Good Times - The Complete Series

( 1 )

Overview

A spin-off of a spin-off, the CBS sitcom Good Times was derived from the Norman Lear-produced comedy series Maude, which itself was spawned by another Lear project, All in the Family. The link between Maude and Good Times was the character of Florida Evans Esther Rolle, the sharp-tongued, no-nonsense African-American maid of hyper-liberal white suburbanite Maude Findlay. Beginning Friday, February 8, 1974, viewers were invited on a weekly basis into the home of Florida and her family, a cramped two-bedroom ...
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Overview

A spin-off of a spin-off, the CBS sitcom Good Times was derived from the Norman Lear-produced comedy series Maude, which itself was spawned by another Lear project, All in the Family. The link between Maude and Good Times was the character of Florida Evans Esther Rolle, the sharp-tongued, no-nonsense African-American maid of hyper-liberal white suburbanite Maude Findlay. Beginning Friday, February 8, 1974, viewers were invited on a weekly basis into the home of Florida and her family, a cramped two-bedroom apartment on the 17th floor of a federal housing project in Chicago's run-down West Loop. Florida's husband was James Evans John Amos, a proud Army veteran who was not about to let the fact that he had only a sixth-grade education prevent him from trying to support his family. Alas, good jobs were few and far between -- and when James finally did secure employment, he generally had to hold down two jobs to make ends meet. Thus, Florida was essentially the breadwinner in the Evans household, though she would always defer to James as far as important family decisions were concerned.

The Evanses had three children. Seventeen-year-old James Jr. Jimmie Walker, better known as J.J., was a talented aspiring artist who spent most of his free time seeking out "can't-miss" moneymaking schemes or trying to score with his gorgeous female classmates; his rather inflated assessment of his romantic prowess was summed up by his frequent exclamation "Dy-no-mite!" Sixteen-year-old Thelma BernNadette Stanis, billed in some of the earlier episodes as Bern Nadette had dreams of going to college and becoming a journalist. And 11-year-old Michael Ralph Carter, nicknamed "the Midget Militant" by his family, was always seeking out racial or social iniquities to be corrected -- even where, to the naked eye, no such iniquities existed. Other regulars included the Evanses' obligatory wisecracking next-door neighbor, Willona Woods Ja'net DuBois, and the family's none-too-ethical landlord, Nathan Bookman Johnny Brown, a recurring character until 1977.



Though Norman Lear is usually given most of the credit for Good Times, the series was actually the brainchild of Eric Monte, who had himself grown up in the grim Cabrini-Green housing project on Chicago's South Side. As originally conceived, the series was to have depicted in a humorous and warm-hearted fashion the solidarity of the African-American family unit despite grinding poverty and substandard living conditions. Gradually, however, the series gave way to pure verbal slapstick -- much of it racially stereotypical -- as the Evanses' flamboyant, jive-talking son J.J. emerged as the most popular character. By the time the third season rolled around, virtually every episode revolved around the antics of J.J., much to the dismay of nominal leads Esther Rolle and John Amos. At the end of the 1975-1976 season, Amos had had enough of playing second fiddle to co-star Jimmie Carter; the actor left the series, whereupon it was "explained" that James Evans had been killed in an auto accident en route to a new job in Mississippi.

This turn of events was also the beginning of the end for Esther Rolle, who had signed on to the program because of its positive depiction of a ghetto family with a strong father figure. Now that J.J. was the sole "male adult" on the premises, Rolle, too, began making preparations to quit the series. She was temporarily dissuaded when the producers agreed to find a new husband for Florida Evans, in the person of repair-shop owner Carl Dixon Moses Gunn. Even so, J.J. continued to dominate the proceedings, his character becoming more exaggerated and to some observers, more demeaning with each passing episode. Ultimately, just before the beginning of its fifth season, Esther Rolle followed John Amos in leaving the series; the official reason given by the actress was "illness." The writers rapidly cooked up a scenario whereby Florida and Carl had gone on their honeymoon, leaving the then twentysomething J.J. and Thelma in charge of the Evans household, with Florida's best friend, Willona, as surrogate mother.



In answer to the series' many critics, the producers saw to it that the heretofore footloose J.J. landed a steady job with an advertising agency. And in hopes of expanding the series' audience demographic, a new regular character was added: Penny Gordon Janet Jackson, whom Willona had rescued from an abusive household, and who would eventually be adopted by Willona. Assured that the character of J.J. had mellowed, Esther Rolle agreed to return to Good Times in the fall of 1978 -- minus her husband, Carl, whose absence was never explained. In a move to restore the "strong father figure" character to the series, Thelma became the wife of Keith Anderson Ben Powers, a reasonably successful and reasonably mature football star. The arrival of Keith, however, allowed J.J. to revert to his "unemployed" status, and also briefly to his old scampish ways. When Keith suffered a career-ending injury that forced him to find a lower-paying job as a cabdriver, the rest of the family contributed to the Evans coffers, with Florida finding work as a school-bus driver and J.J. giving art lessons. The one echo of J.J.'s former reckless zaniness was his nervous relationship with neighborhood loan shark Sweet Daddy Theodore Wilson.

The schizophrenic nature of Good Times was reflected in its ratings. Ending its first season in 17th place among the Top 20 programs, the series hit an all-time high of seventh place the following year. It then plummeted to 24th place during its third season and never even cracked the Top 25 for the rest of its existence. The fact that the series was shuttled all over the prime-time lineup, from Friday to Tuesday to Wednesday to Monday to Saturday, may have been a contributing factor to its drop-off in viewership. Nonetheless, though it was never CBS's premiere weekly sitcom, Good Times enjoyed a healthy shelf life in syndicated reruns, where it continued to flourish into the next millennium.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/28/2008
  • UPC: 043396264342
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures
  • Presentation: Special Packaging / Pan & Scan
  • Language: English
  • Time: 55:27:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 14,445

Menu

Disc #1 -- Good Times: The Complete First Season
   Play Episodes
   Subtitles
      English
      French/Français
      Spanish/Español
      Subtitles Off
   Episode Selections
      Getting Up the Rent
      Black Jesus
      Too Old Blues
      God's Business Is Good Business
      Michael Gets Suspended
      Junior Gets a Patron
   TV Comedy Favorites
Disc #2 -- Good Times: The Complete First Season
   Play Episodes
   Subtitles
      English
      French/Français
      Spanish/Español
      Subtitles Off
   Episode Selections
      Sex and the Evans Family
      Junior the Senior
      The Visitor
      Springtime in the Ghetto
      The TV Commercial
      The Checkup
      My Son, The Lover
Disc #3 -- Good Times: The Complete Second Season
   Play All Episodes
   Episode Selections
      Florida Flips
      Crosstown Buses Run All Day, Doodah, Doodah
      J.J. Becomes a Man Part 1
      The Man I Most Admire
      J.J. Becomes a Man, Part 2
      The Encylopedia Hustle
      The I.Q. Test
      Thelma's Young Man
   Trailers
      Classic Comedy TV
      Contemporary TV
      Original Programming TV
Disc #4 -- Good Times: The Complete Second Season
   Play All Episodes
   Episode Selections
      Florida, The Matchmaker
      The Windfall
      The Gang, Part 1
      The Gang, Part 2
      Sometimes There's No Bottom in the Bottle
      Florida's Big Gig
      Florida Goes to School
      The Nude
Disc #5 -- Good Times: The Complete Second Season
   Play All Episodes
   Episode Selections
      The Family Business
      The Debutante Ball
      The Dinner Party
      The Houseguest
      My Girl, Henrietta
      The Enlistment
      Thelma's Scholarship
      The Lunch Money
Disc #6 -- Good Times: The Complete Third Season
   Play All Episodes
   Episode Selections
      The Family Gun
      A Real Cool Job
      Operation Florida
      Florida's Rich Cousin
      The Politicians
      Love in the Ghetto
      The Weekend
      The Baby
   Previews
      Classic Comedy TV
      The King of Queens
      Original Programming TV
Disc #7 -- Good Times: The Complete Third Season
   Play All Episodes
   Episode Selections
      Michael's Big Fall
      Willona's Dilemma
      Florida's Protest
      The Mural
      A Loss of Confidence
      Cousin Cleatus
      The Family Tree
      A Place to Die
Disc #8 -- Good Times: The Complete Third Season
   Play All Episodes
   Episode Selections
      J.J.'s Fiance, Part 1
      J.J.'s Fiance, Part II
      Sweet Daddy Williams
      The Investigation
      J.J. in Trouble
      Florida the Woman
      The Break-Up
      The Rent Party
Disc #9 -- Good Times: The Complete Fourth Season
   Play All Episodes
   Episode Selection
      The Big Move (Part 1)
      The Big Move (Part 2)
      J.J, and the Older Woman
      Michael, The Warlord
      Michael's Great Romance
      Evans Versus Davis
      J.J.'s New Career (Part 1)
      J.J.'s New Career (Part 2)
   Previews
      White Chicks
      King of Queens
      Classic Comedy
Disc #10 -- Good Times: The Complete Fourth Season
   Play All Episodes
   Episode Selection
      Granpa's Visit
      Rish Is Better Than Poor ... Maybe
      Florida's Night Out
      The Judy Cohen Story
      The Comedian and the Loan Sharks
      The Hustle
      Thelma's African Romance (Part 1)
      Thelma's African Romance (Part 2)
      Wilona's Surprise
Disc #11 -- Good Times: The Complete Fourth Season
   Play All Episodes
   Episode Selections
      A Friend in Need
      A Stormy Relationship
      Florida and Carl
      My Son, The Father
      J.J. in Business
      Love Has a Spon on Its Lung (Part 1)
      Love Has a Spot on Its Lung (Part 2)
Disc #12 -- Good Times: The Complete Fifth Season
   Play All Episodes
   Episode Selections
      The Evans Get Involved (1)
      The Evans Get Involved (2)
      The Evans Get Involved (3)
      The Evans Get Involved (4)
      Thelma Moves Out
      Willona, The Fuzz
      Wheels
      Breaker, Breaker
   Previews
      Guess Who
      Hitch
      Classic Urban TV Series
      Bewitched (TV)
      The Partridge Family
Disc #13 -- Good Times: The Complete Fifth Season
   Play All Episodes
   Episode Selection
      Bye, Bye, Bookman
      Thelma's Brief Encounter
      Rquiem for a Wino
      Penny's Christmas
      No More Mr. Nice Guy
      Willona's Mr. Right
      J.J. and the Boss' Daughter
      Where There's Smoke
Disc #14 -- Good Times: The Complete Fifth Season
   Play All Episodes
   Episode Selection
      I Had a Dream
      The Boarder
      J.J.'s Condition
      Willona, The Other Woman
      Something Old, Something New
      Willona's New Job
      Write on, Thelma
      That's Entertainment, Evans Style
Disc #15 -- Good Times: The Complete Sixth Season
   Play All Episodes
   Episode Selections
      Florida's Homecoming-Part 1
      Florida's Homecoming-Part 2
      Florida's Homecoming: The Wedding
      Florida's Homecoming: United We Stand
      Florida Gets a Job
      Stomach Mumps
      J.J. the Teacher
      Michael's Decision
   Previews
      Are We There Yet?
      Classic Urban TV Series
      Dynamic Duos
      Great TV Families
      Ladies' Night
      Little Man
      The Gospel
Disc #16 -- Good Times: The Complete Sixth Season
   Play All Episodes
   Episode Selections
      J.J. and the Plumber's Helper
      The Witness
      The Snow Storm
      The Traveling Christmas
      House Hunting
      Florida's Favorite Passenger-Part 1
      Florida's Favorite Passenger-Part 2
      Blood Will Tell
Disc #17 -- Good Times: The Complete Sixth Season
   Play All Episodes
   Episode Selections
      Where Have All the Doctors Gone?
      J.J. and T.C.
      The Physical
      A Matter of Mothers
      The Evans' Dilemma
      The Art Contest
      Cousin Raymond
      The End of the Rainbow
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Good Times will always be an all time favorite.

    Good times is always sure to entertain. It has been entertaining us for the last 25 + years and still continues to be a favorite TV show in my household. Good Times is filled with many allegories that reflect the everyday life of a poor family struggling to make ends meet in the projects of Chicago during the early to mid 70's. Although they never had much money or food, they always had eachother and their friends. This never gets old. One of the all time favorites!

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