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Most Memorable Episodes: Good Times!

20 July 2007 9 Comments

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.


  • Julian said:

    One of the best shows ever aired. Trying to locate Esther Rolle’s neck was like the black Where’s Waldo.

  • Thembi said:

    For some reason John Amos’ nose always concerned me. When he got mad and those jawns would flare it was like a volcano erupting.

  • hottnikz said:

    I always knew that he was way younger than she was.

  • afro jamaicano said:

    i watched the marathon of this show on tv land which i think theyve played a few dif weekends, anyway i remember all the episodes that ur talking about!

    i dont really like the show b/c it’s just basic coonery, buh i watch it….

    #3 is one of my faves shih whities were shaking in their chairs over that one haha

    kim looks/talks just like her mum, kim also has a yunger sister who was on the later seasons of “moesha”

    the funeral episode was crazy, everybody brought them a ham haha!! i wonder why he got written off the show?

    one of my personal fave episodes is when thelma catches her football husband drinking, he slaps her and then she slaps him back haha the audience went nuts during that scene!

    why the hek cudent james keep a job?? i mean even if he was sellign roasted peanuts on the street he cude he cude earn a living! i quickly tired of that continous theme of “keep the black man down”

    may i add u to my blogroll thembi?

  • Blogxilla said:

    Thembi this was one of the most refreshing blogs i have ever read. I sit up and watch tv land and just sit in awe about how the show has messages and wished they still put those messages in the shows today. Great Write.

  • Dara said:

    allow me save to you the embarassment of being called out directly by thembi: if you dont have anything to say, please dont leave a comment. and if you still insist on leaving a comment, please use proper spelling and grammar because your nonsensical word usage makes others cringe.

    thank you.

  • Julia_Claudine_Deveraux said:

    This was a great post Thembi! I never tire of watching old Good Times reruns. One of my favorites was the talent show episode when Thlema danced to the song “Native New Yorker” by Odysssey, she was so fly! I grew up in the projects and let me tell you you there was no chicks that looked like Thelma lol.

    Thanks for the add,I’m returning the love!

  • Blogxilla said:

    Thembi you have refreshed my soul… I hope i used proper grammar and spelling. I mean blame my school system not my heart… if I was referred to. I’m lucky though because Firefox has a auto spell check built in hahaha

    Im linking you today in my blog hope you don’t mind.


  • jazzfan360 said:

    I *love* the episode with the Black Jesus argument. I think Good Times often went WAY too overboard with the “messages,” but I thought it was SO cool of them to bring up a really legitimate argument that hadn’t occurred to most of the world, and I appreciated that they were true enough to life to have old-school Florida not really havin it just because it wasn’t what was familiar. Well played.

    This alleged “dancing Wanda” clip is not there and I don’t know what it is but I’m SO sad I can’t see it.

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