The Republican party is in disarray during the 2016 election season. A reality TV star has become the nominee by basically spouting xenophobic euphemisms and claiming to fight for the common man. Establishment Republicans after belittling and ridiculing his chances are now being forced to fall in line with--as Democrats call it--a new form of fascism.
It bears revisiting two landmark sitcoms. One changed the face of television in the 1970's by showcasing the confusion and division of the time and the 80's followup reflected the ensuing culture of corporate obeisance that the radical seventies hangover incubated.
Lear and his partner Bud Yorkin were extremely liberal. Lear eventually purchased the actual Constitution to promote civil liberties with his organization People For the American Way. There is no question as to his liberal credentials. However, he created a character (based on his father) that was so, well, representative of the right, that Archie Bunker became a cultural icon. "All in the Family" was the highest rated show for five years. And, much like the "Archie for President" bumper
And.....Trump is the Republican nominee. And those few hard right Republicans who saw "All in the Family" as the Trojan Horse of socialism are now those hold-outs on the Trump train--whether holding out for a moral revolution a la Cruz or holding out for a crumbling status quo a la Bush.
Which brings us to Alex P. Keaton. Michael J. Fox equalled O'Connor in the Emmy race and became a superstar in the process. No one represented the "every-boy"--all genial and
Goldberg, fresh off of show running a couple of quality sitcoms for Mary Tyler Moore's production company, created "Family Ties" in 1982. Ronald Reagan had just beaten Jimmy Carter whose sole term was predicated on a craving for normalcy and values after the Nixon/Ford fiasco. Unfortunately, his inherent virtue couldn't overshadow what many considered a weak presidency. And the next thing you know an ex Movie Star is the President of the US. Bunker was a satirical portrait of some conservatives at the time. Keaton actually was a symbol of what conservatism would become in the ensuing decades. Button-down policy wonks--not so much interested in the erosion of the white race but the erosion of their bank accounts. It wouldn't be unusual for Alex to be listening to Rush Limbaugh in the early years of talk radio's rise--before it became a clarion call to division and hatred.
Once again, the brilliance of the show was actually the reverse angle of its Lear predecessor. Alex was alone in his dogma. His parent were, well, Mike and Gloria--hippies
And now what do we think of a Republican front runner who may have been a hero to young Mr. Keaton during the heady days of young plutocracy, yet is capturing the hearts and minds of a new breed of victimized "little guys" who sound something like....Archie Bunker?
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