Tag Archives: Zara Cully

The Jeffersons Character Review: Mother 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*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.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. When we get married, our marriage is much more than the person we said “I do” to. It is also, for better or for worse, that person’s family. I would love to say that every married person gets along with their in-laws. But that is not always the case. On The Jeffersons, Mother Olivia Jefferson, (Zara Cully) does not hide her disdain for her daughter-in-law Louise (Isabel Sanford).

In her mind, Louise is far from the ideal spouse for her son, George (Sherman Hemsley). She takes pleasure in tormenting Louise about everything. But Louise is no shrinking violet. What Mother Jefferson gives out, she gets back tenfold from Louise. But that does not mean that she is completely heartless. When George’s action cross a sexist line, his mother is quick to point out that he is wrong.

To sum it up: A mother’s love knows no bounds. That can also be said about her relationship with her daughter-in-law. Though one could easily put Mother Jefferson in the stereotypical mother-in-law role, it is her ability to step out of the 2D character occasionally that makes her stand out.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

This will be my last character review post for The Jeffersons. Come back next week for the new list of character reviews.

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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, Television

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*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.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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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, New York City, Television