The Jeffersons was one of those of shows that I grew up watching, but really didn't appreciate until I was a bit older. The show was full racially tinged humor, something I really wasn't able to understand as a wee little lad. There are moments that, even now, where I'm uncomfortable with some of what's being said, and I'm almost positive a show like this couldn't exist in today's environment. Despite all that, I can't help but watch it when I'm channeling surfing. It's on about three different stations right now, and much like a lot of the sitcoms from it's era, it's still relevant. Many of the issues bandied up then, are still problems now. And since comedy and laughter gives us a different way to look at things, I hope shows like The Jeffersons will always have a home on the silver screen.
In my not so humble opinion, Florence Johnston was the highlight of the show. As a maid she sucks. She's lazy, mouthy, can cook about as well as the Swedish Chef from The Muppet Show, and probably doesn't know the difference between a mop and a card table. But what she lacks in cleaning skills, are more than made up in her mouth.
The woman is a champion of snark, a queen of sarcasm, and the hand down favorite in any put down contest. I don't know if there is a character, before or since, that is as good at putting someone down as she was. It wasn't just what she said that made her so good, it was the timing and the delivery. She could do it with a straight face, just when you least expect it. But she could also do it with humor and love, and smile the entire time. While Florence may have meant everything she ever said to poor George, you knew there was real love behind the relationship.
And boy was the woman fearless with her wit. Whether she was facing down a burglar, kidnapper, or simply poor mouthy George, she never let the opponent daunt her for long. She gave as good as she got, and always came out on top.