Re Howard Rosenberg's "Remembering the Lenny Bruce of TV Sitcoms": There are several reasons why "All in the Family" was a success.
First of all, though Archie Bunker was a distasteful person he was nonetheless a real person, not some cardboard, near-perfect character like Cliff Huxtable. As a result, you could relate to him. Though Archie had several disagreeable qualities, underneath his hard-headed exterior there was genuine affection and sensitivity.
Secondly, though "All in the Family" was a comedy, it was not afraid to tackle controversial and serious social and human issues, like rape, prejudice, death, abortion, feminism and homosexuality, dispelling myths and enlightening us in its own special way.
Unlike most situation comedies before and after it, "All in the Family" didn't idealize the American family. After a generation of "Father Knows Best" and "Ozzie and Harriet," it was a most welcome and refreshing change.
KENNETH L. ZIMMERMAN