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Good Times - The Complete First Season

4.8 out of 5 stars 90 customer reviews

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(Feb 04, 2003)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The complete first season of the TV series Good Times.

What first comes to mind is super-skinny Jimmie Walker proclaiming "Dyn-o-mite!" and waving his arms like a funky scarecrow in a whirlwind of 1970s jive. But while Walker's James "J.J." Evans Junior became the most famous face of Good Times, the bedrock of the sitcom were the actors playing his parents, Esther Rolle and John Amos as Florida and James Evans, two good-hearted but fallible people struggling to raise their family amid the poverty of the Chicago projects. Add to the mix boy-crazy daughter Thelma (Bernnadette Stanis), preadolescent black activist Michael (Ralph Carter), and Florida's world-wise best friend Willona (sassy Ja'net DuBois), and you've got one of the best comic ensembles of the time. Modern politically correct sensibilities may wince a bit at J.J.'s sometimes cartoonish antics, but what's far more striking about the first season of Good Times is how frank the show was willing to be about race, politics, class, religion, sexual double standards, and family conflicts--considerably more direct and daring, in fact, than just about anything you'll find on television today. The topics of shows range from the corruption of television evangelism and white-centered history classes in school (Michael gets suspended for stating that George Washington owned slaves) to more typical sitcom themes like a housekeeping contest or J.J.'s girlfriend troubles--but even the most lightweight episodes tosses out a few acerbic (and genuinely funny) comments on the difficulty of being black in America. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features

  • 13 episodes on two discs

Product Details

  • Actors: Bernadette Stanis, Esther Rolle, Ja'net DuBois, Jimmie Walker, Ralph Carter
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 4, 2003
  • Run Time: 341 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007KK5I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,816 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Good Times - The Complete First Season" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
My second favorite Norman Lear show - am so happy it's finally coming to DVD in the boxed sets it richly deserves!! "Good Times" was a spin-off of sorts of "Maude," using the character of Florida Evans who was Maude's sharp-tongued maid. Set in the Chicago, the sitcom follows the Evans family, headed by proud James Evans, Sr., and their lives in the projects of Chicago. Groundbreaking, Emmy-winning, and sometimes controversial, "Good Times" was often as funny as it was thought-provoking; I watched it every week growing up, and can't wait for the DVD of this first season, which should include these episodes, as they aired in order:
#1 Getting Up The Rent -- James Evans has been out of work most of the month. He's late on his rent payment and the landlord is ready to forcibly evict his family. James takes his pool stick down to the billiards hall and stakes his last bit of money. He wins and returns just in time to pay up. Florida remains unaware of James' gambling stunt, and thanks the Lord Jesus.
#2 Black Jesus -- J.J. has painted a portrait of a Black Jesus. Suddenly there is a run of good luck in the family. James wins two bets in the same day. But they must choose - does J.J. get to enter the painting in a contest for the art gallery? Or does the painting stay in the living room?
#3 Too Old Blues -- The family plans to celebrate James' new job. But then they find out he didn't get it because he is a couple years too old to meet government requirements.
#4 God's Business is Good Business -- James' old army buddy visits. He is now a wealthy TV minister, and offers James a job. But James turns it down after dishonest tactics are revealed.
#5 Michael Gets Suspended -- Michael gets suspended because he called George Washington a racist for owning slaves.
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Format: DVD
When I was a kid, Good Times was one of those TV shows I simply would not miss each week. Even after its hilarious run ended, it was a constant companion of my youth in the form of syndicated reruns. Eventually, it faded away from the airwaves, and that is why I am so happy to see the release of this complete Season One DVD collection. The trials and joys of the Evans family have always been an indelible part of my memory, but watching these early episodes again is in many ways like seeing the show for the very first time. I used to just laugh at the crazy antics of J.J. and enjoy the show only for its comedy, but now I can more clearly understand the deeper meaning behind it all. While the Evans family life is far from typical, it does nobly reflect the struggles, pride, and humanity of families trying to survive and make a good life for their children in ghetto conditions. This truly was a groundbreaking television show, the first to feature a realistic African-American family trying to overcome life's great adversities together. However much they bickered and argued, the Evans family members supported and loved one another a great deal, and I believe it is this facet of the show as much as its unsurpassed comedy that explains its appeal to viewers of all races then and now.
Almost thirty years later, Good Times is still funnier than almost every other television show ever produced. What impressed me is the way the show began; the look and feel of the series was already firmly established in the very first episode, as James struggles to pay the rent and keep his family off the streets. When I was little, I didn't particularly like James because he seemed mean to me with his constant yelling. As an adult, I am a tremendous fan of John Amos' portrayal of the proud, hardworking family patriarch.
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Format: DVD
After the release of All in the Family, The Jeffersons, and Sanford & Son in DVD season sets, it was only logical to release Good Times at some point. Good Times started in 1974 as a spin off of Maude. Florida Evans (Esther Rolle) was Maude's (Bea Arthur) housekeeper and Good Times concerns the Evans family and their ups and downs living in a Chicago project development. The other members of the Evans family are the father, James (John Amos), daughter Thelma (BernNadette Stanis), and sons Michael (Ralph Carter) and J.J. (Jimmie Walker). And don't forget Wilonna (Ja'net DuBois) from next door! Sorry, but Penny (Janet Jackson) and Superintendant Bookman (Johnny Brown) don't appear until Season 5 so you'll have to wait for that. The Norman Lear/Bud Yorkin sitcoms were one of a kind and each ground breaking in its own way. They dared to show real life, situations, attitudes, and characters who actually exist. Good Times was unique. It was like the Jeffersons in that it centered around a black family, but the Evans' were different from the Jeffersons both in family size and economic status (The Evans' poor, the Jeffersons rich). Good Times, like the other Lear/Yorkin classics, don't shy away from realistic views and language, but thats why these shows are so important. This type of sitcom won't come along again so get it while you can. Its a great thing that these shows have been preserved and brought to digital in an uncut & unedited form. This 2 DVD set contains the first season of 13 episodes which ran from February to May 1974. There are no extra features other than subtitles, episode selection, and previews, but having such a classic, funny, and important piece of television history in this format at the push of a button is priceless.Read more ›
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