Despite the growing movement to leave Thomas Jefferson on the ash heap of history, the long-running television sitcom “The Jeffersons” has been spared from criticism.
Along with Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson’s good name has come under fire recently. Later this month, for example, leaders of the Democratic Party in Connecticut will decide if, in the course of human events, it has become necessary to eliminate the names of both presidents from the title of the party’s annual fundraising dinner because they both owned slaves.
This year’s dinner marked the 67th anniversary of the occasion. (Sen. Elizabeth Warren was the keynote speaker at this year’s event.)
“If we want to be the party of the people, we need to reflect what our community is and we should step up and make a change,” Connecticut Democratic Party chairman Nick Balletto said, according to the Connecticut Post.
Also, late last month, in the wake of the murder of nine people at a black church in Charleston, S.C., CNN Tonight host Don Lemon suggested that “there may come a day when we want to rethink Jefferson” in light of racial issues.
Meanwhile, “The Jeffersons” has faced no recent denunciation.
The popular 70s-era sitcom created by strongly left-leaning television writer and producer Norman Lear featured George and Louise Jefferson, a wealthy black couple who moved on up from a working class neighborhood in Queens to a deluxe apartment in a high-rise building on Manhattan’s swanky East Side.
George owned a dry-cleaning operation with seven locations. He employed a maid, Florence. George and Louise (“Weezie”) had a son, Lionel, who was in love with and eventually married Jennie Willis, the daughter of their neighbors Tom and Helen Wills, an interracial couple.
George routinely referred to Tom and Helen as “zebras.”
On June 30, TV Land, a Viacom cable channel, announced that it had yanked all reruns of “The Dukes of Hazzard” from its schedule. (RELATED: TV Land Yanks ‘Dukes Of Hazzard’)
While TV Land didn’t specify why it pulled the show, “The Dukes of Hazzard” was pulled into a national dispute over displays of the Confederate flag after Warner Bros. announced it would stop making toy replicas of the “General Lee” — the Duke Boys’ 1969 red-orange Dodge Charger with the Confederate flag on top.
While “The Jeffersons,” which ran from 1975 to 1985, does not appear to be available on national cable television right now, a very large number of episodes of the show is accessible at the CBS-owned website TV.com.
Like “The Jeffersons,” “The Dukes of Hazzard” was a CBS show. It ran from 1979 to 1985.
Sherman Hemsley, the actor who played George Jefferson (and an Air Force veteran), died of cancer in 2012. Here is Hemsley as George Jefferson doing his legendary dance:
And here is the famous opening montage for “The Jeffersons” featuring “Movin’ On Up,” the sitcom’s very catchy, gospel-inspired theme song: