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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Jeffersons - The Complete Second Season
The Jeffersons - The Complete Second Season
Columbia/Tri-Star // Unrated // May 13, 2003
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Matthew Millheiser | posted June 12, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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"A-we're a-movin' on u-up!"

The Show

Can we just break down and admit it? The Jeffersons was much, much funnier than All In The Family ever was. Sure, Archie Bunker and company were groundbreaking, socially relevant, and everything considered important and noteworthy in the annals of television history. They tackled issues like racism, sexism, homosexuality, politics, anti-Semitism, feminism, and dozens of other topics that, before then, had been steadfastly avoided by mainstream television situation comedies.

But The Jeffersons were funnier. Much funnier. And they had a better theme song, too.

The cast was uniformly wonderful. As the unctuous George Jefferson, Sherman Hemsley had it all over Archie Bunker. He was cranky, cantankerous, egotistic, egocentric, insulting, insensitive, self-righteous, and overflowing with enough attitude and bravado to flood the Grand Canyon. If not for the firm, take-no-crap checks-and-balances provided by steadfast wife Louise "Weezie" Jefferson (memorably played by Isabel Sanford), George's ego would have expanded at an exponential rate and engulfed all of uptown Manhattan. As television's first interracial couple, Helen and Tom Willis (admirably played by the late, great Roxie Roker and the endearing if terminally over-acting Franklin Cover) not only broke ground but also provided George with fodder for way too many classic zingers. There's also the charming if socially naive Mr. Bentley (Paul Benedict), another frequent target of George's acidic temper.

But Florence (Marla Gibbs) always stole the show; she had the best lines and the sharpest delivery. She took no guff from George, matching him zinger for zinger without missing a beat. I'm surprised she never got canned, but then again George probably enjoyed it more than he let on. Their barbed banter certainly provided us with tons of laughter. Now that Columbia/Tristar is releasing the complete series on DVD, Jeffersons fans have reason to rejoice!

The Jeffersons: The Complete Second Season contains all twenty-four episodes of the show's 1976-1977 season. The shows are spread over three DVDs, and the episodes included on this set are:

  1. A Dinner For Harry
  2. George's First Vacation
  3. Louise's Daughter
  4. Harry and Daphne
  5. Jefferson vs. Jefferson
  6. Mother Jefferson's Fall
  7. Movin' on Down
  8. Uncle Bertram
  9. George Won't Talk
  10. George's Best Friend
  11. Jenny's Grandparents
  12. George's Alibi
  13. George and the Manager
  14. Lunch with Mama
  15. George vs. Wall Street
  16. The Break-Up (Part 1)
  17. The Break-Up (Part 2)
  18. Florence's Problem
  19. Mother Jefferson's Birthday
  20. Louise's Cookbook
  21. George Meets Whittendale
  22. Lionel's Problem
  23. Tennis Anyone?
  24. The Wedding

The DVD

Video
Except for the filmed opening credits, the video presentation is indicative of vintage 1976 videotaped television. In other words, the DVD presents a solid reproduction of degraded video quality. Image detail is slightly soft. Colors seem muted and unnatural with occasional bleeding and questionable contrast levels. Flesh tones are often radioactive-looking. The picture sometimes seems flickering at times, with various brightness levels. Chroma noise is all over the charts, and edge-enhancement is prevalent throughout the episodes. In other words, this is a great video presentation of seriously flawed source material. 

Audio
The audio is presented in monaural Dolby Digital 2.0. Again, the quality of the presentation is limited by the age and reduced fidelity of the source material. That having been said, it certainly sounds no worse than what you might hear on Nick-At-Nite or TV Land; perhaps slightly better at times. The overall quality is serviceable and pleasant, certainly in line with reasonable expectations.

The Extras
The only extra is a TV Comedy Favorites video piece, which is nothing more than a commercial for television product released by Columbia/Tristar on DVD, including Married With Children, All In The Family, The Jeffersons, Sanford and Son, The Larry Sanders Show, Good Times, and Mad About You .

Final Thoughts
One cannot seriously expect a high-quality presentation of the source material, so much can be forgiven when evaluating at the audio and video quality of The Jeffersons: The Complete Second Season. The series looks better than what you might catch on broadcast television, but only slightly so. The audio is certainly reasonable and adequately delievered. But let's be honest: we're here for the episodes, and they're still as brash and as funny as they were nearly thirty years ago. And for less than $30 retail, you're getting twenty-four episodes and nearly nine hours of some of the funniest television ever unleashed upon the American public. For fans and faithful of The Jeffersons , the purchase of this set is a no-brainer.

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