Two classic sitcoms are back for one night with newly recreated holiday episodes and an all-new all-star cast for a special live presentation of "All in the Family" and "Good Times."
"Live in Front of a Studio Audience" has two live installments of Norman Lear's hit shows, and "Good Morning America" caught up with the stars of the new cast before the big night to talk about the adrenaline of the special TV event.
"I was so excited when they announced that they were doing another one, because it's just a thrill," Ellie Kemper, who will reprise her role from the special earlier this year as Archie Bunker's daughter Gloria Stivic -- originally played by Sally Struthers -- said of the second time around with the new "All in the Family" special.
For Woody Harrelson, who is back after a successful first go as Archie Bunker last spring, getting laughs from a live audience can only be described as "euphoria." And Ike Barinholtz, who is playing Mike Stivic, said the energy on set is highly caffeinated.
"It is very much like if you took like an Americano and then you poured in a Red Bull and then a Jolt Cola -- and then gave a quick defibrillator," Barinholtz said.
Viola Davis, who will star as Florida Evans -- the matriarch of the main family in the "Good Times" special -- thinks of that adrenaline more as "nerves."
"You say adrenaline -- I say sheer fear," she said. "But you know what -- it is exciting to me because I have a 31-year career. I come from the theater -- I live for that adrenaline."
"Good Times" was a spinoff of a spinoff in the '70s centered on the family of Florida Evans, who had been a maid to Edith Bunker's cousin Maude.
"The Evans are a black family living in the projects in Chicago," Andre Braugher, who stars as James Evans, explained. "There's a kind of earthiness, a reality that Norman Lear is trying to set up in a certain way, that I think is appealing to people."
"Part of Lear's genius is to make these stories real … so they have the generational strife, they have the racial strife, they have the societal complications and such," he said. "Those things haven't changed, and they still ring true for us today."
The cast and its two African American creators made "Good Times" a major TV milestone and source of both laughs and inspiration for future performers, like Davis.
Playing the iconic Florida Evans this Wednesday and I’m so excited about this VERY special costume piece I get to wear this Wednesday! Can’t wait for you to see this! #LiveInFrontOfAStudioAudience— Viola Davis (@violadavis) December 17, 2019
"To see a family living in a sort of financially challenging situation in the ghetto, but still trying to find some patches of joy and happiness and forward movement and still thriving just really spoke to me," the actress explained.
"Saturday Night Live" veteran Jay Pharoah, who wasn't even alive for the show's original run, will step into the role of the older son J.J. and has practiced his best rendition of his character's famous phrase.
"You say, 'dy-no-mite,' it just makes you feel good," he said. "It's a feel-good phrase."
Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx's daughter Corrine Foxx will play Thelma Evans, following her father's footsteps after his run as George Jefferson in the ABC special last spring.
"He keeps offering to help. He's like, 'I'll help you run your lines,'" she recalled. "I'm like, 'Dad, I have Viola Davis to help me run my lines. So you know, I don't know if I need you.'"
Now, nearly 50 years since the show's inception, "All in the Family" and Archie Bunker still stir audiences to laughs and outrage and back again. Kemper, who stars in Thursday night's special, said, "As much as things have changed, they also have not changed as much."
"Some of the lines that come out of Archie's mouth, you just can't believe that someone is saying this," she said.
Meanwhile, the shows' original creator, Lear, said "it couldn't be more exciting" to be a part of bringing the shows back to a new audience.
"What I get out of it all -- the laughter I get -- I am positive has added time to my life," Lear said.
"The Good Times" cast will also include Asante Blackk as Michael Evans and Tiffany Haddish as Willona Woods. Jharrel Jerome has also been cast in an undisclosed role.
Last night in celebration of #liveinfrontofastudioaudience I had the pleasure of moderating “An Evening with Jimmy Kimmel” with special guest Norman Lear! It was #GoodTimes cause we’re #AllInTheFamily. pic.twitter.com/b4UrmPOUQT— Anthony Anderson (@anthonyanderson) August 9, 2019
"Black-ish" star Anthony Anderson will also make appearances for what has been described as "a show-stopping musical performance" with the legendary Patti LaBelle.
"Live in Front of a Studio Audience: All in the Family and Good Times" airs Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. ET.
George Costantino contributed to this report.