Most Memorable Episodes: Good Times!
Saying that I love Good Times is almost cliche – how could I be black and not know the ins and outs of the Evans family, the first black family that America got to know (albeit before I was born)? Just looking at this painting with its pointy-elbowed characters brings back memories. I really wanted them to get out of the ghetto, thought Wilona was so fierce, and couldn’t STAND Michael (I know I’m not the only one). I could probably write an entire thesis on it, but I’ll just stick to what I consider the best, most memorable episodes. Please excuse me for going a little video crazy.
5. My personal favorite episode aired during the period where Florida had left the show, the one where the sofa catches on fire and everyone has a different version of events (I have a soft-spot for that device in sitcoms). It turns out that Penny was playing with a cigarette.
4. The episode where Fishbone (played by Benson’s Robert Guillame) fakes his death and attends his own funeral, and the whole wake bursts into a gospel chant of “Fishbone we looove you, Fishbone we love you!” And yes dancing Wanda cried her eyes out!
3. The episode where J.J. paints a black Jesus that is really Ned the Wino. Michael has to explain to Florida that Jesus WAS black, a segment that probably made much of white America change channels in 1974. This clip is hilarious because it reminds me that Good Times always had “messages.”2. The episode where Penny’s mom burns her with the iron! This is one of those clips that makes you appreciate the value of a live studio audience. Janet was so cute – what happened? Factoid: The actress playing Penny’s mother is the real-life mother of Kim Fields (aka Tootie/Regine).
And by a clear landslide…
1. Most people think that Flo shouts “Damn, Damn, Damn!” in the episode where James dies, but its really the next episode, centering around his funeral. This is easily the most recognizable phrase from Good Times (aside from “Dy-no-mite!”). Factoid: Esther Rolle was 53 when the series started, and John Amos only 34. This is some ACTING here, folks.