There were a lot of changes in store for the Bunkers in the seventh season. The Jeffersons, long a source of irritation for Archie and a ton of laughs for us, moved to their own show, on up to the East Side and that big de-luxe apartment in the sky. Mike and Gloria finally move out of the house, but only as far as next door in the vacated Jefferson home. Most importantly, little baby Joey joins the family. New characters would join the show in the seventh season. It’s been a rough ride for the Bunkers, to be sure. The series was first released through Fox for three seasons. Sony took over the releases for the next three seasons. Finally Shout Factory has stepped up and has taken over the release chores for this classic comedy.
It’s perhaps a sad commentary on the level of political correctness that Archie Bunker could never have graced network primetime in 2010. Archie was ignorant and an incredibly vocal bigot. Archie was an equal-opportunity bigot. He didn’t just hate certain minorities … he hated everybody who wasn’t white blue-collar protestant. Carroll O’Connor, who brilliantly portrayed Archie, was without a doubt one of the best actors to grace a network sit-com. Just watch his eyes and you’ll understand. All in the Family holds a record for spin-off series. The Jeffersons, Maude, Good Times, and Archie Bunker’s Place are just a few of the highly successful shows that owe their roots to All In The Family. Rob Reiner, Meathead, has since followed in his father Carl Reiner’s footsteps as a highly-acclaimed producer.
The season is marked by several outstanding episodes. The beginning of the season marks a pretty rough time in the Bunker family in the show as well. It all starts with a 3-part episode Archie’s Brief Encounter. Archie has an affair that almost breaks up his long-time marriage to Edith. The two do split up for a short time. Edith, of course, forgives him. But, something has changed here. Edith stops being the doormat she had been the previous 6 years. It’s an important moment of growth for the character and the series. This is followed by the 2-part The Unemployment Story. Archie loses his job at the loading dock. The season opening trauma for the Bunkers concludes in another 2-part episode called Archie’s Operation. Archie undergoes surgery and is concerned when he discovers that his blood transfusion came from a black man. That’s 7 straight episodes of drama filled with the expected humor. The writers sure gave the Bunkers a beating. Teresa Moves In marks the arrival of Liz Torres as the Bunker’s new boarder Teresa. She takes up some cooking and cleaning duties for the Bunkers. You can imagine how Archie feels about a Puerto Rican resident in his home. Archie takes exception when he finds out that Mike and Gloria have decided they don’t want Archie raising their son if something should happen to them in Mike And Gloria’s Will. Another beloved character passes away in Stretch Cunningham, Goodbye. Archie finds out his long-time buddy was Jewish when he is asked to speak at his funeral. It’s another memorable year in the life of Archie Bunker and family.
All In The Family is appropriately presented in its original full frame 1.33:1 format. This is a 30-year-old sit-com. Colors are clearly washed out, and the prints show noticeable wear. I must say that the presentation is still quite extraordinary when you consider the source material. There is nothing here to distract from the very funny material being presented.
Let’s be fair here. Yes, this is a minimalist mono track. All you really need is clear dialog, and this release provides just that. Anything more would be unfaithful to the original program.
A special thanks has to go out to Shout Factory for picking up the show for release on DVD. It has been several years since the last season of All In The Family had been released. This is a series that absolutely belongs on any collector’s shelves. It’s been too long. Show them they made the right decision here and get yours today. Shame on both Sony and MGM for dropping the ball here. ” Can you spell ‘atrocious’?”