When specialized drama actor Caroll O’Connor got a comedy series as Archie Bunker in “All in the Family” in 1971, critics noticed the show. Looking back decades later, Ronald Brownstein wrote in The Atlantic: “‘All in the Family’ has commanded national attention to a degree almost impossible to imagine in today’s fragmented entertainment landscape. The words of Archie Bunker – stifle, meathead and dingbat – all became nationally narrow. Scholars seriously discussed whether the show pierced or promoted intolerance. “
A Smithsonian Magazine article by Sascha Cohen stated that the imaginary father of the television working class “was backward, unable to face the modern world, a simple man left behind by the social unrest of the 1960s and 1970s, a passionate displaced” historical loser “. (Producer Norman Lear) used it as a device to make racism and sexism seem silly and united, but the Liberals protested that as a “fan in love”, Archie really made intolerance acceptable. Lear intended to create a satirical and exaggerated figure, which the TV critic called “hardhat hyperbole”, but not everyone made the joke. Archie was related to members of the public who felt stuck in hopeless jobs with little hope of upward mobility, and who were also confused by the new rules of political correctness. “
The television archetype of a flawed but pleasant character continued for decades.
In 1998, “Will & Grace” brought to the audience the unrivaled, drunken snob Karen Walker, played by Megan Mullally. A review of The Sydney Morning Herald by Michael Idato later called the fictional Walker “extremely selfish.” The sewing socialist seemed to insult a loyal friend in every episode, whether it was Rosario’s housewife or Grace’s girlfriend. Karen Walker’s single line often criticized her friends’ race, appearance, or sexual orientation. The role won Mullally an Emmy Award in 2000 and 2006 for Outside Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series.
In 2006, “30 Rock” debuted and Alec Baldwin’s career revived playing Jack Donaghy, a talented but blunt and arrogant executive. In The Hollywood Reporter, Erin Carlson later described Donaggi as “a grueling corporate hit and seemingly half-hearted” with “a strong sense of purpose. Alpha level ambition? dark humor a stress driven by fear of failure and loss of control. “Mr. Baldwin balanced the character of Donaghy with touches of charm, warmth and beautiful style. For his expert portrayal, Baldwin won the Emmy Award in 2008 and 2009 for Best Actor in a Comedy Series.
All of these rich television roles came before the cancellation of civilization. Now, it seems that any subtle comment or perceived light can easily lead to the end of an actor’s career or their television role, even if that character is fantastic.
In 2021, the CBS comedy series “United States of Al” was criticized for playing an actor whose nationality was not his. The Hollywood Reporter quoted James Hibberd as saying: “Big Bang Theory producer Chuck Lorre – the mid-season series ‘United States of Al’ – has been criticized for his role as a non-Afghan actor in his title and portrayal. of the character in general… »The plot of the play focuses on two friends who met in Afghanistan, while one was a soldier and the other was the Afghan interpreter. The two friends give each other advice and company. They are good people who try their best. Obviously, some critics and Twitter users are unfamiliar with the definitions of acting and fantasy. After all, I do not know anything about Al in the United States that is worth opposing. And if a viewer does not like the program, he can always change the channel. Why ruin an entire business because your sensibilities have been ruined?
I hope my comments do not make me sound like Archie Bunker. But there are worse things than being an American who makes mistakes and does what he can to adapt to a changing world.
Thomas Jefferson once called America an experiment in democracy. As we live and work together, we enjoy many rights, including freedom of speech.
Yes, you can complain about soft, fictional TV characters. But if you cancel them, what will you do about the Shakespearean conspiracy, the evil Lady Macbeth or the tyrannical Henry VIII?