The Jeffersons Character Review: Louise Jefferson

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.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. For every yin, there is a yang. The best partnerships are the one in which one person balances out the other. On The Jeffersons, Louise Jefferson (Isabel Sanford) is the the exact opposite of her husband, George (Sherman Hemsley).

When George is obnoxious and full of it, she is kind and openhearted. Willing to give people a chance, she becomes good friends with Tom and Helen Willis (Franklin Cover and Roxie Roker), a bi-racial couple who lives in the same building. Remembering the poverty she experienced in her childhood, she is reluctant to hire a maid. After some convincing on George’s part, she agreed to hire a maid. Over the years, the relationship between Louise and Florence Johnston (Marla Gibbs) becomes less like employer and employee and more like two women who know each other well.

But even as calm and collected as Louise is, there is one person that gets under her skin: her mother-in-law. Mother Jefferson (Zara Cully) knows exactly how to push Louise’s buttons. Though Louise and George have been married for a long time, she is still the target of criticism and disapproval.

To sum it up: Without Louise, George would be just another asshole. Her presence is both a calming influence on both him and the audience, allowing us to laugh without feeling the need to knock him down a peg or two. Louise is the character the audience can connect with, giving us a natural access point and allowing us to enjoy everything this show has to offer.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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