Looking at the show now so many things stood out to me, especially after watching several shows in a row. First, the Evans family probably had more integrity than any African-American TV family. Ever. Now before you jump in with the Huxtables, I have to say, the Evanses are far more impressive, because they actually had real life problems. The Huxtables, while they were a meaningful and entertaining acknowledgement of affluent black life, didn't struggle like the Evanses. Isn’t the true measure of a man (or woman) is how they perform when they’re down right? Well, the Evanses were down all the time with constant problems. Theo Huxtable's girlfriend was never shooting up heroin in the bathroom.
And Thelma. She was sexy, yet classy, and like all us women growing up, she made some mistakes and got into some sticky situations. Remember when she was about to marry that African fool or when she got felt up by Willona's creepy ex-husband Ray? I mean that's real life there. But through it all she grew up, stepped up when James died, always handled herself with class and grace, and she had a husband before she had a baby. Who would argue that she isn't a great role model for young women of any socio-economic class?
And as bad off as the Evanses were financially, they never asked for hand-outs or charity, never made excuses. They acknowledged racism, but never used it as a crutch. They just knew they had to work twice as hard because racism stacked the deck against them. If times were tough, James just worked harder. Florida and James always had a hopeful outlook. They always focused on hard work and its relationship to success. They helped their neighbors and ate dinner together. Can you imagine what a world this would be if we all embodied the character traits of the Evans family? It would be good times, indeed.
I know folks out there are going to argue that the show "Jumped the Shark" when James died, even so where can you find a better representation of African Americans today? Tell you what, watch Good Times and then look at us now. Take a new look at the Evanses, and then look at our images on MTV and VH1 and BET. Look at the way African Americans are depicted on network dramas and sitcoms. Check out the evening news.