The longest-running TV series with a predominantly African-American cast in the history of American television. It features an upper-class black couple, George and Louise Jefferson, and is a Spin-Off
of All in the Family
, as they had been the neighbors of Archie and Edith Bunker.
Although created (like its parent show) by Norman Lear
, it wasn't that political. Still, it was the first series to prominently feature a mixed-racial couple, Helen and Tom Willis.
The show had its own spin-off, titled Checking In
. The short-lived series was centered on the character of Florence. It was aborted and Florence returned to The Jeffersons
The show did not get a proper finale, as it was ended early due to Executive Meddling
on the part of CBS
. Most of the cast found out after the last episode, but actor Sherman Hemsley didn't know until he read about it in the newspaper.
Provides Examples Of:
- Ascended Extra: Florence proved so popular with viewers she got her own title card and spinoff, Checking In. Florence was the inspiration for Marla Gibbs to play Mary Jenkins in the more successful 227 at the end of the show's run.
- Automobile Opening: George and Louise are in a taxi folling the moving truck on the way to their new apartment.
- Aloha Hawaii / Vacation Episode: The Jeffersons and Willises take a trip to Hawaii in a four-part episode arc.
- Black Gal on White Guy Drama: The Willises, who suffer no end of derision from George.
- The Boxing Episode
- The Bus Came Back: Mr. Bentley moved away at the end of season 7, then moved back at the beginning of season 10.
- Florence also when her spinoff Checking In didn't check out.
- The Character Died with Him: Zara Cully died during the fourth season, and Mother Jefferson was written out as having died also.
- Childish Pillow Fight: In one episode, George & Louise are given a pair of foam bats as a part of couples therapy. At the end of the episode they, the Willises, and Florence all go after each other (in a playful way) with the bats and some throw pillows for those without bats.
- Clip Show: The three-part episode "George and Louise in a Bind," in which the Jeffersons are tied up by a robber and begin reminiscing, leading to flashbacks (including from their time on All in the Family).
- Drop-In Character: Mr. Bentley.
- Funny Foreigner: Mr Bentley.
- George Jetson Job Security: Florence, especially during the early years. At least once, Florence did get fired ... only for her habit of eavesdropping on George's telephone conversations to save him from a potential scam – two con artists had wanted to sell George delivery vans that had been damaged in a flood – and it also saves Florence's job. By the early 1980s, the trope no longer applied and Florence's place in the Jeffersons' lives was secure.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: George.
- Mammy: Florence subverts the trope.
- Mistaken for Cheating: Happens twice:
- In one episode George meets with his old navy buddy who had a sex change (see below).
- In another George has been working late even though Louise doesn't like it. When he tries to sneak in and is caught she believes he's having an affair and he tells her this rather than let her know the truth.
- Subverted in another episode, where Louise confronts George about mysterious withdrawals from their banking account and unexplained visits out of town. (This turned into a Jerk with a Heart of Gold moment, as Louise eventually tracked down George to an apartment in the Bronx ... their old apartment, where a black couple and young son were living. George was helping the couple financially as the father was trying to find a good job.)
- Subverted in another episode where Louise finds George in a hotel room with a lovely young woman (long story, but it is completely innocent), but instantly believes him when he tells her nothing is going on between them, because she notices that he doesn't display the physical tic that usually tells her that he's lying.
- N-Word Privileges: Rarely did Norman Lear's comedies use the word "nigger," but the notable exception is "Sorry, Wrong Meeting," where two Klu Klux Klansmen freely use the slur towards the regular characters.
- Usually, this trope was reversed when George calls various white people – especially Tom – a "honky" and his daughter-in-law a "zebra" (the slur for a bi-racial person born to a Caucasian and an African-American). At least once, however, George uses the term in front of a child he is baby-sitting, and when the kid uses it to one of George's clients, it jeopardizes a lucrative business deal.
- Tom also used the word once, asking George how he would like it if he called him a "nigger", in response to George calling Tom a "honky".
- Old Friend New Gender: George goes to visit his old Navy buddy Eddie Stokes, only to find out he's now Edie Stokes.
- Poorly Disguised Pilot: "The Jeffersons Move on Up", which aired as an episode of All in the Family.
- Pretty in Mink: A few furs showed up, including Tom buying Helen a red fox jacket after taking a stock tip from George.
- Pretty Fly for a White Guy: In one episode, George tries to teach Tom how to "act black," in order to fit in with Helen's friends.
- Reality Subtext: Roxie Roker's husband was white.
- When the producers asked if she was willing to play half of a mixed race couple, she pulled out a family portrait. (And on a trivia note, her son is Lenny Kravitz.)
- Repeating so the Audience Can Hear: George's phone conversations.
- Sassy Black Woman: Florence.
- Servile Snarker: Florence, again.
- Shared Universe: With All in the Family and its other Spin-Off, Maude (and its spin off, Good Times).
- Spinoff Sendoff: In the pilot, as Louise is packing the kitchen Edith Bunker comes over from next door to wish them luck in their new place.
- Stealth Insult: Mother Jefferson's specialty, directed at Louise.