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Category:    Home > Reviews > TV Situation Comedy > Politics > Religion > Social Issues > All In The Family - The Complete Sixth Season

All In The Family - The Complete Sixth Season

 

Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: D     Episodes: A

 

 

No television show has made me laugh harder, louder and more often than All in the Family, Norman Lear's incredibly gutsy 1970s sitcom revolving around a surly, working-class, malapropism-prone bigot named Archie Bunker (brilliantly portrayed by the late, great Carroll O'Connor), whose old-school beliefs continually clashed with a fast-changing modern world.

 

Add to the mix Archie's cheerful, good-hearted "Dingbat" of a wife, Edith (played with equal brilliance by Jean Stapleton), their daughter, Gloria (Sally Struthers), and Gloria's husband, Mike "Meathead" Stivic (Rob Reiner), a liberal who disagreed with the ultra-conservative Archie on almost everything, and you have a TV classic that is arguably the funniest sitcom ever.

 

By the sixth season (1975-1976) of All in the Family, the Jeffersons had moved on up to their own show, and Frank Lorenzo (Vincent Gardenia) had suddenly disappeared without any explanation, leaving Irene Lorenzo (Betty Garrett) to appear by herself in a handful of episodes.

 

Mike and Gloria finally moved out of the Bunker household at 704 Hauser Street, only to move into what was formerly the Jefferson's residence next door.  And a large part of the sixth season is devoted to the anticipation and arrival of Mike and Gloria's first child (Baby Joey), and Mike's battles with Archie over how to raise the child.

 

Memorably outrageous moments of the sixth season include Archie saving the life of a "woman" who turns out to be a transvestite named Beverly LaSalle; Archie arriving at the hospital for the birth of Gloria's baby in blackface after having been hurriedly whisked away from a minstrel show in which he was performing; and Archie taking his baby grandson to be baptized without Mike and Gloria's permission.  The complete episode listing is as follows:

 

The Very Moving Day

Alone At Last

Archie, The Donor

Archie, The Hero

Mike's Pains

Chain Letter

Mike Faces Life

Edith Breaks Out

Grandpa Blues

Gloria Suspects Mike

The Little Atheist

Archie's Civil Rights

Gloria Is Nervous

The Baby (Two Parts)

New Year's Wedding

Archie, The Babysitter

Archie Finds A Friend

Mike's Move

Archie's Weighty Problem

Love By Appointment

Joey's Baptism

Gloria & Mike's House Guests

Edith’s Night Out

 

 

Few shows have sustained this high level of hilarity into their sixth season, but All in the Family had a lot more going for it than just jokes; it was about a quartet of very human characters that many of us genuinely came to love -- I, for one, never tire of watching most of the show's 212 episodes even though I've seen most of them at least five times by now.  And it's nice to once again see the episodes on DVD in their entirety after often having moments edited out in reruns.

 

This also marked the last of six consecutive seasons since its 1971 debut in which All in the Family ranked as the No. 1 show on television -- it still remained very popular, but slipped to No. 12, No. 4 and No. 9 in the Nielsen ratings in its subsequent three seasons, respectively.

 

This is the sixth of nine seasons of All in the Family released on DVD to date by Sony -- the first of four seasons of Archie Bunker's Place is also currently available.  Season Six consists of 24 episodes (all presented in the original 1.33:1 full-frame format) included on 3 discs, plus a booklet with a brief synopsis of each episode.  The 2” reel-to-reel NTSC masters look decent in these tradedowns, if not perfect.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is also good, with very little variance from episode to episode in playback quality.  Outside of that booklet, there are no extras.

 

 

-   Chuck O'Leary


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