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Good Times is a story about a middle class poor African American family living in the projects, in the ghetto. The show evolves around their struggles, pains, disappointments, and successes as a family. The Evans family is not the average two parent black family. In the mid 70's the presence of a father in the household is unheard of. John Amos plays the strong headed, hot tempered father James Evans, who works hard to keep food on the table and a roof over his family's head. His determination to survive is only get harder, due to his lack of education, which causes him to be overlooked for jobs and promotions. Esther Rolle plays the loving and stern wife and mother who supports her family choices when they are right, and criticizes them when they make the wrong choice. Her honesty, and warm spirit vibrates throughout the show.

Jimmie Walker plays their eldest son, JJ. He has dreams of becoming a world renowned artist, and in the mean time, he is a lady's man. Bernadette Stanis plays their daughter Thelma; her dream is to become a famous dancer on Broadway. Ralph Carter plays Michael the Scholar and their youngest child. His dream is to become a lawyer, and the first black Supreme Court judge. The other characters in the show are the Janitor Nathan Bookman, Janet Jackson as Penny, the little girl across the hall, and Ja'net Du Bois as Willona woods the noisy, nosy neighborhood. The sitcom focuses its' attention on a black family, whose values and morals are not typical for a black family living in the ghetto. Their dreams hopes and expectations of making it out of the ghetto is what keeps them motivated and uplifted.

February 8, 1974 the show aired on CBS and lasted until the later part of 1979. In 1975, after two taped episodes at the CBS television station in Hollywood, Good Times moved to Norman Lear Production Company in Metromedia Square. Although, Norman Lear developed the sitcom, the success of the show is accredited to Michael Evans and Eric Monte. The series were based out of Chicago.

CBS
6 Seasons, 134 Episodes
February 8, 1974
Comedy
7.3/10
Cast: Ja'net DuBois, Ralph Carter, BernNadette Stanis, Jimmie Walker
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Good Times Full Episode Guide

  • The Evans home gets a visit from Florida's nephew, Raymond, and hands out gifts for everyone. But Florida refuses to accept them after she learns how he makes his money.

  • J.J. is teaching art, and one of his students, Emily, has great talent. J.J. asks Bookman to bring his painting to an art contest and picks up the wrong one. In fact, he has brought one of Emily's instead. But when it wins first place, will J.J. be man enough to tell them who the artist really is?

  • Keith has been looking for a job for awhile now, and seems aloof when asked how his day has been. Little do they know that Keith has become an alcoholic.

  • The series final episode ties up all the loose ends, as J.J. now is employed as a graphic artist with a comic book company, and Keith has been secretly working out with the Bears and just signed on as a free agent. Florida is asked to move in with Keith and Thelma inside their new apartment, which happens to be the same building that Willona just signed a lease for. Michael decides he wants to move away and live in a doom, and the biggest surprise of all awaits Thelma, who announces she is pregnant.

  • Willona's newest boyfriend, Jeffery has been lavishing gifts on both Penny and herself. Little do they know that Jeffery has been hired to do this by Penny's birth mother, who is trying to make Willona look like a bad mother so she can get her daughter back.

  • J.J. has been the subject of T.C.'s affection since she first met him, and now wants to finally ask him to go to a dance with him. But J.J. has always treated her like one of the guys, that is, until he sees her all dressed up in a bar.

  • While Penny is left in Florida's care, she comes down with an illness and is brought to the free clinic to be examined. But after a long wait, Florida is greeted by a grumpy female doctor who is planning on leaving the ghetto behind for a better place. Florida tries to convince her how much she is needed in the ghetto, since none of them can afford to go to a hospital.

  • Larry, a child with a hearing problem, nearly loses his life when he almost walks into a broken elevator shaft. But after his check up at the hospital, he reveals he is running away from home, feeling his mother doesn't care for him enough to know he had a hearing problem.

  • Florida takes a young male passenger under her wing when she discovers he has a hearing problem. But for some reason his mother refuses to believe her son has any problems.

  • The Evans family have found a house they'd like to move into. But this will all depend on receiving a loan from the bank....

  • Keith's boss at the cab company refuses to let him have Christmas day off. So Florida comes up with the idea of putting on a show at the cab company for the workers who are stuck there.

  • Florida brings the kids from her school bus into an abandoned building after the bus becomes stuck in a snow storm.

  • Sweet Daddy's lady, Samantha, has a car accident with a cab, and J.J. is a witness. So Sweet Daddy pressures J.J. into saying the cab driver was at fault, but that driver just happens to be Keith.

  • J.J.'s old flame Vanessa has returned and he can't break the news that he no longer has a job. Meanwhile, Bookman has a new female assistant name T.C. who has fallen in love with J.J., but he only has Vanessa on his mind.

  • J.J. offers to give a young kid free art lessons after seeing how his violent father treats him, but his dad still says no.

  • Both JJ and Florida are looking for work to pay the bills. Florida finds a job as a school bus driver in the want ads, but if Alderman Davis gets his way, the job will be going to one of his relatives.

  • J.J. tries to put on a brave face after the wedding, but Keith can't stop thinking that his career is already over before it began. And it the meantime, Sweet Daddy has sent his goons to collect on the loan J.J. took out.

  • J.J. takes out $1,000 loan from Sweet Daddy Williams, to help pay for the wedding. All goes off without a hitch until Keith trips over a photographer's foot and tears a knee ligament, jeopardizing his contract with the Chicago Bears.

  • There's good news and bad news as Florida finally arrives back from Arizona. She meets her new son-in-law to-be, well, at least he will be as long as Thelma can get past her pre-wedding jitters. Meanwhile, J.J. keeps it quiet that he has lost his job.

  • Everyone gets a happy surprise when they learn that Thelma has been dating a famous football star who is in the process of negotiating a $1,000,000 deal with the Chicago Bears. But when he proposes to Thelma, all she has to do is try to get her mother's blessing.

  • The gang put on a show in order to raise money for a new day care center.

  • Thelma's play is going to be performed at a community theater, but first she is asked by the director to make some sweeping changes to the script.

  • Willona's old boyfriend is back and wanting her to marry him and quit her job, just after she received a great, new promotion.

  • The kids are trying to convince grandpa Evans to finally marry his sweetheart. But he first wants to sell his newest invention.

  • Mrs. Bookman catches Nathan in his underwear inside of Willona's apartment, as she was fixing his pants for him and believes that the two are having an affair.

  • J.J. has been seeing a married woman who has shown no intentions of leaving her husband for him. Now he seems to have created himself an ulcer.

  • The Evans family decide they can take in a boarder in order to raise some extra money. But J.J. is unaware that his new renter is wanted by a hit-man.

  • Everyone has a different story for Willona about how the couch started smoking, with each storyteller being the hero.

  • J.J. has a new lovely assistant at work and begins dating her, unaware that she is the bosses daughter. When he needs to break a date with her, she makes a threat to have him fired.

  • An old flame of WIllona's comes to ask for her hand in marriage, along with trips all over the world. But now with Penny in her life, she would need a more stable home than this would provide. Knowing this, Penny runs away from home.

  • J.J. becomes a strict disciplinarian after Michael and Penny are caught by the police, driving around in a stolen vehicle.

  • A thief has stolen the wallet of Fishbone, a local wino, and then gets killed. having only the identification to prove who the victim is, everyone believes their beloved wino has died. The least they can do is throw him a wake, in which he attends in drag.

  • Thelma's new man has it all. And it's J.J. who discovers he has just been paroled for having two wives.

  • The Evans try to scare Bookman into doing his job and making the repairs they need, by writing a petition to have him fired.

  • Michael has a new hobby, talking on the CB radio. He has made a friend in a sexy-speaking girl who shocks Michael when he finds out that she is a paraplegic.

  • J.J. and three of his friends, once known as the 'fearless foursome', decide to purchase a used car from Bookman. But between the costs of gas and repairs, and the arguing over who will be driving it each day, the car just may break up a lifelong friendship.

  • Willona has been promoted to a new position at the boutique, watching for shoplifters in the dressing room from behind a two-way mirror.

  • Thelma believes the apartment is too crowded and wants to move into a dorm room with some other students. But she finds that the new place is even more crowded than at home.

  • Bookman pretends to be Willona's husband when a social worker pays a visit to her home to see if she would be fit to become Penny's new mother. Meanwhile, The Evans kids make a decision to move to Arizona to live with Carl and their mother.

  • Penny's mother abandons her with Willona, who makes a life altering decision for them all.

  • Penny suddenly stops spending time with the Evans family, prompting Willona to fear that something may be wrong.

  • Penny Gordon, follows home J.J. one day because she has a crush on him. But Willona discovers the little girl is hiding a secret.

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