Archie Bunker

Infobox character
name = Archie Bunker

caption = Archie Bunker
first = "Meet the Bunkers"
last = "I'm Torn Here"
cause = End of the series
gender = Male
age = 50 (in 1974)
born = 1924
occupation = Blue-collar worker (loading dock foreman, janitor, and taxi driver}
Bar Owner (1979-)
family = David Bunker (father)
Sarah Bunker, née Longstreet (mother)
Michael Stivic (son-in-law)
Joey Stivic (grandson)
Alfred Bunker (brother)
Philip Bunker (brother)
Linda Bunker (niece)
Barbara Lee "Billie" Bunker (niece)
Katherine Bunker (sister-in-law)
Oscar (cousin)
spouse = Edith Baines Bunker (1948-1980, her death [Declared dead a month earlier of the premiere episode of the second season of "Archie Bunker's Place", in 1980.] )
children = Gloria Bunker Stivic (daughter)
episode = 198 (All in the Family)
97 (Archie Bunker's Place)
portrayer = Carroll O'Connor
creator = Norman Lear

Archibald "Archie" Bunker was a fictional character in the long-running and top-rated American television sitcom "All in the Family" and its spin-off "Archie Bunker's Place". He was a reactionary, bigoted, blue-collar worker and family man, played to acclaim by Carroll O'Connor. The Bunker character was first seen by the American public when "All in the Family" premiered in January 1971. In 1979, the show was retooled and re-named "Archie Bunker’s Place", finally going off the air in 1983. Bunker lived in the borough of Queens in New York City. "TV Guide" once named Archie the greatest television character of all time.

"All in the Family" got many of its laughs by playing on Archie's bigotry, although the dynamic tension between Archie and his left-wing son-in-law, Michael "Meathead" Stivic (Rob Reiner), provided an ongoing political and social sounding board for a variety of topics.

The inspiration for Archie Bunker was Alf Garnett, the character from the BBC sitcom "Till Death Us Do Part", on which "All in the Family" was based. Archie, in turn, was an inspiration for Eric Cartman [ [ Matt Stone, Trey Parker, Larry Divney 'Speaking Freely' transcript (Recorded March 1, 2002, in Aspen, Colo.)] ] of "South Park".

In 2005, Archie Bunker was listed as number 1 on Bravo's 100 Greatest TV Characters [ [ The 100 Greatest TV Characters according to BravoTV.] ] , defeating runners-up such as Lucy Ricardo, Fonzie, and Homer Simpson.

Character traits

During the series' run, it would be revealed that, while he did disagree with his son-in-law's political views, much of his resentment stemmed from the fact that Mike was attending college and would be able to chart his own successful future, while Archie was forced to drop out of high school during the Great Depression to help support his family. Episode "Everybody Tells the Truth" showed very clearly that "both" Archie and Mike were not above twisting the truth to make minorities into stereotypes. Interestingly it is Edith who exposes both Archie and Mike's prejudices – yet neither Archie nor Mike will admit the truth.

While locked in the storeroom of "Archie's Place" with Mike in the episode , Archie confides (after getting drunk) that he was a poor kid who was teased in school for coming to class wearing one shoe and one boot, since his family could not afford to buy him new footwear. ("They called me Shoe-Bootie.") In the same episode, it becomes clear that Archie was also an abused child — yet he then goes on to vehemently defend his father who he says loved him and taught him "right from wrong." He was also a World War II veteran whom had been based in Foggia Italy. During a visit with a doctor it is learned that he had an undistinguished military record for his non-combat ground role in the Air Corps, which by then was a branch subordinate to the Army Air Forces. Archie often insisted that he was a member of the Air Corps.

In spite of his numerous flaws, Archie was simultaneously portrayed as being basically decent and, rather than motivated by genuine malice, a product of the time in which he was raised. In the episode "Archie and the KKK," for example, Archie is invited to join a secret club - the Kweens Kouncil of Krusaders - which turns out to be a local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. In spite of his inherent discomfort around people of color, Archie responds with genuine revulsion at the group's violent methods, and attempts to thwart a cross burning. It should also be noted that as the years went on, Archie grew more accepting of people different from himself, albeit partially out of necessity. For example, in 1978, the character became the guardian of Edith's nine-year old niece, Stephanie (Danielle Brisebois), and when it was revealed that Stephanie was Jewish (episode 197), Bunker accepted her faith. Ironically, Archie's dislike of Mike Stivic as a son-in-law would be justified when in the spin-off "Gloria" it is revealed that Mike abandons both his wife and son to live with a flower child.

Viewer reactions

Such was the name recognition and societal influence of the Bunker character that by 1972 commentators were discussing the "Archie Bunker vote" (i.e., the voting bloc comprised of urban, white, working-class men) in that year's presidential election; in the same year, there was a parody election campaign, complete with T-shirts, campaign buttons, and bumper stickers advocating "Archie Bunker for President." In the show, Archie strongly supported President Richard M. Nixon, of whom he often spoke very highly, incorrectly calling him "Richard E. Nixon." He was also an early supporter of Ronald Reagan, writing him in on the ballot for the 1976 election, and threatening Mike that "he'll have Reagan in '80," predicting his win in 1980. The character's imprint on American culture is such that Archie Bunker's name is still being used in the media to describe a certain group of voters who will vote in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. [] [ [ The Archie Bunker strategy? | Philadelphia Daily News | 03/13/2008 ] ]

The term "Archie Bunker-ism," or just "Archie-ism," was also coined during the show's run to refer to the many malapropisms, such as "groin-acologist" for "gynecologist," that Bunker used on the series.

After the episode in which Archie's opposition to the KKK was made evident, several watchdog groups became upset; they believed that the show shouldn't have "humanized" what they viewed as a racist. They believed that Archie should be kept thoroughly unlikable.Fact|date=August 2008

Bunker was originally planned by creator Norman Lear to be very disliked, and Lear was shocked when Bunker quietly became a beloved figure to much of middle America. Lear thought that the opinions of Bunker on race, sex, marriage, and religion were so wrong and incorrect as to represent a parody of right wing bigotry; instead, Bunker's thoughts accurately reflected the mindset of some of the viewing audience. In fact, Sammy Davis, Jr., who was both black and Jewish, genuinely liked the character; he felt that Bunker's "bigotry" was based on his rough life experiences and also was honest and forthright in his opinions, and showed an openness to change his views if an individual treated him right (Davis in fact appeared on All in the Family to tell Bunker's character this).

Archie's racism had strongly subsided by the time "Archie Bunker's Place" began in 1979. During that program's second season, he hired a black nanny, Ellen Canby, for Stephanie and became fond of her. In one episode, Archie punched a man for making a remark about her and was thrown out for good from the lodge he had attended since the early days of "All in the Family".


* The only clue to Archie Bunker's father's occupation is the railroad watch, belonging to their father, that Archie's brother Fred gives to Archie.
* Archie Bunker served in the Army Air Corps in Foggia, Italy during World War II. Carroll O'Connor served in the United States Merchant Marine.
* Archie's character voice was created by a mix of accents Carroll O'Connor heard while studying acting in New York City.Fact|date=October 2007

Popular and academic use of the concept

* In 1989, British musicians, The KLF, released a single called "Kylie Said to Jason." The song makes reference to "the Archie Bunker show" and other sitcoms.
* Archie and Edith Bunker's living room chairs are featured in an exhibit at the National Museum of American History.
* Philosopher Paul de Man used Archie to show that language is not in the first place "logical" or even "meaningful," but rhetorical. Rhetoric, in his view, always tends to suspend logic and subvert any clear meaning. He uses the example: "When asked by his wife whether he wants to have his bowling shoes laced over or laced under, Archie Bunker answers with a question: 'What's the difference?' His wife replies by patiently explaining the difference between lacing over and lacing under, but provokes only ire. 'What's the difference?' did not ask for the difference but means instead 'I don't give a damn what the difference is." [Citation from the episode of "All in the Family".]
* There is a groove metal band named Archie Bunker.
* In Israel, where the series (with Hebrew subtitles) was extremely popular, television presenter and politician Yosef Lapid was on several occasions compared with Archie Bunker, both because of physical resemblance to O'Connor and because of making some remarks which commentators on the left regarded as bigoted and demagogic.
* According to South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, Bunker had an influence on the design of Eric Cartman.


ee also

*"All in the Family"
*"Archie Bunker's Place"
*Edith Bunker
*List of "All in the Family" episodes

External links

* [ Archie Bunker information at]
* [ The Bunkers' chairs at the National Museum of American History]

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