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The Classic Sitcoms Guide to...
All in the Family
Season Two: 1971-72



THE PILOT EPISODES: 1968-69
SEASON ONE: 1970-71
SEASON TWO: 1971-72
SEASON THREE: 1972-73
SEASON FOUR: 1973-74
SEASON FIVE: 1974-75
SEASON SIX: 1975-76
SEASON SEVEN: 1976-77
SEASON EIGHT: 1977-78
SEASON NINE: 1978-79
CREDITS
EMMY AWARDS

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Season Two of "All in the Family" on Video or DVD

1971-72: THE SECOND SEASON

Year-End Rating: 34.0 (1st place)

Archie's confounding opinions help anchor the series at the top of the ratings in the show's second year, but the family emerges as the star of the show in second-season episodes that paint a bizarre but believable portrait of one man's family, 1970's-style.

Joining producer Norman Lear are script supervisors Michael Ross and Bernie West, who, along with Don Nicholl, contribute most of the show's best early scripts. Writers Phil Mishkin and Lee Kalcheim also make significant contributions in the second year.


14 The Saga of Cousin Oscar    First Aired: September 18, 1971
Writers: Burt Styler, Norman Lear
Story: Burt Styler
Director: John Rich
Guest Stars: Jack Grimes, Will B. Able, Peggy Rea, Connie Sawyer, Billy Benedict

Archie is incensed when his sponging cousin Oscar has the nerve to drop dead in the upstairs bedroom.


15 Gloria Poses in the Nude    First Aired: September 25, 1971
Writers: Michael Ross, Bernie West, Norman Lear
Director: John Rich
Guest Star: David Soul

Mike has second thoughts after he agrees to let Gloria pose as a nude model for one of his artist friends.


16 Archie in the Lock-Up    First Aired: October 2, 1971
Writers: Paul Wayne, Michael Ross, Bernie West
Story: Paul Wayne
Director: John Rich
Guest Stars: Allan Melvin, Ken Lynch, Kelly Houser, Corey Fischer

Archie suffers his ultimate indignity when he's arrested along with a group of radicals at a protest rally.


17 Edith Writes a Song    First Aired: October 9, 1971
Writer: Lee Kalcheim
Director: John Rich
Guest Stars: Cleavon Little, Demond Wilson

A pair of burglars holds the family at bay with Archie's own pistol.

The homebreakers are Tony Award winner Cleavon Little and Demond Wilson, who would join Redd Foxx as co-star of NBC's midseason smash, Sanford and Son.


18 Flashback: Mike Meets Archie    First Aired: October 16, 1971
Writers: Philip Mishkin, Rob Reiner
Director: John Rich

On the Stivics' first wedding anniversary, the family recalls the day Archie and Michael met.

Ironically, by the time Archie launches into a chorus of "God Bless America" to defy his unwanted dinner guest, the script has already established that the pair's differences have little to do with their conflicting ideologies. Actually, Archie dislikes Mike far more for being the interloper who's come to take away his little girl. As Norman Lear observed, "It doesn't really matter what the men say--the audience is watching a father and his son-in-law. The behavior is what's important."

By the second season, Archie has emerged in a more sympathetic light. An insecure man facing middle age in a world that's changing much too quickly, he's terrified of the new society that his son-in-law envisions, afraid there won't be any place in it for him. In defense, he clings stubbornly to the prejudices of a bygone era that suddenly looks very rosy. It's an attitude that makes the short verse he sings at the start of every episode ring with plaintive irony: "Guys like us, we had it made. Those were the days."


19 The Election Story    First Aired: October 30, 1971
Writers: Michael Ross, Bernie West
Director: John Rich
Guest Stars: Barbara Cason, Frank Whiteman, Ida McKenzie, Robert Gibbons

Mike and Gloria campaign for the liberal candidate in a local election, while Archie places himself in the opposing camp.


20 Edith's Accident    First Aired: November 6, 1971
Writers: Michael Ross, Bernie West
Story: Tom and Helen August
Director: John Rich
Guest Star: Barnard Hughes

A priest pays a call to reward Edith's honesty for leaving a note on his car after she accidentally dents it with a large can of cling peaches.


21 The Blockbuster    First Aired: November 13, 1971
Writers: Austin and Irma Kalish, Michael Ross, Bernie West
Story: Austin and Irma Kalish
Director: John Rich
Guest Stars: Jack Crowder, Peggy Rea

An unscrupulous black real-estate salesman tempts Archie to sell his house to a black family at an inflated price.


22 Mike's Problem    First Aired: November 20, 1971
Writers: Alan J. Levitt, Philip Mishkin
Story: Alan J. Levitt
Director: John Rich
Guest Stars: Brendon Dillon, Mel Stewart

Gloria is upset when Mike's nervousness over his grades causes him to become temporarily impotent.

This story met with greater network resistance than had any script since the original pilot. "CBS didn't want that show done at all," Norman Lear told interviewers Horace Newcomb and Robert Alley in their book The Producer's Medium. "It was the first time that I said, 'If you know what America wants and what America will fall apart over--then you produce the show.' At the last moment they allowed us to make the show. Nothing happened, the network didn't fall apart. States did not secede from the union. America even liked it."


23 The Insurance Is Canceled    First Aired: November 27,1971
Writers: Lee Kalcheim, Michael Ross, Bernie West
Story: Lee Kalcheim
Director: John Rich
Guest Stars: Philip Proctor, Rafael Campos

Archie lays off a Puerto Rican worker during a cutback at the dock; and his homeowner's policy is canceled when his neighborhood is redlined as a bad risk.


24 The Man in the Street    First Aired: December 4, 1971
Writers: Lennie Weinrib, Paul Harrison, Don Nicholl
Story: Lennie Weinrib, Paul Harrison
Director: John Rich
Guest Stars: Jack Griffin, Neil J. Schwartz, Bob Hastings

Archie Bunker anticipates becoming the voice of the American working man when his man-on-the-street interview is scheduled to appear on Walter Cronkite's Evening News.

Bob Hastings, the sniveling Lieutenant Carpenter from McHale's Navy, would appear as Tommy Kelcy, the proprietor of Archie's favorite watering hole, until it changed hands in the eighth year.


25 Cousin Maude's Visit    First Aired: December 11, 1971
Writers: Philip Mishkin, Michael Ross, Bernie West
Story: Philip Mishkin
Director: John Rich
Guest Star: Bea Arthur

Edith's feisty cousin, Maude, drops in for a visit during a flu epidemic at the Bunker House.

Like many All in the Family guest stars, Bea Arthur was a successful New York actress whom Norman Lear recruited to play a particularly juicy role--Edith's twice-divorced and fearlessly outspoken cousin, Maude, the first woman to fight Archie Bunker to a standoff. The sparks that erupted during their confrontation weren't lost on CBS program chief Fred Silverman, who convinced the producers that they'd stumbled onto something. Maude premiered the following fall, the first spin-off in what would become Norman Lear's prime-time dynasty.


26 Christmas Day at the Bunkers    First Aired: December 18, 1971
Writer: Don Nicholl
Director: John Rich
Guest Stars: Peggy Doyle, Noam Pitlik, Mel Stewart, Isabel Sanford

Archie casts a pall on the family's Yuletide spirits when he complains that he was passed over for this year's Christmas bonus.


27 The Elevator Story    First Aired: January 1, 1972
Writer: Alan J. Levitt
Director: John Rich
Guest Stars: Roscoe Lee Browne, Eileen Brennan, Hector Elizondo, Edith Diaz

Archie gets caught in an elevator, along with a pregnant Puerto Rican and her husband, an aging hippie, and an erudite black businessman.

Naturally, the expectant mother gives birth while stranded in the elevator. But instead of the unbearable slapstick TV has taught us to expect from such stock situations, we're treated to a privileged moment. As each of the passengers succumbs to the charm of the newborn infant, even Archie Bunker drops his defenses long enough to join the spontaneous celebration of a new life, and we see the birth through his eyes.

According to Carroll O'Connor, that sublime moment wasn't even written into the original script. "The situation was thought to be a real howl," the actor wrote in TV Guide. "I was sure the way it was written, crudely and incredibly, would evoke audience revulsion." The solution came only after the actor stormed off the set, the pages of his script scattered on the floor. Producer Norman Lear intervened and finally convinced him to join the other actors in improvising a new ending, coached by Lear and director John Rich. Their revisions were incorporated into the final episode, and as O'Connor recalls, "We found a way to save the childbirth and make it a touching sequence."


28 Edith's Problem    First Aired: January 8, 1972
Writer: Burt Styler
Story: Burt Styler, Steve Zacharias
Director: John Rich
Guest Star: Jeannie Linero

Edith is suddenly moody and irritable with the approach of menopause.

A welcome stretch for Emmy winner Jean Stapleton. The actress had such a firm grasp on Edith's personality that even the severe mood swings brought on by her hot flashes seem absolutely in character. By the second year, the writers played catch-up to keep pace with Stapleton's portrayal, which had evolved to a depth that was barely suggested in the early scripts.


29 Archie and the FBI    First Aired: January 15, 1972
Writers: Michael Ross, Bernie West, Susan Harris
Director: John Rich
Guest Stars: Graham Jarvis, Larry Grundy, John Korkes

Archie's paranoia during a mysterious government investigation drives him to betray a long-standing friendship.

What separates All in the Family from so many later, vastly inferior imitations--a few of them produced at Norman Lear's factory--was that the writers rarely felt compelled to tack on a tidy or simple resolution. This allegory of the McCarthy era witch-hunts is no exception. Once Archie and his neighbor betray each other over what amounts to a routine investigation, it's already too late to shake hands and make up. So they don't. Instead, Archie sits alone and contemplates his tragic folly with the halfhearted rationalization "All that best-buddy stuff . . . that's all for kids anyhow."


30 Mike's Mysterious Son    First Aired: January 22, 1972
Writer: Warren Murray
Director: John Rich
Guest Stars: Marcia Rodd, Stephen Manley

An old girlfriend of Mike's suddenly arrives at the Bunkers' with a four-year-old boy who she claims is his son.


31 Archie Sees a Mugging    First Aired: January 29, 1972
Writers: Philip Mishkin, Don Nicholl
Story: Henry Garson
Director: John Rich
Guest Stars: Jack Somack, Val Bisoglio, Frank Campanella, Bill Macy

Archie refuses to get involved with the police, even though he's the only witness to a neighborhood mugging.


32 Archie and Edith Alone    First Aired: February 5, 1972
Writers: Lee Kalcheim, Michael Ross, Bernie West
Story: Tina and Les Pine
Director: John Rich
Guest Star: Connie Sawyer

The Bunkers are on their own for eight days after Mike and Gloria go off to spend a week at a commune.

The series's most accomplished comic drama to date, a twenty-three-minute sketch that offers a touching look at the rich fabric of a marriage that's still going strong after a quarter of a century. After Mike and Gloria go off to find their utopian dream of a week's stay at a mountain commune, the camera lingers behind on Archie and Edith as they settle down to face the more commonplace realities of their own life together. In the aftermath of a tense quarrel, they quietly share the litany of lost dreams and failed promises they've both endured over the years, as they come to realize what a gift their durable union has been. By the time Mike and Gloria come trudging home, disillusioned by their tour of Shangri-La, Archie and Edith are swaying to the strains of "The Moonlight Serenade" on Edith's phonograph. They may not have found utopia either, but they've come awfully close.


33 Edith Gets a Mink    First Aired: February 12, 1972
Writers: Elias Davis, Dave Pollack, Don Nicholl
Story: David Pollack, Elias Davis
Director: John Rich
Guest Stars: Rae Allen, Richard Dysart

Archie is too proud to let Edith accept a mink stole from her cousin Amelia, until he sees a chance to make a $300 profit.


34 Sammy's Visit    First Aired: February 19, 1972
Writer: Bill Dana
Director: John Rich
Guest Stars: Sammy Davis, Jr., Billy Halop, Fay De Witt, Keri Shutleton

Sammy Davis, Jr., encounters Archie Bunker in all his glory when the star ventures out to Queens to retrieve a briefcase he left in Munson's taxicab.

When the producers discovered that Sammy Davis, Jr. was a big fan of the series, they couldn't resist inviting the diminutive star to meet Archie on camera. According to director John Rich, Archie's part-time job as a cab driver was introduced in an earlier episode largely to set up a plausible excuse for the famous nightclub performer to enter the Bunkers' Queens living room in this one.


35 Edith the Judge    First Aired: February 26, 1972
Writer: Lee Kalcheim
Director: John Rich
Guest Star: Jack Weston

Edith arbitrates a dispute between Archie and the irate proprietor of a laundromat.


36 Archie Is Jealous    First Aired: March 4, 1972
Writer: Rod Parker
Director: John Rich
Guest Star: Brendon Dillon

Archie is disturbed to discover that Edith once spent an entire weekend with an old beau.


37 Maude    First Aired: March 11, 1972
Writer: Rod Parker
Director: John Rich
Guest Stars: Beatrice Arthur, Bill Macy, Marcia Rodd, Bob Dishy, Bernie West

The Bunkers attend the wedding of cousin Maude's daughter, Carol.

This episode served as the pilot for Maude. In the series, Maude's daughter would be played by Adrienne Barbeau.

 

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