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Old 10-12-2019, 01:45 AM   #1
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Question Was Archie Bunker's Place a very depressing show

First and foremost, do you agree that it never quite overcame the pall cast by the beloved Edith's death so early in the series? Not only that, there was presumably Carroll O'Connor's decision not to tape in front of a studio audience meant that the high-energy feeling of the All in the Family was completely absent from its successor. Might I add that the lighting seemed to be ridiculously dark for a sitcom. To top it all off, all the actors seemed so old (which, for better or worse, you'd never see on a contemporary show).
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Old 10-12-2019, 01:32 PM   #2
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Yes, for all the reasons you mentioned, and one more: the dingy bar as a main setting.
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Old 10-12-2019, 05:29 PM   #3
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Yes. Once Jean Stapleton refused to renew another contract, & was “dead”—the show was finished. I think the only thing that could have saved it was getting a very strong replacement for Edith, whether it be a relative or a housekeeper. Billie Bunker & Ms Canby didn’t cut the mustard, sorry. They needed a Nancy Walker, Alice Ghostley or a Kaye Ballard. They also should have recycled their awesome A list of characters from AITF. There are 3 or 4 I can think of from just one episode (Edith’s high school reunion episode) off the top of my head.
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Old 10-12-2019, 09:30 PM   #4
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Any one of these characters would have helped the show immeasurably
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Old 10-12-2019, 10:24 PM   #5
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Not to mention the fact that Stephanie's mother was dead and her deadbeat male parent had dragged her pillar to post from an early age until she finally got a stable sanctuary in the Bunker House- but then lost her beloved Aunt Edith (her one stable mother figure) roughly a year later. Yes, Archie DID come through for her and even overcame some of his own misgivings and prejudices for her sake- yet even the additions of Mrs. Canby and Billie couldn't possibly have 'replaced' the loss of Edith. Also, I can't help but think she might have been better off living with her maternal grandmother Estelle who not only could far more amply provide for her but also could focus far more attention to her as a wealthy, widowed woman than Archie who DID have to work long hours to keep that bar afloat and have others take care of her. However; I get that Archie needed Stephanie to keep from being totally alone and rudderless in his offtask life AND Stephanie wanted to honor that.

Even Billie's fate wasn't so great. Not only had her mother never wanted her but her father (Archie's brother) sure didn't have any qualms about others caring for her- even if that meant his estranged bro Archie. Yeah, she got to be Steph's big sis and the two helped soften Archie and she even dated Donatello Rabinowitz but that's not the same as having had two parents who wanted her in their lives and truly cared for her even if she was virtually an adult by the time she moved into 704 Houser Street.
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Old 10-15-2019, 07:31 PM   #6
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I just saw the Victoria (Stephanie’s music teacher) episode. I never saw this one. They were going in the right direction with this one, the comedy is pretty good, & they aren’t jumping all over Archie the entire episode. That is what the show needed, good character actors & good comedic writing.
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Old 10-15-2019, 08:22 PM   #7
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carroll o connor wrote that episode
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Old 10-15-2019, 08:39 PM   #8
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I also noticed Gary Shimokawa in the ending credits. The episode is average compared to AITF, but it was comedy, not Veronica’s alcoholism or Murray’s mother dying.
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Old 10-15-2019, 08:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro Vic View Post
I just saw the Victoria (Stephanie’s music teacher) episode. I never saw this one. They were going in the right direction with this one, the comedy is pretty good, & they aren’t jumping all over Archie the entire episode. That is what the show needed, good character actors & good comedic writing.
That was a funny ep. But I like this show in general, I don 't find it depressing , it's just more low key, subtle humor than All in the family was!
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Old 10-15-2019, 11:35 PM   #10
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That was a funny ep. But I like this show in general, I don 't find it depressing , it's just more low key, subtle humor than All in the family was!
Low key, very well put, that's exactly what it was.
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Old 10-15-2019, 11:55 PM   #11
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First and foremost, do you agree that it never quite overcame the pall cast by the beloved Edith's death so early in the series? Not only that, there was presumably Carroll O'Connor's decision not to tape in front of a studio audience meant that the high-energy feeling of the All in the Family was completely absent from its successor. Might I add that the lighting seemed to be ridiculously dark for a sitcom. To top it all off, all the actors seemed so old (which, for better or worse, you'd never see on a contemporary show).
Let's take this piece by piece:

"do you agree that it never quite overcame the pall cast by the beloved Edith's death so early in the series"?

No, I don't agree, All In The Family covered many topics over the years, the companion series covering the death of a spouse and trying to reorder and move on with life seemed very appropriate. I bet many of the older persons watching at the time probably related to that in a very real way (either through their own lives or their parents).

"Not only that, there was presumably Carroll O'Connor's decision not to tape in front of a studio audience meant that the high-energy feeling of the All in the Family was completely absent from its successor".

The last few seasons of All In The Family were not taped in front of a live audience so in that context it wasn't noticeable at all.

"To top it all off, all the actors seemed so old"

A show that actually had older people engaged in activities other than being eccentric parents or in-laws or some other stereotypical presentation (like overly hip) should be celebrated not vilified.

"Might I add that the lighting seemed to be ridiculously dark for a sitcom".

I thought the lighting was very effective, this was not All In The Family, it was a quieter more cerebral show.
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Old 10-16-2019, 09:51 AM   #12
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Not in my opinion; it just wasn’t as good as AITF that it mutated from.
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