List of Good Times episodes

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This is a list of episodes for the sitcom Good Times, which originally aired on CBS from February 8, 1974 to August 1, 1979. There were 133 episodes, three of which were not shown during the original network run but turned up in the syndication package.


Season 1 (1974)[edit]

No. in
No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date Tape date
1 1 "Too Old Blues" Bob LaHendro and Donald McKayle Bob Peete February 8, 1974 January 21, 1974

James (John Amos) is excited because he is sure that he is going to get a high paying job. However, at the interview, he learns that he is too old to join the company's union. Meanwhile, Florida (Esther Rolle) and the children (BernNadette Stanis and Ralph Carter) get ahead of themselves and throw a celebration party for James unaware that he was rejected.

Note: This episode was taped after the pilot to add additional characters and to provide background for those in the pilot episode.
2 2 "Black Jesus" Bob LaHendro and John Rich Kurt Taylor and John Donley February 15, 1974 January 14, 1974

J.J.'s painting of a Black Jesus, becomes the family's good luck charm after a string of success for each family member. However, Florida refuses to entertain the notion that the painting had anything to do with the recent string of "good times". Creator Eric Monte appears as Numbers Runner.

Note: This episode was taped after the pilot to add additional characters and to provide background for those in the pilot episode.
3 3 "Getting Up the Rent (The Pilot)" Donald McKayle and Perry Rosemond Eric Monte February 22, 1974 January 7, 1974

With an eviction notice over their heads, the Evans family scrambles to come up with $74 needed for their rent. Despite Florida's opinion, James goes down to the pool hall to try to hustle some money; J.J. comes up with a scheme of his own and Florida and Willona go down to the welfare office.

Guest star: Matthew "Stymie" Beard (former Our Gang child actor) as Monty and Hal Williams as one of the movers
4 4 "God's Business Is Good Business" Bob LaHendro and Donald McKayle Roland Wolpert March 1, 1974 January 28, 1974
An old friend of James, who is now a shady televangelist (Roscoe Lee Browne), stops by the Evans apartment and offers James a job that would pay $100 a day. James is set to take it, but Florida is against James accepting the job, believing it goes against his morals and values.
5 5 "Michael Gets Suspended (aka The Midget Strikes Back)" Herbert Kenwith Eric Monte March 8, 1974 February 12, 1974
Michael comes home from school early one day with the announcement that he has been suspended as a result of telling his teacher that George Washington was a racist because he owned slaves. James and Florida become determined to prove to Michael that he is wrong.
6 6 "Sex and the Evans Family" Herbert Kenwith Donald L. Stewart, story; Norman Paul and Jack Elinson, teleplay March 15, 1974 February 26, 1974
Florida finds what she believes to be a dirty story called, "Sexual Behavior in the Ghetto". Assuming it to be J.J.'s, Florida confronts him, but she is in for a surprise when Thelma claims it and has an even bigger surprise when she learns it belongs to Thelma's latest boyfriend (Philip Michael Thomas).
7 7 "Junior Gets a Patron" Herbert Kenwith Larry Siegel March 22, 1974 February 19, 1974
J.J. is sure he is bound to make it big when he finds a patron in Leroy Jackson (Ed Cambridge), who begins providing him with all the supplies he needs. However, when James discovers who the patron is, he forbids J.J. to be associated with him and J.J. responds by moving out. This leads to a confrontation at J.J.'s new apartment between James and Leroy.
8 8 "Junior the Senior" Herbert Kenwith Ken Hecht and Lloyd Garver, teleplay and story; Lou Derman and Bill Davenport, teleplay March 29, 1974 March 6, 1974
Florida and James are worried that J.J. will not pass into the 12th grade but when he gets his report card he did indeed pass but the grades seem to be a far cry from what they should be. This leads James and Florida to do a little investigating.
9 9 "The Visitor" Herbert Kenwith Bob Wolterstorf, Allessandro R. Veith, and Thad Mumford, story; Norman Paul and Jack Elinson, story April 5, 1974 March 20, 1974
Michael submits an angry letter about the conditions in the Evans' apartment to a newspaper and gets an immediate response from a housing commission official who quickly finds himself stranded in the ghetto and experiences the conditions first hand.
10 10 "Springtime in the Ghetto" Herbert Kenwith Norman Paul and Jack Elinson April 19, 1974 March 27, 1974
Florida is running in a cleanest apartment competition and is sure she will win. However, her chances are dashed when Michael tries to help someone in need and brings home Ned the Wino.
11 11 "The TV Commercial" Herbert Kenwith Simon Muntner, Lou Derman, and Bill Davenport, story April 26, 1974 April 3, 1974
Florida comes home from the supermarket with great news - she has been offered a role in a TV commercial. What is even better is the pay she will get - $5,000. However, once she reads the script and tests the product, Florida has second thoughts.
12 12 "The Checkup (aka James Goes Down)" Herbert Kenwith Kurt Taylor and John Donley May 3, 1974 April 10, 1974
Florida and the children become concerned about James' health after reading an article in a magazine about hypertension. When he learns about their concerns, he goes through the roof and refuses to go for a check up.
13 13 "My Son, The Lover (aka I Love Marcy)" Herbert Kenwith Lou Derman and Bill Davenport, story and teleplay; Norman Paul and Jack Elinson, teleplay May 10, 1974 April 17, 1974
A popular girl wants J.J. to paint her portrait and J.J. mistakenly assumes that they will become more serious when he makes plans to ask her to go steady. However, Florida and Thelma smell a rat.

Season 2: 1974–1975[edit]

No. in
No. in
Title Episode Original air date Tape date
14 1 Florida Flips Florida's strange behavior has the family and Willona wondering what is wrong with her. Michael thinks that she is beginning menopause, while Willona believes that she is fed up with the boredom that comes with being a housewife. September 10, 1974 July 18, 1974
15 2 J.J. Becomes a Man: Part 1 (a.k.a.) J.J. Is Arrested J.J.'s 18th birthday has James and Florida in a fit when they find out they will not be able to give J.J. the art supplies he wanted because James' credit has been reduced to 0. After the birthday party, news reaches the Evans family that J.J. has been arrested for robbing a liquor store. September 17, 1974 August 1, 1974
16 3 J.J. Becomes a Man: Part 2 (a.k.a.) J.J. Is Arrested J.J. is taken to the police station for questioning about the liquor store robbery. The family gathers there and tries to think up ways to raise enough money for J.J.'s bail and ultimately consider taking money from a loan shark. September 24, 1974 August 15, 1974
17 4 Crosstown Buses Run All Day, Doodah, Doodah Michael has the chance to be bussed to a better school in a white neighborhood but he is determined not to. Florida and James first hear about the opportunity when his principal (Ron Glass) arrives to question them about their responses on a bussing questionnaire that Michael responded to and forged his parents' names. October 1, 1974 July 25, 1974
18 5 The Man I Most Admire Michael must write an essay on the person he most admires. He first picks Florida for her strength and effort in keeping the family together. However, Florida points out that James may be the best person. However, James' recent actions in applying for a new job leave little to be admired. October 8, 1974 August 8, 1974
19 6 Thelma's Young Man Thelma has been seeing the same man (Louis Gossett Jr.) for two months and has not introduced him to the family yet. However, when she comes home with an engagement ring, Florida and James demand that they meet him and they are in for a surprise when they finally do. October 15, 1974 September 12, 1974
20 7 The I.Q. Test Michael, one of the brightest boys in his class, comes home with the news that he scored the lowest out of his whole class on an I.Q. test. Infuriated at first, Florida and James hear Michael out and realize that I.Q. tests are designed for certain demographics and in this case exclude white people. Meanwhile, J.J. prepares for a wild date with his latest girl, Henrietta.

Guest star: Austin Pendleton as the I.Q. test creator

October 22, 1974 September 5, 1974
21 8 The Encyclopedia Hustle An encyclopedia salesman (Ron Glass) is the last person James wants to see when he comes home from work. However, he softens when he learns the man is blind. This leads James to sign a contract and he reads the fine print only after the man leaves. October 29, 1974 August 29, 1974
22 9 The Gang: Part 1 (a.k.a.) J.J. and the Gang J.J. has secretly become a member of the Satan's Knights, a gang who are in the midst of a gang war with the Warlords. Two members and the leader of the Satan's Knights arrive at the Evans' home to escort a scared J.J. to a meeting place where the two gangs are to tangle. However, on the way there they run into James and Florida and a scuffle ensues leaving J.J. shot. November 12, 1974 October 17, 1974
23 10 The Gang: Part 2 (a.k.a.) J.J. and the Gang J.J. is recovering after being shot by Mad Dog, which turned out to be only a flesh wound. Meanwhile, a vengeful James presses charges against Mad Dog but a worried Florida is afraid that James's anger will take over before the law does. November 19, 1974 October 31, 1974
24 11 Florida, the Matchmaker A wedding has Florida realizing that Willona is the only friend of hers left who is not married. This leads Florida to try her hand at matchmaking, and she matches Willona with Duane, a friend of James'. However, Florida is a little crestfallen, when Duane leaves the wedding early, claiming he does not feel well and she thinks her matchmaking plans have failed, until they arrive the next day at the Evans door, together. November 26, 1974 October 3, 1974
25 12 The Windfall (a.k.a.) James Goes to Far... James finds a bag of robbery loot adding up to $27,000. After some coaxing from Florida, James decides to turn it in. However, what Florida does not know is that there was $29,000 in the bag and James kept the other $2,000. James has no regrets especially after the only reward he was given was a $50 gift certificate for the supermarket. December 3, 1974 October 10, 1974
26 13 Sometimes There's No Bottom in the Bottle Cousin Naomi is visiting the Evans' for the Christmas season and the whole time she has been there, has been time spent in the bathroom. However, her visit is not a happy one for Thelma, who discovers that Naomi is hiding a serious drinking problem. Meanwhile, the rest of the Evans family prepares for holiday festivities. December 10, 1974 November 7, 1974
27 14 Florida's Big Gig James is sure that he is going to get a sales position at a department store but when he brings Florida along to the interview he is in for a big surprise – the supervisor would rather hire Florida than him. It seems the supervisor would "kill two birds with one stone" hiring an African American woman.

Guest star: Dick O'Neill and Charlotte Rae

December 31, 1974 November 21, 1974
28 15 Florida Goes to School Florida comes home excited that she is going to night school hoping to achieve a High School Equivalency diploma, but working in the daytime and going to school at night puts a strain on her relationship with James, who is against her entertaining the notion of school. January 7, 1975 December 5, 1974
29 16 The Nude (a.k.a.) Painting Naked Woman A woman, known in the projects as the "Wiggler", asks J.J. to paint a nude portrait of her as a birthday gift for her husband (Carl Weathers). However, Florida has a hard time understanding why a woman would pose in the nude and why she has to pose in the Evans' apartment. Meanwhile, Florida is also not too happy that James is taking such a liking to "the Wiggler". January 14, 1975 December 12, 1974
30 17 The Family Business Realizing his mechanical skills, Florida suggests that James open a fix-it shop but when they go to the bank, they are turned down for a loan. This leads James to set up shop right in the apartment, despite a clause in the lease, and soon Bookman begins nosing around trying to put an end to the family business. January 21, 1975 December 19, 1974
31 18 The Debutante Ball J.J. is enchanted with his new girlfriend, Clarissa, and is all set to take her to a ritzy debutante ball. However, Clarissa has come to the Evans' apartment with some bad news - her parents will not let her go with J.J., saying that they think she is too good for him. February 4, 1975 January 16, 1975
32 19 The Dinner Party (a.k.a.) Dog Food Lover An elderly resident of the projects appears to be living on pet food after Michael takes out her garbage. The Evans family's attempt to do something for her is complicated when she brings a meat loaf to dinner and the kids suspect it is made from dog food. February 11, 1975 January 23, 1975
33 20 The Houseguest A childhood friend (Thalmus Rasulala) of James' arrives for a visit and quickly his gambling problem becomes an Evans family problem when two criminals show up looking for him to pay off a $5,000 debt. Meanwhile, with a house guest, J.J., Michael and James must learn to share the pull-out couch in the living room. February 18, 1975 January 30, 1975
34 21 My Girl Henrietta Florida thinks it is strange that she has never met the often talked about Henrietta, J.J.'s girlfriend (Tina Andrews). So when she calls the Evans home, Florida invites her over for dinner. Meanwhile, J.J. announces that he has been thinking of asking Henrietta to marry him. This sends shock waves through the Evans household, but things really get touchy when Henrietta shows up at the door, pregnant. February 25, 1975 February 13, 1975
35 22 The Enlistment While Florida is away in Cleveland for a family funeral, the Evans' family is hit with a double dose of unemployment after both James and J.J. lose their jobs. James' boss at Brady's puts him on a temporary lay-off and the movie theatre where J.J. works is closing down. Wanting to support his family, J.J. decides to join the U.S. Army. March 4, 1975 February 20, 1975
36 23 Thelma's Scholarship Thelma has a chance of winning a scholarship to an exclusive boarding school in Michigan. However, even before she knows she has won, a snobby girl from a sorority comes around wanting Thelma to join and quickly discovers they just want her because she is black. March 11, 1975 February 27, 1975
37 24 The Lunch Money Ripoff A small-fry extortionist bullies Michael into handing over his lunch and milk money on a daily basis. When the rest of the family finds out, turmoil erupts as they argue about how Michael should deal with his bully of a classmate. March 18, 1975 March 6, 1975

Season 3: 1975–1976[edit]

No. in
No. in
Title Episode Original air date Tape date
38 1 The Real Cool Job After taking some courses at a trade school, James has graduated and now has a chance at getting better paying jobs. However, James soon finds that he is still in the same old situation of having a hard time finding work. So, when he is finally offered a job, he accepts it despite the fact that there is one catch - it is in Alaska. September 9, 1975 July 24, 1975
39 2 The Family Gun (a.k.a.) James Goes Overboard It seems crime has been at an all-time high in the neighborhood, causing the Evans family to take extra precautions, such as installing extra locks on their doors. However, James has taken a step that Florida and the children are not ready for - he has bought a gun. Later, when the gun disappears, all hell breaks loose, as James tears the apartment apart, looking for it. September 16, 1975 July 17, 1975
40 3 Operation Florida Florida has had a pain in her side for the last two weeks but does not want to see a doctor out of fear of the cost. However, when James learns of her dilemma he decides to pay any cost for Florida's treatment, even after he learns she has to have a gallbladder operation. September 23, 1975 July 31, 1975
41 4 Love in the Ghetto Thelma has great news - she is engaged to her latest boyfriend, but she is nervous about breaking the news to James and Florida. Later, her opinion of great news differs greatly with her parents who hit the roof after learning this, and in a surprise move, J.J. is on Thelma's side. September 30, 1975 August 28, 1975
42 5 Florida's Rich Cousin (a.k.a.) Cousin Edgar Florida plans on borrowing money from her cousin to help pay some unexpected bills. James's pride stands in the way causing him to storm out to a bar, leaving Florida to learn about the shocking news about her seemingly wealthy cousin by herself. October 7, 1975 August 14, 1975
43 6 The Weekend (a.k.a.) Happy Twentieth A friend of James' gives him permission to use his cabin to celebrate his and Florida's 20th wedding anniversary. However, the trick is trying to get Florida to stop worrying about the children. While James and Florida are away, J.J. takes over the household by force and acts like a dictator. October 14, 1975 September 4, 1975
44 7 The Baby (a.k.a.) Bye-Bye, Baby While James is out of town, Florida and the children throw a baby shower for a friend, Loretta (Mary Alice). However, the joyous occasion is dampened when Loretta announces her plans of giving the baby up for adoption. Meanwhile, while Florida, Thelma and Willona go out shopping, Loretta goes into labor, leaving J.J. and Michael panicking. October 21, 1975 September 18, 1975
45 8 Michael's Big Fall When James is out of town, Florida and her brother Wilbert are left to deal with a troubled Michael. Cutting classes, getting into fights at school, and low grades are all warning signs that lead Florida to make an appointment to see Michael's teacher.

Guest star: Ronny Cox and Louis Gossett Jr.

October 28, 1975 September 25, 1975
46 9 The Politicians (a.k.a.) Young Verses Old A feud erupts in the Evans' household when James and J.J. take the side of Alderman Fred Davis during his attempt at re-election while Florida, Thelma and Willona take the side of his young opponent. It seems Davis is a shyster who gets nothing done in the neighborhood, which is why she cannot believe James would back such a loser. November 4, 1975 August 21, 1975
47 10 Willona's Dilemma When J.J. brings home Walter, a man from his art class, he hits it off with Willona. Despite the fact that he is deaf, he and Willona begin a relationship one that Willona thinks is headed for the alter and she is unsure of how to tell him that she is not interested in marrying him without making him think that him being deaf is the reason. November 11, 1975 October 2, 1975
48 11 Florida's Protest Florida and James become outraged when the kids get a touch of food poisoning after eating meat from the local supermarket. She organizes a group of concerned citizens and they boycott the market. The protest brings effective results, but not before Florida experiences her first trip to jail. November 25, 1975 October 9, 1975
49 12 The Mural Thelma comes home with news that she has won a college scholarship, but is short of funds by $200. Meanwhile, J.J. is commissioned by a bank to paint a mural and in return will receive $250 and agrees to give her the money she needs. However, the bank is reluctant to pay after seeing the finished product. December 2, 1975 October 30, 1975
50 13 A Loss of Confidence Thelma brings home a friend who she is tutoring in French and instantly J.J. is smitten. J.J. goes all out trying to impress her. However, when she rejects him he quickly loses all of his confidence and slips into a depression. December 9, 1975 November 6, 1975
51 14 Cousin Cleatus (a.k.a.) Florida's Nephew Goes Bad... A bank robbery in Atlanta has the FBI showing up at the Evans' apartment to question Florida since her nephew, Cleatus is the prime suspect. Things get tense, when Cleatus arrives at the apartment with a briefcase full of money and wanting a place to stay. Meanwhile, a new stereo that Florida has won causes a power outage whenever the family uses it. December 16, 1975 November 13, 1975
52 15 The Family Tree Thelma researches her family tree for a school project and discovers that James's father is alive and living in the Chicago area. However, when James learns that Thelma has invited him as a surprise for his birthday, he refuses to see him. This leads Florida to discover why James lied about his father still being alive. December 23, 1975 November 20, 1975
53 16 A Place to Die An elderly man who Michael befriended stops by the Evans' apartment just prior to the New Year's celebration and knowing that he only has a little time left, decides that this would be the best place to die, surrounded by a loving family and friends. Meanwhile, James is out of town while taking a temporary job and becomes snowbound, causing him to miss the New Years festivities. December 30, 1975 December 4, 1975
54 17 J.J.'s Fiancée: Part 1 (a.k.a.) I Pronounce You... J.J. and his girlfriend, Diana (Debbie Allen), are getting serious and the topic of marriage comes up, something which J.J. and Diana both want. However, both of their parents are totally against the notion. Meanwhile, Diana has been acting strange, she steals money from her mother and a ring from a jewelry store, but it turns out that this is just a means to support a hidden drug problem. January 6, 1976 December 11, 1975
55 18 J.J.'s Fiancée: Part 2 (a.k.a.) I Pronounce You... After their parents sternly refuse the notion of J.J. and Diana marrying, Diana decides to run off to Indiana and elope with J.J. Meanwhile, back in Chicago, Thelma makes two shocking discoveries. First, while at the prom she realizes that J.J. and Diana never showed up and, second, she somehow switched purses with Diana and discovers that she has a drug problem and number for the supplier.

Guest star: Philip Baker Hall as the motel owner

January 13, 1976 December 18, 1975
56 19 Sweet Daddy Williams J.J. has been commissioned by a numbers runner, Sweet Daddy Williams, to paint the portrait of his girlfriend, Savannah. In return, J.J. will get his own "one man show". However, Sweet Daddy's influence soon becomes too much for Florida and James to take and try to encourage J.J. to turn Sweet Daddy's offers down. But things take a turn, when Savannah sees J.J.'s painting of her. January 20, 1976 January 8, 1976
57 20 The Investigation The family is being investigated by the FBI because they are suspected to be security risks due to Michael doing research about and communicating with a Communist country for a term paper. However, the investigation leads to James losing his job and J.J. suspects this is also the reason why he got fired from his job at the Chicken Shack. January 27, 1976 January 15, 1976
58 21 J.J. In Trouble When James and Florida go out of town for a family wedding, the children are left at home alone and J.J. soon begins acting like a dictator. And Thelma and Michael argue at J.J and Wilona stop them for argue. However, J.J. is in for a shock when he receives bad news that he has given VD to an ex-girlfriend. This leads an embarrassed J.J. to debate whether or not to visit a free clinic for treatment.

Guest star: Jay Leno as a clinic patron

February 3, 1976 January 22, 1976
59 22 Florida the Woman After a morning of being taken granted for by her children and her husband, Florida decides to take her boss (Thalmus Rasulala) up on a lunch invitation. This eventually leads to a confrontation with a jealous James. February 17, 1976 February 5, 1976
60 23 The Breakup Thelma's fiance's idea of romance is taking her to a basketball game but that is the least of her worries after he gets a big break in California leaving her with two options, stay with her family in Chicago or move to California with her fiancé. Florida tries to calm a furious James and insists that it is time to let Thelma make her own decisions.

Guest star: Debbi Morgan as Samantha

February 24, 1976 February 12, 1976
61 24 The Rent Party While J.J. is in St. Louis at an art show, the Evans family decides to hold a rent party to help out Wanda (Helen Martin), a neighbor in the building, whose electricity has just been turned off. However, the party may come to a quick halt when the heartless building superintendent, Nathan Bookman, catches wind of it. Meanwhile, Michael, Thelma, Willona and Florida all prepare to provide entertainment during the party.

Note: This is the last appearance of John Amos as James Evans, Sr.

March 2, 1976 February 19, 1976

Season 4: 1976–1977[edit]

No. in
No. in
Title Episode Original air date Tape date
62 1 The Big Move: Part 1 (a.k.a.) The Unhappy Move The family is getting ready to move to Mississippi which is where James has a promising new job. However, the family is waiting for the right time to tell Bookman the news. Later, Willona throws a going-away party but the happiness is interrupted by the news that James has been killed in a car accident. September 22, 1976 July 15, 1976
63 2 The Big Move: Part 2 (a.k.a.) The Unhappy Move The death of James has J.J., Thelma and Michael overcome with grief and also leaves them wondering what is wrong with Florida, who has not cried once since she heard news of James' death. During a get-together at the apartment after James' funeral, the children plan to confront Florida, who is seen laughing and having a great time. Finally, Florida breaks down, smashing a punch bowl on the floor and begins crying over the loss of her husband. September 29, 1976 July 22, 1976
64 3 J.J. and the Older Woman Thelma is trying to impress her new ballet teacher, Miss Jessica Bishop (Rosalind Cash), with guacamole. She seems to be more interested in J.J.'s paintings...and J.J. This relationship annoys Florida because she is 15 years older than him. Things really become serious when Jessica asks J.J. to move in with her. October 6, 1976 July 29, 1976
65 4 Michael the Warlord Widespread violence has been running rampant in the neighborhood and a large part of it is due to the street gang, the Warlords. While Florida and some concerned citizens discuss the problem, Michael does his best to conceal from his mother that he is a member of the gang. October 13, 1976 August 5, 1976
66 5 Michael's Great Romance Michael is in love with Yvonne but every time he is around her he freezes. When Yvonne meets J.J. she instantly falls for him thus creating a sibling rivalry between Michael and J.J. Meanwhile, Florida must cope with the two fighting siblings and tries to explain to Michael what he is doing wrong. October 20, 1976 September 9, 1976
67 6 Evans Versus Davis Alderman Davis makes a visit to the Evans' household wanting J.J. to speak at his re-election campaign. However, when J.J. refuses, an eviction notice is immediately handed to Florida. Soon, the Evans family is caught between a rock and a hard place when they must decide whether or not to stand up for their principles and be evicted or support a political shyster. October 27, 1976 October 14, 1976
68 7 J.J.'s New Career: Part 1 After losing his job, J.J. tries his best to find another. However, when Bookman serves the Evans' family with an eviction notice due to late rent, J.J. decides to take a job offer from a couple of his shady friends. Meanwhile, Thelma contemplates dropping out of college to get a full-time job and help the family out. November 10, 1976 August 19, 1976
69 8 J.J.'s New Career: Part 2 J.J. is in the money, now that he has a new job working with two friends in a gambling operation. However, little does he know, the gambling business also includes prostitution and drugs. Meanwhile, Florida demands some answers from J.J. and kicks him out when she learns what line of work he is now in. November 17, 1976 August 26, 1976
70 9 Grandpa's Visit (a.k.a.) Thanksgiving in Paradise? The family is looking forward to Grandpa Evans visiting for Thanksgiving dinner, but he has a surprise for them: he has a woman! And to make matters worse, she is staying with Grandpa! When Florida discovers this, she hits the roof and it soon becomes a battle over morals and this leads Grandpa to decide that the best thing to do is leave. November 24, 1976 November 4, 1976
71 10 Rich Is Better Than Poor...Maybe? Florida, Willona, J.J., Thelma and Michael are all excited, having each purchased lottery tickets for the state lottery. Good luck strikes the family when J.J. wins the lottery, a total of $2500. However, the luck does not last long, that is until, Thelma's friend Edna shows up with her sister, Rozzie, both wielding pistols and demanding the winning money. December 8, 1976 September 2, 1976
72 11 Florida's Night Out The kids feel Florida has been spending too much time alone and they decide to cancel their plans and spend an evening with her. But Florida surprises them all and goes out with Willona. Willona takes her to a local night spot where they have an exciting evening. December 15, 1976 September 23, 1976
73 12 The Judy Cohen Story J.J. is managing Michael's singing group and gets them a gig at a local tavern. When Florida learns that Michael may be performing in a tavern, she hits the roof and storms down there to put a stop to it, thus breaking up the act. While there, J.J. comes across Judith Cohen, an act whom he knows will hit it big, given the right exposure. December 22, 1976 October 14, 1976
74 13 The Comedian and the Loan Sharks J.J. borrows money from a loan shark to back his talented new comedian, Tyrone. However, within days, two thugs come to collect their money, money that J.J. does not have. Time is running out as the pressure comes down on Tyrone, J.J. will get his money if Tyrone is good. However, at the last minute, Tyrone bails, leaving J.J. to do the show. January 5, 1977 November 18, 1976
75 14 The Hustle Florida is in a terrible mood, and takes it out on the kids, yelling at them to get the chores done. A cheerful Willona stops in and makes the announcement that she is off for a relaxing weekend in Lake Geneva. After hearing this, the kids go into the underwear selling business in order to raise enough money to send Florida on a much needed vacation to Lake Geneva. January 12, 1977 December 23, 1976
76 15 Thelma's African Romance: Part 1 Thelma and her college friends are having a meeting to decide what to do about the school cafeteria, but things come to a head when the African exchange student, Ibe, starts making sexist remarks about "woman's work". They finally agree to have a picket, but on the day of the picket, the assistant dean ends up them suspending Thelma. Meanwhile, Thelma and Ibe begin seeing each other, resulting in Ibe asking her to move in with him.

Guest Star: Vernee Watson-Johnson as Valerie

January 19, 1977 December 9, 1976
77 16 Thelma's African Romance: Part 2 Florida hits the roof when Thelma announces her plans of moving in with Ibe. However, things begin moving a little bit too fast when Ibe asks her to marry him and move to Nigeria. At first Thelma is all for it, despite, Florida insisting that she take time and go slow, but when Thelma discovers she may become part of a harem, she has second thoughts. January 19, 1977 December 16, 1976
78 17 Willona's Surprise (a.k.a.) Dinner with My Ex Willona gets a surprise for her birthday, a visit from her womanizing former husband, Ray. Ray does his best at convincing Willona that he has changed and she decides to try to start over with him. However, quickly his old ways surface and he begins making passes at Thelma. January 26, 1977 December 2, 1976
79 18 A Friend In Need When Florida's away for the weekend, J.J., Thelma and Michael throw a wild party and try to keep it from Willona, who is keeping an eye on them while their mother is away. However, the party gets even wilder than they had dreamed of when one of the guests takes an overdose of sleeping pills and J.J. has to keep him from falling asleep to save his life. February 2, 1977 January 13, 1977
80 19 A Stormy Relationship Michael has gotten a part-time job working for Carl Dixon at his repair shop. However, Florida is horrified to learn that Michael is harboring atheist attitudes planted by his boss. This leads Florida to confront Michael's boss and get to the bottom of the situation. February 9, 1977 January 20, 1977
81 20 Florida and Carl J.J., Thelma, Michael and Willona are all excited with the prospects of Florida beginning to date. However, Florida is reluctant to dive into the dating pool but agrees to go on a date with Carl Dixon. Once at the restaurant, she gets into an argument with him when they receive terrible service leading to him walking out. February 23, 1977 January 27, 1977
82 21 My Son, The Father A father son dinner is being planned at Michael's school and J.J. is all excited about taking Michael to the dinner but when Michael breaks the news that he invited Carl to take him, J.J. storms out. Feeling as if the family no longer needs him, J.J. begins considering moving out on his own. March 2, 1977 February 10, 1977
83 22 J.J.'s Business J.J., with the help of Carl, opens a greeting card business and has the entire family help with creating thoughtful greeting card sayings. However, when an accountant comes into look over the books, J.J. is in for a rude awakening, for he only has $68 in the bank. He finds this out just as he gets a huge order, which will cost him $2000. J.J. soon discovers that getting a loan is not going to be an easy task.

Guest star: Alice Ghostley as Ms. Austin

March 9, 1977 February 17, 1977
84 23 Love Has a Spot On Its Lung: Part 1 Florida and Carl's relationship has gotten quite serious and Carl breaks the news to J.J., Thelma and Michael that he is planning on proposing marriage to Florida. However, after a visit to his doctor, Carl decides to break off the relationship, since he is been diagnosed with lung cancer. March 23, 1977 February 24, 1977
85 24 Love Has a Spot On Its Lung: Part 2 After Carl calls off his relationship with Florida, a furious J.J. confronts Carl, who makes up an excuse that a war injury in the groin is the reason why he is breaking up with Florida. Later, a drunken J.J. stays out all night with a drunken Carl, worrying Florida to death. Later, Carl reveals the truth to Florida and he proposes marriage and she readily accepts. Meanwhile, Bookman tries his best to get the Evans apartment re-painted, with the not-so helpful assistance of two lazy painters. March 30, 1977 March 3, 1977

Season 5: 1977–1978[edit]

No. in
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Title Episode Original air date Tape date
86 1 The Evans Get Involved: Part 1 (a.k.a.) Meet Penny When a young girl, Penny Gordon follows J.J. home, she quickly insinuates herself into the Evans household and makes up stories about her life, including forgetting to mention she has an abusive mother (Chip Fields). Meanwhile, the Evans family is getting ready for an upcoming carnival and Willona finds an old dress that would be perfect for Penny. When Penny begins to change into the dress, a stunned Willona and Thelma discover Penny's badly bruised back. 1st Ep Janet Jackson as Penny. September 21, 1977 August 11, 1977
87 2 The Evans Get Involved: Part 2 (a.k.a.) Meet Penny Willona and the Evans children are convinced that Penny is being abused but are unsure of what to do next. Meanwhile, everyone prepares for the carnival and they get decked out in costumes. On the way to the carnival, Willona and the kids discover Penny, with a possible broken arm, caused by her abusive mother. When Willona takes Penny to see a doctor about a broken arm, he refuses to believe she is being abused. September 21, 1977 August 11, 1977
88 3 The Evans Get Involved: Part 3 (a.k.a.) The Solution Willona and the Evans kids are stunned to discover that Penny and her mother have moved. They are equally stunned when they discover Penny hiding in the Evans apartment. Later, Penny's abusive mother abandons her leaving Willona to ponder adopting the battered youth. September 28, 1977 August 18, 1977
89 4 The Evans Get Involved: Part 4 (a.k.a.) The Final Final Willona worries over whether or not she will be able to adopt Penny. Meanwhile, a well-meaning Bookman tries to help out by telling the social worker (Alice Ghostley) that he is married to Willona, which only makes things worse when the social worker learns the truth. October 5, 1977 August 25, 1977
90 5 Thelma Moves Out One evening after a date with her latest beau, Thelma is bombarded with the fact that she is living with two brothers who have no respect for her privacy. Fed up with having no privacy and being burdened by Michael and J.J., Thelma decides to move out and into an apartment that is shared by three other roommates. However, her dream of being an independent woman, does not quite turn out like she planned. October 12, 1977 September 8, 1977
91 6 Willona, The Fuzz Willona is offered a new job working in security surveillance but her morals force her to refuse it. However, when Penny has her heart set on figure skating lessons, Willona decides to set her morals and values aside and take the job for the extra money. Meanwhile, Michael's coat is stolen and the Evans kids try to scrounge up extra money.

Guest star: Conchata Ferrell and Gordon Jump

October 19, 1977 September 15, 1977
92 7 Wheels (a.k.a.) J.J. and the Car J.J. and his friends become partners in the ownership of car, a car that they foolishly bought from Bookman. However, the quality of the car is minor compared to the constant fighting over who gets to use it. November 2, 1977 September 29, 1977
93 8 Breaker, Breaker Bookman has just bought a CB radio and to hide it from Mrs. Bookman, he keeps in the Evans apartment. Michael passes himself off as J.J. while using the CB and quickly discovers he is not the only one who is putting on an act. A girl he contacts who calls herself Fun Girl really turns out to be a paraplegic. November 9, 1977 July 28, 1977
94 9 Bye-Bye Bookman The conditions in the building become too much for Willona, Penny and the Evans kids to bare so they decide to circulate a petition that would terminate Bookman as the superintendent. However, Bookman and his wife, hatch a plan to save his job. November 16, 1977 October 6, 1977
95 10 Thelma's Brief Encounter Thelma begins dating a man named Lloyd Williams, however, suspicions run rampant between J.J., Willona and Michael who become convinced he is married. However, J.J. makes a discovery that surprises everyone. It seems Lloyd is doing time in a half-way house, supposedly because he was once married to two women at the same time. Now the trick is to show Thelma, Lloyd's true colors. December 7, 1977 October 13, 1977
96 11 Requiem for a Wino Fishbone, a wino (Robert Guillaume), complains that he has no friends and quickly discovers he has many when a vagrant steals his wallet and is later killed in a car accident. Everyone assumes Fishbone is the one that was killed and they hold a wake with a magnificent turnout, which Fishbone witnesses, dressed in drag as a mourner at the wake. December 14, 1977 October 20, 1977
97 12 Penny's Christmas The Christmas season has the Evans family in the spirit and planning a Christmas Eve party. Meanwhile, while Christmas shopping for her mother, Penny gets her wallet stolen, and later steals a necklace from a department store in a desperate attempt to try to get Willona a Christmas gift. However, Penny's attempts may lead to Willona losing custody of her.

Guest star: Alice Ghostley

December 21, 1977 December 1, 1977
98 13 No More Mr. Nice Guy Michael's apathetic behavior towards household chores and homework leads J.J. to put his foot down and to step in as a father figure. He really comes down hard when Michael and Penny are arrested for being in a stolen vehicle. After this caper, J.J. refuses to allow Michael to attend a special awards dinner where Michael is supposed to display a paper that he wrote. January 4, 1978 November 17, 1977
99 14 Willona's Mr. Right Willona's old boyfriend arrives back in town and asks Willona her hand in marriage. However, Willona turns him down since his job would have her and Penny constantly moving. Meanwhile, Penny, feeling like she is holding Willona back, decides to run away. January 11, 1978 November 10, 1977
100 15 J.J. and The Boss' Daughter J.J. is given a sexy assistant, one whom he makes a play for immediately. However, later when he learns that she is the boss's daughter, he continues to go out with her thinking that it will give him special privileges with his boss. Later, J.J.'s buddies, Poppo and Head get fed up with J.J. not spending any time with them and hand him an ultimatum. January 18, 1978 December 8, 1977
101 16 Where There's Smoke A hole has been burned into one of the couch cushions and J.J., Thelma and Michael each have their own versions of how it got there. In the style of Rashomon we each get a flashback of each person's version. However, Penny is the only person who knows the truth of how it really got there. January 25, 1978 December 15, 1977
102 17 I Had a Dream J.J. is convinced that he will get a promotion at work and begins a celebration a bit too early. It seems that the promotion that J.J. wants may only be filled by a white person when a co-worker convinces J.J. that the promotion will only go to a white man. This leads J.J. to have a crazy dream where he gets to experience being white.

Guest star: Sorrell Booke

January 30, 1978 November 3, 1977
103 18 The Boarder J.J. is suddenly demoted to part-time at his job so to pick up extra money for the rent, J.J. decides to take in a boarder. However, little does he know the man he takes in, is placed there by the police department for his protection. Soon paranoia takes over the Evans household in fear that a hit man is out to kill the J.J.'s boarder. February 6, 1978 December 22, 1977
104 19 J.J.'s Condition J.J.'s latest relationship with a woman, Barbara, who is currently married but plans on divorcing her husband, results with him coming down with an ulcer. The situation is compounded when J.J. learns that she and her husband still share an apartment. February 13, 1978 January 19, 1978
105 20 Willona, The Other Woman Bookman's strange behavior leads his wife, Violet to become convinced that he is seeing another woman. However, appearances can be deceiving especially when Violet catches Willona and Bookman in a compromising situation. February 27, 1978 January 26, 1978
106 21 Something Old, Something New James' father visits and has plans of becoming rich thanks to his new invention that he has perfected. Meanwhile, Lena, Grandpa's fiancee gets tired of being ignored and decides to leave him. This leads Grandpa to try to patch things up with his long term-love which also results in him proposing marriage. March 13, 1978 January 12, 1978
107 22 Willona's New Job Willona's boyfriend, Frank, continues his efforts to try to get her to marry him. She finally agrees to it and begins wearing his engagement ring. Meanwhile, down at the boutique, Willona gets a promotion but Frank is determined to get her to turn down the offer. It seems Frank holds some old-fashioned thinking, when it comes to being the breadwinner in the family which leads Willona to have second thoughts about marriage. March 20, 1978 February 16, 1978
108 23 Write On Thelma Thelma has written a full length play and is ecstatic when it is chosen to be produced as the local theater's latest production. Thelma quickly realizes a few changes to her manuscript may be needed, but it soon feels like almost everything will need to be changed to please the theater owner (Jane Connell). March 27, 1978 February 9, 1978
109 24 That's Entertainment, Evans Style While J.J. is out of town at a convention, the Evans discover that a local day care center is closing down. In order to save it, everyone comes together to participate in a talent show. Meanwhile, Willona also turns to Alderman Davis for help and is unsure of how much it will cost her.

Guest star: Gary Coleman

April 3, 1978 February 23, 1978

Season 6: 1978–1979[edit]

No. in
No. in
Title Episode Original air date Tape date
110 1 Florida's Homecoming (Part 1) The Evans children and Willona are pleasantly shocked to learn that Thelma has been dating the nationally renowned football player Keith Anderson, a Heisman Trophy candidate currently negotiating a $1,000,000 professional contract with the Chicago Bears. When Keith proposes it only remains for Thelma to phone her mother in Arizona to ask her blessing. September 16, 1978 July 27, 1978
111 2 Florida's Homecoming (Part 2) Florida arrives home after hearing the news of Thelma's engagement. However, Thelma's impending wedding may never take place, that is if she lets her pre-wedding jitters get the best of her. Meanwhile, J.J. loses his job. September 16, 1978 July 27, 1978
112 3 Florida's Homecoming (Part 3): The Wedding After losing his job, J.J. takes out a $1,000 loan from Sweet Daddy Williams, to pay for Thelma's wedding. The wedding finally goes off without a hitch, but after the ceremony the couples' exit down the aisle ends with Keith breaking his leg. September 23, 1978 August 3, 1978
113 4 Florida's Homecoming: United We Stand It is the day after the wedding, and J.J. does his best to make newlyweds Keith and Thelma comfortable, but Keith snaps at him. Florida tells him that the Evans family had faced a lot of adversities but they have always stood together. And not a moment too soon, because Sweet Daddy Williams and his flunkies have come to collect their loan!

Guest star: Bubba Smith as Claude

September 30, 1978 August 10, 1978
114 5 Florida Gets a Job Both Florida and J.J. are looking for work but neither are having any luck. One ad, in the newspaper, for part-time work as a school bus driver sparks Florida's attention, but when Alderman Fred Davis becomes involved, it appears Florida may not have a chance, because one of his relatives is also applying for the position.

Guest star: Gary Coleman

October 7, 1978 August 31, 1978
115 6 Stomach Mumps (a.k.a.) Penny and the Facts of Life Willona adamantly refuses to discuss the birds and the bees with Penny especially after Willona learns a 13-year old friend of Penny's is pregnant. This leads Willona to tell Penny, that her friend has stomach mumps and not to go near her. October 14, 1978 August 24, 1978
116 7 J.J. The Teacher (a.k.a.) J.J.'s Favorite Student J.J.'s student has to deal with a violent father (Hal Williams) who adamantly refuses to allow his son to take art lessons from J.J., even though J.J. offers to give them for free. October 21, 1978 September 14, 1978
117 8 Michael's Decision The cramped quarters get to be too much for Michael, and he gets ready to move out and the major shocker is, he's moving in with a white girl. Florida fears that her parents will not be so understanding. The girl's parents, however, are frighteningly thrilled at the prospect of having a black person move in with Cindy. November 8, 1978 September 21, 1978
118 9 J.J. and the Plumber's Helper Vanessa Blake (Sheryl Lee Ralph) is back in town. She and J.J. used to be an item, and he can't seem to break the news to Vanessa that he lost his job. Meanwhile, Bookman has a new assistant named Teresa a/k/a T.C. (Bever-Leigh Banfield), who he constantly mistreats. She falls for J.J., but he only has Vanessa on his mind. December 2, 1978 October 12, 1978
119 10 The Witness J.J. is the only witness to a terrible car accident involving a taxi cab and Savannah Morgan, Sweet Daddy Williams' girlfriend. Sweet Daddy shows up and pressures J.J. into saying that the accident was the taxi cab's fault. Things take a very serious turn when he finds out that Keith was the driver of the taxi cab and Savannah hit the cab. December 9, 1978 September 28, 1978
120 11 The Snow Storm A snowstorm hits Chicago and Florida gets stuck in it with her school bus. This leads her and the kids on the bus to take refuge in an abandoned building to keep warm.

Guest star: Kim Fields

December 13, 1978 November 16, 1978
121 12 The Traveling Christmas (a.k.a.) Christmas in a Cab When Keith's Scrooge-like boss at the taxi-cab company will not give him Christmas off, the Evans family brings their Christmas party to Keith and holds at the company. J.J. hosts the festivities and it features Michael singing, Bookman (dressed as Santa) dancing, Keith doing impersonations & the girls (Florida, Penny, Willona & Thelma) portraying "The Pointless Sisters" doing "Steam Heat". December 20, 1978 November 30, 1978
122 13 House Hunting The Evans family has found the perfect home to move into and plan on taking out a loan to pay for it. However, they quickly find, as usual, that that's easier said than done, when they run into trouble trying to persuade the banker. January 3, 1979 October 19, 1978
123 14 Florida's Favorite Passenger: Part 1 A student whom Florida drives to school on her bus becomes the center of attention when Florida discovers he has a hearing problem and his mother refuses to believe Florida's suspicions. May 23, 1979 October 26, 1978
124 15 Florida's Favorite Passenger: Part 2 After a near fatal accident, Larry's mother finally realizes that Larry has a hearing problem. Unable to take him to the doctor because she has to work, Mrs. Baker allows Florida to take him to the doctor, which is where Larry makes the announcement that he plans on running away from home. May 30, 1979 November 9, 1978
125 16 Blood Will Tell Sweet Daddy Williams sends his hoods to snatch J.J. from his home and bring him to the hospital. His reasons: J.J. is the only person they could find that matches Sweet Daddy's blood type and Sweet Daddy is in dire need of a blood transfusion. June 6, 1979 January 18, 1979
126 17 Where Have All the Doctors Gone? When Willona goes out of town, she leaves Penny in Florida's care. Shortly after, Penny comes down with a virus and Florida takes her down to the free clinic to be examined. Florida quickly comes face to face with the hard-nosed doctor (Paula Kelly) who is out of touch with the people in the ghetto and also planning to leave, right in the middle of what seems to be an epidemic. June 13, 1979 February 15, 1979
127 18 J.J. and T.C. A tomboy who is been helping out Bookman, wants J.J. to ask her to a dance. However, J.J. thinks of her as just one of the guys, that is until he has an encounter with her at a seedy pick-up bar.

Guest star:Paul Mooney

June 20, 1979 March 8, 1979
128 19 The Physical (a.k.a.) Florida's Physical Florida discovers she must take and pass a physical examination to keep her bus driving job. However, the night before her physical is utter chaos ending with Michael landing in jail. July 11, 1979 January 25, 1979
129 20 A Matter of Mothers Willona's latest boyfriend, Jeffrey, has been showering her and Penny with extravagant gifts even though they've only been seeing one another for a couple months. Little does Willona know, that he is part of a plan to make Willona look like an unfit mother, a plan engineered by Penny's scheming birth mother. Mrs. Gordon, who had married into a wealthy family, supposedly busts Willona in giving a disorderly party in front of a minor, but she herself gets busted when Penny accidentally records Mrs. Gordon's voice admitting that it was all a set up to take Penny back. However, a tearful Penny outright rejects her birth mother and remains with her real mother, Willona. July 18, 1979 February 1, 1979
130 21 The End of the Rainbow This final episode brings all too good news for the Evans family. J.J. gets an offer from a comic company, Keith's bad knee is miraculously healed and he is offered another football contract. Florida is asked if she wants to move in with Keith and Thelma in the fancy apartment building across town where Willona happens to be moving and she just so happens to be her future next door neighbor. Meanwhile Thelma learns she is pregnant and she reveals it to Keith and the family. (Final episode of the series). August 1, 1979 March 1, 1979
131 22 The Evans' Dilemma Keith's search for a job results in strange behavior that everyone plainly points out is not just frustration, but rather a bigger problem. Little does anyone know, Keith has developed a serious drinking problem.

Note: This episode appeared only in syndication after the show's original run ended.

September 18, 1979 December 14, 1978
132 23 The Art Contest J.J. is teaching art classes and one of his students, Emily, has great promise and skill with her paintings. It seems that J.J.'s painting is selected for a contest, and J.J. makes this mistake of asking Bookman to take it downtown for him but he takes Emily's painting to the contest by mistake! J.J. wins first prize for the painting and soon must decide whether or not to take credit for something he did not do.

Note: This episode appeared only in syndication after the show's original run ended.

December 13, 1979 December 21, 1978
133 24 Cousin Raymond Florida has a surprise visit from her cousin, Raymond (Calvin Lockhart), who has hit it big and gives each member of the family an expensive gift. However, Florida is reluctant to accept her gift of an expensive three room apartment, when she learns just how Raymond makes his money.

Note: This episode appeared only in syndication after the show's original run ended.

January 30, 1980 February 22, 1979