The Jeffersons and Black family Essay

Submitted By mullen02
Words: 1306
Pages: 6

The television show Good Times aired on CBS from February 1974 to August 1979. The show was enjoyed by many people and even today the show can still be viewed on a variety of cable television stations. Good Times has a significant historical value because it offered a different view of the Black family and American life in general. The show did not stray away from topics that were considered to be controversial. Instead, the show dealt with relevant issues and helped to give a more realistic view of what goes on behind closed doors in the Black family. The show portrayed the Black family as one attempting to prevail over the harsh reality of life in the urban ghetto. Interjected into the storyline were scenes that both Blacks and Whites could identify with. Growing unemployment rates, shoddy government practices, increasing interest rates were all part of the writers master plan to interject realism into the show. But how realistic was this portrayal of the Black family?
The television show The Jefferson’s offered a different view of the Black family and this time the Black family was a part of a different socioeconomic bracket than that of the Evans family. Just as Good Times did, The Jefferson’s aired on CBS from 1975 to 1985 and was based on the lives of the Black couple George and Louise Jefferson. Unlike the Evans family, the Jefferson’s were a well-to-do family as George was the owner of a successful dry cleaning company. Because of this, George and Louise are able to live very comfortably in a penthouse apartment on Manhattan’s East Side. As stated in the theme song, “we’re movin’ on up!” the lifestyles of the Jefferson’s were much different than the “temporary layoffs and easy credit rip-offs” lifestyle of the Evans family.
In the episode “Too Old Blues,” aptitude and physical tests show that James is certified for a government apprenticeship. However, James is denied employment because of his age. In a fit of rage and because money is hard to come by, James insists that he be given the job. When his request is denied, James turns to shooting pool as a means to get the money needed to make the monthly rent for his shoddy apartment. In contrast to “The First Store” episode of The Jefferson’s, George takes on a different mindset when it comes to making ends meet. As George and Louise reflect back to a time when money was low and bills were high, George decides that he wants to become a business owner. With this in mind, I postulate that George was more ambitious at the time of his impoverishment than was James Evans and this is a key element that differentiates the two characters. I admit that James Evans did constantly pursue work and take many jobs to keep the family afloat. However, in all of the episodes that I have watched, I never witnessed James seek out opportunities to become a business owner as a means to provide for his family.
Just as the lifestyle of the Jefferson family was enriched and made all the better; so too could the lives of the Evans family been enriched if only James had taken on the same entrepreneurial mindset of George Jefferson. The different approaches in making ends meet that the writers used in the two television programs helped bring awareness to the fact that the Black family could struggle and survive as in Good Times and in contrast, the Black family could dream and be successful as in The Jefferson’s. In my assessment of racial consciousness interjected into Good Times and The Jefferson’s, I assert that both shows did a good job at dealing with issues pertinent to race and race relations during their time of syndication. It is said that the Jefferson’s was one of the first television shows to feature an interracial couple. I find this to be quite interesting and a bit oxymoronic seeing that George would commonly refer to whites as “honkies.” In the “Too Old Blues” episode of Good Times, I found the character Michael to be more racially and culturally aware of the problems