Sally Struthers thought Gloria should have had a job on All in the Family
Sally Struthers had a few ideas for her character on All in the Family. Including one idea that came true.
Sally Struthers was on TV every Saturday night while households all over the country tuned in to watch her story expand on All in the Family. As viewers watched Gloria Bunker-Stivic's story transform, Struthers watched herself in the role, and had a few suggestions for the writers.
In a 1972 interview with The Shreveport Journal, Struthers explained why her character had very little development for most of the nine seasons of All in the Family.
"Gloria is just as lazy as [her] husband Mike," Struthers said. "An only child, Gloria has been babied for so long, she just wouldn't be able to make the break. She doesn't polish silver, dust or cook, and I'll bet Gloria even avoids making the bed. So moving out doesn't make sense."
Struthers was happy with being a minor part of the family. However, she would try to fight for change. Struthers talked to the writers about her story and how they could propel it forward.
She wanted more than just the line: "That you, Mike?"
"I'm not a writer," she said. "But I like the idea of Gloria getting a job to help out. A lot of funny things could happen with that premise."
We could only imagine what would have happened if they allowed all of Struthers' storylines to come to life. But one pitch to the writers actually worked in her favor.
Around this time, Struthers was in a whirlwind romance in real life. This inspired her to ask writers about her character, Gloria, getting pregnant. Would it be written into the show?
According to Struthers, this was their response: "Great. And if you time it right, Gloria could give birth on a Tuesday." (series weekly taping night)
"Lucille Ball did it and made TV history," she said. "There's a difference though. Lucille Ball is taller and could carry it well. I'd be as big out as up."
Struthers had a lot of experience in acting after All in the Family's nine seasons, but according to a 1972 interview with Press and Sun-Bulletin, acting wasn't her first choice for a career.
Struthers became superstitious after she noticed a pattern: All in the Family was her third big project, it was her third career choice, and it had her believing that the third time was the charm.
"From now on," she said. "I'm going to try and figure out a way to skip number one and two."
Watch All in the Family on MeTV!
Two full hours!
Sundays at 8 PM*available in most MeTV markets
In many Series, the core characters have a purpose. Frasier is a perfect example of truly ensemble acting. And that's because when the foursome interacts in different pairs, doing so brings out another facet of the main character. The brothers have a very, very close relationship but platonic. Niles and Daphne have the equivalent for obvious reasons. And the friendships that are either playful, paternal, or clever are spread out, to create more interest.
What's the point? The rotating dynamic not only provides endless storylines (plots), but imagination. So that some stories offer fantasy at times (through dreams).
AITF is single-character driven. It's Archie's world, and everyone lives in his. Gloria couldn't have a job, unless she worked in Archie's Place. But not mixing up the situations more often, I think takes some of the dynamic (potential) away from the supporting characters. Like, Mike is 𝒂𝒍𝒘𝒂𝒚𝒔 conflicting and self-righteous. But he could've existed even without Gloria. She was there for him to express conversation (dialogue) in spite of Archie. And Edith was too dominated 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 Archie. If the characters are viewed as underdogs (prevailing in spite of their deficiencies & limitations) then I guess it was a success. The novelty of Carroll O'Connor (who made it so believable) is what drove the Show. And the talent of Reiner saved a lot of the scenes because of such intensity. Granted, there's no doubt about all the acclamations the Series received. And easy to see why MeTV brought it into its own family of Classic TV (pun intended)! And many viewers are happy about!! 😉
I left out that I have a number of seasons of NCIS, Person of Interest, Family Guy, The Simpsons, Pinky and the Brain, Animaniacs, Tiny Toon Adventures, the full series of Are You Being Served... The full collection of Three Stooges shorts (and most of their movies), The Looney Tunes Collection... and I forget if I'd noted Season 1 of Lost in Space...
Now don't get me started on my classic movies...