J.J. Evans

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J.J. Evans
Good Times - Jimmie Walker (J.J. Evans).jpg
First appearance Too Old Blues
Last appearance The End of the Rainbow
Created by Norman Lear
Portrayed by Jimmie Walker
Nickname(s) J.J., Kid Dynomite
Aliases James Evans Jr.
Species Human
Occupation Painter; Comic Book Artist
Family Florida Evans (mother)
James Evans Sr. (father)
Michael Evans (younger brother)
Thelma Evans (sister)
Keith Anderson (brother-in-law)
Religion African Methodist Episcopal

James "J.J." Evans, Jr., (born August 24, 1956) is a fictional character on the 1970s sitcom, Good Times. He was created by Norman Lear and portrayed by Jimmie Walker. The character was known as simply "J.J.", and is commonly seen as the show's breakout character. His favorite expression was "Dyno-MITE!"

Character background[edit]

James Evans, Jr., was born in 1956 in Chicago, Illinois, to Florida and James Evans, Sr. (in real-life, Walker was actually born eight years earlier in 1947). Although most often called J.J., he was called simply "Junior" by his father and James Junior in the first episode by his mother. Easily identifiable because of his thin structure and jive talking personality, J.J. was a notorious ladies man, or at least he liked to give the impression that he was one. His girlfriends to whom he gave nicknames included Henrietta, Boom-Boom Belinda, Samantha the Panther, Diana (who was a heroin addict), and other girls who made brief appearances.

He grew up in an impoverished section of Chicago, in a cold water flat. His mother, Florida, worked as a maid while J.J.'s father James worked at various jobs. His sister Thelma was born June 18, 1957, a year after J.J. They still lived in the same apartment.

After J.J.'s younger brother Michael was born, his family finally moved out of a cold water flat and into a housing project development, thanks in part to James's friendship with Alderman Fred C. Davis. It was in a poor African-American section where unemployment was at its highest. James, Sr., worked at several jobs to keep his family in a home he could afford.

Walker credits producer/director John Rich for his character's catchphrase on the show, "Dy-no-mite!", which Rich insisted Walker say on every episode. Both Walker and executive producer Norman Lear were skeptical of the idea, but both the phrase and the J.J. Evans character caught on with the audience.[1]

The series drew some criticism[according to whom?] for J.J.'s frequent remark, "I never steal anything. I just find things!". However, this larcenous aspect of his personality receded as the series progressed. As J.J. grew, he found an interest in painting. He was very good at it and carried it on throughout his developing life. His father strongly supported his painting, seeing it as his son's ticket out of the ghetto. He painted a number of paintings and sold them as well. He had a number of patrons to help him out. His painting focused on capturing the look and feel of ghetto life. The actual paintings in the series were painted for the show by renowned artist and former AFL football player Ernie Barnes. Many paintings were also purchased by The Commonwealth of Classic Sitcoms Committee in 1980.

J.J. was often known for his running battle with his sister Thelma. He often made disparaging remarks about her cooking talents or lack thereof. Despite this, he did love his sister. He also tried to look after his brother Michael, but level-headed Michael was more wise to him than J.J. understood.

After his father's death[edit]

James, Sr., died in a car accident in Mississippi. After James, Sr.'s death, J.J. became the man of the house. He was also instrumental in meeting Penny Gordon who was subsequently adopted by their neighbor, Willona Woods, after Penny's mother abandoned her.

He also had a running battle, as did the rest of his family, with the dim-witted and unpleasant building superintendent, Nathan Bookman, whom they called "Buffalo Butt".

J.J.'s three best friends were Poppo, Cool Breeze, and Head. Collectively, the quartet referred to themselves as "The Awesome Foursome". In a later episode, J.J., Poppo, and Head became "The Gleesome Threesome", with no reference to Cool Breeze, who had left the show due to his ongoing struggle with alcohol abuse.

At the end of the series, he became a comic book artist with an ongoing series thus ensuring he would gainfully employed with his art for the foreseeable future. He also gave Thelma and Keith a honeymoon that they couldn't have-a trip to the Bahamas.

When the show ended, he got his own apartment.

Comedian Dave Chappelle often made reference to J.J. Walker on his self-titled comedy show. Chappelle reacted to his own physical resemblance to Walker, as well as rapper "Jay-Z"'s and would often use the catch phrase "Dyn-o-mite" or comment on being mistaken for Walker.


  1. ^ "Jimmie 'J.J.' Walker lights 'Dy-no-mite' on gay marriage, Leno and dating". CNN. July 16, 2012. Retrieved February 12, 2012.