Is it time for a new Archie Bunker?

A bold proposal for a modern sitcom icon

This article is in no way advocating for a reboot of All In the Family. There's no need to remake that series, as it exists perfectly already. However, decades after the show's heyday, there is nothing like it across the television landscape. A new Archie Bunker-like character could spark more than nostalgia; we need a cultural lightning rod to reflect the shifting cultural landscape. While nobody will ever be able to replicate Carroll O'Connor, an Archie for the modern era could offer a fresh perspective. 

Television has changed a lot since All In the Family. Character dynamics have evolved, and so have the types of characters we accept as protagonists. When the show originally aired, characters like Don Draper and Tony Soprano were unheard of. Now, screenwriters continue to push the boundaries of "likeability" as they explore exactly what their audiences will root for. As viewers, we've grown to allow entire networks filled with characters who challenge the status quo. Few characters, though, have dared to challenge beliefs about race, class, and gender in the way Archie Bunker would.

Audiences react strongly when they see something that feels authentic. Far too frequently, we're presented with black-and-white morality. There are characters on TV that are completely good, and there are characters that are completely bad. We even see arcs that take a protagonist from one end of the spectrum to the other. But, we don't have a ton of shows that offer us more complex, authentic individuals that reflect the times in the way Archie did. 

This new character would not be without its challenges, obviously. As norms have changed over the years, people have become more aware of the ways attitudes and words can affect others. Viewers are more sensitive to things than they were when All In the Family aired and might be concerned with the relevance of a character like Archie Bunker. But without a show that builds on All in The Family, the audience is denied the important chance for nuanced discussion.

Having a character like Archie on TV today would allow for conversation and connection over lots of things that currently divide us. 

As TV continues to evolve, there are very few shows that push us to interrogate what we believe and why. More than ever, right now, there is space and a need for characters who reflect societal complexities using comedy. By embracing a character like Archie Bunker and adapting to modern sensibilities, a new show could build upon the legacy of All in The Family while creating meaningful discussion that brings us all together. 

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32 Comments

JHP 1 month ago
I got this stick and I am gonna hit the hornet's nest - we have that person already
IndianaRockz 1 month ago
There just aren't any network comedy shows on anymore that can be tuned into every week on such-a-such-night that you could look forward to watching. Geez, growing up I watched all kinds of half hour fun weekly comedy shows from All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Good Times, Sanford & Son, Bewitched & I Dream of Jeannie re-runs, the list goes on & on. Now there's nothing but batchelor/ette shows with barely dressed people running around making out or about 10 CSI/crime-version shows which are usually sex/gore related so what happened to just fun, non-trashy half hour comedy shows ?? So, I choose to watch MeTV, A LOT. 😁
AGREED! Would you believe right now there are only 9 sitcoms on the Big 3 networks COMBINED? Also, the highest rated is the unwatchable Young Sheldon, which thankfully ends this year! The only real outlet for prime time humor are Fox cartoons! At least we have cable and streaming!
PS I watch MeTV, MeTV+,H&I and Catchy Comedy! Thank goodness for Frndly, which also gives me GSN and Movies!
JHP IndianaRockz 1 month ago
I'm third in this club. Kinda shows how inane young society is. I wouldnt watch todays "prime crime" tv for a W2. And that is why there is a Me-Tv...
JHP cperrynaples 1 month ago
Young Sheldon - I'd rather chop some ghost peppers and then go #1 than watch that tripe
DocForbin 1 month ago
Once again I just can't understand why millennials and Gen Zers think that AITF is racist. The whole point of the show was that you were to laugh AT Archie Bunker and his bigoted antics, not WITH him!
McGillahooala DocForbin 1 month ago
They think everything is racist. They’re brainwashed and nuts.
Unfortunately too many white racists thought Archie was the hero, this upset Carroll O'Connor.
Archie WAS racist, that was the point. Unfortunately too many white racists thought Archie was the hero, this upset Carroll O'Connor.
JHP DocForbin 1 month ago
amen a-roni - but in that era/eon topics of the media (news -either side) were semi neutral and now conflict drives ratings
CoreyC 1 month ago
We will never see an Archie Bunker or Al Bundy again.
SalIanni CoreyC 1 month ago
Funny you should mention that. I have always thought of Al Bundy as being the next Archie Bunker. Maybe it's time for a "Married With Children" reboot. You can call it "Married With Grandchildren".
CoreyC SalIanni 1 month ago
Won't happen because Christina Applegate aka Kelly Bundy has Multiple Sclerosis.
JHP CoreyC 1 month ago
yep and she was (as the rest of them) perfect for that show

I got a crush on her and always will
jodyh05 1 month ago
I say stop with the remakes. Hollywood can’t come up with anything new.
Andybandit 1 month ago
I don't think you could change the AB from that sitcom. It would not be the same, obviously
cperrynaples 1 month ago
I have the perfect setup for a reboot: Build the new show around Joey Stivic! He would be about the same age as Archie was in the '70's and I'd like to see if he took after his father or his grandfather! You could have guest appearances from Rob Reiner & Sally Struthers and there's more than enough satirical ammo from He Who Shall Not Be Named [And no I don't mean Voldermort...LOL] !
Great Idea! They should also have appearances by Stephanie and Billie.
Lol Lil Joey would be a grandfather 😄
No, Stephanie was a "Cousin Oliver" and Billie was Archie Bunker's Place! But yeah there could be a grandson! Would he be named Archie. Mike or Joey? Then again they could be triplets like Robbie Douglas had...LOL!
Bonus Question: On what '90's series did Joey appear as a 20-ish adult? Hint: It has a CLEAR connection to AITF!
Okay, it was 704 Hauser, and yes it was set in the old Bunker home! And here's my theory on John Amos: I believe James Evans faked his death,started a new family and moved to Queens...LOL!
WordsmithWorks 1 month ago
There is NO WAY an unedited All In The Family script could be used today. The sanitized, PC words that "Archie Bunker" would be forced to use would be an insult to the original. Just like Blazing Saddles could NEVER be remade, a reboot of All In The Family would be a laugher for all the wrong reasons.
Well, Jimmy Kimmel rebooted AITF TWICE and it did pretty good!
I like the Christmas episode with the draft dodger. Kevin Bacon did a great job as Pinky Peterson. The rest of the cast did a great job as well.
A sanitized version.
No, he was too old! Remember that Kimmel staged it as a period piece!
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