It’s All in the Family is centered on Joe Palooka, a heavyweight prizefighter and well-known syndicated character. The Palooka’s neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Harris, directly acknowledge his ‘bigwheel’ status and the weight it carried when they are struggling to start the car. When Mrs. Harris suggests her husband, Henry, ask the Palookas for help, Henry responds, “Listen…I’ve never asked help from that kind of people before…”[^] When asked what he means, he replies, “His son is the heavyweight champion of the world — so they probably think they are real stuff and we’re nobody!”[^] Even though the Palookas thoroughly disprove Henry’s assumptions, he is taking Joe’s pedigree as an athlete and the notoriety he has gained to assume that the Paloookas are of a higher social class and would not give any mind to someone of his class. It also demonstrates that, although he has never met any of them, he has heard of Joe’s talents and accomplishments, and that Joe’s reputation (at least so far as his athletic ability) precedes him.
The comic details the Palookas and their generosity, and describes families (presumably ones just like Joe’s) to be the foundation of democracy. Joe is at the center of this family, and is a veteran who came to recognize the role of family in democracy through his service. Thus Joe, a notable athlete and US veteran, is chosen as a vessel through which to preach the ideals of generosity and family values. There is an unspoken linkage between his perfect masculine body and his perfect morality and generosity.