In which Archie Bunker gets to loudly voice his opinions at his bar instead of at home.
Archie Bunker's Place was a Work Com (with some Dramedy elements) and continuation of the classic sitcom All in the Family, which began airing on CBS in 1979. While never as popular or acclaimed as its predecessor, the show maintained a large enough audience to last four seasons, ending its run in 1983.
Following the previous series, Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor) and his wife Edith (Jean Stapleton) continued to nag each other and deal with Archie's very conservative views, all while attempting to raise their adopted grandniece, Stephanie (Danielle Brisebois), who was rapidly growing up. The major difference in this series was that most of the stories were set at the eponymous neighborhood tavern he'd purchased in the eighth-season premiere of AITF. The tavern was the place for him to sound off on current issues, get support from his friends, and argue with the bar's liberal, Jewish co-owner Murray Klein (Martin Balsam) and wisecracking cook Veronica Rooney (Anne Meara).
Although not as well-regarded as the original series, Archie Bunker's Place still had a number of memorable moments. The show is probably best known for the heartbreaking second-season premiere "Archie Alone", which deals with the aftermath of Edith's offscreen death from a stroke (Stapleton having left the series midway through the first season, due to her belief that she'd done all she could with the character); the episode earned O'Connor two Emmy Awards for his performance, as well as the prestigious Peabody award.
For an episode guide and listing of tropes in individual episodes, see this link.
Archie Bunker's Tropes:
- After Show/From the Ashes: This show represented a retooling of the previous series away from the family life of Archie and simply onto Archie and his wife (and later, just Archie.)
- The Alcoholic: Veronica is a recovering one, though she temporarily falls Off the Wagon in season 2's "Tough Love".
- All Jews Are Cheapskates: Archie gets off on the wrong foot with Murray in the very first episode by making a crack about this.
- The Bus Came Back: The season 1 episode "Thanksgiving Reunion" has the Stivics (from AITF) returning for a visit from California, while the season 3 two-parter "Gloria Comes Home" has Gloria returning to reveal that she and Mike divorced, which was done to set up Gloria. And season 4's "Store Wars" has Murray returning to sell off his share of the bar.
- Camp Gay: Veronica's nephew Fred, who worked as a waiter for Archie in season 1.
- Celebrity Lie: Inverted in the episode "The Return of Sammy".
- Cerebus Syndrome: While All in the Family itself got more serious in its later seasons, this incarnation was more dramatic in tone yet.
- Character Death: Edith dies off-screen between seasons due to a stroke. A major part of the Season 2 opener is Archie trying to cope with her death.
- Christmas Episode: The "Custody" two-parter (season 2), "Father Christmas" (season 4).
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: After being a semi-regular since the All in the Family days, Archie's pal Hank Pivnik disappears without explanation following season 1. Veronica Rooney disappears early in season 4, as does Ellen Canby.
- Continuity Nod/Ironic Echo: Murray calls Archie a "meathead" in the first episode.
- While arguing with Mike in "Thanksgiving Reunion", Archie brings up his inviting a draft dodger for Christmas dinner and getting a vasectomy, both of which happened in All in the Family episodes.
- Cousin Oliver: Stephanie, though she was introduced in AITF. Though instead of being used as a ploy to keep innocent and childish storylines prevalent, she actually brought a lot of dark episodes, and matured and grew up like any adolescent.
- Crappy Holidays: In "Thanksgiving Reunion", Mike and Gloria come home to visit from California, but at dinner it's revealed that Mike lost his job after participating in a nude anti-nuclear protest, causing Archie to (naturally) hit the roof and storm out of the house. They do ultimately patch things up, however (including one last heartwarming scene between Archie and Mike), and the episode ends with a nice scene of the Bunkers and Stivics enjoying leftover turkey together in the kitchen.
- Disappeared Dad: Stephanie's father, Floyd Mills. He had appeared on and off since the final season of AITF to beg the Bunkers for money and/or to try to take his daughter back. His final appearance came in the 1981 episode "Growing Up is Hard to Do," where a now 13-year-old Stephanie is celebrating her bat mitzvah. Floyd shows up drunk and to beg for more money... which Stephanie finally obliges. Her act of selflessness (which impresses Archie) marks the last time Floyd is seen or heard from... his fate left unresolved (perhaps a nod to real life).
- Heroic BSoD: Edith's death numbs Archie so much that he spends most of the second-season premiere stubbornly refusing to acknowledge the reality of her death (signing off on her insurance, cleaning out her belongings, etc) or even discussing the matter. He breaks down when he's alone at the end of the episode, though, and laments that he didn't know she died until he tried to wake her by shaking her body.
- Norman Lear had one in real life, as he had grown so attached to the characters on that he felt like he was killing a real person.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Archie softens up a bit in later seasons, especially when he gains custody of Stephanie.
- Left Hanging: The show was abruptly cancelled at the end of the fourth season without resolving all the loose plot threads from the series.
- Love Cannot Overcome: It's revealed that Mike's political views (and infidelity) overwhelmed Gloria and finally broke their marriage.
- Mouthy Kid: Stephanie was sometimes this with Archie, at least early on.
- Out of Focus: Edith Bunker, who appears in just four season 1 episodes. Again, this was due to Jean Stapleton's belief that the character had exhausted her potential and her subsequent decision to leave the series.
- Passed in Their Sleep: The tearjerker episode "Archie Alone," which explained Edith's death due to a stroke suffered in her sleep. When Archie finally lets go of his emotions, he bemoans being unable to figure out why she was unresponsive as he shook her repeatedly, hoping to wake her up so she could fix breakfast.
- Poorly Disguised Pilot: "Gloria: The First Day" was intended to be one of these for the Gloria spinoff. But CBS rejected it, and when that show was picked up, it was given a completely re-written pilot episode instead. (The original was subsequently included in the syndication package, however.)
- Put on a Bus: Murray gets married and moves to California at the end of season 2.
- Put on a Bus to Hell: Mike Stivic, albeit offscreen. In "Gloria Comes Home", it's revealed that she and Mike divorced after he left her and Joey to join a commune with another woman.
- Rearrange the Song: The show features new, instrumental versions of AITF's opening ("Those Were the Days") and closing ("Remembering You") themes.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Judge McGuire, who takes charge of a custody battle between Archie and Stephanie's wealthy and snobbish grandmother Estelle over Stephanie. He acts very impartial, as is willing to give each side a voice. He eventually decides in Archie's favor.Estelle: What can he do for her now? He's a totally uneducated man!McGuire: Mrs. Harris, my father was an ignorant laborer and he drank too much and I became a judge. I raised two daughters. One is an attorney and the other dropped out of high school and is handing out flowers at the airport. We all do the best we can. And I'm sure Mr. Bunker will do okay!
- Running Gag: Archie (or sometimes other characters) greeting the blind Mr. Van Renseleer and waving a hand in front of his face.
- Sassy Black Woman: Ellen Canby, who Archie hires as a housekeeper following Edith's death.
- Secretly Wealthy: Mr. Van Renseleer, the blind patron of Archie's bar.
- Sequel Series: To All in the Family.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: McFeeney's, a (topless) rival bar and grill in the same neighborhood.
- Special Guest: Sammy Davis Jr. (who'd previously guested on AITF), in season 1's "The Return of Sammy"; Reggie Jackson, in season 3's "Reggie 3, Archie 0".
- Studio Audience: As with the final season of AITF, this show was not taped live in front of an audience. 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.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Much like in the original series, the source of most of the comedy comes from Archie's usually-reactionary (and always loudly expressed) cultural and political opinions, and his resulting arguments and conflicts with other characters.
- Very Special Episode: Several relating to teenage pregnancy, drug and alcohol use, although much like its predecessor, none of them were specifically called "very special episodes." And then, there was the episode where viewers learned about Edith's death.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Archie and Murray's relationship kind of approaches this over time, similar to Archie's relationship with Mike on AITF.
- Work Com: Overlapping (somewhat) with Dom Com in the first season.