Netflix’s ‘Good Times’ is as offensive as the trailer promised it would be

OPINION: The animated series based on Norman Lear’s hit situation comedy ‘Good Times’ is related to the original in name only.

Netflix's Good Times,
Good Times (L to R) Jay Pharoah as Junior, Marsai Martin as Grey, Yvette Nicole Brown as Beverly, Gerald Anthony 'Slink' Johnson as Dalvin and JB Smoove as Reggie in "Good Times."(Courtesy of Netflix)

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

If Seth MacFarlane wanted to make a hard-ER version of ‘Family Guy,’ he could’ve just said that.

That would have been more acceptable than the way he and everyone else attached to this disaster of an animated “comedy” series has played in Black people’s faces.

Netflix’s “Good Times” is every bit as offensive as the two-minute trailer promised it would be, and anyone who chastised people for reacting negatively to the trailer on social media was doing that “a hit dog will holler” thing because, baby? This show is awful.

I’m going to be honest and say that I was immediately turned off by the trailer. I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to reboot “Good Times,” and I couldn’t understand why a “reboot” would include the stereotypes and caricatures I saw in the trailer. 

I was determined to give it a try, however, because I wanted to be fair in my critique. 

All 10 episodes of the series were released Friday, and the b.s. starts immediately in the first episode. Reggie (voiced by JB Smoove) is in the shower singing part of the original theme song. He is accompanied by a cockroach that is standing on his window sill as he bathes. 

It only gets worse from there. 

This fourth generation of the Evans family (Reggie is the grandson of James Evans Sr.) lives in the same apartment, 17C, that the original Evans family lived in, and it seems their circumstances still haven’t changed. They are poor, in the projects and struggling just to make it on a daily basis.

Beverly (Yvette Nicole Brown) walks into the living room where her son JJ Junior (Jay Pharoah) sleeps on the pullout sofa, seemingly having a wet dream. 

“Not again! I just changed these sheets,” she wails as she wakes him up to question him about a Black Jesus mural he has painted on the wall. 

She’s trying to win the building beautification contest, much like Florida did in the original series, and as she explains this to her two oldest children, she hands a cracker to her daughter and tells her, “Just rub some crumbs around your mouth so when the judges come to our apartment, they’ll think I fed you.” 

The prize for winning the contest is a month of free rent and “two weeks without roaches.”


There are many references to the original series crammed into the first episode, including Florida’s iconic “Damn! Damn! Damn!” utterance, but they are sandwiched between all the offensive stuff that’s been tacked on to make the series “funny.” I know these things are usually considered “Easter eggs,” but in my opinion, they are wet farts. And they stink.

I suspect it’s not meant to be “Black people funny.” It’s more like white people will think this stuff about Black people is funny, but that might just be me.


It feels like this so-called sequel to the original series is little more than a parody of “Good Times” dressed in “Family Guy” clothing – and that’s putting it mildly.

Junior and his militant younger sister, Grey (Marsai Martin) argue and insult each other much in the same way that Thelma and JJ did in the original series, and since the militant sibling is already accounted for, the third sibling is Dalvin (Gerald “Slink” Johnson), a drug-dealing, still-breastfeeding baby who curb serves from a stroller and has already been kicked out of the house by his father Reggie because of what he does. 

Beverly’s breasts lactate when Dalvin is around, and my 10-year-old nephew told my sister he found that to be “highly inappropriate.”

He was also turned off by the drug-dealing baby.

It’s amusing that the series allows every curse word to fly freely, but they repeatedly bleep out the n-word. Y’all came this far, why get shy now?

Midway through the third episode, I realized I couldn’t do it anymore, and then for some weird reason, the power went out in my entire neighborhood, and I would like to think that was Power Company Jesus telling me to give up the ghost, so I did. 

I likely won’t finish the series, and I don’t feel bad about it. Just the bit of it I saw was enough for me to determine I am not the target audience for this show, and that’s OK.

I’m not sure what the creators of this series hoped to accomplish, but perhaps the meta message they snuck into the first episode is an indication that they really didn’t intend for this to be a reboot of or a nod to the original series after all.

Returning home to find out Beverly won’t win the beautification contest after all, Reggie apologizes to her for failing on his part. 

“No,” Beverly says. “It was me. I thought our family had to win this stupid contest to prove we were just as good as the Evans of old, but the truth is, we’re the Evans of new.”

“Ain’t nothing wrong with that,” Reggie replies. “We just have to be us, and that’s all that matters.”

The show’s creators seem aware of what they are doing.

Too bad they weren’t aware enough to not call it “Good Times.”

Monique Judge is a storyteller, content creator and writer living in Los Angeles. She is a word nerd who is a fan of the Oxford comma, spends way too much time on Twitter, and has more graphic t-shirts than you. Follow her on Twitter @thejournalista or check her out at