Before there was Idol, Hoarders, Snookie, and the Real House Porn Stars of Insert City; when people actually sat down and wrote content for entertainment, there was a ground breaking show called, “All In The Family.” In addition to the comedy, that show dealt with many of the issues America was dealing with at the time such as class, race, liberalism vs. conservatism, abortion, and so on. That content and quality of the show holds up today, though one would never see such a production today nor it’s fierce unapologetic critique of our ignorance unless Seth MacFarland sets it in animation.
Sherman Hemsley’s George Jefferson character on All In The Family and his verbal analytical challenges to Archie Bunker’s view of White Americanism was so impressive to the producers that they added a spin off show around George called, "The Jeffersons."
George represented something that was never seen on TV at the time. Unlike the pervasive and all too common ghettoized back drop of Good Times, George was a business owner (Jefferson Cleaners) and lived in a high rise apartment in Manhattan. Not only was George not anybody’s servant, hell he even had a maid. And the genius of having Marla Gibb’s Florence Johnston’s maid character was that she actually had the boldness and freedom to say the things that so many maids wish they could say to their white bosses.
And boy did we laugh because although George was rich, with that also came a type of detachment he had to certain realities that most regular American people were dealing with. George was just as prejudice against his neighbors interracial marriage as Archie Bunker would have been, giving them something in common.
That show lasted for 11 seasons. And best believe without George Jefferson there is no Dr. Huckstable.
Thanks for your contributions Mr. Hemsley. R.I.P