Terry Teachout on All In the Family and Norman Lear’s new memoir:
It is no coincidence that [the decline of Lear’s signature sitcoms] occurred simultaneously with the emergence of Ronald Reagan as a national political figure. However sympathetically he was portrayed on the air, Archie was still a comic figure whose views were treated by Lear and his writers as benighted at best, dangerous at worst. Not so Reagan: His conservatism was the real thing, not a satirical burlesque, and he made the case for it unapologetically, presenting himself not as a Hoover Republican with a pretty face but as a New Deal Democrat who had changed his mind. Small wonder that blue-collar Democrats lost interest in All in the Family when Reagan came along. Instead of making fun of their inchoate conservatism, he took them seriously—and they responded in kind.