9 Ways George Jefferson Misrepresented Adulthood


There’s nothing quite as precious as the blind faith and innocence of a child. It’s how Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and Manti T’eo’s girlfriend exist. Eventually, kids come to terms with the fact that these things aren’t real. But there’s one childhood role model that I never came to grips with, and it took all the way to adulthood to realize it. George Jefferson lied to me, and now it’s time to lay it all on the line. Here are nine ways that George Jefferson misrepresented adulthood.

I don’t live in a de-luxe apartment in the sky.
George’s place had it all. It had a roomy kitchen, a spacious living room, a doorman to operate the elevator, and a perfect view of Manhattan from the upper levels of a majestic living complex. It was conveniently located close to anything and everything that a person could want. My apartment has Laotian neighbors who constantly yell at each other, an inflatable hot dog with my name on it, a stuffed armadillo named Ralph, and a perfect view of an 80 year old Bosnian woman who sweeps her doorstep every day. It’s conveniently located close to Burger King.

the-jeffersons-marla-gibbsI don’t have a maid.
As a child, I would bust my ass in my room, cleaning up my messes. I’d also help out around the house. The whole time, I would fantasize about the day that I would reach adulthood. I’d hire a maid who would pick up my laundry and vacuum my floor. Sure, she could talk back to me all she wanted and call me short, but she’d still be obligated to clean everything up at the end of the day. I’m 36. Where’s my maid, George?

I don’t drink Scotch every day when I come home.
The audience could always tell that George Jefferson worked hard and had a stressful day. That’s because the first thing he did when he came home from work was reach for his crystal decanter, presumably full of scotch, and would pour himself a fat highball glass full of anxiety medicine. Admittedly, George wasn’t too far off from reality. But I don’t have any decanters, and my anxiety medicine is beer more often than not.

I don’t own my own business.
In full disclosure, I’m actually very happy about my job. I work at a university where my efforts help sustain one of the best institutions of higher learning in the country. But that doesn’t compare at all to owning your own business, setting your own hours, and ultimately controlling your own destiny 40+ hours a week.

Dry cleaning has little use in my life.
For George Jefferson, dry cleaning was everything. Owning a dry cleaning store allowed him to buy scotch, a maid, and a de-luxe apartment. For me, it’s just some luxury that I can’t afford. Instead, I iron my shirts by hand. And thanks to more casual work environments, dry cleaning is unnecessary a lot of the time anyway.


Hanging out with British dudes and drinking scotch is way better than Monster Munch

I live nowhere near British people.
George had a stately British neighbor named Bentley who worked at the UN. The closest I can come to that is that I once purchased some Monster Munch on Amazon. Clearly, my life would be better with more Brits in it, just as long as they don’t give me any pickled onion Monster Munch. That stuff tastes like feet.

My life isn’t filled with potentially hilarious but poignant racial strife.
There is no way in hell I’d say half the controversial stuff that they said on that show, because I like my job, friends, and family. If I even attempted it, I assure you it would not be poignant or humorous. Actually, this lie from George Jefferson was probably for the best. Except…

Nobody says “honky” anymore.
I don’t even know where the hell this word comes from but it’s a really fun insult. By the time I reached puberty, the word “honky” had vanished into thin air. Now, almost 30 years later, the AP Stylebook won’t even tell me if it’s spelled “honky” or “honkey.” Like Latin, honky is part of a dead language.

I have never once joyfully strutted.
Frankly, you could keep everything about George Jefferson’s life- the maid, the scotch, the de-luxe apartment- if, just once, I could be happy enough to strut the way George did. When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to grow up and be so excited and happy about stuff that I’d walk around like a smiling, angry chicken. And yet, it never happened. It’s just more lies, George.


Filed under Humor, Television, TV Shows

17 responses to “9 Ways George Jefferson Misrepresented Adulthood

  1. Haha! Great post. I share the same problem with my apartment, only it’s conviently located close to Wendy’s.

  2. sedatedtabloidreader

    Picked onion Monster Munch are the best!*

    *Yes, I’m British

  3. Someone’s really gotta bring back honky.

  4. This is hilarious! I used to watch the Jeffersons and this brings back some really great memories, and now I have the theme song stuck in my head “…deluxe apartment in the sky…”, (in a good way)

  5. Eda

    You’re right about honky. Good word. I have a t-shirt I wear at the dojo (I live in Japan) that says 本気 (honki), which means earnest or serious. I like the irony that I’m the only white woman who goes to the dojo and that nobody knows what honky means in English.

  6. Yeah…. I still have my dream of a 2 bedroom condo on one of the Squares in Philly (Rittenhouse or Washington) with a glorious view of the Ben Franklin Bridge AND the skyline and walking distance to all of the great bars and eateries. I’m soon to be 46 and live in the South Jersey suburbs. Maybe once the kids are out of the house I can retire and make my dream come true.

    Great stuff John! I used to watch this show religiously. One of the better spin-offs from that era of TV!

    • That’s so funny because I never knew it as a spinoff until I’d seen most of the show (in reruns/syndication). And I even saw plenty of All in the Family as a kid.

  7. anne

    Apparently Sherman Hemsley was into making LSD. So it’s been said that anyone who was buying acid in southern California in the late 60s/early 70s, chances are it was made by Sherman Hemsley. He was also a huge Prog-Rock fan, believe it or not. He even recorded an album with Jon Anderson from Yes, although I don’t believe the album was ever released.

    Crazy, man.

  8. 🙂 I loved that show and now also have the song in my head, thanks for that!

    oh and btw… the line “Beans don’t burn on the grill” always baffled me…who cooks beans on a grill?!

  9. I love it! Very funny. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s