All in the Family‘s debut on Jan. 12, 1971, changed the landscape of television.
A bitingly funny sitcom, it also delved regularly and provocatively into the day’s social issues, including race, sexuality, women’s rights, politics, the presidency of Richard Nixon and more.
No other show before it (and maybe since) so successfully matched comedy and commentary while still finding genuinely touching human moments, as you’ll see in the below list, Those Were the Days: 10 Classic All in the Family Episodes.
Highlights from the groundbreaking TV sitcom include guest stars, confrontations and poignant moments. All in the Family itself was a launching pad for other great TV shows during the era. But none did it as well as the Norman Lear series that ran for nine seasons – pretty much the span of the ’70s, a decade the program came to define during its long, successful and award-winning run.
The cast itself – headed by Carroll O’Connor as patriarch Archie Bunker and ably assisted by Jean Stapleton as wife Edith, Sally Struthers as daughter Gloria and Rob Reiner as “Meathead” son-in-law Michael Stivic – was superb. But the writing and ability to touch on contemporary hot-button issues with humor and relevance are also key to the series’ legacy.
If you’re just beginning to explore the show, looking for reminders of its most memorable moments or just curious why it’s so highly regarded, Those Were the Days: 10 Classic All in the Family Episodes lays it all out, in no particular order.