ABC's live staging of All in the Family and its spinoff, The Jeffersons, aired on Wednesday, May 22, with A-list stars coming together to stage a word-for-word remake of two episodes from the classic sitcoms.
The duo stayed true to the original show when they performed All in the Family's theme song, "Those Were the Days," with the pair sitting at a piano as Tomei appeared to plunk out a tune as she and Harrelson joyfully sang along, Harrelson making his way through the song in Archie's Queens accent and Tomei offering her version of Edith's piercing voice.
This is what we call classic! Tune in RIGHT NOW for #LiveInFrontOfAStudioAudience to watch the star-studded event on ABC! #AllintheFamily #TheJeffersons @WoodyHarrelson @MarisaTomei pic.twitter.com/8GlCjVBpS1— ABC (@ABCNetwork) May 23, 2019
While the performance didn't exactly sound American Idol-worthy, that was right on par with the original, which was campy and bad, but recreated with clear glee by Harrelson and Tomei, who were filling roles made famous by Caroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton.
Meanwhile, The Jeffersons' theme song was performed by Jennifer Hudson, who brought her Grammy-winning vocals to "Movin' On Up" as she moved through the soundstage in a bright yellow dress while accompanied by a piano.
The live special also featured Ike Barinholtz, Ellie Kemper, Anthony Anderson, Sean Hayes, Jamie Foxx, Wanda Sykes, Justina Machado, Will Ferrell and Kerry Washington.
All in the Family was first up, with the episode finding the Bunkers hosting a goodbye party for Henry Jefferson before The Jeffersons moved on to George (Foxx) insisting that his wife Louise (Sykes) hire a maid, which she isn't exactly comfortable with.
The special was hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, who spoke to the studio audience during Tuesday night's dress rehearsal and credited the series' creator, Norman Lear, for the comedies' important work.
“[Lear] did so much for freedom of speech and inclusivity,” Kimmel said. “We’d be way behind without him.”
"These shows are even more relevant now than they were," he added in a video. "People forget that they were controversial and maybe if we had social media back then these shows wouldn't have survived. Or maybe they would have been even bigger then they were."
Photo Credit: ABC