Timeless is the word that comes to mind when watching modern-day actors read words Norman Lear and his team of television writers penned 45 years ago.
“Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons'” was an unsafe feat, definitely.
In the “All in the Family” episode, which aired first, the Bunkers played host to the Jefferson family after Edith (Marisa Tomei) unintentionally volunteered to have her home be the place of a going away party.
Archie (Woody Harrelson) is irritated by the idea of having a black family in his home. What threadbare was a discussion about race and honor, with Archie on the defensive as his son-in-law and daughter (Ike Barinholtz and Ellie Kemper) tried, as always, to inform him on the new world order.
Marisa Tomei played Edith Bunker in ABC’s live presentation of “All in the Family.”
The script was performed same as it had been written for a 1973 episode called “Henry’s Farewell.”
Jamie Foxx, who played George, flubbed at one point, breaking character.
“It’s live,” he said. “Everyone’s sitting at home just thinking their TV messed up.”
Harrelson and some of the actors in the background couldn’t help but crack smiles.
In “The Jeffersons,” George and Louise (Wanda Sykes) verbally argued over the idea of getting a maid, the premise of the show’s 1975 pilot.
Louise was uncomfortable with having help. George found unlikely friends in Helen and Tom Willis (Kerry Washington and Will Ferrell), but he lost their support when he challenged the difficulties of their biracial relation.
A bright spot came when Marla Gibbs re-presented her role as the sassy Florence.
He added, though, “There is so much more work we need to do in this country we love so much.”