The Jeffersons Character Review: Florence Johnston

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series The Jeffersons. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. When one hires household help, they expect this person to be respectful and do the job they are paid to do. On The Jeffersons, Florence Johnston (Marla Gibbs) is not this kind of household staff.

Florence is a smart ass, lacks some of the skills needed to complete her work, and has no problem talking back to her employers. She frequently gets into rows with George Jefferson (Sherman Hemsley) and complains that her paycheck is on the small side. She is saved from being fired several times by Louise Jefferson (Isabel Sanford), who sees Florence as part of the family instead of hired help.

Though Florence and George don’t exactly get along, both reveal their softer sides and provide assistance when needed. George stepped in before Florence could commit suicide and Florence saved George when he got involved with a couple of con artists.

To sum it up: Household help characters have been around for generations. For the most part, they have been meek, mild, and have only been in the spotlight when they are needed. Florence is a unique not only because she is a major character, but because she is not afraid to speak her mind. Even if that means mocking those who sign her paychecks.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Feminism, New York City, Television

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.