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Old 01-05-2019, 10:40 PM   #1
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Default Was Maude a liberal Archie Bunker?

Watching the first few episodes of Maude this week have me wondering if she was specifically made as a counter to the intended mocking of Archie Bunker's conservativeness.

All in the Family showed the ignorance of conservative Archie (even though audiences took to him rather than disliked him), and it seems to me that Maude was created as the liberal version of Archie to mock in the same way.

She was completely insufferable, lacked all self awareness and was so ignorant in her liberalness.

Just watching how patronizing and condescending she is towards both black maids especially upon first meetings is cringe worthy. In all her self congratulatory, liberal good intentions towards both of them, she comes off so ignorant and clueless in the process.

Archie's crass prejudice and views is certainly off putting, but Maude's over the top, social justice act is just as off putting. So I wonder if Lear purposely wanted to have a liberal character on the opposite end of the political spectrum to mock like in the same way they did with conservative Archie.

Was Maude intended to be laughed AT rather than with?
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Old 01-05-2019, 11:11 PM   #2
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I think that Maude was supposed to be a sympathetic character. I think the reworking from AITF to Maude was in the antagonist. As you say, audiences understood Archie because of his background and limited future and how he was taking care of his family. So I think tbe reworking in Maude was to make Arthur the antagonist - a prosperous, educated, professional who was a true stuffed shirt and as dumb as a bag of rocks. If he was targeted by Maude or just kept saying stupid things, it wouldn't generate much sympathy for him.
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Old 01-06-2019, 12:14 AM   #3
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I think that Maude was supposed to be a sympathetic character. I think the reworking from AITF to Maude was in the antagonist. As you say, audiences understood Archie because of his background and limited future and how he was taking care of his family. So I think tbe reworking in Maude was to make Arthur the antagonist - a prosperous, educated, professional who was a true stuffed shirt and as dumb as a bag of rocks. If he was targeted by Maude or just kept saying stupid things, it wouldn't generate much sympathy for him.
I think as the series progressed, she became more sympathetic, but in the beginning, she was over the top insufferable. Even Carol and Walter would be shown shaking their heads and being exasperated with her.

This is why I think initially she was created to be mocked for being too liberal the way Archie was intended to be mocked for being too conservative. They're both on such extreme sides of the political spectrum and I think part of the comedy was to laugh at them as well as with them. But ultimately, I do agree she became more sympathetic as the series went on, the same way Archie did as the seasons went by.
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Old 01-06-2019, 01:37 AM   #4
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Interesting thread title. Yes in Maude, she was painted one-dimensional with myopic liberal-vision. Neither extreme fully works in my opinion. I also agree that Archie mellowed as time went on. Not so sure about Maude.
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Old 01-29-2019, 10:20 PM   #5
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I thought George Jefferson was the liberal Archie Bunker?
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Old 01-30-2019, 11:48 AM   #6
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George Jefferson was a black Archie Bunker. Remember, George was a Republican like Archie. This was mentioned when George wanted to run for councilman so he could extend his business and needed Archie's signature on the petition.
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Old 01-30-2019, 01:38 PM   #7
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George Jefferson and Maude were both smarter than Archie. They did have their faults, but they were smarter.
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Old 04-26-2019, 01:20 PM   #8
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I always believed Norman Lear liked to poke fun at stereotypes. Archie was the stereotypical uninformed blind-allegiance Republican. George was the stereotypical minority who gets rich, and struggles to find his place in the world - the old crowd thinks you sold out, and you're not accepted by the new crowd. Before anyone throws anything at me, notice my use of "stereotypical". I recognize that this doesn't apply to everyone who fits in to a category.

Maude was so much like women I grew up knowing, and are common to the area I grew up in (there is still a contingent there). Bored suburban housewives who live a life of comfort, and want to be seen as "relevant" so they lend their name to any cause that comes along, and wants everyone to know how modern they are, even if they have to beat you over the head with it. The episode where they're protesting the arrest of a bag boy from the local supermarket over possession of a small amount of pot is the perfect example. Tons of bored housewives willing to have themselves arrested just to prove a point that in the end, didn't matter anyway (the cops ordered them to all go home). The ones who are always involved in Ladies Auxiliaries of the local hospital, or the Junior League, etc. Personally, I liked Maude better than Archie, and about even with George. Although I wasn't a huge fan of "Archie Bunker's Place", I did like that he did try to evolve - but old habits die hard.
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Old 04-26-2019, 03:49 PM   #9
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After watching the whole series through, I noticed one glaring constant with Maude. She fights with EVERYONE! My God, is there anyone on that show she didn't fight with? She's always yelling and screaming at someone. The character is completely insufferable.

Archie is a teddy bear in comparison. Sure he fought with many people, but not nearly as many as Maude. And when Maude gets her teeth into someone, she doesn't let go. Archie at least knows when he lost and shuts up lol.

I think she's definitely a liberal Archie Bunker in that she thinks her way is always the right way and damn everyone else who has a different opinion. As mentioned in the previous post, at least Archie softened up and evolved later on. He was open to learning and eventually changed for the better towards the end of Archie Bunker's Place.

Maude however, was the same screaming lunatic from beginning to end. Never evolved or grew.
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Old 04-26-2019, 04:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfr1970 View Post
After watching the whole series through, I noticed one glaring constant with Maude. She fights with EVERYONE! My God, is there anyone on that show she didn't fight with? She's always yelling and screaming at someone. The character is completely insufferable.

Archie is a teddy bear in comparison. Sure he fought with many people, but not nearly as many as Maude. And when Maude gets her teeth into someone, she doesn't let go. Archie at least knows when he lost and shuts up lol.

I think she's definitely a liberal Archie Bunker in that she thinks her way is always the right way and damn everyone else who has a different opinion. As mentioned in the previous post, at least Archie softened up and evolved later on. He was open to learning and eventually changed for the better towards the end of Archie Bunker's Place.

Maude however, was the same screaming lunatic from beginning to end. Never evolved or grew.
I know people like that. They feel that to be heard, you have to yell. I had an aunt like that. She yelled, and "told it like it is", whether it hurt the other person or not. She felt it was her right and duty. I never cared for her.

To be fair, had the show continued, I could see her character evolving in DC, and her softening up when confronted with reality, and not reality from her cushy house in a nice suburb.
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Old 04-26-2019, 04:57 PM   #11
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I know people like that. They feel that to be heard, you have to yell. I had an aunt like that. She yelled, and "told it like it is", whether it hurt the other person or not. She felt it was her right and duty. I never cared for her.

To be fair, had the show continued, I could see her character evolving in DC, and her softening up when confronted with reality, and not reality from her cushy house in a nice suburb.
I read that the ratings unexpectedly plummeted during the last season and they had no intention of ending it until they saw how low ratings dropped. (I think it was Bea Arthur who then said to end it, just like she did with the Golden Girls a decade later. That's a whole other post, but I don't like that it was up to her to end shows like that.)

In any case, I think viewers tuned out in droves during that season was because the Maude character never evolved, softened or grew. Each season she was still the same shrill harpy nagging and verbally destroying everyone in her path.

Would she have softened in DC? I doubt it. There was no middle ground or meeting half way with Maude. Seeing her take on DC would have probably turned off even more of her audience.

Keep in mind, back in the 70's the country was heavily majority republican and conservative. To hear this shrill, angry feminist on a weekly basis must have made even liberal audiences scream "Enough!" at the TV.

I think if they softened her up more earlier, and had her admit she was wrong now and then, the show would have gone on a couple of more seasons.
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