ABC Live: ‘Good Times’ had highs & lows, however ‘All in the Family’ shined bright

Good Times and All in the Family returned to television/ABC Studios

Good Times had ‘highs’ and ‘lows.’ 

Blog King, Mass Appeal

NEW YORK — “Temporary layoffs. Good Times. Easy credit rip offs…” Network officials at ABC aired a pair of ’70s reboots Wednesday night in a holiday television special titled “Live in Front of a Studio Audience.” Amid continual obtrusion from President Donald Trump’s Impeachment debacle, the Norman Lear doubleheader showcased an episode of “Good Times” followed by “All in the Family.” Both comedies were based on re-enactments of previous shows which is sort of disappointing because we were anticipating a contemporary twist. Nevertheless, only one sitcom shined bright and that was clearly “All in the Family.”

Lear’s conception was crackerjack from start to finish. Marisa Tomei threw down as Edith Bunker and Woody Harrelson channeled Archie Bunker’s inner racist to the “T.” Their opening duet of “Those Were The Days” was simply hilarious. Kevin Bacon also made a guest appearance as Pinky Peterson.

“All in the Family” was rock solid.

Big thumbs up!

Wish we could say the same for “Good Times.”

Lord have mercy.

In the episode called “The Politicians,” the star-studded negro cast was comprised of Viola Davis (as Florida Evans), Andre Braugher (as James Evans), Tiffany Haddish (as Willona Woods), Jay Pharaoh (as J.J. Evans), Asante Blackk (as Michael Evans) and Corinne Foxx (as Thelma Evans).

Jharrel Jerome made a guest appearance as Jimmy Pearson.

Let’s recap the show:

THE GOOD
1) With ministration of a gospel choir, Grammy winner Patti LaBelle and “Black-ish” actor Anthony Anderson kicked things off with a zestful duet of the sitcom’s theme song. Patti stole the show in a hot pink ensemble. She’s 75 and looks 30. Nice to see she hasn’t lost her touch.

2) Pharoah’s J.J. Evans wasn’t too shabby either. The imbecilic sibling definitely picked up some weight. He had a gut like a mothaf*cka! But he brought ounces of ebullience to an otherwise moribund cast.

3) Foxx’s Thelma Evans wasn’t a thing of beauty nor was it expected to be. But, given her paucity of acting métier, she gets a passing grade. Besides, her dad is Jamie Foxx. That has to count for something.

4) Original cast members Jimmie Walker, Ja’net DuBois and BernNadette Stanis appeased the audience with a curtain call and they looked fantastic. That BernNadette has a fat ass.

THE BAD
1) Screenplay was dry, insipid and generally unfunny. The show lacked pace and dragged towards the end. The director probably picked the wrong episode. Viewers deserved better.

2) Braugher’s portrayal of James Evans was borderline atrocious. He stumbled over his words multiple times. He was feminal, acquiescent and completely void of a backbone. You could tell right away the kids didn’t fear him. Conversely, the real James (played by John Amos) was macho, obstinate and he routinely brandished his belt at the first hint of backtalk. 70s James was a badass. His presence alone sparked trepidation.

Braugher was badly miscast.

Somebody dropped the ball big time.

3) Davis’ Florida Evans was glacial from a personality standpoint and, unlike the schmaltzy character made famous by Esther Rolle, she lacked romantic chemistry with her husband. Florida was such a feminist, James didn’t try to kiss her, hug her, or grab her derrière. Watching the show, you couldn’t tell they were married. But, the director deserves credit for incorporating a wide aperture between Florida’s two front teeth.

4) Haddish’s Willona wasn’t awful. It’s just that she couldn’t build camaraderie with Florida or instigate a rivalry with James because of their onstage inadequacies. As previously mentioned, James was a namby-pamby and Florida resembled a zombie. Haddish’s dramatis personae never stood a chance.

5) John Amos (the real James Evans) made a guest appearance as Alderman Fred C. Davis and it didn’t go particularly well. The 79-year-old thespian appeared to peruse his lines through a teleprompter and there was too much dead air in between quips. The audience wasn’t sure when to laugh. He also addressed Willona accurately each time which is a gaffe in itself. If you recall, the real Alderman boasted a comical proclivity of mispronouncing her name. Amos, at this stage of his career, was simply over his head. Jimmie Walker would’ve been a much better choice as the Alderman.

6) The exclusion of corpulent landlord Nathan Bookman was unfortunate but understandable in today’s politically correct climate. The first taunt of “Buffalo Butt” would’ve drawn vitriol from the World Obesity Federation and other fat organizations.

In summary, “Good Times” had its fair share of highs and lows.

Only problem is the lows stood out more.

Blog King’s Rating: 2 out of 5 popcorn bags

Share your thoughts.

48 comments

  1. If ever one decides to do a reboot of anything they should keep the original casts…so ms Florida past away so do the show with the absence of the mother norhing wrong with the cast getting older…we’d love to see them being older if not leave timeless classics alone…u done messed up my childhood memories ☹

  2. So Miscast. Forced unnatural Acting And Movements. Jimmy Walker Did it Naturaly.

  3. Everday's Saturday

    Casting was horrible with the exception of Tiffany. Porsha shoulda played Thelma…PERIOD

  4. I watched it and it was awful

  5. Irene G Bilducia BilduciaBilducia

    SMH…. Nooooo!!

  6. patricia hawkins

    The show Sucked!!! 😒 But it was nice seeing John Amos ☺

  7. Cheryl R Leigh

    If this is brought back please consider casting Porsha Williams as Thelma based upon 1) looks and; 2) perfect comedic timing.

  8. This is insulting 😒

  9. awful, not even close to original except original actors. Totally wrong

  10. This was the worst show ever bad actors it suck 😡

  11. Jay would have been a good JJ if they had done an episode from season 5 or 6, because it seem like Jimmie Walker gain a little weight in those seasons.

  12. This ain no Thelma bih

  13. Thelma was played by a mixed girl
    And JJ was played by a dude with a gut
    LoL , i just stop there
    Dont want to be accused of being racist because i give to many opinions about the show all at once .
    BTW , the show sucked !!
    Not good at all
    It was nice to see john Amos again tho

  14. And why does Thelma Evans look hell of Puerto Rican……James must not be her real father, maybe Geraldo Rivera is🤔?

  15. Why didn’t Michael Blackson play JJ🤔?

  16. I hope ABC has plans to reschedule this because my affiliate butchered it with impeachment coverage that I’ve had enough of.

  17. Leonard Halbert

    J.J. is fat? Guys got an obvious fat roll gut and pretty thick looking legs, couldn’t find a skinny guy in 2019 who isn’t a crack head and Thelma keeps making skinny jokes?

  18. Im watching it right now !!!! 😄😄

  19. Patricia tha bibliophile

    Leave iconic television shows and films alone. Write some new material.

  20. patricia hawkins

    The whole cast sucked 😏

  21. Supachat Supachat

    They should have done “Black Jesus”🙏🏿. At this point I’m tired of hearing about politics…😂😂😂😂

  22. Balling in Avakin

    Epic fail ….

  23. Wow. Not funny at all.

  24. This show was terrible .
    JJ has a gut
    Thelma is a mixed girl
    Terrible acting
    It was cool seeing John Amos tho.
    Plus i just think Tiffany Hadish is a cutie pie
    But as far as the show went , AWFUL

  25. I think when they do these reenactment episodes, it should be a continuation of the episodes. Like what happened next type thing, then it wouldn’t be so bad.

  26. gRaMmAR dyNaMiTe

    Tiffany is the ABSOLUTE WORST!!!!

  27. Other cast members like Bookman and Penny are still alive

  28. Damn damn damn!!!

  29. Words 2 live by

    I decided to watch the real Good Times show instead of this 💩 but thanks for trying but This generation🤦🏾‍♂️ is all about reality TV SO PLEASE STOP MESSING UP CLASSIC SHOWS!😡

  30. justice forever

    Destroying a classic show, just leave it as is.

  31. THIS IS SOME BULL!!!

  32. Everything seem forced 😂

  33. The pacing is off. Wayyy too slow, no energy. Performing live isn’t easy, I’m sure, but I LOVE the original Good Times. It’s hard as a fan to see it done like this. Glad to see John Amos though 🙂

  34. Lawd they got a biracial girl playing Thelma and she sucks. The guy playing JJ sucks…thank the universe for viola Davis

  35. This was horrible…I was expecting WAY BETTER…SO many people could’ve pulled this off…They should’ve done the black Jesus episode!

  36. Kimberley Lyons

    ✨✨✨Loved Good Times✨✨✨If times were different Maybe Thelma could have had her own show! Loved her cornrows back in the day! She could still do it! 🙏🙏🙏

  37. Good Times was thee show for my family and I…😁❤️☺️

  38. ABC you oughta be a damn shame of yourself you know that you cannot mark the original good times how sad how horrible how to hire you guys are how pathetic I know that Florida Evans is turning over in her grave behind this madness”I love Pattie LeBelle what in the hell is she singing she sounds like she’s on a diabetic period..

  39. They weren’t as funny as the original cast and I thought it was cool to bring back Mr. John Amos as part of the reunion with the other original cast members.

  40. Bro… you and I pretty much have the exact same feelings about the two shows.

    I was extremely disappointed with Jay Pharaohs “JJ”. I was happy to see John Amos even if he seemed to forget some lines…. and I agree Tiffany Haddish’s Wilona was … off.

    Viola Davis… nailed it as Florida.

    And the gentleman playing James did bring the same energy that John Amos originally brought to the role.

    I thought the All in the Family episode was good. Marisa Tomei should win an Emmy! Loved her Edith bunker.

    Kevin and Jessie… great acting.

    And I agree with you about Wody’s Archie. It was okay (last scene was great).

    Great review!

  41. Sucked. Especially that lady playin Thelma smh! Some things should just be left alone!

  42. All in the Family, the acting was miles ahead of Good Time. Tomei was amazing! That is a character that is hard to recreate.

  43. Good Times was terrible. All in the Family was amazing!

  44. I agree with you on the most part. The Good times Eps i think was wack the only thing that i thought was good was the guy who played jimmy and the set was great, but other than that i was very disappointed with it . Don,t get me wrong all great actor’s But let;s say what it was it SUCKED!!. And Jay.J.. Pharoah very talented person but on this one AWFUL!. I just think the whole casting was wrong, that messed it up. I will say this if this would have been the cast of the original there would be nothing to talk about . MY OPINION TERRIBLE WAST OF TIME… No energy no real feel at all the younger people that has just heard about the show growing up If they watched this i am sure they are thinking why the hell so many people love this S it.

  45. Karlann Herndon

    BADTIMES❗🔥🎥

  46. The casting was terrible. Viola Davis doesn’t have comedic timing. There was a biracial Thelma, I would preferred an unambiguous black woman to play Thelma.

    Jay Pharoah is overweight and so was the actor who portrayed James; they both lacked passion.

    I can tell white people wrote the Good Times script. It’s so offensive, black people only vote for candidates who patronize, shuck, and jive…. Not the most qualified candidate 🙄

  47. It sucked sorry I’m not feeling it.

  48. In real life all great acters.
    This shit was just hard to watch.

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