10 TV Shows That Pushed the Limits of Censorship

'All in the Family'
Jean Stapleton as Edith Bunker and Carroll O'Connor as Archie Bunker in "All in the Family." CBS Photo Archive/Contributor/Getty Images

Ah, those were the days. During the 1970s, CBS's show, "All in the Family" shared the lives of a Queens working-class man, Archie Bunker, and his family. Created by Norman Lear, the show was hugely successful, earning four consecutive Emmys for outstanding comedy during its long run [source: Bio.]. But it was also a pain in the neck for censors. The series pushed against societal norms and covered new television ground, such as sexuality, impotence, abortion, divorce and bigotry. "All in the Family" challenged the TV industry by using words that had been inappropriate during the 1950s and 60s. "Hell" and "damn" became almost commonplace.

"All in the Family's" premiere set its tone. In addition to salty language, the racial epithets "kike," "spade" and "spic" spewed from Archie's mouth. CBS executives were nervous about viewers' reactions and placed additional operators at the network switchboard to handle the anticipated calls of outrage. But the audience loved to hate Archie. It became the best-rated show on television [source: Norman Lear]. Archie's wife Edith may have been "stifled," but the show's creative forces weren't.