Sunday, June 24, 2001

Carroll O'Connor

With the recent death of Carroll O'Connor, the actor who portrayed Archie Bunker, TV Land broadcast forty-eight hours of All in the Family this past weekend.

I didn't watch this show when I was growing up, but I know that it brought my parents much laughter. At the time of the show's run (1971-1979), I wasn't even a teen-ager, and besides, All in the Family seemed to be full of 'adult' humor. By the time I got to college, Archie Bunker was just so much trivia.

But a few months ago, TV Land ran an all-weekend marathon of All in the Family. Jenn tuned in, and we watched almost twenty episodes. I was amazed at the marvelously current, and direct humor on the show. I was also touched by the poignant episodes, most especially the one in which Archie has to say good-bye to Mike, Gloria, and Joey, because they were moving to California. There is one moment in this episode in which Edith comes from the kitchen, and sees Archie wiping away tears. She doubles back into the kitchen, then calls out to Archie "I'm bringing you a beer! Here I come!". Archie has collected himself, but still can't bear to look at Edith. "Here's your beer, Archie." "Just leave it there, Edith". They then turn inward, realizing just how much they're going to miss their daugther, son-in-law, and grand-son.

I saw this episode again tonight, and damn if I didn't start crying. Would I have gotten this at ten years old? Maybe. But I definitely 'get it' now. Good-bye Carroll O'Connor.

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