The Sitcoms of Norman Lear


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About the Book

Archie Bunker, George Jefferson, Maude—the television sitcom world of the 1970s was peopled by the creations of Norman Lear. Beginning in 1971 with the premier of All in the Family, Lear’s work gave sitcoms a new face and a new style. No longer were families perfect and lives in order. Mostly blue-collar workers and their families, Lear’s characters argued, struggled, uttered sometimes shocking opinions and had no problem contributing to—or at least, acknowledging—the turmoil so shunned by 1960s television. Significantly, not only did Lear address difficult issues, but he did so through successful programming. Week after week, Americans tuned in to see the family adventures of the Bunkers, the Jeffersons, and Sanford and Son.
With a thorough analysis of his sitcoms, this volume explores Norman Lear’s memorable production career during the 1970s. It emphasizes how Lear’s shows reflected the political and cultural milieu, and how they addressed societal issues including racism, child abuse and gun control. The casting, production and behind-the-screen difficulties of All in the Family, Sanford & Son, Maude, Good Times, The Jeffersons and One Day at a Time are discussed. Each show is examined from inception through series finale. Interviews with some of the actors and actresses such as Rue McClanahan of Maude and Marla Gibbs from The Jeffersons are included.

About the Author(s)

Writer Sean Campbell lives in New Jersey.

Bibliographic Details

Sean Campbell
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 207
Bibliographic Info: 19 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2007
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2763-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0255-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi

Preface      1

1. The Founding Family: Arrrrchie, Dingbat, Meathead, and Little Goil      3

2. The Greatest Show in Watts      51

3. Lady Godiva      66

4. Scratchin’ and Survivin’      96

5. The Move on Up      131

6. The House of Women      148

7. Final Successes and Failures      161

Chapter Notes      173

Bibliography      185

Index      195

Book Reviews & Awards

“a great book…thorough…a must-own”—Sitcomsonline.