Sunday, March 19, 2017

Remembering the Gay Waiter in "Archie Bunker's Place" (Episode 8: "The Cook")

I was on YouTube again this afternoon and was reacquainted with "Archie Bunker's Place," one of the many spin-offs to "All in the Family." The show featured Archie Bunker after he purchased a tavern with his Jewish friend Murray. I didn't watch this program too much when I was a kid, so my memories of the characters are kind of muddled. But midway through Season One of "Archie Bunker's Place," Archie and Murray decided to improve business at the bar by expanding as a restaurant.

Archie Bunker's Place, the restaurant, had its grand opening in "The Cook." The guys were struggling to find a cook for the restaurant. Either they wanted too much money or else they were foreigners. Finally, Veronica Rooney entered the restaurant. She was outspoken and pushy and didn't put up with Archie's guff. She managed to get the job -- with the condition that they would also hire her nephew Fred at a wage of $125 per week plus tips.

It's clear early on that Fred is gay. He's flamboyant and that makes many of the regulars -- Archie Bunker included -- uncomfortable. Archie insists that they fire Fred at the end of his shift. Of course, Veronica is threatening to quit if that happens and Murray really wants to keep her as their cook.

(Jon's Note: Keep in mind that Fred served beer to Archie's young niece Stephanie early in the show. If he'd been smart, he would have made a bigger deal over that and less over Fred's homosexuality.)

Everything works out in the end. Fred maintains his employment and Archie (eventually) gains some appreciation for his gay employee -- later... in his final appearance later in the season.

Check out Fred -- as well as some casual racism -- at this link.

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