Although saying that “All in the Family” was a fun show, an article in the International Business Times notes its shortcomings as sociology:
Archie Bunker claimed he was Republican, as reflected by his admiration of President Richard Nixon; and later President Ronald Reagan. While it is true that many white working-class men in the Northeast strongly supported Nixon in both 1968 and 1972, most of them were firmly Democrats, particularly the proud union members (as Archie himself was). These men also tended to vote Democrat in local/regional elections; and would not identify themselves explicitly as “Republicans.”
Friends of mine who grew up in blue-collar Queens, N.Y. in the 1960s and 1970s have told me there were very few White Anglo-Saxon Protestants living among their midst in those days. Working-class whites in that area were overwhelmingly Irish, Italian and Polish (all Catholics). Archie probably should’ve been depicted as an Irish Catholic (as O’Connor himself was). Of course, Lear was forced to make Archie a WASP so that he could attack the Catholic Church, the Pope and the Irish.
Perhaps the most popular and hilarious episode during the entire run of All in the Family involved legendary entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. dropping in on the Bunkers. Forgetting for a moment the utter improbability of such an event ever happening, Sammy Davis was a bizarre guest star for the show,
Although the episode made some trenchant observations about how Archie’s racism permits him to distinguish between “successful” blacks as being “acceptable” and “ordinary” blacks as being “beneath” him – the choice of Sammy Davis is puzzling.
By 1972 (the approximate date this episode aired), Davis was a polarizing figure among the black community. Among other offenses, he alienated many blacks by (literally) embracing Richard Nixon during the 1968 election. It is incomprehensible that young people like Mike and Gloria, and especially Lionel Jefferson, would be so thrilled to meet Davis.