The Vegan Street Blog
1970s Sitcom Characters as Vegan Archetypes of Today
Are you a little Rhoda? A dash of Vinnie? Do you know someone who’s basically Maude? Believe it or not, we can look at sitcom characters from the ‘70s and find plenty of vegan archetypes.
Let’s dive in, shall we? Laugh tracks are optional.
Mike & Gloria Stivak All In the Family
A vegan power couple if ever there were one, Mike and Gloria Stivik are the pair that go to protests together, host monthly potlucks, book clubs, a speaker series and anything else they can squeeze in. Mike’s bombastic father-in-law may have called him “meathead” but we all know his noggin is powered by vegan protein, and Archie may have called Gloria “little girl” but she is self-possessed and always stands up for what she knows is right. Sometimes Mike and Gloria bicker over who was supposed to bring the megaphone or the best way to store their vegan leaflet collection, but this duo is in it to win it for the animals. Even if they might be a smidge too intense, earnest and, well, dorky at times, no one doubts their integrity and many wish they could find a similar vegan partner who is up for protesting the rodeo and hitting the vegan buffet alike, just like Mike and Gloria have in each other.
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Rhoda Morgenstern Rhoda
A creative professional by day, the acerbic Rhoda Morgenstern will never waste the opportunity to knock the wind out of meat-eating trolls with her signature, corner-of-her-mouth put downs. She’s so deft, dry and surgically precise with her well-timed barbs, the targets scarcely know what even happened, except that they have been owned. Unlucky in love thus far, Rhoda has a stylish headscarf for every occasion and would be the perfect partner for anyone who is entertained by nonstop sardonic commentary about foolish behavior and would be content being happily child-free for life.
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Maude Findlay Maude
The unofficial leader of the leather-free sneaker brigade, Maude and her feisty friends will show up to all the protests with their signs from 20 years ago and they may have some cat fur on their clothes, but Maude and her squad are nothing if not steadfastly reliable, which is what the animals need from their advocates. Rain, sleet, intense heat or cold be damned, they will show up against exploitation in their jackets festooned with animal rights buttons more consistently than activists half their age. Maude is smart, confident and is never afraid to put a wanna-be hit-and-run troll in his place with her withering put-downs, more heated than Rhoda’s asides but just as wounding, plus she’s able to literally look down her nose at rando clowns because she’s at least a foot taller than almost anyone else
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Lionel Jefferson The Jeffersons
Educated, witty and opinionated, Lionel manages to be a powerful voice for progressive change without talking down to people but allowing them to see the flaws in their logic. Because he is so clever with his takedowns, Lionel gets accused of being uppity a lot but he remains cool as a cucumber in the face of angry pushback and he’s always got more blistering insights certain to get under the collars of those who prefer the status quo. His little knowing smile reveals it all.
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Chrissy Snow Three's Company
It’s not easy to get the best selfies and food photos when you’ve got two roommates and a very nosy, bumbling landlord, but bubbly vegan influencer Chrissy Snow is going to give it her best shot, no pun intended. (Or was a pun intended? Chrissy forgot and she doesn’t care.) People often underestimate Chrissy because she can come across as being a little shallow but she pays it no mind because when everyone wants to know what she eats in a day, what her fitness routine is, what her favorite cruelty-free personal care products and cosmetics are, that trickles down to wins for the animals. Chrissy sees no insult in being called a bunny hugger anyway. Bunnies are cute!
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Felix Unger The Odd Couple
Felix Unger is a little high-strung and is way too prone to asthma attacks to be a bunny hugger of the likes of Ms. Snow above (he is allergic to hurt, feathers, scales and just about everything) but that doesn’t mean he won’t throw it down for the animals because what he lacks in human warmth, he makes up for in persistence. With a personal library full of only the densest, most high-minded books that make a moral case for the equality of all species, Felix is a true crusader for animal rights and is more than willing to pontificate on his views at length, whether or not his speech has been requested. Known for his ability to clear out a party single-handedly, Felix doesn’t mind because there’s less for him to get an allergic reaction to and he can have plenty of vegan leftovers to bring to his roommate, whom he keeps trying to convert. (Won’t happen, Felix)
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Sue Ann Nivens The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Sweet and sassy Sue Ann Nivens can craft and cook with the best of them but don’t let her dimples fool you into thinking she’s just a happy homemaker. Sue Ann has a rapier wit and more than a few sharp edges in addition to hot glue guns, craft scissors galore, a well-stocked spice cabinet and enviable kitchen implements. The original DIY vegan, Ms. Nivens was the first to experiment with aquafaba and air fryers and she’s always got something soaking on her counter, whether it’s cashews (for cheese) or grains (for rejuvelac). Sue Ann is here to make veganism more accessible for the masses, even if the amount of information she can retain is a little intimidating to the average newbie, and if she’s a little overwhelming with her resourcefulness, well, she’s not going to apologize for being so darn competent and talented. Now, should we make a homemade tofu press?
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Vinnie Barbarino Welcome Back Kotter
Vinnie Barbarino was born for the era of social media and, boy, does he ever work that iPhone and selfie stick for the animals. Here’s Vinnie flexing in front of animals in a truck bound for slaughter. (There are pigs in the background if you look really close.) Here’s Vinnie in a Speedo posing with his girlfriend on a tropical beach, because nothing screams social justice movement like a little #VeganInspo. Here’s Vinnie finding whatever camera and controversy he can because he’s not thirsty, he’s just passionate. Oh, Vinnie.
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Cousin Oliver Martin The Brady Bunch
Precocious and adorable, Cousin Oliver is the spokeskid for the animals. Pushed in front of cameras to make heartfelt entreaties to the public for compassionate living, it is hard to deny that this kid can really work the charm. Enough said.
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Dwayne “Schneider” Schneider One Day At a Time
Known almost exclusively by his surname, Schneider is one of those unpretentious fix-it guys you’d never think was vegan, which makes him a great secret weapon. Schneider is the guy you call when your humane trap stops working, the sanctuary tractor needs fixing and you need a pick-up truck for the vegan food drive you’re doing. Schneider has a heart of gold, and he doesn’t want or need accolades for it. In fact, the only social media he needs is being able to yell out a window to tell you he’s got an inside track to some extra kitty litter if you need it.
Do you have any to add?
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2/23/2021 09:01:17 am
Laurie Partridge (beautifully played by Susan Dey) of The Partridge Family would have definitely been at least vegetarian She was already wearing the hippie fringe vests and I can see her gently guiding her family to eat more fruits and veggies and plants while touring in their psychedelic bus! Come On Get Happy (Go Vegan).
2/23/2021 09:41:53 am
She was the babysitter of my dreams, Marilyn! I think you're totally right about young Ms. Partridge. <3
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