I LOVE LUCY
DICK VAN DYKE
MARY TYLER MOORE
ALL IN THE FAMILY
The Classic Sitcoms Guide to...
All in the Family
Season Seven: 1976-77
1976-77: THE SEVENTH SEASON
Year-End Rating: 22.9 (12th place)
The fury of the early years has largely evaporated by
the seventh season as the writers exploit the rich personalities of
the central cast in well-crafted character comedies that take full advantage
of the show's rock-solid ensemble.
Mort Lachman joins the staff as executive producer for
the show's last three seasons, and Milt Josefsberg takes over as producer.
The pair also serve as script supervisors. Larry Rhine and Mel Tolkin
are executive story editors, and Douglas Arango and Phil Doran are the
seventh-year story editors.
Edith leaves Archie when she finds out that he dated a
flirtatious waitress while she was volunteering at the Sunshine Home.
Edith forgives Archie's indiscretion after Mike and Gloria
bring the two together for an emotional reunion.
The events of this classic two-parter would color the
Bunkers' relationship for some time to come. The subject would arise
only on rare occasions--but in the aftermath of Archie's mistake, the
couple shared a renewed tenderness that would carry them through the
final three seasons.
Archie's self-esteem takes a beating when he loses his
job on the loading dock.
A college grad threatens to commit suicide after he loses
a janitor's job to Archie.
Archie's trip to the hospital is an ethnic nightmare:
He's admitted by a Puerto Rican receptionist, treated by a Jewish physician,
and is forced to accept a blood transfusion from a black doctor!
Liz Torres makes her first appearance as Teresa Betancourt,
who would shortly become the Bunkers' boarder.
Archie recuperates in record time after he's called back
to work--with a raise and a promotion.
Danny Dayton appears as Hank Pivnik, one of Archie's
pals who would frequent Kelcy's Bar and, later, Archie's Place.
As a practical joke, Archie fixes up one of his drinking
buddies with female impersonator Beverly LaSalle.
Lori Shannon returns for another round of tired theatrics
as the showgirl Archie once saved with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
The Bunkers take in a boarder to help revive their battered
The Bunkers are stunned to hear that Mike and Gloria plan
to appoint another couple as Joey's legal guardians in their will.
Edith saves a man's life and becomes the toast of the
town, but Archie isn't happy standing in the shadow of her limelight.
Edith discovers that Archie once had a brief encounter
with an old high school friend she's invited to dinner.
Estelle Parsons would be typecast as the show's lady
of dubious virtue. After playing the woman with a checkered past in
this episode, she returned in the ninth season as Barney Hefner's comically
Archie enters Joey in a newspaper's beautiful-baby contest,
against the express wishes of Mike and Gloria.
The series had become much less topical in later years,
and many stories--like this one--revolved around the classic domestic
situation of two married couples who are best friends and next-door
neighbors. The show's occasional resemblance to I Love Lucy--albeit
with the roles reversed and the focus now on the older couple--wasn't
entirely coincidental. Many of All in the Family's current writers
had formerly scripted the redhead's video misadventures. Lou Derman
and Bill Davenport even wrote for Lucy's earliest radio sitcom, My
Favorite Husband, before joining Milt Josefsberg many years later
on Here's Lucy. And Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf, who joined
All in the Family in the eighth season, were two-fifths of the
writing team on the original I Love Lucy.
Gloria insists that Mike get the vasectomy he's talked
about for years.
Sparks fly when Mike invites a former draft resister to
the Bunkers' Christmas dinner, where the guest of honor is the father
of a vet who was killed in Vietnam.
The war returns as a topic of controversy in an unexpected
homage to the kitchen-table fireworks of the earliest episodes, now
invested with the deeper emotional coloration typical of the show's
later period. Instead of contributing to the predictable battle of clashing
viewpoints, the bereaved father surprises everyone with an impassioned
plea for amnesty.
Try as he might, even Archie can't remain unmoved. He
agrees to mull the issue over in his mind and then, in frustration,
retreats to the front porch to berate a festive chorus of carolers.
But the singing continues, and in the final shot of this classic episode,
Archie stands alone, a bewildered Scrooge, unable to snuff out the last
candle of hope.
The Bunkers return home unexpectedly to find Teresa in
bed with her boyfriend.
Much as the producers tried to establish Teresa as the
Bunkers' surrogate daughter, the chemistry just wasn't there--and the
boarder quietly moved out at the close of the season.
Archie's beloved easy chair ends up in an art museum after
the repair shop accidentally sells it to a modern artist.
Archie's chair actually did end up in a museum: no less
than the Smithsonian Institution. At the request of a Congressional
committee, Norman Lear donated the Bunkers' living-room ensemble to
the Smithsonian's permanent collection at the close of the eighth season.
Mike asserts his independence by leaving Gloria behind
while he joins his friends on a weekend skiing trip.
Archie reluctantly agrees to deliver Stretch Cunningham's
eulogy, unaware that his departed friend was Jewish.
Edith sneaks a peek at a best-selling sex manual and decides
that her romantic life could stand a little perking up.
Archie's squirming--and Edith's squeamishness--aside,
All in the Family was the first TV series to openly acknowledge
a healthy sexual relationship shared by a middle-aged couple. As incredible
as it seems, before the Bunkers, television's married couples--young
or old--always slept in twin beds.
Mike feels guilty for punching a man on the subway, even
though he acted in defense of Gloria.
Archie tries to collect on a fraudulent insurance claim
after a small fire breaks out in the upstairs bathroom.
Mike spends a night with Archie after a fight with Gloria.
When his lodge comes under fire for discrimination, Archie
tries to knock off two quotas at once by courting a black Jew for membership.
Archie accidentally runs over Barney Hefner's dog.