‘Good Times’ animated reboot is an insult to television


If you’ve ever looked out the window, as the old theme song goes, to watch the asphalt grow, you know all about “Good Times” and the Evans family, and their struggle to survive in the Chicago projects.
You remember when Michael tried to convince his parents that Jesus was Black.
You reminisce about the time J.J.’s father stood up to the punks who tried to recruit J.J. into their gang.
You recall when Florida, the mother, turned down an endorsement deal because the health product she was pitching was laced with booze.
“Good Times,” the popular groundbreaking TV show that ran for six seasons in the 70s, was filled with life lessons.
Despite its week-to-week challenges and temptations, the family usually made the right decision, which is more than we can say for the producers and actors currently desecrating the show’s legacy.
Last week, Netflix released a trailer of its animated “Good Times” reboot, and everything about it is shameful.
Not only is the family still “scratchin’ and survivin,’” as the old theme song goes, now they are showing out and stereotyping.
The new version features the next generation of the Evans family: Reggie, the cab-driving father, Beverly, the money-scheming mother, Junior, the teenage artist son, Grey, the activist daughter, and Dalvin, the drug-dealing baby.
Yes. A drug-dealing baby.
To be fair, the original show had its own set of problems. When cast member John Amos, who played the no-nonsense father James Evans Sr., started complaining loudly about the buffoonery that was taking over the program, he was fired, and his character was killed off.
“The truth of it was when the show first started, we had no African American writers on the show,” Amos said in a recent interview. “And some of the attitudes they had written, as per my character and, frankly, for some of the other characters as well, caused me to say, ‘Uh uh, we can’t do this, we can’t do that.’”
Amos’ firing didn’t sit well with veteran actress Esther Rolle, who played his wife, who had insisted from the show’s beginning that her TV family would be intact, even if it were beset by poverty.
“I introduced the Black father to this country,” she said in an interview years ago about the show. “There never had been one in the whole of the country, and I risked my job by saying I won’t do it unless you give me a husband for my children.”
Rolle also left the show. But instead of killing her off, too, they put her character on an extended honeymoon with a new love interest.
Rolle returned for the final season, but by that time the damage had already been done. The good times were no longer good, and neither were the ratings.
“Good Times” was the earliest example of a two-parent African American household on television. When it debuted in 1975, people of all races tuned in to see how the Evans family were keeping their heads above water.
So for producers, including Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, to associate their garbage with a television classic, it is the ultimate insult.
For those still not relating, imagine if some untalented hack desecrated “Seinfeld” or “Sex and the City.” That is what “Good Times” means to Black people.
What’s next? “The Jeffersons” give up their “deluxe apartment in the sky” for a rat hole in the projects? “Sanford and Son” start selling ghost guns in their junkyard?
Netflix could have easily released the new show on its own without dragging “Good Times” through the mud. But judging from the trailer, the show has an even bigger problem — it’s not funny.
All 10 episodes of “Good Times” will drop April 12 on Netflix.
Before I waste three minutes of my time on this crap, I’d rather watch J.J. shouting “Dy-No-Mite” on an endless loop.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here