As the show progresses, it becomes apparent that Archie's prejudice is not motivated by malice, but is rather a combination of the era and environment in which he was raised and a generalized misanthropy.
Archie himself is depicted as a hard worker, loving father, and basically decent man; nevertheless, he is bad-tempered and frequently tells his long-suffering wife Edith to "stifle yourself" and "dummy up".
All in the Family got many of its laughs by playing on Archie's bigotry, although the dynamic tension between Archie and his liberal son-in-law, Mike, provided an ongoing political and social sounding board for a variety of topics.This leads to a heated discussion, which erupts into argument between Archie and Fred over May–September romances and places another strain on the relationship between Archie and Fred, who storms angrily out of the Bunker home with his teen bride.Archie and Fred apparently are estranged for the next three-plus years.Two later episodes (one during season 8 and another during season 9) feature Fred (played by Richard Mc Kenzie) and it is now suggested that Fred is Archie's only sibling.Another of Fred's daughters, Linda, visited during the third season (she briefly dated the Bunkers' neighbor Lionel in "Lionel Steps Out").Archie's father David is said to be the only child while his mother Sarah has one brother named Roy Longstreet that Archie liked more than his own parents.Two of Archie's cousins are depicted: Oscar, who dies off-camera in the Bunker house during a visit, and cousin Bertha (played by Peggy Rea, who appears in the same episode), apparently a somewhat distant cousin, as Archie does not recognize her.(When Edith inevitably corrects him, he dismisses the error with "Whatever".) He is a compulsive gambler, who, in earlier years, frequently lost his entire weekly paycheck in poker games, as related by Edith in 1973 episode "Archie the Gambler"; he quit only when Edith threatened to leave him, taking then three-year old Gloria with her.The inspiration for Archie Bunker was Alf Garnett, the character from the BBC1 sitcom Till Death Us Do Part, on which All in the Family was based.For example, he refers to Edith's gynecologist as a "groinacologist" and to Catholic priests who go around sprinkling "incest" (incense) on their congregation. Archie, a Christian belonging to the Episcopalian denomination, often misquotes the Bible.He takes pride in being religious, although he rarely attends church services and constantly mispronounces the name of his minister, Reverend Felcher, as "Reverend Fletcher".