by Ms. Black Hollywood
Move over vampires, zombies and gritty detectives…TV viewers want the simple pleasures of days gone by. At least, that’s what we can conclude from the ratings of a live restaging of two mega hits from the 70’s.
ABC took a gamble and brought two shows that signed off the air in the 80’s…”The Jeffersons” and “All in the Family”. It turns out it wasn’t much of a gamble, but genius. As Yahoo News points out, “…if TV’s gonna go there, bringing back eerily timely shows like “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons” is the way to do it.”
The shows are timeless since they tackle topics like racisms, classicism, homesexuality and religion–all in a family sitcom environment that makes you think and laugh at the same time. The formula was magic in the 70’s and has lost any of its dazzle in this millenium. According to Deadline, the 90 minute special helped ABC to dominate “primetime with a 5.6/10, ahead of NBC’s 5.0/9, with CBS (2.9/5), Fox (1.5/3) and CW (0.4/1) in their dust…”
The timing was right and so was the casting with Jamie Foxx reprising a role originally made endearing by Sherman Hemsley as George Jefferson and Wanda Sykes stepping into Isabel Sanford’s shoes as Weezy.
Marla Gibbs delighted audiences with her return as the maid most likely to throw shade. And at age 88, Gibbs still delivered.
The stellar cast also included Kerry Washington, Will Ferrell” and Woody Harrelson as Archie Bunker. We even had Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson to blow us away with her rendition of the show’s theme song ‘Movin’ On Up’.
Live performances means we can expect a few glitches and screw ups, but actors like Jamie Foxx cut their teeth on skit shows and just lean into their mistakes much to audience’s delight.
Not every show can be raised from the dead nearly fifty years later to still pack an entertaining punch, but this experiment that had all the right ingredients.