YMMV / Sanford and Son

  • Crosses the Line Twice: In "Legal Eagle", when Fred is put on trial for speeding.
    Fred: Listen, why don't you arrest some white drivers?
    Cop: I do.
    Fred: You do? Well, where are they? Look at all these niggas in here! Look around here! There's enough niggas in here to make a Tarzan movie!
  • Designated Villain: In "A House is Not a Pool Room", Lamont buys Fred a billiards table and he and Donna are quickly annoyed about how he is neglecting them and his work to play pool with his buddies. Fred decides to sell the table to make them happy and the show treats him like he's in the wrong for wanting to keep the money for himself instead of giving it to Lamont, even though Lamont gave him the table as a gift, making it Fred's property to do with as he pleases.
    • In "Jealousy" Lamont is presented as the bad guy for stirring up his father's titular jealousy against his rival Osgood over Donna's affections. The trouble is everything Lamont says is true: there IS no good reason for Osgood to be present at Donna and Fred's date, Osgood is actually healthy while Donna is unaware, he has been giving her gifts and at one point he cuddles with her in front of Fred. And yet Lamont is treated as the villain.
  • Ear Worm: The theme song, courtesy of Quincy Jones.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: At least two:
    • Grady Wilson began as a guest character —played by a different actor— and was then reimagined and eventually took over the show for a time when Redd Foxx walked.
    • Aunt Esther (Fred's late wife's sister) first appeared in a second-season episode and essentially became a regular from that point forward.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Redd Foxx's death from a real heart attack make Fred's fake ones hard to watch, let alone laugh at.
  • Memetic Mutation: "I WANT MY DADDY'S RECORDS." from "Blind Mellow Jelly"
  • Retroactive Recognition: John Larroquette appeared in the fifth season episode "Steinberg and Son".
    • Garry Shandling wrote or co-wrote four episodes of the show before finding fame as a comedian and actor.
  • Seasonal Rot: The final season has its share of problems including a Vacation Episode in Hawaii that features Fred and Lamont running for their life from jewel thieves, a multitude of guest stars and an especially bizarre episode centered around Fred (played by Redd Foxx) entering a contest to meet his idol... Redd Foxx.
    • Arguably, the marker for the rot is the end of the third season, when Grady took over for Fred due to Red Foxx's contract negotiation problems. After that, the plots began to get more divorced from reality, the celebrity cameos became more common and the dreaded episodes with a message started getting made.
    • Some fans will argue that part of the problem stemmed from the overhaul in the production staff, replacing the original black writers and producers with Jewish writers and producers, causing the series to lose its original authentic urban vibe and turn into just another standard sitcom.
  • So Bad, It's Good: As Sanford and Son progressed and rose higher in the ratings, Foxx used his newfound clout to force the producers into hiring his old "chitlin' circuit" colleagues (most of whom were NOT trained actors, and it showed) for roles on the series leading to Brother Chuck moments in the second season when sensible Aunt Ethel (another of Elizabeth's sisters played by Beah Richards), Slappy (Fred's original foil) and Officer Swanhauser (Smitty's original partner played by prolific sitcom director Noam Pitlik) were written out and replaced with over-the-top counterparts. However, the broad antics and occasional wooden line-readings are part of the charm of the series, and Redd Foxx picked up the slack admirably when needed.
  • What Could Have Been: In his introduction to the compilation album Comedy Stew: The Best of Redd Foxx; actor Johnny Brown mentioned that he had been considered for the role of Lamont Sanford, only for Brown to be forced to turn the role down due to scheduling conflicts. However, Norman Lear would remember Brown; eventually casting him as building superintendent Nathan "Buffalo Butt" Bookman on Good Times.