Family was recorded on tape before a live audience."
    • Averted in Season 9 at Carroll O'Connor's behest. Instead, episodes were shot on a closed set and then screened after completion for audiences attending live tapings of One Day at a Time so that their reactions could be edited in. The closing-credits voiceover, now given by O'Connor, was rephrased to reflect the change: "All in the Family was played to a studio audience for live responses." (This setup was continued for Archie Bunker's Place.)
  • Suddenly Ethnicity:
    • In the "Archie in the Hospital" episode (but only for Archie, not the audience).
    • A more straight example happened in "Stretch Cunningham, Goodbye", where the titular recurring character dies and both Archie and the audience discover he was Jewish.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Edith was used sparingly in the first season of Archie Bunker's Place before dying of a stroke offscreen.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: George Jefferson, for Henry Jefferson. It's inverted, though, because George was always intended to be on the series, but Sherman Hemsley had to fulfill other contractual obligations and Norman Lear didn't want another actor. Henry was created as a substitute until Hemsley was free to appear.

    Tropes T–Z 
  • Take That!:
    • Against politics in general, with both Archie and Michael embodying aspects of conservatives and liberals respectively.
    • Another one was done against the Moral Guardians of the FCC,note  with the core foursome singing a modified version of "Those Were The Days".
      Jean Stapleton: Let's all sing the 1975 version of "Those Were the Days"! [hurries over to the piano; Carroll O'Connor joins her on the bench, while Sally Struthers and Rob Reiner stand behind her] We call it "These Are the Days"!
      Sally: Oh, goody goody gumdrops, and other Family Hour expressions of delight.
      [Jean plays an introductory flourish, then the four begin singing]
      Carroll, Jean, Sally, Rob: Television's grown up now
      No-one needs a marriage vow
      Folks go to the terlit now
      These are the days!
      Jean: Single girls can take a pill...
      Carroll: Robert can propose to Bill...
      Carroll, Jean, Sally, Rob: And we all can say "prune juice" and "tush" and "potty" out loud...
      Sally: We can show my pregnancy...
      Rob: And John-Boy can have VD...
      Carroll: Plus a quick vasectomy...
      Jean, Sally, Rob: After nine o'clock!
      Carroll: [spoken] Yeah!
      Carroll, Jean, Sally, Rob: These are the days!
  • "Take That!" Kiss: There's the infamous incident Sammy Davis Jr. poses for a picture with affable racist (yet avid fan) Archie Bunker, whereupon Davis kisses him on the cheek just before the camera snaps the picture, and exits while Archie is still stunned.
  • The Talk: The wedding flashback episode has a very flustered Edith trying to give one of these to Gloria.
  • Tame His Anger: Edith always tries to keep Archie calm, but unfortunately it doesn't always work.
  • Textile Work Is Feminine: Mike takes up macramé, and Archie mocks him for having yet another "girly" pastime.
    Mike: Don't say it.
    Archie: There's nothing to say, "Florence." ... Will you stop doing that? Some friend of mine might come walking through the door and find out I got a fruitcake for a son-in-law.
  • Thanksgiving Episode: "The Little Atheist"
  • Thematic Theme Tune: "Those Were the Days", a longer version of which was issued as a single and became a minor radio hit in 1972.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: In Season 8’s “Edith’s Crisis Of Faith,” there is a frighteningly chilling one off-screen but witnessed full-on by Gloria, Archie, Edith and Barney ... and Mike, who later relates what happened: He and his friend Beverly Lasalle, an anatomical male transsexual who dresses like a female, have been robbed and beaten. When one of the suspects realized who Beverly was, they savagely beat him beyond recognition and Mike was unable to defend him, the crooks fleeing only when they hear a police siren and the protagonists rush to the scene.
  • The Oner: "Edith's 50th Birthday" was shot all in one long take because the director believed (rightly so) that doing so would heighten the tension amongst the studio audience and that it would then be felt by the audience at home. There ultimately had to be one edit (aside from the ones for scheduled commercial breaks) because the episode's climactic moment caused the studio audience to cheer so loudly and for so long a good chunk had to be cut for time.
  • This Is My Chair: Arguably the most famous application of the trope; Archie was insanely protective of his chair.
  • Toilet Paper Trail: Used only semi-comedically in one episode: Archie and Edith visit Mike and Gloria in California. One night during their stay, Gloria talks to her mother: the marriage isn't going well, and they might divorce. They use the bathroom for privacy during their talk. They both cry, and Edith in particular uses some toilet paper to wipe her eyes. When they leave Edith has a trail of toilet paper in her hand; when Archie calls her on it she says she was "using it for Kleenex" without going into details.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Archie always directed Edith to put a Twinkie in his lunchbox before going to work.
  • Train Problem: In one episode, Stephanie is attempting to do a math problem in which a person called A is running at a certain speed, and B is running after them trying to catch up. She asks Archie to help her, only for him to announce that B will never catch A, because "B was chasing A when I was a kid, and if she hasn't caught him by now, she never will."
  • Transatlantic Equivalent: Till Death Us Do Part, which came before this show.
  • Trans Equals Gay: Beverly LaSalle, a recurring gay character, is a cross-dresser. The show also averted the trope with an earlier episode featuring one of Archie's pals as a Manly Gay man.
  • Trauma Button: Edith experienced this when she was sexually assaulted by a rapist in the episode "Edith's 50th birthday."
  • Troubled Sympathetic Bigot: Archie has shades of this (as well as most tropes related to bigotry), as one of the main themes of the series is how lost he feels in a modern world that constantly challenges his prejudices. This is most notable in "Stretch Cunningham Goodbye", where Archie is invited to give the eulogy at a close friend's funeral, not knowing that the man was Jewish.
  • Uncle Tomfoolery: Lionel often deliberately employed this around Archie as a form of trolling.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Everyone in "Everyone Speaks the Truth", where an incident was seen from the points of view of all four principals - Edith's version was the objective, accurate one, of course.
  • Unseen No More: George Jefferson was often mentioned on the show but did not appear until "Henry's Farewell" in Season 4.
  • Unsettling Gender-Reveal: In the 1975 episode "Archie the Hero", Archie saves the life of someone named Beverly LaSalle, who he thinks is a highly attractive woman ... only to realize (upon being told) that Beverly is a cross-dressing man. (Beverly had passed out in the back of Archie's taxi cab.)
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Archie Bunker. Aside from being bigoted, he's also highly selfish and abrasive, constantly putting down everyone around him. At least this is how it started out, until the show gained solid footing, at which point it began to explore Archie's better sides.
  • Versus Title: "Edith Versus the Bank" and "Edith Versus the Energy Crisis".
  • Very Special Episode: Averted, in a way, in that while a large majority of the episode plots could qualify as "very special episodes," none of them were branded as such. The 1977-1978 episode was especially prevalent with adult-themed episode plots, including the attempted rape of Edith, Archie becoming hooked on amphetamines, Archie unwittingly joining the KKK, Edith witnessing a deadly robbery, and – while locked in the storeroom with Mike – letting slip that he was abused as a child. The final episode of that season, "The Stivics Move West," was also "very special" in a different way: it was the Tearjerker episode where Mike and Gloria say their farewells to Archie and Edith and, with little Joey, move west.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: In "Mike's New Job", Edith hides a slip of paper (on which is written the phone message that will lead to Mike and Gloria's move to California) in her bra to keep it away from Archie. Archie doesn't hesitate to go in after it.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: The show had several dark villains, but the darkest and arguably the most memorable was Lambert, the man who attempted to rape Edith in the Very Special Episode that dealt with her 50th birthday. Though the episode itself still had jokes in it, Lambert was played jarringly straight, and Edith's usual ramblings were Played for Drama as attempts to save herself from being assaulted. David Dukes, the actor who played Lambert, said later in life that the audience actually growled when he was pawing at Jean Stapleton, and he was legitimately worried he might get attacked when leaving the studio.
  • Vote Early, Vote Often: There was contest for a beautiful baby, and Archie was quite willing to ensure victory. At the end of the episode Baby Joey and Baby Linda were both disqualified for too many phony votes. The group running the contest got a little suspicious, found that a judge signed a vote form, even though he was in jail three weeks ago.
  • Wanted a Son Instead: Edith reveals to her daughter Gloria that Archie actually wanted a son. The entire time Edith was pregnant, Archie told her "keep thinking 'boy', 'boy'!" So the entire time she was pregnant, Edith kept thinking "Boy, boy, boy do I want a girl!"
  • Wedding Episode: "Maude" is about Carol's wedding, where Archie and Edith are guests. Alas, this is not the typical happy ending of most previous sitcom weddings, as Carol and David end up calling off the wedding.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: One involved Archie and Mike meeting for the first time, another revisited Mike and Gloria's wedding.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Beverly LaSalle, the female impersonator whose life Archie saves. He later appears in two more episodes. It's made clear he's actually a drag queen rather than a cross dresser, not generally going out in public in drag and making a living performing as a female impersonater.
    • Beverly is never stated to be gay, just a drag queen (someone who dresses as a woman as part of an act but not necessarily in their personal life) and his effeminate mannerisms could be explained by spending so much time in character (or just not breaking character; Beverly is pretty much only ever seen in drag, which is somewhat at odds with the "not going out in public in drag" part).
  • Will They or Won't They?: Variation — just whether or not Mike and Gloria get back together or go through with their divorce is unclear. It simply gives a vague closing scene of everyone calmly sitting by the Christmas tree. The Gloria spinoff says that he does leave her, but how canon that was is up for debate.
    • Actually the two reappear in the first season of Archie Bunker's Place, back together with no mention of their previous marital problems. Then Gloria reappears a couple of seasons later with Mike having left her, but this was explained as his having a breakdown over the state of society and moving to a couples commune with a student when Gloria refused to join him rather than being related to the issues present in aitf season 9.
  • Women Are Wiser:
    • Edith in some ways. She was, indeed, as Archie often called her, a "dingbat", but she was also much more socially sensitive and moral than him.
    • Perhaps the best example of all comes from the season 4 episode "The Games Bunkers Play"; while playing "Group Therapy", Edith confides to Mike that she doesn't like the way he makes fun of Archie, calling him ignorant. When Mike tries to defend himself, she said "If you really was smarter then Archie, you'd be smart enough to not let him see that you're smarter than him." The audience actually applauded that, it was so brilliant.
    • There's actually a somewhat famous quote about the difference between intelligence and wisdom that compares Edith (wise but unintelligent) to a contemporary public figure who was the reverse, said figure being Richard Nixon.
  • Working-Class People Are Morons:
    • Played straight with Archie, but averted with his daughter, Gloria, who only had a high school education and worked in a department store, but was fairly intelligent and held progressive views.
    • Also averted by Archie's neighbor, George Jefferson. He lacked even a high school education and started off as a janitor but was a shrewd businessman who taught himself the dry cleaning business and eventually "moved on up". In one episode he showed he was too savvy to fall for a scam that Archie had fallen into.
  • Written-In Absence: During production of season 5, Carroll O'Connor temporarily walked out on the show due to a salary dispute. The producers rather cleverly responded to this by crafting a three-part story arc in which his character, Archie Bunker, goes missing after leaving to attend a lodge convention.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: The local chapter of the KKK calls themselves the Kweens Kouncil of Krusaders.
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: In "The Man in the Street", Archie makes an anti-Semitic remark to his TV repairman, who responds by insulting Archie back, but in Yiddish.
  • You Are a Credit to Your Race: Used occsionally, and with all sincerity, by TV's best-known bigot, Archie Bunker.
    Archie: I was just saying to my family, before you come in, I said, "Sammy Davis, Jr., is maybe the greatest credit to his race."
    Sammy Davis Jr.: Well thank you very much. I'm sure you've done good for yours, too.
    Archie: I try.
  • You Know I'm Black, Right?: One episode has Archie invited to speak at a funeral of a co-worker who he, being the kind of guy he is, had been making anti-Semitic jokes in front of for years. It isn't until the funeral itself that Archie learns the guy is Jewish. Clearly the guy was too polite to ever mention it, found the jokes rather funny, or both. Still, Archie is at a loss for words.
  • You Talk Too Much!: Archie often regarded himself as the family spokesman and often told others — Edith in particular — to "shaddup" or "stifle yourself" when they began to say something he didn't want them to say.
  • You're Not My Father: A particularly powerful example appears in the episode "Edith's Fiftieth Birthday." The first part of the episode sees Edith nearly being raped by a stranger; the second half details her resulting depression, shame, and PTSD. Her daughter Gloria, who was herself a victim of attempted rape earlier in the series, does her best to help Edith recover, but becomes increasingly frustrated by her mother's inability to confront or even talk about what happened. Things reach a boiling point when the rapist attacks another woman, and Edith refuses to identify him as the man in her own case, which would put him away for good. Gloria is shocked that her mother, normally a pinnacle of selflessness, is allowing this; her furious reaction causes Edith to slap her, then break down and finally realize that she needs to face her fears head on.
    Gloria: You're gonna let him do what he did to you to God knows how many other women? I can't believe it! I'm ashamed of you! The mother I know would never refuse! My mother always helped other people! You know what? You are selfish! YOU'RE NOT MY MOTHER ANYMORE!

All in the Family was recorded on tape before a live audience.

"Got a feelin' it's all over now
All over now, we're through
And tomorrow I'll get lonesome, remembering you
Got a feelin' the sun will be gone
The day will be long and blue
And tomorrow I'll be cryin', remembering you"
— The (unused) lyrics written by Carroll O'Connor for the instrumental closing theme, "Remembering You", composed by Roger Kellaway