Sanford and Son: Top 5 Julio Fuentes Episodes.

Kendall Rivers
5 min readMar 31, 2023

The ‘70s was the beginning of a Black renaissance on television. It also helped pave the way for Brown people as well as Asian people to get finally get their chance on the small screen. Sanford and Son’s Gregory Sierra who played the lovable and charming Julio Fuentes was one of the most popular and influential Latin Americans to grace the homes of millions of viewers along with Desi Arnaz and Freddy Prinze. Julio was a perfect foil for Fred Sanford and the chemistry between Fred, Lamont and Julio made for some of Sanford and Son’s greatest and funniest episodes. With his laid back chill nature and his unending charm and charisma (as well as that classic sharp Latin spouting tounge when provoked by Fred) We should all be so lucky to have a buddy like Julio… and his goat Chico, of course.

5. The Little Tv That Went to Market. Season 3, episode 5.

Synopsis: Fred and Lamont’s TV set is on its last legs and Lamont considers buying a brand new one, however Fred buys a used colour TV set for cheap. Things get out of hand when Fred’s friend Grady stops by and recognizes Fred’s new set as his set that was stolen. Fred quickly wants an out of the situation and sells it to his neighbor Julio for $50.

This episode pops up quite a bit in this ongoing series of top fives for S&S characters, and rightfully so because it’s a great showcase for many of the characters including Julio, who had some fine moments in this one, especially his hilarious line reading of “Ticky-Tacky Toe”.

4. Pops ‘n’ Pals. Season 2, episode 20.

Synopsis: Next door neighbor, Julio, has become a very good friend of Lamont’s. With Lamont, spending so much free time with Julio, Fred begins to feel left out and decides to try to be more like one of the guys. However, Fred quickly learns the advantages of having so much free time and no one to hoard in on it.

A truly hilarious and classic episode that gave us so many hilarious moments, especially the above Sangria scene. This is one of those episodes that highlights the amazing chemistry between Redd Foxx, Gregory Sierra and Demond Wilson. When these three are together some real classic and memorable comedy is made.

3. Fred, the Reluctant Fingerman. Season 3, episode 3.

Synopsis: Lamont and Julio go out one evening to shoot pool leaving a left-out Fred behind to sulk. Fred soon finds himself a witness to a burglary when he confronts two thieves burglarizing Julio’s house. Later, Fred refuses to testify and identify the culprits out of fear and a frustrated Lamont and Julio put a plan into motion to get him to, and it starts when Fred’s truck is stolen.

Fred didn’t seem to like Julio most of the time, but in this episode we get a small glimpse of the budding friendship between the bigoted and grouchy Fred Sanford and the jovial Puerto Rican soul brother. Some great interaction between the two characters and a classic ending reprising an earlier hilarious moment.

2. The Puerto Ricans are Coming! Season 2, episode 8.

Synopsis: Fred gets a new next door neighbour and is shocked to learn that he is Puerto Rican and planning on opening a junk business of his own. Fred gets upset about the competition and contrives a plan to get the city to condemn his property especially since, Julio has a pet goat.

The one that started it all. While Sanford and Son wasn’t exactly a “message” show it did delve into a few real world social dynamics on occasion, but always with a light touch and big laughs. This episode dealing with Fred’s prejudice against his new Puerto Rican neighbor proved without a doubt that Fred Sanford was the Black Archie Bunker, and just as hilarious and lovable as Bunker. Gregory Sierra’s introduction to the series was pitch perfect and showed the greatness that Julio and the Sanfords interactions would become. Extra points for Julio’s lovable scamp of a goat Chico who provided two of the biggest laughs of the episode.

  1. The Merger. Season 4, episode 14.

Synopsis: Julio and the Sanfords decide to merge their junk businesses into one.

A perfect episode for all three characters, but definitely a terrific showcase of Gregory Sierra’s comic talents. The shooting of the commercial gave us some of the biggest laughs of the series, and Julio’s showboating and trying to translate Fred’s dialogue to Spanish has my stomach hurting from laughter every single time. The chemistry between all three actors were at its very best in this classic episode.

Honorable Mentions: Julio and Sister and Nephew, Watts Side Story, The Way to Lamont’s Heart, and This Land is Whose Land?

Next time we dig into the top five best episodes of Blind Mellow Jelly’s son, Bubba Bexley. Till next time, folks!

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Kendall Rivers

Kendall is a screenwriter who’s a huge fan of classic tv and movies. He enjoys creating good stories and characters. https://www.facebook.com/kendall.rivers.3