Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You 

Wednesday, Aug 3 2016

The subject of Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady's documentary Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You is the legendary television producer. Still working at 93(!), Lear looks back on the highs and lows of his life — tracing his strong humanistic streak back to hearing as a child the virulently anti-Semitic radio preacher Charles Coughlin — through his career peak during the Nixon and Ford administrations and beyond. (He's rightfully proud of being on Nixon's enemies list, and was name-checked in the Watergate tapes.) Lear's 1970s shows such as All in the Family, Maude, and Good Times addressed topics like race, war, sexuality, and gender that were otherwise taboo on the lily-white airwaves. Def Jam founder Russell Simmons describes how revolutionary The Jeffersons was to black representation, while a line can be drawn from the 1972 Maude abortion episode "Maude's Dilemma" to BoJack Horseman's recent "Brrap Brrap Pew Pew." The BoJack episode addresses abortion in a way that would have been unthinkable in 1972 — but then again, many people in 1972 considered the comparatively tasteful Maude episode unthinkable as well. Lear comes across as just a funny, warm man, and recent footage of him hanging out with former collaborators Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner leaves you wanting more.


About The Author

Sherilyn Connelly


Comments are closed.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"