Actress BerNadette Stanis, Who Starred As Thelma In Original ‘Good Times’, Says She’s ‘Disappointed’ New Animated Series Isn’t ‘Progressive’: ‘It Looked Like We Were Still In The Projects’

Actress BerNadette Stanis, Who Starred As Thelma In Original ‘Good Times’, Says She’s ‘Disappointed’ New Animated Series Isn’t ‘Progressive’: ‘It Looked Like We Were Still In The Projects’

Update #2 (April 10, 2024): BerNadette Stanis has more to say about the controversial animated remake of Good Times. 

Speaking with TMZ on Tuesday, April 9, the actress, who starred as Thelma in the 1970s classic, revealed that her co-star Jimmie Walker had pitched an animated remake of the original with the initial cast (except Esther Rolle who died in 1998), however, they never heard anything back. Months later, they were informed about Netflix’s version, which would take place decades later and BerNadette Stanis and Jimmie Walker was offered a small part.

“It looked like we were still in the projects. And the things that were said, it wasn’t quite what I know Esther Rolle would agree to.”

She added,

“I’m a bit disappointed because it really was not a reflection of the ‘Good Times’ that we know. So when you see something that actually is not progressive, it brings you back into the projects two generations later?”

She questioned what happened to the baby Thelma had in the original, her character’s dreams of being a surgeon, and JJ Evans (Jimmie Walker) being a “famous artist.” She continued,

“You have positive images generations before that and then all of a sudden you see this? I’m not knocking it because I don’t know what the whole show is going to be. Maybe they’ll lean it back to a more positive situation, but when you have the name ‘Good Times’ on top of that, our audience for 50 years have been in our corner. They’ve always supported us, so they were disappointed that they didn’t have it more progressive.”

She noted that she asked late original producer Norman Lear his thoughts and that he didn’t seem to know what she was referencing.

BerNadette Stanis, who is releasing a memoir about her time on Good Times, shared the TMZ interview on her Instagram page, where fans also criticize the reboot in the comment section. See a few remarks below.

Update #1 (April 4, 2024): The cast of the original Good Times classic doesn’t seem too happy about the direction of the reboot.

John Amos, who portrayed James Evans from the inception of the series through season 3, and BerNadette Stanis, who portrayed Thelma, daughter of James and Florida Evans (Esther Rolle), have spoken out about the show after the trailer was released.

John Amos told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published on Wednesday, April 3,

“I really can’t form an opinion, as I’ve not seen any of the episodes yet. [Original Good Times Producer] Norman [Lear]— and the entire cast and company — set the bar pretty high. They’ll have a hard time reaching that level of entertainment [and] education. I wish them the best. I see people aspiring to that, but I don’t see anybody reaching that goal, especially in an animated version.”

BerNadette Stanis added,

“Probably a lot of people don’t know how Hollywood works. A lot of times, you use a certain name to open up the door for a new show. That could be what it is. But I’m sure a lot of people will be a little confused at first because they have to think that it’s us. They think, ‘Oh, my God! That’s got to be Thelma, J.J. [Jimmie Walker] and Michael [Ralph Carter].’ And then you come in there, and you don’t see anything like that.”

She noted that she and Jimmie Walker lent their voices for the remake, however, she wasn’t aware of what the show would look like.

“I did a little voice for them, but I did not know it was going to be the way it is. I thought it was going to be different. It’s just a little here and there. But I think that they did that because they knew what their show was going to be like. So I guess they figured, if you put us in there, it wouldn’t look so bad or whatever.”

Meanwhile, a petition has been launched on to boycott the forthcoming animated series.

“The New Good Times animated series on Netflix is a glorified stereotypical show that has damaged the image of the original Good Times family show that started in 1974 through 1979. The New Good Times animated series promotes violence, culture destruction of the Black community and alcohol abuse.”

The petition continues,

“It’s time to put a stop to this nonsense that is portraying Black Americans in a negative light through these shows; could lead to bad outcomes towards our youth potential Police brutalities and an increase of the prison population industry. Against I ask everyone to please sign this petition to have the New Good Times animated show to be banned on Netflix.”

Original Story (March 28, 2024): Looks like people aren’t feeling Netflix’s reimagining of the classic 70’s sitcom Good Times.

Social media users have been sharing their extreme disapproval of the coming series after its trailer was released yesterday (March 27th).

As we previously reported, In 2020, Netflix announced they were partnering with original Good Times developer Norman Lear, as well as Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane and NBA star Steph Curry to create an animated revival of the series. The original sitcom remains a history-making cult classic, as it was the first show to center around a Black American family with a two-parent household. Airing for six seasons from 1974 – 1979, the show starred John Amos and Esther Rolle as James and Florida Evans. The sitcom documented their struggles as they strived to free their family of 5 from the poor conditions of the inner-city Chicago housing project where they resided.

While the original Good Times offered an empathetic perspective into the Black American experience, social media users seemingly don’t believe Netflix’s current adaption will live up to the legacy. The animated reboot picks up two generations after the end of the original series, chronicling the life of James Evans’ grandson Reggie Evans, and his family as they continue to navigate life in the projects. A synopsis of the project reads:

“The animated Good Times series finds the latest generation of the Evans family, cab driver Reggie (Smoove) and his wife, the ever-aspirational Beverly (Brown), scratching and surviving in one of the last remaining housing projects in Chicago along with their teenage artist son, Junior (Pharoah), activist daughter Grey (Martin), and drug dealing infant son, Dalvin (Johnson). It turns out the more things change the more they stay the same and keeping your head above water in a system with its knee on your neck is as challenging as ever. The only thing tougher than life is love, but in this family, there’s more than enough to go around.”

Many social media users have expressed their frustrations with the reboot, however, arguing that it doesn’t seem anything like its groundbreaking predecessor. One user wrote:

“No. Hell, NO. The essence of Good Times was about a solid family working hard to make their lives better in the system of inequality and life turns, ups, and downs. Nobody needs this racist hood rat bull. I’m tired of black entertainment today being reduced to this… insult.”

Another added:

“Why say it’s a revival of Good Times when it looks NOTHING LIKE THE ORIGINAL”

Many others expressed similar thoughts and feelings:

However, the show’s leading lady Yvette Nicole Brown who voices the series’ new matriarch Beverly Evans, urges fans of the original Good Times not to throw in the towel just yet. Responding to a social media user who questioned why Brown attached herself to the project, the actress responded:

“This show is edgier and more irreverent than the Good Times of our childhood but it’s still a show about family, fighting the system and working to make things better despite where you start out in the world. That 100% lines up with my values.”

The animated series also stars J.B. Smoove, Jay Pharoah, Marsai Martin Gerald “Slink” Johnson, and Wanda Sykes. It’s set to hit Netflix on April 12th.


What are your thoughts about the trailer? Tell us in the comments section below!

Authored by: Kay Johnson