top of page

The Norman Lear Effect

Norman Lear changed the world.

The name of Norman Lear may not ring a bell for many in this day in age but if you were around in the 70s, you may definitely know who he is.

The man is well known to today's society as being a huge influence on what's is television today.

Lear was a writer, producer, and creator of a good handful of iconic sitcoms that are well known in yesterday, today, and tomorrows world.

Lear was the man who had challenged societal norms.

Not only did he bring entertainment to the table in film history, but he brought important lessons. His work sparked important conversations such as, race, class, and politics. What he created will forever be known as, "The Norman Lear effect."

Lear's career began in the 50s but did make a break through until 70s when he introduced one of his many ground breaking shows such as, "All in the family," followed up by, "Maude," The Jeffersons," and many others.

All of his sitcoms that he produced had to do with controversial content at the time. Humor was used to tackle this content.

Lear continued in all of his shows in all of his shows confronted the idea of racism, sexism, and bigotry.

Lear really pushed the boundaries during this time period of what was acceptable to put on Television.

His top three shows all had a hand in what was to come.

His first show, "All in The Family," was particularly ground breaking in many aspects. The show ran from 1971 to 1979.

This show centered around the Character of Archie Bunker, a working-class citizen and a conservative bigot. The show itself challenged viewers to confront their own prejudices nu presenting them in a comedic context what this show did. Lear made it a point and was considered a genius for using humor to expose the bigotry, he ultimately promoted empathy and understanding. Something most shows did not push the boundaries on during the time period.

Following, "All In The Family," we were introduced to another ground breaking piece such as, "Maude," Maude was introduced through, "All in The Family." Many people fell in love with the character.

Though, "Maude," was carried out differently then, "All in the Family was." The show aired from 1972 to 1978. The focus of this show was to push the boundaries of society once again. The show touched base on an strong independent woman who openly discussed topics such as abortion and woman's rights, among other things that were involved. Lear's decision to tackle theses topics sparked important conversations and helped to normalize everyday discussions in society.

Finally, Lear's third groundbreaking show, "The Jeffersons," was another show that got conversations around the world going. The show ran from 1975 to 1985. This show focused on an an African-American family who had moved into a neighborhood with a predominantly white atmosphere. The show addressed issues with race. It challenged the stereotypes for the time period.

Lear's shows in the television world, paved the way for a new world. Opening discussions that were had during the 70s. He made it a point to pave the way for creators are not afraid to tackle controversial topics.

Lear made groundbreaking history because of the way these shows were produced.

The "Norman Lear Effect," tested the power of television and story telling. His impact on the the entertainment industry's and the world itself really made a difference. He was he first to accomplish this.

That being said, Lear has received many awards throughout his career. He has received the Kennedy award, multiple Emmy nominations, and was honored with a lifetime achievement award at the golden globes.

Even in todays world, we still see the, "Norman Lear Effect," in television and will continue to see it for the rest of our lives.


bottom of page