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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Mrs. Bunker: the rock that held the family together

Edith Bunker was ready, and anxious to do anything for her husband. It was her calling, and she accepted it with joy. She was cheerful and early in the long run of this show, she did not seem to notice when she was despitefully used.

This was a show that either reflected its time or shaped its time, I'm not sure which. (I can say that I, as a micro example of the times, was influenced by television on multiple levels) Television is a very strong indoctinal tool, let no one deceive you.

All in the Family was first seen in January of 1971 and immediately changed the face of television. Not only was this the number one television series from 1971 through 1976, but it also signified an avalanche of other situation comedies that dealt with controversial subjects in realistic ways. Including, Chico & the Man, The Jeffersons, Maude, Good Times and Sanford & Son

The series centered around the Bunker family who lived in a home located at 704 Houser Street in Queens, New York. Archie Bunker was the main character, and what a character he was. He was televisons most famous bigot, crass and down right rude. Yet he was loveable, with a soft side just beneath the surface. Edith Bunker was his somewhat dizzy wife whom he called "Dingbat". Edith put up with Archie and had qualities about her that made her one of television's most unforgetable characters. Also living in the Bunker household were Archie and Edith's daughter, Gloria, and her husband Mike, or "Meathead" as Archie called him.

The stories revolved around many controversial topics including, rape, sex, homosexuality, death, and other topics that were relevant to the 1970's, especially political strife and inflation. Archie Bunker was probably the first character in a situation comedy to use racist remarks referring to blacks and other minorities, yet another first for television.

And, also:

Television was changed forever the night of Jan. 12, 1971, with the premiere episode of "All in the Family." The show's central character, Archie Bunker, was a working-class family man who held bigoted, conservative views of the world. His viewpoints clash with nearly everyone he comes into contact with especially his liberal son-in-law Mike Stivic (or, as Archie delights in calling him, "Meathead"). The two disagree about nearly everything politics, minorities, sex, religion, economics, war, gun control, crime, free speech, women's rights, morality, philosophy and (so it seemed) life in general. Archie's daughter, Gloria, often (but not always) sided with Mike, while his saintly wife, Edith, was the rock that held the family together. Edith was as friendly, reserved, considerate and open-minded as Archie was bigoted, loud, rude and closed-minded; however, the love and faithfulness between them was undeniable. ( )

As an aside, Archie Bunker was a characature. If they don't know you personally, this is how they see you. Watch yourself, Archie closely guarded his own traditions and beliefs. We however are all about God. Archie made his stand on the sand of his own opinions while we make our stand on the firm foundation, the Rock that saves us. We may agree with some things that Archie said, or that President Bush said or that C.S. Lewis said, but we don't stand on it. We must stand only on the Word of God, and He will make out feet stand firm.

Those around Edith saw how she was treated and tried to get her to stand up for herself at times. If I remember corrctly, toward the end of the show, she began to resent her position and her role in the family. She began to become wise in this age, and therefore unhappy.

I Peter 3:5&6
5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

I Corinthian 1:26-31
26 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."

I have come to understand my own mother in a new light. Not the light of the enlightened '70s, but in the light of God's ways, and so I see her wisdom. She was the rock that held my family together, and that rock was in the bottom of a strong-flowing stream. She held firm, though and her family is still together. Of course our culture has eroded us somewhat, but I pray that God would bless my Mom and bring all of her children to faith in His Son.


Hind's Feet said...

Keep them coming. This is good for my heart to ponder. What an interesting note that when Edith saw herself through others' eyes THAT is when she became unhappy. That is food for thought.

Rachel Pierson said...

Oddly interesting, since she is fictional.

I remember my brother, who was a very popular, upbeat kind of guy in high school, when he hit the work force saying, "You can never let yourself become content."

It might be that contentment, interior stasis, is seen as negative. Change does not occur in it. So they wrote her becoming discontent in order to bring about change and they saw that as a good thing...freeing.