All in the Family turns 40

This week marks the 40th anniversary of what is arguably one of the most groundbreaking shows in the history of television, “All in the Family.”

By 1971, the climate in America had drastically changed to an era of self-discovery, experimentation, and a consistent challenge to any and all authority. People began questioning moral values and just about everything else they had been taught growing up.

The music scene radically reflected the shift, as John Lennon sang about heroin withdrawal and Jefferson Airplane suggested a complete revolution against the government.

Strangely, television shows (especially sitcoms) remained somewhat reserved and chaste. Cheesy, nonthreatening storylines contrasted sharply with the roll call of Vietnam’s dead night after night.

Then, On Jan. 12, 1971, a new show premiered without much fanfare and immediately tongues started to wag. During its 70s run, “All in the Family” tackled countless “taboo” topics, including racism, the woman’s liberation movement, abortion, homosexuality, swingers, inflation, and rape.

And while tackling such heavy subjects, the show was always FUNNY. Stale jokes and canned laughter were replaced with witty, intelligent dialogue and authentic audience reactions, bringing a much needed breath of fresh air to prime time television.

And the censors went insane.

Anybody want to share their favorite episodes?