| Season 1, episode # 1|
|"All in the Family" episode|
|Series:||All in the Family|
|Network/Country:||CBS-TV / U.S.|
|Air date||January 12, 1971|
|Written by:||Norman Lear|
|Directed by:||John Rich|
|IMDb:||Meet the Bunkers|
|« Previous||Next »|
|None/Pilot Episode||"Writing the President"|
Meet the Bunkers is the first episode of Season 1 and the official series premiere of All in the Family. Directed by John Rich, it originally aired on the CBS network in the United States on January 12, 1971.
All of the Norman Lear produced comedies, such as All in the Family, its spinoffs Maude, The Jeffersons, as well as One Day at a Time would help lead the way in presenting programming which catered to the tastes and social mores of the audience that they were seeking, presenting topics that had never before been discussed on prime-time sitcom TV.
The sitcom that changed the face of American television premiered on January 12, 1971, with the last of three pilot episodes filmed between 1968 and 1970 during which time the property underwent two near-complete cast overhauls and three title changes. Written by series co-producer Norman Lear, "Meet the Bunkers" used the occasion of Archie and Edith Bunker's wedding anniversary to introduce the main characters and rapidly establish both the mood and tenor of all the episodes to come. Especially worth noting in this inaugural episode is Jean Stapleton's portrayal of Edith, who comes off as a lot less stupid and a lot more sarcastic than she would in future episodes. While "Meet the Bunkers" seems somewhat tame when seen today, it packed enough of a wallop back in 1971 for CBS to issue a disclaimer at the beginning of the program, in which the network lauded All in the Family for its courage and daring and simultaneously begged the viewers' pardon for those qualities.
In the series' premiere, Mike and Gloria plan a surprise party to celebrate Archie and Edith's 22nd anniversary. It quickly turns into a shouting match between conservative Archie and the liberal "Meathead" on virtually every topic.
Though virtually plotless, the episode is jam-packed with incident: Archie and Mike have a heated argument over "racial profiling," Edith tries to drag a recalcitrant Archie to church, Gloria and Mike are so hot for one another that they can barely wait until they get to the bedroom, and Lionel Jefferson (Mike Evans) uses broad African-American stereotypes to subtly needle the reactionary Archie.