Actor/director Rob Reiner says he just can't seem to shake the "Meathead" moniker given to him years ago on the 1970s sitcom All in the Family.
"People still refer to me as 'Meathead,' but there's nothing I can do about it even if it did bother me," Reiner says in a new book, The Directors: Take Two (TV Books), by Robert J. Emery, producer of The Directors series on Encore. "It will follow me for the rest of my life. It won't matter what I do or what I accomplish."
Reiner says the odd thing about being stuck with the name was that it incorrectly branded his All in the Family character, Michael Stivic, as an ignorant person. He says audiences seem to forget that the character who came up with the put-down, bigoted Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor), was the ignorant character on the show.
"They never questioned the source of the nomenclature," says Reiner. "They just said, 'OK, well, we just accept he's a meathead.' "
Reiner also talks about his experiences as a director, including the awkward scene in which Meg Ryan fakes "excitement" in the 1989 hit comedy When Harry Met Sally. "The first couple of times we did it she was a little hesitant because it was embarrassing," he recalls. "She was exposing the sounds that she makes. She didn't want people to know about that. So she did it a little hesitantly the first couple of times. I said, 'No, it's got to be this way,' and I acted it out for her. Then I realized my mother was sitting there while I was doing this. It was unbelievably embarrassing."