Comedy and death are old companions …, not merely in graveyard and funeral jokes, but in substance…. Both are forms of criticism and reality, shattering pretense, showing people for what they are. To make a joke of something is to kill it. The terms of comedy are the terms of death: you're a riot, a scream: you break me up; you're killing me.
These terms have a special companionship in "All in the Family" because "All in the Family" was dead on arrival. We knew from the outset that the four main characters always would be impervious to change…. On the surface Archie's humor seems more variable. At times he appears as Hate, Stubbornness, Selfishness or Cowardice, but all of these group under the...
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