Michael = Archie

Today I started to re-watch the TV show The Office on Netflix for no particular reason. In doing this I started to notice a very similar comparison to a character of a show that we had to watch and read about this week. There is a complete parallel between the characters Michael Scott and Archie Bunker from All In The Family. Everything that we had to read about this week in regard to Archie was that he was a blatant racist that would very inappropriately make comments against all other races. Although he was like this way, because he was never “mean-spirited”(110 Jones) not very many people in the audience disliked him. Some people who agreed with what he was saying could identify with him and others who did not like his language could still see that the type of language was being identified as a problem. To a very similar degree, this is exactly what goes on with Michael Scott in The Office. Michael makes all kinds of racist, sexist, and other ridiculously inappropriate comments and jokes in what is supposed to be his professional environment. Even though this show should clearly offend people, it is still very popular. This is how it relates to All In The Family, the main character is inappropriate but it is still let go and accepted by the audience because of a recognition of a problem in our society. Where the two shows and characters are different is that The Office is definitely more about getting comedic relief by exploiting the awkwardness that gets brought out of Michael’s behavior.

-Nick Luedeke

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7 Responses to Michael = Archie

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I find your post very interesting! I am such a fan of The Office, mainly because it always makes me laugh. I remember watching it with my brother in high school; he and I both thought that Michael Scott was hilarious. I didn’t think about the show’s connection to All In The Family, but now that you address it I do agree with you. There are definitely some similarities between the two shows, especially regarding the way in which the humor is presented. -Allie Kleinman

  2. mediaphiles says:

    I agree with you that Micheal Scott does come say sexist, racist, and other inappropriate things on The Office, but I believe he has an element to him that makes him more likable than Archie. Archie’s demeanor and attitude kind of changes the meaning. Not trying to justify Micheal Scott either, but there is some third element to Scott that softens the blow. I think it’s because we know as a viewer that Micheal Scott is pretty much bunkers and Archie has a more serious tone.


  3. mediaphiles says:

    I think the likable “stupidity” and ignorance about Michael is the most important distinction between the two characters. I agree with everything you said and I think the distinction between the two that explains why Archie is much more unlikable than Michael is an important one.

    -Max Lissette

  4. mediaphiles says:

    I agree with Max’s comment about Michael Scott’s ignorance. I also think the difference in time periods affects what is viewed as offensive. I feel like Michael’s comments are more blatantly offensive (to prove a point or bring comic relief) while Archie’s comments are more subtle. I haven’t seen much of All In the Family, though, so I’m just going off the episode we watched for class. Great insight! – Sarah King

  5. mediaphiles says:

    Leah and I had the same thoughts while watching this episode of AITF. The difference, though, is that writers of the show do a fairly good job making sure that Michael Scott comes across as the source of humor as opposed to his jokes and their content. That line is less distinct in Archie Bunker’s character. With him, it’s not always necessarily clear whether or not viewers are laughing at him or with him. For the most part (at least when I watch The Office) I’m laughing at Michael Scott.

    -Callie Sartain

  6. mediaphiles says:

    I never thought about how those two characters are very alike. I think this is a very interesting point which also shows how even though time pass, our personalities don’t do as much. How can 2 shows with such a big time gap since they have aired have similar characters. -Jon Baquero

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