I don't know if this would qualify as a "lost episode", but not many people have actually heard of this episode despite the fact that it actually exists. Plus, this episode is so disturbing that they don't actually air it that much anymore on TV.
I'm talking about the TV show, All in the Family. For those who were too young to have watched it, or simply didn't watch the TV Land channel growing up like I did, here's a summary of what the TV show was like.
All in the Family was a groundbreaking—and popular—sitcom during the 1970's that revolved around the lovable, racist war veteran, Archie Bunker, and his naive wife as they struggled with the progressive ideas their daughter and her husband keep dragging into the house.
The couple's adult daughter and her husband on the show were really just secondary characters and rarely part of the plot, partially because Edith was really the child on the show. Archie's wife is so wide-eyed and optimistic in every episode that her ignorance is completely forgivable. She has the innocence of an infant, and it's especially difficult to watch the two-part episode titled "Edith's 50th Birthday," where she is very nearly raped in her own house.
It all starts when a man posing as a police officer drops by while everyone else is planning a surprise party for Edith next door. He tells Edith that he's investigating sexual assaults in the neighborhood. It's not until he starts to describe the rapist he's looking for that Edith realizes he's describing himself.
Edith tries to offer him money to leave, but he pins her to the couch and starts undressing while kissing her neck. Keep in mind that her family is also just next door, trying to make this the happiest day of the year for her.
What's even more twisted about this is that the studio audience just kept on laughing as this woman was being sexually assaulted. I remember wondering as I watched this show years back just what was so damn funny about an innocent, naive middle-aged woman getting raped. I found snippets of the episode online, so you can see for yourself how disturbing it was. That laugh track manages to make the whole thing even more unsettling, if that was possible.
Edith, in her unrelenting innocence, tries to cite her advanced aged and marital status as reasons that she would be an unacceptable rape victim. The slime-ball simply smiles at this and replies that he enjoys older women and that he is married himself.
The hardest part to watch, however, is the moment Archie comes home briefly to grab a punchbowl as the creepy fucker hides in the closet. You can see the terror on Edith's face as she wants to tell the man she loves to save her, and he still walks out the door, completely oblivious to the circumstances.
A cake starts burning in her oven and the rapist allows her to take it out. With some quick thinking, Edith turns her birthday into a weapon and slams the cake in his face before running out of the house.
When the police finally arrive and try to get Edith to identify the clothes of her attacker, Edith goes into such a blind panic when she recalls what happened earlier that day, that she's unable to speak and just runs up to her room, while her family looks on helplessly, not knowing what to do. And the damned studio audience just keeps on laughing and clapping throughout this scene! I have to hope that it was some sort of automated laugh track they used, otherwise they had a bunch of psychopaths watching this going on live.
I remember how disturbed I felt when I watched this on TV land for the first time. I couldn't really watch All in the Family again for a while, until I was able to get over the queasy feeling that I got when recalling this episode.
They rarely air this episode, if at all anymore on TV Land. And half of the friends I told didn't seem to really believe that it was an actual episode at all until I showed them the proof.
Written by LadyMystery