Before the Obama’s could run against and defeat the Clinton’s in an historic election, the Jeffersons helped pave the way. They originally lived next door to Archie and Edith Bunker on their hit show All in the Family, but after finding success in a dry cleaning business, George (Sherman Hemsley) moved his family into a spacious high-rise apartment. This groundbreaking sitcom, in contrast to other popular African-American based shows at the time, showed a Black couple’s successful rise to the top. Their integration into White society included a better education for their son, a successful business and a more lavish lifestyle. The show also crossed racial lines and offered humor that unified the nation.
Until the Jeffersons, a story like this had never been told before on television. George, along with his wife Louise (Isabel Sanford) and son, Lionel (Mike Evans), “moved on up” to a better place in life and the challenges that came along with that offered lots of light and fun hearted humor. Their new life wasn’t without excitement. A live-in maid, Florence Johnson, next door neighbor Harry Bentley, doorman Ralph and upstairs neighbors Tom and Helen Willis, who were also televisions first interracial couple, kept the humor going.
With a feisty mother and a sassy maid, George finds himself trying to satisfy his ego as man of the house only until Louise steps in as boss. When their son returns from college, he marries Jenny Willis, the upstairs neighbor’s daughter
The relationships get better with time but only after George struts back into the room willing to admit that he’s possibly not always right.