All in the Family TV show Wiki
"Writing the President"
Season 1, episode # 2
# 2 overall in series (205 episodes)
AITF 1x2 - Writing the President
While writing his own letter to President Nixon to counter Mike's planned protest letter to Nixon, Archie fantasizes that his letter was read by Nixon on national TV, praising him for his views and for praising him and his administration in the episode "Writing the President" in Season 1 (#2).
"All in the Family" episode
Series: All in the Family
Network/Country: CBS-TV nt
Air date January 19, 1971
Production code 102 (1x2)
Teleplay by: Paul Harrison, Lennie Weinrib & Norman Lear
Story by: Lee Erwin & Fred Freiberger
Directed by: John Rich
IMDb logo IMDb: Writing the President
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Writing the President is the second episode aired during the first season of All in the Family, and also the second overall series episode. Directed by John Rich, and scripted by Paul Harrison, Lennie Weinrib, and Norman Lear from a story by Lee Erwin and Fred Freiberger, it first aired on CBS-TV on January 19, 1971. Though withdrawn from CBS' daytime rerun package of All in the Family at the request of producer Lear (who felt that Archie's behavior was ridiculous even for him), the episode has since been restored to the series' syndicated package.

"Writing the President"
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Archie learns that Mike has written to President Nixon to criticize his policies. So Archie takes pen in hand and writes his own letter of praise.

Plot summary[]

The ultra liberal Mike, who is very critical of President Nixon and his policies, has decided to let his views be known to him by writing a letter to the White House. When Archie learns of "The Meathead's" intentions, he takes pen in hand and starts to write his own letter of praise to the Commander In Chief. "Dear Mr. President...Your Honor...Sir..." -- and Archie even dons a clean shirt and tie for the occasion.

Full episode recap[]

Archie comes in through the back door. He tastes what's cooking on the stove but he finds some clothes in a pot. Edith explains that the dye in one of Mike's shirts was giving him a rash so they are boiling it in hopes that it will help. When Archie takes a swig of Edith's coffee he exclaims that it tastes like instant when it's really fresh. He then complains that there's nothing to eat in the house. Edith explains that Gloria went to the market for their weekly shopping trip. Problems arise when Archie wants to watch football highlights but Mike wants to watch a special about pollution. At Mike's suggestion they sit down and have what turns out to be a one sided discussion about what program they are going to watch.

Archie gets to watch his NFL football highlights. As Archie sees highlights of the NY Giants-Wasington redskins game, citing the speed of RB Alvin Haymond, saying "Hey, look at that spook run!", Mike then objects to Archie's stereotype of black men, as Archie cited that black athletes learned it from their ancestors, saying about Haymond, "He got that from his forefathers when he was runnin' through the jungle. You know? Through thorns and thickets, barefooted, with a tiger on his butt!" 

Gloria comes home with a whole bunch of organic food. She claims that she wants to know what's in her food. Archie objects to all the organic food. Gloria tries to change the TV channel but Archie yells at her. He's upset that he missed the play of the week. Gloria and Mike try to convince Archie to change the channel to the special on pollution. They argue about the state of the country. Mike does an impression of John Wayne to mock Archie. It's revealed that Mike is sending off a letter to the President. Archie wants to see the letter, afraid of what Mike is going to say. He also demands that everyone show the proper respect for the President in their house. He grads the letter from Mike and climbs on a chair so no one can reach him.

Mike tries to get his letter back from Archie. He then suggests that Archie write his own letter. When he states that he has nothing to complain about Gloria and Mike accuse him of being chicken. He finally agrees to write a letter with the stipulation that his letter gets to be mailed before Mike's.

Archie insists that everything be perfect when he writes his own letter to President Nixon. He wears a suit, wants to write with a fountain pen on fancy stationary, and even uses newely sharpened pencils for his first draft. Edith goes to paste her trading stamps into books but the noise distracts Archie. He wants her to write what he dictates but he criticizes the way she reads the words back to him. Edith goes to answer the door. It's a nun collecting money for a charity. She tries to get rid of the nun but isn't successful.

In a "daydream" sequence of Archie's, the family is gathered around the TV watching President Nixon's speech. The president reads Archie's letter, claiming that he's "a great American". Gloria and Mike are even happy for Archie, who they pat on the back, as he as Nixon always would do before the news cameras when at a campaign rally, puts his hands up in a "Peace" sign at the TV set.

Back to reality: everyone leaves to go to the mailbox to mail the letters, since Archie is finally finished writing his. When they return, everyone has warm feelings about being a part of their government. Edith sets off a panic when she asks if anyone jiggled the mailbox. They rush out the door angry that no one jiggled the mailbox so that their letters wouldn't get stuck.



Guest stars[]

  • Helen Page Camp as Nun

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