Original 'Good Times' Star Disappointed with Netflix's Reboot Direction

BernNadette Stanis, who played Thelma, criticizes the upcoming animated revival's lack of progressiveness, questioning its portrayal of the iconic Evans family and their legacy.

BernNadette Stanis, who starred as Thelma Evans in the 1970s family sitcom Good Times, has shared her opinion on Netflix's upcoming cartoon reboot of the show. She’s disappointed that the show does not feel progressive.During an interview with TMZ, Stanis claimed that the original cast was in talks with Netflix about the animated reboot. She said that Jimmie Walker, who famously played J.J. Evans contacted Norman Lear’s office–the original show’s executive producer, and pitched a “Good Times” cartoon including everyone except Esther Rolle.

“A few months later, I think six months later, they came up, and somebody said they had a cartoon coming," Stanis claimed. "My manager called up Norman’s office to see if we were included. I mean, if you're gonna do that, let us know. They said, 'Oh no, it’s going to be generations later and it’s going to be like progressive,' or whatever," she shared. "But [Netflix producer] Brent Miller loves us very much–loves me and Jimmie–I know that. He said, 'I can give you a small role in there.'"

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Stanis then saw the trailer and deduced that the “Good Times” cartoon wasn’t progressive. The trailer showed the new generation of the Evans family still living in the projects and even detailed a drug-dealing toddler. 

Stanis said, "When you see something that actually is not progressive, it kind of brings you back into the projects two generations later. Thelma had a baby, what happened to that baby? I wanted to be a surgeon, I guess I was. JJ was a famous artist. So you have positive images generations before that and then all of a sudden you see this?"

Even though Stanis is highly critical, she said she can’t knock the show because she’s unsure what it will be. That’s fair. “Maybe they’ll bring it back to a more positive situation. But, when you have the name 'Good Times' on top of that, our audience of 50 years has been really in our corner. They’ve always supported us. So, they were disappointed that they didn’t have it more progressive as the way I was told it would be," Stanis said.

The animated “Good Times” is set to premiere on April 12th on Netflix. The show tackles heavy themes like neurodivergent children, young women's autonomy over their bodies, Black art, and more.

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