"Living in front of a studio audience:" All in the Family "and" The Jefferson "by Norman Lear" was certainly a risky feat.
Success was found, however, mainly because the episodes chosen to be recreated could, with minor adjustments, have been made yesterday.
In the episode "All in the Family," which aired first, the Bunkers welcomed the Jefferson family after Edith (Marisa Tomei) volunteered for her home to be the venue of the day. 39, a party of departure.
Archie (Woody Harrelson) is annoyed by the idea of having a black family at home. A discussion about race and privileges was revealed. Archie was on the defensive as his son-in-law and daughter (Ike Barinholtz and Ellie Kemper) tried, as always, to educate him about the new world order.
The scenario was executed exactly as it had been written for a 1973 episode entitled "Farewell to Henry".
Well, almost exactly.
Jamie Foxx, who played George, failed at one point, breaking the character.
"It's live," he says. "Everyone is sitting at home just thinking their TV is messy."
Harrelson and some of the actors in the background could not help but smile.
In "The Jeffersons", George and Louise (Wanda Sykes) quarreled over the idea of bringing in a housekeeper, the principle of the pilot of the series in 1975.
Louise was uncomfortable to have help. George found unlikely allies in Helen and Tom Willis (Kerry Washington and Will Ferrell), but he lost support when he challenged the complexity of their biracial relationship.
ABC censored a number of racist words that had been used in the original episodes.
Marla Gibbs has resumed her role of impertinent Florence.
In opening the evening, Lear paved the way for an audience familiar or not with the series, warning that the language and themes came from another era.
However, he added, "we have so much work to do in this country that we love so much."