After last night’s live performances of classic sitcoms All In The Family and The Jeffersons on ABC, the network is probably going to be looking into more possible revivals, because not only did they lead to a 12-year high in ratings, viewers judged the experiment to be a rousing success. One of the most beloved parts of the evening was Jennifer Hudson’s knockdown performance of the beloved Jeffersons theme song, “Movin’ On Up,” which she sang with her usual gusto, backed, of course, by a live band and audience providing some church-inspired, clapping accompaniment.
Another big hit of the evening was Jamie Foxx’s live flub and willingness to break character. “It’s live,” he said, after dropping the line, “Everyone sitting at home just thought their TV just messed up.” This brought the laughs not only from the studio’s audience, but from his star-studded castmates — which included Woody Harrelson, Ellie Kemper, Anthony Anderson, Ike Barinholtz, Wanda Sykes, and Marisa Tomei — as well.
The 90-minute special, which revived two of America’s most beloved sitcoms of the past 60 years, recreated the sets, wardrobes, and staging of the originals, while maintaining some of the themes that made them so seminal to pop culture and social conversation at the time they originally aired. Given that the US is still sorting through some of the same problems from the show — the ABC censors made sure to catch every instance of perpetually-perturbed patriarch Archie Bunker’s obstinate use of the n-word — the recreations were both timely and cutting, revealing that, while plenty of progress has been made, we’ve still got a long way to go.