Monday, February 26, 2024

6 Norman Lear TV Episodes That Modified the World – The Hollywood Reporter


TV large Norman Lear, who died Dec. 5 at 101, leaves behind arguably the only most precious physique of labor ever dedicated to the medium. On seminal collection like All within the HouseholdMaude and The Jeffersons, Lear dared to deal with points then thought of unthinkable sitcom fodder — rape, abortion, homosexuality, racism, alcoholism — with a genius’ eye and ear for capturing their ethical complexities whereas poking on the foibles of the American working class. These six episodes, nevertheless, stand out among the many relaxation for having actively moved the needle on public opinion — and in doing so elevated Lear’s work from mere leisure to timeless agitprop artwork.

1. All within the Household — Season 8 — “Cousin Liz” — Authentic Air Date: Oct. 9, 1977

Lear’s magnum opus, All within the Household, tackled probably the most hot-button points all through its 9 seasons, from rape to racism to the battle in Vietnam. However one significantly resounding episode was “Cousin Liz,” wherein Edith overrules Archie’s boisterous protests and offers her deceased cousin’s lesbian associate a silver tea set that held deep sentimental worth. The episode aired whereas Anita Bryant and her Save Our Youngsters coalition sponsored poll initiatives throughout the nation that might ban LGBTQ residents from working in public colleges — and the defeat of a type of initiatives in California (the “Briggs initiative” named for state senator John Briggs) was credited partially to “Cousin Liz.” – Seth Abramovitch

The place to look at on-line Apple TV+, Prime Video

2. Maude — Season 1 — “Maude’s Dilemma” — Authentic Air Date: Nov. 14 – Nov. 15, 1972

CBS solely had one objection to the groundbreaking two-parter — which got here a yr earlier than Roe vs. Wade, although abortion was already authorized in New York, the place the present was set — that introduced the abortion debate into America’s residing rooms: that either side be represented. The episode, penned by future Golden Women creator Susan Harris, follows Bea Arthur’s Maude Findlay, an outspoken liberal lady on her fourth marriage, discovering a shock being pregnant at age 47. In the long run, a deeply conflicted Maude decides to have the abortion, and cites her age as a key concern. The episode was aired by all however two of CBS’ practically 200 associates. It was solely when the episode was slated for a re-airing in August 1973 that america Catholic Convention mobilized, leading to 40 associates refusing to air it and all company sponsors dropping their promoting. CBS might dwell with that: Maude completed the season at quantity 4 within the rankings. – Seth Abramovitch

The place to look at Maude on-line Apple TV+

3. Good Instances — Season 1 — “Michael Will get Suspended” — Authentic Air Date: March 8, 1974

Within the season one episode “Michael Will get Suspended,” the Evans household’s youngest and most politically engaged baby, Michael (Ralph Carter), will get disciplined at college for saying that George Washington owned slaves and was a “white racist.” All through the collection, Michael’s activist streak would frustrate his pragmatic mother and father, and on this episode, his father, James (John Amos), calls him “the militant midget.” However what stands out concerning the 1974 storyline is the timeliness of Michael’s critique of his college’s classes. Almost 50 years earlier than the state of Florida adopted a curriculum that claims some Black folks benefited from slavery, an 11-year-old on Good Instances was calling out his college for its failure to inform an correct story about race in U.S. historical past. – Rebecca Keegan

The place to look at Good Instances on-line Apple TV+, Peacock, Prime Video

4. The Jeffersons — Season 6 — “The First Retailer” — Authentic Air Date: April 6, 1980

An episode-long flashback tells the politically charged story of how George (Sherman Hemsley) began his first dry cleansing retailer. After assembly with a patronizing white banker and enduring a raft of micro (or, truthfully, macro) aggressions, George is on the verge of securing a mortgage to open the shop in Harlem — on the night of April 4, 1968. As he exhibits Louise (Isabel Sanford) and Lionel (Mike Evans) the storefront he’s leased, a brick comes by way of the glass door and a protester informs the household that Martin Luther King, Jr. has been assassinated. The Jeffersons wasn’t normally as overtly political as a few of Lear’s different exhibits, however Hemsley does a masterful job at enjoying George’s barely contained rage on the system, resulting in a really satisfying (and, importantly, humorous) second assembly with the banker the following day. – Rick Porter

The place to look at The Jeffersons on-line Apple TV+, Prime Video

5. One Day at a Time (Netflix, 2017) — Season 2 — “The Flip” — Authentic Air Date: Jan. 26, 2018

Lear’s reboot of his 1975 collection — a few single mother elevating two daughters on her personal —  was extra overtly political than the unique, reimagining the premise with a Latino solid (Justina Machado and Rita Moreno, with Todd Grinnell as Schneider) whereas tackling hot-button points like racism and immigration. The primary episode of season 2 had Penelope’s 13-year-old son Alex (Marcel Ruiz) urging his household to not embarrass him by speaking loud or calling him “Papito.” Seems that’s as a result of Alex was instructed to “return to Mexico” by a bully who heard the younger man — born in America — communicate Spanish to a good friend. Gloria Calderon Kellett, herself from a Cuban-American background, created the collection with Mike Royce, with a 95-year-old Lear government producing. – Etan Vlessing

The place to look at One Day At a Time on-line Netflix, Prime Video (1975)

6. Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman — Season 1 — “130” — Authentic Air Date: July 2, 1976

Spoofing daytime serials and their countless melodrama, Lear boldly embraced their format, delivering half-hour episodes 5 occasions every week over two seasons through unbiased channels throughout the nation. In his loopy, scathing satire of client tradition, Mary is a small-town housewife satisfied that TV and its bountiful commercials can present the solutions to such existential crises as waxy yellow buildup and the information that her grandfather is the Fernwood Flasher. Louise Lasser introduced the right sensibility to the position, numb and glazed however pierced by a slow-dawning craving for one thing higher. Life retains intruding on the delusions she’s embraced — particularly memorably in Episode 43, when housewifely perfection proves fallible, and a neighbor drowns in a bowl of her hen soup, and in Episode 130, the primary season’s final, when Mary goes by way of the wanting glass and has a full-fledged nervous breakdown on dwell tv. – Sheri Linden

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