The Jeffersons: Season Eight [3 Discs] [DVD]

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Special Features

  • Closed Captioned


Its popularity having grown apace since its move to a Sunday night time slot in June 1979, The Jeffersons remained on CBS' Sunday Prime Time manifest as it launched its eighth season in the fall of 1981. Season eight would ultimately yield more first-run episodes than any previous season (27 in all), due to the producers' foresighted decision to "stockpile" new episodes during season seven in the event of another Hollywood union strike such as the one that disrupted production in 1980. At the end of The Jeffersons' 1980-1981 season, Marla Gibbs' character of sassy housekeeper Florence Johnston had been spun off into her own starring series, Checking In, which found Florence appointed as executive housekeeper for the posh St. Frederick Hotel. Alas, Checking In, which premiered April 9, 1981, ran a piddling four episodes. This necessitated Florence's return to The Jeffersons, which in turn required a two-part episode titled "Florence Did It Different," in which it was "explained" that Florence was rehired by George and Louise Jefferson (Sherman Hemsley, Isabel Sanford) after the St. Frederick burned to the ground. (No one missed Florence's temporary replacement in the Jefferson household, a maid named Carmen played by Roseanna Christensen). Though Florence was back, several other Jeffersons' regulars were on their way out. Both Mike Evans and Berlinda Tolbert, cast respectively as Lionel Jefferson and Lionel's wife Jenny, had decided to leave the series at the end of season eight. Though their characters weren't precisely written out, Evans and Tolbert would henceforth be seen only in a sporadic "guest-star" capacity (The couple's infant daughter Jessica, previously all but invisible, finally appeared during the eighth season, played by twin girls Erin and Leslie Holland). And Paul Benedict, who'd been in the series from the beginning as the Jeffersons' eccentric British neighbor Harry Bentley, likewise ankled The Jeffersons in the spring of 1981 -- though he would return, again as a regular, two years later. The Jeffersons closed out its eighth season as the third highest-rated network series -- its most lofty ratings perch ever, and one that it would never attain again. ~ Hal Erickson

Cast & Crew

  • Sherman Hemsley - George Jefferson
  • Isabel Sanford - Louise Jefferson
  • Mike Evans - Lionel Jefferson
  • Damon Evans - Lionel Jefferson
  • Marla Gibbs - Florence Johnston

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