Good Times: Social commentary, baby drug dealer, guns and black Jesus

Good Times was the first sitcom to focus on an African American family who had pride in the face of adversity.

Photo credit: File | pool

Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Black-ish, and Family Matters are iconic sitcoms centred around African American families. However, the show that pioneered this genre was Good Times back in 1974.

Good Times was the first sitcom to focus on an African American family who had pride in the face of adversity, featuring an all-African-American cast. With six seasons under its belt, reviving such an iconic series demands the utmost respect, as it holds a special place in the hearts of African Americans. Alternatively, 50 years later, you could follow Netflix's recent example and disregard that significance entirely.

Good Times

Good Times is an edgy 2024 10-episode Netflix original 2D animated comedy series created by Ranada Shepard and produced by Seth MacFarlane, Stephen Curry (yes, the basketballer), and the original Good Times executive producer Norman Lear (before his death in December). It features a predominantly African American cast, including voice talents like J.B. Smoove, Jay Pharoah, Marsai Martin, Yvette Nicole Brown, Wanda Sykes, and many others.


The voice talent is incredible; I would go as far as to say that they were wasted in this show, from Maasai Martin to J.B. Smoove Plus, every now and then, a character would pop up, and you could instantly recognise the voice.

Some of the characters, actually only one, Beverly (Yvette Nicole Brown), had an interesting arc, and following her evolution to the last episode was refreshing compared to what everyone else was up to.

As a concept, there are some good ideas revolving around social commentary, and every now and then, something would come up that would make you laugh before something else pops in and kills the vibe.

There were episodes with genuinely interesting concepts and stories, like the Elon Musk episode, black love and the menstrual period episode, but then the writers somehow found a way to mess all this up by injecting the show with unnecessarily loud and chaotic events.


In a nutshell, this show is a showcase of negative African American stereotypes and tropes on steroids. While there are plenty of adult animated shows out there, this one takes it to a whole new level. From a drug-dealing baby to a gun-trotting rat, talking cockroaches, and an overload of sex and profanity, it pushes boundaries without knowing when to draw the line or exercise some sensibility. I'm shocked that they attached Good Times to this, as they are a contrast in terms of tone.

As an animator, I was willing to overlook all that if they got the animation right, but unfortunately, they didn't. The animation is terrible, especially the frame rates. A normal movie usually has 24 frames per second, while a typical animated production has 12 frames per second. This show had less than that; at some points, it looked like they were moving pose to pose, basically around three frames per second.

It might have been a stylistic choice, but the only episode where that approach actually works is episode 8, which has a comic book theme that complements the style. Every other episode has a jerky, animatic movement to it, giving the impression that the production didn't take enough with it.

The characterisation of some of the characters, starting with the drug-dealing gangster baby, was off. It didn't make sense in the grand scheme of the show, and the character seemed written solely for shock value.

'Black Jesus' was a cool idea, but it lacked a cool premise. Depicting Black Jesus as a young African American in the clouds, doing what every young African American is stereotypically expected to do—playing video games and occasionally answering prayers—could have worked if they did something interesting with it. But like everything else in this show, it was there for shock value.


This show is terrible, especially for the African American community. What it tries to portray and the message it attempts to convey through its social commentary is the complete opposite of what it actually achieves. It clearly doesn't deserve any relation to the original 1974 IP. When I think about it, no one would have watched this if it had a different title.

It's obvious now that instead of paying homage, the Good Times title was primarily used for marketing through controversy. This show is a disappointment, especially considering the voice talent, largely African American, who really gave it their all.

X: @stanslausmanthi

PAYE Tax Calculator

Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.