In our third episode, James interviewed for a high-paying labor union job in which he’s well qualified for. That is, until they find out his age. Poor guy can never catch a break. Well, here we go into the episode.
Florida was preparing breakfast for the kids and called them to eat if they’re hungry, then protested they’re in the wrong apartment if they weren’t. James woke up and hugged Florida, calling her gorgeous hunk of woman. she said she’d settle for the hunky part. She then asked him rhetorically why a good-looking man like him married her if he can have any women he wasn’t. He stated it’s that she was pregnant. She chat sized him for speaking blasphemy like that in front of the kids, even though he was joking. Then Florida asked if the kids heard that what they would think. Michael protested he wouldn’t care since he was the youngest. J.J. joked about them waiting till after their prenuptials to have him and Florida insisted. He then joked about his friends teasing him mercilessly as a result. Thelma came out of the bathroom and she and J.J. had their traditional ugly/Thelma’s bathroom time exchanges. James sent J.J.. down for the mail, expecting a letter from the union. He then told Florida that when he applied, they seemed to have J-O-B written on their face looking straight at hm. Florida reminded him to hope the job was for Y-O-U. Thelma complained about having to eat oatmeal and wished for cream of wheat. Florida told her and Michael to appreciate what they had. Willona came in and said she went for the mail as well, expecting an alimony check from her ex-husband, Alvin. (He appeared in a later episode and his name was Ray.). she then stated she was young and innocent (well young, anyway) when they married. Michael questioned if he committed adultery. Florida asked him where he found a word like that and he replied the Bible.
J.J. returned with the letter James wanted. They said he would start off at $2.50 an hour then got excited when they would eventually raise it to $4.25. (big wow, I know this was 1974 but that was a meager salary for then.). J.J. protested he needed to run to school to use the john since Thelma wouldn’t get out of the bathroom, which Florida berated her for. When Willona noticed Michael with several books on hand, he said he got them out of the library, most of them were on black history. She asked him if they teach him that in school, he replied they still referred to Muhammed Ali as Cassius Clay.
During the interview, it appeared as if James was to have the job right in his pocket until a computer error had his birth year as 1942 instead of his correct birth year of 1932. The job was designed for men of 18-35 and at 41 he was too old. James protested that he passed the physical and mental exam and was certified, qualified and bonafide. The interviewer argued that as a government rule it can’t be broken. Florida came home with party supplies to celebrate James’ success, Thelma got records from Isaac Hayes, Jackson 5, Gladys Knight, Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye amongst others, while Florida berated her for hijacking Soul Train. She then sent the kids to get potato chips and Willona came in with her beautiful new dress and she and Florida practiced rich talk. Once all the guests arrived and James came home and after his warm welcome was overwhelmed about the family counting their chickens before they hatched. He made his toast by saying here’s to men between 18-35 and he was too old for the job. Florida reminded him that they were broke before and what difference would more money, fancier clothes and a better apartment make as long as they had each other. James agreed but then said it would’ve been nice.
In the tag James said his friend Willie Washington got him a job at the local car wash. he said it would replace the rent money they used up for the party. When Florida asked how he got the job, he said a drunk guy tried to bathe himself in the hot water and, needless to say, was the end of him.
First aired February 22, 1974
Written by Bob Peete
Directed by Bob LaHendro and Donald MacKayle
Guest Stars Stymie Beard, Woodrow Parfrey
Another episode that deals with the hardships of poverty. However, it may have been less plausible. It would sound more realistic if James was 65 or over and if he was eligible according to the letter, the computer error was not his fault and they should fix those errors before disqualifying him. James’s age would also be a plus considering he had more experience than others for the job.