Watch Jennifer Hudson rock the deluxe apartment with her joyous Jeffersons theme song
Last night, ABC rewound the clock to the 1970s. To the dates October 20, 1973, and January 18, 1975, to be exact. Jimmy Kimmel teamed with television legend Norman Lear to recreate two classic episodes of his pioneering sitcoms All in the Family and The Jeffersons. An all-star cast brought the Bunkers, the Jeffersons and their many neighbors back to life by performing the episodes "Henry's Farewell" and "A Friend in Need" live before a studio audience.
It was a savvy selection of episodes. "Henry's Farewell" was the first All in the Family episode to feature Sherman Hemsley as George Jefferson. Prior to that episode, George was never seen onscreen, only talked about as the neighbor who refused to set foot in the Bunker household. At last, in "Henry's Farewell," a party and some clever goading from Archie lures George into the living room. That was followed by "A Friend in Need," the pilot episode of The Jeffersons that saw the couple hiring a housekeeper.
Frankly, we found the Jeffersons remake to be more effective, largely thanks to MVP Jamie Foxx. He may have charmingly flubbed a line in the All in the Family bit, but the actor really leaned into emulating Hemsley from his speech to his physical mannerisms. Marissa Tomei was equally inspired as Edith Bunker.
There were surprises, too. Marla Gibbs reprised her role as sassy maid Florence Johnston, earning an emotional standing ovation.
Cheers alum Woody Harrelson and Tomei teamed up to sing "Those Were the Days" at the piano, just as Carroll O'Connor and Jean Stapleton did back in the day. That left audiences to wonder what exactly the live production would do for "Movin' on Up," the soulful sing-along so wonderfully belted out by Ja'net DuBois.
Enter Jennifer Hudson.
Sporting high heels and an afro, Hudson strutted through the perfectly recreated "deluxe apartment in the sky" set. Quite simply, she slayed. It was enough to make us okay with a reboot.
Take a look and a listen.