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Warning! The following contains spoilers for ABC's live production of The Jeffersons. Read at your own risk!
ABC promised that anything could happen during its Live in Front of a Studio Audience productions of Norman Lear's All In The Family and The Jeffersons, and given the legacy of the two shows, that could honestly mean anything. The Jeffersons had a couple surprises packaged into its segment, the biggest of which was an unexpected cameo by one of the show's original stars. Marla Gibbs appeared right at the episode's end to reprise her role as The Jeffersons' housekeeper Florence.
The moment Marla Gibbs appeared on screen, the audience in the studio erupted into thunderous applause. It was quite a shock, especially when the cast list for the episode didn't have Gibbs listed anywhere on the episode. The role of Florence was originally supposed to be played by actress Justina Machado. It was a sensible casting in line with every other star that took part, so there was no reason to suspect ABC was planning to switch her out.
It was a magical television moment as there's probably only a handful of actors that can say they reprised the role of their iconic characters over 30 years after they last played them on television. The awesome moment was not lost on Jackee Harry, who gave Gibbs a shout out on Twitter following the big moment.
Jackee Henry was just one of the people thrilled to see Marla Gibbs again, as social media buzzed over the surprise appearance over any other high profile stars in the Live in Front of a Studio Audience production. Viewers reflected on her original run on the series and what she meant to them way back when, while others were just beside themselves with joy that the stars aligned for this to happen.
Of course, it's not like Marla Gibbs has been living underneath a rock and has only emerged for this appearance. She may not be on television as much as she used to be, but she still has quite a few high profile appearances on shows from time to time. In recent years she's been on Station 19, Black-ish, and NCIS. While it was unexpected to see her on this recreation of a classic episode of The Jeffersons, it shouldn't be surprising.
Unfortunately, Live in Front of a Studio Audience was a one-night event, so anyone hoping to see more episodes of All In The Family and The Jeffersons brought to life are going to be disappointed for the time being. Of course, they can always experience her 11 season run on the original series, as there's still plenty of laughs to be had both for those who have and haven't seen it.
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