Down the Ballot

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Moving on Up...and Out!

Adventures in 1985 continue! We often take moments to recall when notable television shows premiered. As a new season of prime time tv looms in the distance it might be interesting to recount some of the shows that ended in 1985.

One of the shows that ended in 1985, had begun a decade earlier in 1975. It starred Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford. The Jeffersons was spin off of All in the Family, and was a show that I was able to watch growing up with the help of Nick at Nite. In 8 out of 11 seasons, the show appeared in the Top 30 shows in Nielsen ratings. 

The show focused on an African American family 'moving on up' out of a working class Queens neighborhood in New York to an upscale Manhattan apartment and follow the exploits of them and their wealthy neighbors adjusting to the new neighborhood. It was nominated for 13 Emmy awards and 8 Golden Globes, though it only won 2 Emmys with all those nominations.

An interesting nomination it got in 1985 was for Best Young Guest Actor. The actor nominated was none other than Jaleel White, who would go on to star on another famous spinoff called Family Matters.

Controversy surrounding the end of the show still exists as fans don't feel the network ever gave it a proper send off. Most of the stars found out about the show getting cancelled in the trade papers and from friends and family. There was never a proper series finale.

Viewers of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air encounter George Jefferson and family several times in the 90s, the Jeffersons now on the west coast even contemplate purchasing the Banks home in the series finale, giving fans of The Jeffersons some idea as what became of them.

George Jefferson in many ways was a very similar character to Archie Bunker, rude, opinionated, high strung, loud, and bigoted. Perhaps Norman Lear was attempting to show with the two characters that while we have  differences, like skin color or economic standing, many qualities that make us human (for good or bad) are shared by all. Sure a lot of it was comedic effect on the show, but Archie and George really did want was best for their families at the end of the day. Just like all of us do (or so those writers in Hollywood want us to think!)

Go get yourself a piece of the pie and enjoy a few episodes of the Jeffersons.
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