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When I was a young boy a Sunday night ritual for me would be watching several CBS shows. Jeffersons was one of them, usually the last one of the night before turning in for school the next day. Ironically, today is the first day of another school year!!!! I didn't get all the jokes when I was younger but enjoyed watching the characters and cared for them. I also liked the fact that they had the characters evolve over the years. George became less racist and was friendlier towards Tom. Louise at first didn't like being rich but once she did volunteer work, that changed. I have the feeling that she didn't want to be like an Uncle Tom and forget her past. Doing work at the help center was what helped her adjust to her new life. I also was amazed that in the 80's, they redecorated the apartment with richer furniture. What other sitcom has ever done that? Can't think of one. One other thing I liked was that George sometimes did succeed. If he had always failed in his plans like Wile E. Coyote, it would get tiring. It was good to see him come out on top once in a while. It was terrible that CBS didn't give this show a proper sendoff. I think they set it up for the ratings to go down by moving the show to Tuesday night in 1985 so the audience that watched it on Sunday may not have been able to watch it Tuesday. Therefore, ratings would drop and the network could use it as an excuse to give it the axe. I think they could've done at least one more season and I even had some story ideas for them for the new season, which I discussed on the message boards. It is sad that several of the actors have passed on, but that happens to everyone sooner of later. This show will live forever.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I must admit that I am not that familiar with its predecessor, All In
The Family, seeing as I wasn't born when it was originally released,
but neither was I familiar with The Jeffersons either. It wasn't until
later on one of the episodes of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air back in the
90s that I saw George appear on the show for the first time. And so
from then on, I caught up with The Jeffersons, thanks to the brilliance
of the web and sites such as You Tube, seeing as they had hardly shown
this sitcom in the UK.
George and Louise 'Weezy' Jefferson are arguably one of the funniest sitcom couples ever; as different as they are in terms of personalities, and despite their arguments and fall- outs, like all couples they have managed to stay together and see things through regardless, no matter how much they get on one another's nerves. Sherman was just excellent as the outspoken, no- nonsense George- who has a bit of a short fuse, whilst Isabel was marvellous as the care-free, down-to earth and less pessimistic Weezy. The couple live together in an apartment block along with their son, Lionel, and their mother would occasionally drop- by, much to the Jefferson's surprise, whilst their neighbours were a Caucasian man named Tom and his Afro-American wife, Helen- which, for a inter-racial couple appearing on mainstream TV- was a rarity to see back in those days. The other characters on the show were the (somewhat) likable and pleasant Mr Bentley, Ralph and Florence, the sarchastic maid.
The Jeffersons was a humorous, fun and enjoyable comedy, which ran for an astonishing 11 seasons between 1975-1985. Some of my favourite moments include George taking part in a boxing contest- I couldn't help but laugh my socks off, what with George jogging all over the ring and his movements had me in stitches - and when George, Tom and Helen are trapped in George's bathroom and the situation is further complicated when 1) Weezy is having her hair done; unaware of the predicament her husband and her friends find themselves in and 2)they realise that the door can only operated from the outside, and not whilst they are inside the bathroom! In one scene and to make matters worse, the door handle even falls off! Not to mention 'Brother Tom' when Tom tries to act Black, much to his wife's embarrassment, in an attempt to fit in with the other Black folks, of whom included George and Louise.
Even though the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Diff'rent Strokes and The Cosby Show got plenty of air time, here in the UK, it is a bit of a shame that this sitcom was never actually televised in this part of the world because as I mentioned The Jeffersons is a great show, which deserved to be seen by its audiences.
Nevertheless, this was one of CBS's fewest hit sitcoms that managed to hit the big time and sustain a longevity that rivals the likes of NBC's other long running comedies, Frasier, Friends and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
Catch it if you can
Spinning off from "All in the Family" after about two seasons on that
show,dry-cleaning entrepreneur George Jefferson(Sherman Helmsley,sassy
and irreplaceable as the character)and wife Louise(Isabel Sanford,just
as irreplaceable as "Weezy")move to the nicer section of New
York(Uptown Manhattan?).From there,they become foils and friends with
their luxury apartment neighbors,particularly the interracial couple
Tom and Helen Willis(Franklin Cover and Roxie Roker),the stately and
genteel Bentley(Paul Benedict) and the doorman Ralph(Ned Wertimer).
George,being the stubborn,scheming and curmudgeonly sort with a burr up
his behind over white folks(particularly ones who marry blacks),is both
the hero and the goat of this show,as his cantankerousness is the
catalyst of most of the episodes. He is,however,not lacking heart,and
many times can be appealed to,many times by(among others) Weezy and
sometimes even by his arch-nemesis,the sharp-witted,no-nonsense maid
Florence(MArla Gibbs,if it was possible to be TOO good at a role,she
I was but a small boy of three when this show premiered,and probably only have even a decent memory of shows from about seasons four through nine,and to make matters worse,it seemed like it was somewhat tough to run across in syndication(would you believe!)after the show left the air in 1985. But watching it again on TVLand recently and my memories of the show were such good experiences that I thought I needed to write a blurb for it. This is a good tribute to the careers of actors Roxie Roker,Franklin Cover and Isabel Sanford,who have(among others on this shows run)passed on or recent. I am very glad TVLand is rerunning this show and hope that new generations(as well as older ones)can get acquainted or reacquainted with the family that moved on up!
The Jeffersons may have been a spin-off of All In The Family, but it stands on it's own as one of the best sitcoms. The sad thing is that CBS canceled the show in it's tenth season, even while it was still tops in the ratings. I love the dynamic interaction between George and Florence. The hate/hate relationship between Louise and Mother Jefferson is also hilarious. It's amazing to think that an interracial married couple had never been portrayed on television before this show. The Jeffersons is a classic today and for future generations. A footnote...Ja'net DuBois sang "Movin' On Up", the theme song for this show. I never made the connection until today!
The Jeffersons (1975) was a spin-off of the madly successful "All In
Family". The Jeffersons were the neighbors of the Bunkers. After their
characters proved to be unexpected draws, the producers decided to give
them their own series. The pilot was an "All In the Family" episode. We
saw the Jeffersons moving into a high rise. They finally made the big
The first four seasons of this show were highly entertaining. But this
didn't last long. The show dragged on for seven more seasons before the
network decided to pull the plug. The series even had two spin-off shows
of their own but they didn't last more than a month or so. Sherman
Hemsley and Isabel Sanford become one of the biggest and most well
known t.v. couples. George and Louise along with Florence (Marla Gibbs)
and company. George's mother was around for a few seasons until she
A fun show that was one of my favorites when I was younger. But like
most shows it just went on too long. By the time it was the 80's, the
writers were just recycling older plots are making one too many "special"
episodes. Even through all that and two actors playing one character
(George and "Wheezy's" son). The show became a t.v. classic and a big
part of American pop culture.
Factoid: The character of Mother Jefferson seems to be based upon the mother in
law in "Til Death Do Us Part", a B.B.C. program that was the basis for
"All in the Family".
A year short of its 30th (pearl) anniversary, The Jeffersons will be
remembered for continuing the tradition of groundbreaking that was started
by the show that started it all , All in the Family, from which, lest you
forget, The Jeffersons is a spin-off.
Yes, George Jefferson is somewhat like Archie Bunker, opinionated to the point of sometimes being rude but never at a loss for words.
Chances are the characters of the Willises were inspired by the All in the Family episode 'Lionel Steps Out', in which he did so with Archie Bunker's visiting niece -- I had the experience of seeing that episode and then and there sensed that change was in the wind.
It is noted that Ja'Net DuBois sang theme, but few people mention that she actually CO-WROTE the theme. Just goes to show you that show business is a thinking person's business.
Happy 30th anniversary to the Jeffersons, albeit one year early!!
The Jefferson is the longest African-American comedy situation to date. It's a spin-off of the popular "All in the family". The Jeffersons is the most underrated comedy sitcom on television to some people. During its release in the mid 70s there were a few competitive shows like Good Times,What's Happening?,and Sanford & Son. But this show lasted the longest and enjoyed by both black and white audiences. This show was funny during its first six years (1975-81) till Embassy Television took over,and the show became boring. Lionel and Jenny made just occasional appearances on the show and Ralph still have his hand out for a tip. The writers were changed and the show lost a lot of its audiences. But what I enjoyed the most about the show was when George and Florence go at it. Though in the long run George always kept her as their maid. I think George like having Florence around because he enjoys having somebody to pick on. Which Florence at times outsmarts him. What I didn't like was that geek Lionel (Damon Evans) he seem so soft to me and wasn't confident and outspoken like the original Lionel (Mike Evans). The Jeffersons was a fun show to watch and although the show maybe somewhat forgotten everybody remembers the theme (Movin' on up).
It was a pretty good show. To me, Marla Gibbs made the show. Of course the bigoted George Jefferson was the black version of Archie Bunker. He hated anybody who wasn't black. In fact I used to wonder how he never ended up getting his lights punched out. Apparently, Tom Willis was either a coward or an imbecile. But I always got a kick out of the way Florence the maid always ended up putting him in his place even though he was the rich employer and she was merely a domestic.
Although my opionion may be a bit biased, I really do think this was an amazing show. People always say that the earlier episodes were the better, but quite frankly, I disagree. The best episodes I feel, and also this is the same time frame when the show was at it's most successful, was in the early 80's. For the '81-'82 season, "The Jeffersons" was the 3rd rated television show in America. People wanted to see Florence be sassy, and Tom and George be friends. Viewers wanted to see Helen and Louise get somewhat foolish. People wanted to see incredible guest stars, like Sammy Davis, Jr., Gladys Knight, Billy Dee Williams, even the popular singing group Sister Sledge. It was the 80's, and people wanted to see rich folks living in excess, and it was also at this time the show was so successful, it finally had the advertising clout to command a bigger budget for a new set, off-site shoots, and guest stars. I prefer the later set over the earlier one (the curved coffee table, gray sofa with peach throw cushions, and the round table dinette set). It outlasted the show which it originally was spun-off from even. Keep in mind also, that this show was still pulling in some great numbers in the 1984-1985 season when the plug was pulled (it was still in the top 20). It seems that anything that originated in the 70's was leaving the line-up in the mid-80's. Alice was canceled, along with The Love Boat, The Facts of Life, Hart to Hart, and a lot of other wonderful shows that were not necessarily growing tired, but the budget went towards all new shows. Shows that were not memorable at all, and were cancelled within a season or two. "The Jeffersons" ran for eleven seasons, and that's a long time in this business. I always felt that after all "The Jeffersons" had done for CBS, that it certainly deserved a better send-off than being cancelled mid-season after a hiatus. There never was a last episode, no closure. No wrap up. Nothing. The last new episode that was shown was on June 25, 1985, and it was a pretty funny episode in which George helps his grand daughter Jessica with her Red Robins group. Sadly, Tom & Helen Willis did not appear in this episode. It was actually the second to last show taped, but as you may be aware, the shows are not necessarily shown in the order that they are filmed. I read an earlier entry that claims Lark Voorhies played Lionel and Jenny's daughter, Jessica on "The Jeffersons". Actually, it was an actress by the name of Ebonie Smith. Lark portrayed Lisa on the TV show "Saved By The Bell". I think the confusion may be because Ebonie Smith was in an episode of "Saved By The Bell: The New Class".
I remember watching this show when it first aired on television. I wasn't sure if the Jeffersons could hold their own as a seperate TV show from All In the Family (Which was an OK show, but I wasn't the biggest fan of it). Well, I quickly realized that I was wrong after viewing this show a few times. It's very funny, & rarely offensive. Extremely enjoyable to watch. While All In the Family had its moments of comedy, this show was just plain zany! Actually it's not even fair to compare the two shows really. The only thing they have in common is that this show stemmed from that show. Other than that, it's like 2 different worlds. I just recently bought the first season on DVD, & The Jeffersons are now better than ever to watch! I hope that they release the following seasons on DVD too. If you haven't seen this show (Although I don't think there are too many people that haven't) watch it on TV or DVD when you get a chance, you might be pleasantly surprised!
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