Question: My brother and I are tired of hosting the big family holiday dinners. Up until now we split Thanksgiving and Christmas, but whoever's right on this has to do both next year. On All in the Family, what was Archie Bunker's job? I say dock worker and he says he owned a bar. Whose wife has to cook two turkeys? — Party pooper
Televisionary: Fellas, you mean to tell me you hate making your home a vessel for holiday cheer so much you're wagering on it? (Wait, scratch that guilt trip. The missus and I are the world's lousiest hosts — a case of Old Milwaukee and a bag of pretzels is about all we can manage — so I can't shame you there.) But you mean to tell me your better halves will be the ones to pay for this little tiff? Such tomfoolery wouldn't pass muster at Chez Televisionary, I assure you.
Truth is, you're both right. When the CBS series debuted in January 1971, racist Queens curmudgeon Archie (the great Carroll O'Connor) toiled as a foreman on the docks for Prendergast Tool and Die, bringing home the bacon for a household that included wife Edith (Jean Stapleton), daughter Gloria (Sally Struthers) and liberal son-in-law Mike (Rob Reiner). Archie continued in that career until the fall of 1977, when he quit to buy Kelsey's Bar and run it himself, renaming it Archie's Place. (The name change served as foreshadowing for the beginning of the 1979 season, by which time Mike and Gloria had moved to California — destination for many a departed TV character — and Edith was gradually moved toward an untimely departure as the show became Archie Bunker's Place.)
Despite losing some edge in its latter years, there's no question All in the Family was exemplary, groundbreaking TV. More's the pity that as hard as it was for creator Norman Lear to sell the show, he'd have an even tougher time today. Comedy-wise, today's programmers for the most part want only "hotties" making dirty jokes for an audience they assume don't read the paper — or read at all.
I say since you made the effort to write in, you get your pick of the holidays. Take Christmas — since it's your TV, you control which game you watch. And if you can't cook, for crying out loud, at least help with the dishes.
Ho, ho ho.