Greatest Fictional New Yorkers #7: Archie Bunker

07---archie-bunker.gifName: Archie Bunker
Residence: 704 Hauser Street – Astoria, Queens
Occupation: Dock Supervisor / Curmudgeon / Bigot
Hobbies: Racism, saying “Youse”, antagonized left-wingers
Memorable Quote: “You are a meathead!! A meathead, dead-from-neck-up Meathead!”

The quintessential, all-American bigot, Archie Bunker is one of those guys who fails to recognize that the world around him is changing and that he has to change with it. Archie believes that the good old days were better than the days we are living in now, and he pines for the music of Glenn Miller, the leadership of Herbert Hoover and his glorious old LaSalle.

Archie is confounded and annoyed by anyone and everything that doesn’t share his narrow view of the world. He is a brash, uneducated, blue-collar worker, whose small thinking doesn’t make him the most popular man in Queens. Many think that much Archie’s resentment towards the world around him (and specifically to his left-wing son-in-law Meathead) stems from the fact that Archie was forced to drop out of school to support his family during the Depression. Perhaps he feels he didn’t have the same opportunities for education and success that the younger generation does.

In spite of his abrasive nature, Archie is really a good guy deep down. Most notably, when he was asked to join a secret “Christian” club, which is later revealed to be the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, Archie balks at the group’s violent methods and attempts to thwart a cross burning.

One of Archie’s most memorable moments occurred when he took up a job moonlighting as a taxi driver and picked up Sammy Davis Jr. as fare. Davis accidentally leaves his briefcase in his cab and comes to Archie’s house to retrieve it. A series of uncomfortable conversations and awkward moments culminates in Archie and Sammy posing for a photo together, during which Davis plants a huge kiss on Archie’s cheek.

Later in life, Archie learns to finally accept the people around him with different background–he takes in his wife Edith’s nine-year old niece who turns out to be Jewish, and later when he becomes the proprietor of his favorite bar Kelcy’s (which he renames to Archie Bunker’s Place), he becomes friendly with his diverse staff, including a Jewish business partner, a Latino waiter and an Irish-Catholic cook. Way to move with the times Archie!

Wikipedia | TVland

Other Fictional New Yorkers in this series

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