Norman Lear is genius. He may or may not be behind any shows that are currently on TV, but based on everything that he’s done thus far, I feel right in calling this comedy-king a genius.
The Jeffersons - The Complete Third Season is great. Many people know about George Jefferson, the successful business man who with his wife Weezy moved into a ritzy high rise, and just by his very nature shook things up. This third season keeps everything in fine order. Some of my favorite episodes were “George’s Guilt”(disc two), “A Case of Black and White”(disc two) and “George and The President”(disc one). Truthfully, I like all the episodes, mainly because I find the entire cast of this show from George Jefferson on down to Harry Bentley, to all be imminently watchable. These 3 episodes just stood out to me mainly because of how they dealt with issues of race and perception. I also love that even though The Jefferson’s have money, they weren’t drawn in easy strokes. The humanity of who they are really comes through. I feel the same way about how white characters like Tim Willis are done. Nothing about The Jeffersons - The Complete Third Season is dumbed down. The humor is so much sharper then so many of the shows I have seen. Also, based on what I have seen, it seems that in the 1990s the idea that TV could be something to make you think, seems almost outlandish as a concept. At least at seems like in 2005 we have come back to thought provoking concepts a bit.
Or maybe I just watch too much “retro TV”?
There are no easy answers with any of the subjects these episodes tackle. When George gets himself in a bind, while the comedy is usually a large part of the episode, I feel that we are really seeing someone try and deal the reason why he’s having a problem. And at the same time, there are traits about George Jefferson that make you realize that he will never change. He will never be anybody different then who he is. His thinking and ideas might alter over time, but he is never going to really change. And why would we want him to?
This is where I feel Normal Lear is a genius. He created shows that accepted the flaws. He didn’t focus so much on what was wrong with people, but actually quite a bit on what was right with them. And through this dissection, through having these discourses on a variety of topics, he forced people(the viewer and the character) to really believe in their strengths. To accept themselves for who they were. And best of all, he made all this happen not only with superb actors, but in such a way that we don’t even realize that it is happening. We just watch and are then hit over the head the greater truths the show illuminates.
The Jeffersons - The Complete Third Season is a welcome addition for people who are DVD collectors, people who are collecting this show and anybody else who has an interest in good television. I wish I had had this DVD box set when I was in college, because I remember being in a “History of African Americans in Film and Television” class and had I had this show in such an accessible form to reference, not only do I think I would have been more informed but I think I would have been able to add a lot more to the class discussions.
Sadly, The Jeffersons - The Complete Third Season has no extras. I guess I could sort of understand this if it was the first season, or even if it was the second season...but come on folks, this is The Jeffersons - The Complete Third Season!! Isn’t it time that they have some retrospective piece, some cast interviews or something? I mean, I have “TV LAND”(channel 69 in my area) going all the time. I know that a lot of the people from this show are still among the living. Why can’t they include something. I would love to hear Sherman Hemsley talk about “George Jefferson”. In all the years I have been alive I have never seen an interview with him!! I don’t have any clue what the real Sherman Hemsley sounds like. This is sad. If there is someone from Sony reading this can you please ask the powers that be to include a little something on the next set of discs? I know that a big part of why I buy DVDs is because of the extras and when I see something like The Jeffersons - The Complete Third Season, I know that I am going to buy it but man...it would be so much nicer to get a little something extra for my buying dollar.
Presented in the 1.33:1 Full Screen format these shows look great. Sure there are a few “hits” here and there but over all the transfers look quite good. Every so often the color from scene to scene might change a tad in it’s sharpness, but for a TV show from 1976-1977 I think that the utmost care has been placed so that these episodes look as good as they do. They are such timepieces. More to the point they are pieces of history. Pieces of how our country evolved and I think it’s great that we have things like The Jeffersons - The Complete Third Season because without these shows, we might forget how things were, how they’ve been and how they ended up. What I find really nice about these DVDs is that they show us how good TV can be. I am not going to come out and bemoan reality TV because A) it wouldn’t be on unless it was making money, B) it’s obviously something people want to see because it’s on TV and C) I think that maybe TV writers got a tad complacent in 1990s and that created the void that reality inevitably filled. These types of shows, when done as well as The Jeffersons - The Complete Third Season show us a truer reality in ways that “reality shows” could never have dreamed.
Dolby Digital : English Mono. As usual, the sound is fine. In some ways I think the audio on these shows is better then the audio on newer shows. I am starting to think that with all the advances that have been made in technology, they have reached a point where it’s sometimes hard to understand the audio. I think the bar has been raised to the point where audio is created so well and if you don’t have an outstanding sound system, then many times the crystal clearness of what you are supposed to be hearing is lost. With a show like The Jeffersons - The Complete Third Season, the sound is what is for the time that the show was created. It isn’t amazing, it isn’t bad and it isn’t great. It just sounds normal. You aren’t dealing with a ton of mood music that’s telling you what to feel. You aren’t dealing with the “moodiness” that many actors try and bring across in their performances by speaking in a veritable whisper. These shows are loud and in your face. The characters are types but those types are all turned on their head through the satirical nature of the show. The sound may not be amazing, it may not enhance someone’s “surround sound” experience, but it will play out of all the speakers, get the point of the episode across and if nothing else make you laugh AND think.
Pretty simple stuff here, though I guess the powers that be figured that those people that watched The Jeffersons when it first aired wouldn’t need too much coaxing to purchase this. I know I wouldn’t. With the cover’s orange and white colors, mixed in with shots of George, Weezy and a bunch of other character’s from this hit show, you know instantly by looking at this that you’re in for a good time. The back features more shots from the show as well as a description of what the third season was about. Inside, the orange and white colors continue and there are more shots from the show. George on the phone with Weezy behind him wondering what he’s doing, Florence going “on strike” and a few others. For a box set this packaging is bare bones and very too the point. They do include a Third Season episode guide so that those who want to find a specific episode or maybe want to skip around a little can have the luxury of doing that without getting lost amidst the DVDs. I like how they drew the city in orange and then wrapped it around inside the packaging. As I said, the look here is pretty simple but there’s really no reason for there to be too many bells and whistles.
The Jeffersons - The Complete Third Season is a great DVD to own or rent. From what I have seen it is moderately priced, and it offers you the kinds of laughs that you know are good for you. From the moment the opening theme song starts these DVDs make you feel right at home. I often wonder if a younger audience brought up on different types of shows might not take to The Jeffersons. A lot of the younger people I come in contact with seem particularly put off by the in your face humor that a lot of the Norman Lear created shows have. The thing is, without these shows, TV would not have evolved into the place that it has today. Without the groundbreaking topics that were disseminated by shows like The Jeffersons we wouldn’t be able to deal with and handle the subject matter that today's current crop of shows handle.
It also surprises me that people wouldn’t take to these shows. They are such a wonderful mirror of society, but it’s not sitting in judgment. It’s basically saying that “nobody is right”, and we all must work together to find the answers to the problems that seem to befall us. I know this might be an idealistic viewpoint but these shows are not idealistic. There is a deep humanity that is present that is willing to at least try and have different types of discussions. That is able to look at the left and right side of political issues and while it isn’t on either side of those issues it isn’t necessarily in the middle either. I guess the point is to at least have those discussion and ask those questions.
The Jeffersons - The Complete Third Season does all that AND it makes us laugh. Not only at the world around us but at ourselves. It shakes up our thoughts and preconceived notions. It takes us out of our relative truths.
The Jeffersons was released .