Nominated for three Golden Globes, Good Times premiered in mid-season 1974 to widespread critical acclaim and audience popularity.
A spin-off of the Bea Arthur (of Golden Girls fame) sitcom Maude (1972), Good Times became the fourth of five highly successful sitcoms brought into being during the 1970’s decade by Norman Lear. In addition to Maude, those sitcoms were All In The Family (1971), Sanford & Son (1972), and The Jeffersons (1975).
The second of three to focus exclusively on African-American family life, Good Times became a source for groundbreaking social commentary in compliment to its penchant for hilarious family comedy…
Good Times centers around the lives of James (John Amos) and Florida Evans (Esther Rolle), an African-American couple raising their three children in a Chicago housing development.
Eldest son J.J. (Jimmie Walker) is a skinny, wisecracking ladies man with an affinity for painting. Middle child Thelma (BernNadette Stanis) plays the role of moderating influence on the passions of her two brothers, while youngest son Michael (Ralph Carter) is always involved in a cause to help others or end an injustice.
The family is often visited by Florida’s best friend from high school, Willona (Ja’net DuBois), who also lives in the project.
In later seasons, she’s accompanied by adopted daughter Penny (Janet Jackson). With additional comic relief provided by overweight super Nathan Bookman (Johnny Brown), Good Times is a family-oriented TV series laden with great one-liners and plenty of laugh-tracks…
The Good Times DVD (Season 1) features a number of hilarious episodes including the series premiere “Too Old Blues” in which James is exciting at the prospect of being hired for a high-paying job.
But while at the interview, James learns that the training program for the job only accepts qualified applicants aged 18-35. At 42, he’s too old for the job. Meanwhile, Florida and the kids have put together a surprise party unaware that James was rejected.
Other notable episodes from Season 1 include “Getting Up the Rent” in which the Evans family is faced with an eviction notice, prompting each member to devise a scheme for coming up with the necessary cash, and “The Visitor” in which Michael’s letter-to-the-editor about the housing conditions at the Evans’ project merits a visit from a housing commission official who experiences the squalor firsthand.
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