Is the 'All in the Family' theme song meant to be satirical?

I’ve been watching reruns of All in the Family on Antenna TV. The show is hilarious and my perspective on it is certainly different than when I last watched it as a kid in the '70’s. The lyrics to its theme song Those Were the Days are seemingly innocuous at first. However, there are a couple of lines that are borderline offensive such “guys like us, we had it made” and “girls were girls and men were men”, and others a little moreso such as “didn’t need no welfare state” and “everybody pulled his weight”. The most interesting line to me is “mister we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again.” He was, of course, the president at the time of the Great Depression.

I think if the song was composed today, it would be obvious satire. However, was that the intent of the song at the time?

I think it was obvious satire intended to show the Bunkers as stuck in the past. The Hoover line made it very obvious. I wouldn’t be surprised if some people didn’t quite get the satire, similar to the conservatives who thought Stephen Colbert was actually conservative himself.

How old are you? I’m in my early 50s, and that song pretty well encapsulates attitudes of the many of those who were my grandparents’ age. So in the time the show was filmed, the song would have resonated with many members of the older generation and us yutes would have recognized the fact that that way of thinking was rapidly (and mercifully) becoming outmoded.

ETA: After reading TriPolar’s post, YMMV! :wink:

Wha?? :confused:

The song is about Archie Bunker’s attitudes, which are clearly being confronted head-on by the changes of the '60’s and '70’s, as embodied in Mike and Gloria. Whether they are satirical or not depends on your point of view. From Archie’s point of view, and as D18 points out, the points of view of some people from an older generation, the lines made sense. I think from the overall point of view of the show (i.e. Norman Lear) they were intended to be satirical, since the good old days really weren’t (the Great Depression, the lack of rights for women, etc.)

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It’s just blind nostalgia of the past seen through rose colored glasses.

It depends on what you consider satirical. The song is about people being nostalgic for times that maybe weren’t so great. You could write a similar song about the 70s, talking about the great music and the freedom children had, and forget to mention gas shortages and young men getting drafted. If that’s your idea of satire, then it’s satire, but it’s really more just a commentary on people tending to remember the good times and forget the bad times.

No, there’s more than selective memory of good things here. The specific things cited are only good from certain narrow perspectives. “Guys like us, we had it made” is only a fond memory for guys like them.

And was anyone ever really nostalgic for Hoover?

BTW: If they really had a LaSalle, even an “old” one, perhaps one bought used, during the Depression, then Archie and Edith weathered it better than most people. Archie was probably one of those guys hit hard my mechanization and the entry of women in the workplace, and probably perceived that affirmative action laws didn’t help him. His standard of living probably didn’t change a lot, but as other people’s rose and his didn’t, he probably had reason to be nostalgic, especially for a time when his future was still ahead of him.

The Simpsons did it!

Boy, the way the Bee Gees played
Movies John Travolta made
Guessing how much Elvis weighed
Those were the days

The show actually premiered with a disclaimer, just in case people didn’t “get it” (many of the large audience it eventually attracted apparently didn’t, and sided with Archie’s views unironically)

Good point. Yes, Archie’s nostalgia was genuine. The song was tongue-in-cheek.