In loving memory of Jean Stapleton, most famous for her portrayal of Edith Bunker on “All In the Family” (and her screechingly funny rendition of the theme song above, which is a satire on nostalgia for the not-so-golden age of capitalism, otherwise known as the Great Depression.) Jean Stapleton passed away yesterday at the age of 90, and while Edith was far from being her sole claim to fame, she was still the character most of us fondly remember her for.
Edith was often put down as a “dingbat” by her bigoted husband, Archie (played by Carroll O’Connor, who was nothing like Archie in real life), but she was really anything but. And she changed the way a lot of TV viewers of the 1970s and ’80s thought of social issues, such as women working outside the home, and rape (Edith’s experience with the latter made it quite clear that power and intimidation, not sex, are the real motivators behind the crime.) When Edith stood up for herself, the opposition — Archie or anyone else — crumbled like a cracker. It takes a mighty tough “dingbat” to make THAT happen.