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Friday, 17 October 2008

Snippets of The Jeffersons

The Jeffersons is one of the sitcoms I grew on (we had recorded episodes). It is the longest running comedy (or series of any genre) with a predominantly Black cast in the history of American television.

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The show focused on an upper middle-class, Black couple, George and Louise Jefferson, who have risen from poverty after a lot of struggle. They are also very proud of the struggle and that's why have their feet firmly on the ground - well, Louise mostly. George tends to have his head in the clouds at certain occassions but situations - and Louise - often bring him back to ground.

Before I start off with the snippets, let me introduce you to the characters:
George Jefferson (Sherman Hemsley): An ambitious African American entrepreneur who started and managed a successful chain of seven dry cleaning stores in New York City called Jefferson Cleaners. George Jefferson was frequently opinionated, rude, bigoted and prone to scheming.

Louise Jefferson nee Mills (Isabel Sanford): Often referred to as "Weezie" by George, she is kind hearted and is a calming influence in the household compared to George's temper tantrums and over-inflated ego.

Florence Johnston (Marla Gibbs): She is Jeffersons' sassy, sardonic, wise-cracking, yet painfully lazy maid. Although her job is supposed to take up most of her time, she is flat-out slothful, using very little energy or effort to clean the Jeffersons' apartment. She regularly bickers with George and teases him about his height and speech. George, who pays Florence's salary, repeatedly complains about her laziness (and cooking), and he gives her a very small paycheck. Several times he was on the verge of firing her, but Louise, who thinks of her as one of the family, forces him not to. Over the period, she grows a close friendship with Louise.

Tom and Helen Willis (Franklin Cover and Roxie Roker): Helen Willis nee Douglas is Louise's best friend and George's worst nightmare. She has been married to Tom Willis for 34 years. Helen works with Louise as volunteers at a service facility called "The Help Center".
Tom Willis is an author and president of his publishing company, Pelham Publishers (which is never seen in the series). He lives a content life with his wife Helen. Tom is white, and Helen is black, which was a renowned aspect of the show. Because of this racial mixing, they are often the butt of George's insults and jokes. Tom and Helen, however, both learned to ignore the bigotry of their neighbor. Tom is a caring person, but often dominated by his wife. He also is ridiculed occasionally of his weight. He is known to be a horrible dancer, as indicated in a few episodes. He also occasionally goes along with George's constant schemes reluctantly, but for the most part prefers to be left out of them.

Harry Bentley (Paul Benedict) is the Jeffersons' eccentric, British next-door neighbor. Bentley works as a Russian language interpreter at the United Nations. He is known to everybody as a kind, gentle fellow, but George mostly finds him a complete annoyance, especially when he shows up at his door, complaining of back spasms (which could be cured only by George walking across his back) or to borrow a household item.

Here are a few amazing dialogues:
(Note: Please don't look at the controversy. Look at the comedy. No offense to anyone.)

George: Look, I got a responsibility to give those jobs to men. Men have families to support.
Jenny: What about women who have families to support?
George: They oughta get a man!

George: Women ain't fit for tough jobs.
Mother Jefferson: A woman raised you, George.
George: I can't swear to a woman
Mother Jefferson: George, you are talking like a damn fool.

George: ...You've been writing since you was a kid.
Louise: So has Helen
George: But you're older than her!

George: What's Helen got that you ain't got?
Louise: Well, for one thing, she's got a college education
George: College education, that don't mean nothing!
Louise: That's not what you keep telling Lionel
George: Well, that's different
Louise: What's different about that?
George: We are not talking about becoming an engineer, we are talking about editing a newsletter. Any dummy can do that!

Florence: Were you this excited when you first heard I was coming?
George: Sure
Florence: What happened?
George: You showed up!

Bentley: When my oldest sister married a sailor. she married a sailor and they moved away from home for a long time. When she returned to the house after all that time, nobody recognized her
Florence: She changed that much?
Bentley: Oh no we didn't live there anymore!

Florence: This woman (about Louise) is saint. Look who she married.

Florence: That's your problem. You only know the words and not what they mean.


George: You cook like a dog.
Florence: That's because I cook for a chihuahua.

That's all I have for now.

1 comment:

  1. *ROTFL*! Been doing some re-runs myself and man!, are they good! Thanks for these! I had a good laugh!