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Good Times

Credits

Cast

Network

Reviewer

Kristin Smith

TV Series Review

Welcome to apartment 17c.

Here, at a dilapidated apartment complex in the heart of the Chicago projects, just about anything goes.

Cab-driving Reggie lives with his family: Beverly, his loving but vain wife; Junior, his artistic but unmotivated son; Grey, his social-justice warrior of a daughter; And occasionally Dalvin, his drug-dealing baby boy.

They’re not the perfect family. They don’t live in the perfect apartment. Their theology is as wacky as the weather and their morals are often as murky as mud.

But they’re doing the best they can.

Out With The Old…

From 1974-1979, CBS aired a comedy that featured a working-class, African-American family doing their best to pay the bills and survive the projects of Chicago.

It was called Good Times. And for a lot of its fans, those 30 minutes were good times.

While the series dealt with difficult topics like racism, poverty, politics, gang violence, discrimination and even child abuse, it presented the Evans family as two hard-working parents who loved their three children, and one another, and worked through struggles that many still face.

The Evans family tried their best to find “good times” in the midst of difficulty and despair while adding a comedic touch with characters many grew to love.

…In With The New

Unfortunately, Netflix’s spinoff of this series, also called Good Times, crushes the innocence and seriousness that the former series set in motion.

While the original was rated TV-PG (or would’ve been if shows carried ratings back then), this iteration is rated TV-MA. Apparently in 2024, the show’s creators believe that you have to be edgy, vulgar and obscene to catch viewers’ eyes.

In this go-around, set two generations after the original, parents Reggie and Beverly are making ends meet (something that was also emphasized in the original) as honestly as they can … sometimes. Their eldest son has been held back in the 10th grade twice, and their infant son is a prostitute-loving, drug-dealing miscreant. Their daughter might be the only saving grace here. She’s intelligent and passionate, but both of those characteristics can be skewed and get her into trouble.

Racism is a heavy topic here. It’s clearly emphasized that being Black means that “the struggle” will “be here tomorrow.” It also claims that white women like to adopt Black babies merely to flaunt them, not to actually love and care for them. And systemic racism is discussed in depth, mostly pandering to the audience for laughs.

Then there’s the drugs and violence. Reggie and Beverly want neither from their infant son, Dalvin, which is why they’ve kicked him out to live on the streets. But that doesn’t stop Dalvin. He snorts drugs, sells drugs and talks about them all the time. He’s involved in shootouts and even holds others at gunpoint.

The show also contains tons of sexual content. Prostitutes walk around dressed in next-to-nothing. The aftermath of sexual encounters are witnessed on screen. Men are occasionally seen completely naked from behind and baby drug dealers speak degradingly about women.

If that weren’t enough, Jesus’ is sort of the running joke here. In the Evans’ case, it’s Black Jesus. He’s typically shirtless, playing video games and answers prayers as phone calls he just has to take. Clearly, humans are ruining his vibe and interrupting his schedule.

I’m not really sure what Netflix was trying to accomplish here in Good Times. They obviously wanted to add a “modern” spin on a classic, but they did so by perpetuating stereotypes and offending with a “humor” that did nothing but make me want to stop watching the second I started.

Episode Reviews

Apr. 12, 2024–S1, E1: “Meet the Evans of New”

Beverly does whatever she can to win the annual beautification contest in her run-down apartment complex; Reggie takes his son Junior to the pool hall to try and win money for their family; Grey protests processed food to her own detriment; Baby Dalvin leaves his drug-dealing ways, if only for a short while.

The camera pans into Beverly’s rear and into the bosoms of random women. Women wear bras revealing excessive cleavage. They also hang around in crop-tops and underwear. Beverly wakes her son up in the middle of one of his sex dreams, which has led to her having to “change the sheets” one too many times. A scantily-clad stripper rides shotgun with a drug-dealing baby.

Beverly tells her children not to upset their father because he hasn’t been in a good mood since Janet Jackson’s accidental “nip slip.” Beverly and Reggie kiss. Beverly begins to visibly lactate anytime she’s close to her infant son. The outline of a man’s testicles are seen through his pants. Reggie walks around his house naked (we see his exposed rear but his front side is covered by bubbles from the bath).

Beverly prays to “Black Jesus,” the “African redeemer,” who is shown playing video games while shirtless. Jesus tells an angel,” I swear to my Father.” Beverly says that she prays to Jesus whenever she’s in trouble.

Beverly and her friends agree that “getting baptized makes you perfect in the eyes of Jesus.” Dalvin says that he “loves the lord,” but only because he wants to save his life from the drug dealers who are after him.

Reggie teaches his son it’s appropriate to talk bad about anyone (using a more obscene phrase), including his mother, while playing pool. Grey–Reggie and Beverly’s daughter–protests just about everything, including processed foods. She protests for days and nearly starves herself.

Dalvin, Beverly and Reggies’ baby, is a known drug dealer who was kicked out of their house and now primarily lives on the streets. We see him deal drugs to other babies, grown men and strippers. Dalvin does drugs while in a baby carrier, gets into a shootout over drugs and other paraphernalia. At one point, Junior protects his family from drug-dealing babies wielding knives. A baby holds a landlord at gunpoint. Dalvin is kidnapped by drug-dealing babies but later rescued.

Everyone–men, women and children–smoke, drink and use drugs. A friend of Beverly’s passes out illegal ID’s, carries the body of a dead woman for staging purposes and has a few conversations with known prostitutes.

A group of men joke about the c-word, using it in a vulgar context, (although the “c-word” is revealed to be the word “coward”). The n-word is used a handful of times.

God’s name is misused, often paired with “d–n” and “d–mit.” The f-word is heard twice and the s-word nearly 10 times. Other profanity includes multiple utterances each of “d–n,” “d–mit,” “h—,” “a–” and  “son of a b–ch.”

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kristin-smith
Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).

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