Hey y’all. Here is my second entry from fabulous good Times. This was on episode 2 ‘Black Jesus’. It centered on J.J.’s budding talent as an artist and caused a series of miracles when he painted Jesus as a black man. Enjoy!
J.J. painted a portrait of loan shark Sweet Daddy Williams while Thelma was blasting the stereo. He seemed to be jamming to it but it suddenly disturbed his concentration and he yelled for her to turn it down. Michael came home and announced it was the beginning of Black History Week and suggested J.J. paint a picture of someone relevant to the black race. J.J. boasted that Sweet Daddy Williams owned 3 houses, 2 Cadillacs and a Lincoln, despite never having a job or going to jail. He also got shot five times and ran several miles to the hospital. He claimed that couldn’t be more relevant to black history.
Michael mentioned to J.J. about an art exhibit then found J.J.’s painting of Black Jesus (it turned out to resemble Ned The Wino, another future recurring character with Sweet Daddy). Michael was so impressed he hung it up on the wall next to the original Jesus icon, despite warning from J.J. that Florida would not approve. Florida came up from the laundry room and J.J. tried blocking her view by asking how it went down there. She sarcastically stated she converted with Princess Grace and Elizabeth Taylor. When she finally noticed the symbol she immediately removed it and stated that the only Jesus she knew and loved was the white one. When she asked J.J. what caused him to paint it, he claimed it was a divine thought that came to him. Florida finally decided to let it hang there for Black History Week. Willona came in during the whole turmoil and asked for a coffee the way she liked her men, hot, black and strong. When she requested where James was, Florida said he had to go to the IRS for an audit and a tax bill of $110, causing Willona to joke about President Nixon making $200,000 and paid $700 in taxes and questioned what deduction he claimed. Florida joked that he took Israel to lunch. Willona noticed the black Jesus painting and J.J. said his face came to him in a vison. Willona said it also came to her as a vision of the local wino, Ned. J.J. stated he was the only person he could immobilize since he was passed out in the gutter.
James came back from the IRS with good news. It turned out they owed him money since the deduction from Florida’s appendix operation. Instead of saving the money for their next rent check, he bought the family gifts, didn’t he learn his lesson in the previous episode. J.J left to submit his painting of sweet Daddy Williams with the confidence of victory. Meanwhile, Thelma landed a date with her heartthrob (and future fiancée) Larry to the Isaac Hayes concert, then James won $150 from a horse race (rather than win it at the pool hall), while Willona found that her previous date owned a gas station and Michael received $5 after witnessing an accident and bribed by both drivers to clam up. Florida claimed that instead of the painting bringing the family a streak of good luck, it was the fact that the whole family got together to discuss religion.
J.J. came back from the exhibit claiming that most of the other contestants sent the same painting of Sweet Daddy. Michael suggested he bring black Jesus but James forbidded it, he didn’t want his lucky streak to run out. Thelma claimed he couldn’t sell it anyway since he thought he’d make the basketball team but got his head caught in the net. (I believe they didn’t want to stereotype him as a black basketball player or make it more original.) James finally allowed J.J. to bring it down proudly but jokingly asked him to get it xeroxed.
J.J. comes home in the tag with the sad news that he didn’t win. James decided their lucky streak was over and to put it back in the closet where J.J. had it originally. Florida decide d to keep it hung next to the original Jesus after all. She claimed the family needed all the luck they can get.
First aired February 15, 1974
Written by Kurt Taylor and John Donley
Directed by Bob La Hendro and John Rich
Eric Monte guest starred as the numbers runner
Besides a good episode, this was also an episode about Jesus. It explained how some people portray Jesus differently than others. It explained the characters traits as well. J.J. was an aspiring painter rather than a basketball player. Michael was dedicated to black pride. It also portrayed how the kids teased each other but deep down cared deeply for each other. My next entry will be on ‘Too Old Blues’ so watch out for that.