S2 E8 Thelma’s Young Man

Welcome back Good Times fans. Here we are with our next episode, Thelma’s Young Man. Thelma is dating a not-so-young man and her family is completely shocked, especially when he gives her an engagement ring.

Thelma was cooking dinner and J.J. came out with one of his wisecracks. He said her shake and bake was shook and burned. Then she turned some classical music on, she said it was from her boyfriend, Donald. James came home in time to break the argument up. He suggested they work with him down at the car wash since they had enough hot air to wash 50 cars. The phone rang and J.J. answered, believing it was one of his girlfriends. It was Donald to speak to Thelma. James said he wanted to talk to Thelma about him, since they never seen him in the two months they were dating. Thelma left to see him against James’s orders. Florida came in right after and James was getting worked up because Donald had never come to pick her up and they hadn’t met him, like Thelma was trying to hide something. Michael came in and announced he saw Thelma getting in a car with a guy, but didn’t see how he was.

Two hours later, Thelma was still out with Donald and nobody knew where. J.J. went into her room and found a book on Crime And Punishment. He coupled that with the album she was listening to earlier and came up with the silly notion that Donald was recruiting her into communism. When Thelma finally came home, James was questioning her on why he never came to the door to pick her up or take her home. Thelma showed the family a diamond ring to prove he wasn’t messing around. She then stated he and his father owned a chicken fast food business. Willona went to excuse herself (and Michael) to go to her apartment for television, when James predicted Michael was too young to hear the ongoing conversation, Michael insisted he was twelve and not a little kid. James inquired if he wanted to make thirteen, he obliged and left with Willona. Donald knocked on the door after and Florida and James noticed that he was 42 years old, 25 years Thelma’s senior.

Thelma introduced Donald to her family, who were understandably shocked about his age, since he was the same age as James . They attempt to give back the ring Donald gave to Thelma. He refused, saying it was only Thelma’s to give back. Thelma went into her room crying while Florida went inside to talk to her. Meanwhile, James and Donald had a man to man talk. Donald asked if he can call James by his first name, he answered whatever as long as it isn’t Dad. Florida asked Thelma if the reason she wanted to marry him was because she was pregnant. Thelma indignantly denied it, claiming he’d really have to love him, When Thelma went on how wonderful Donald was, Florida asked her repeatedly if she loved him. Thelma claimed she did but was reluctant to tell him. James and Donald concluded their conversation with James stating Donald was a pretty decent man, but with someone else’s daughter. Thelma and Florida came out while J.J. and Michael returned  from Willona’s apartment. Florida and James tried to get Thelma to tell Donald how she feels. When she can’t bring herself to say she loved him, Donald politely left and that was the end of Thelma’s May-December romance.

Originally aired October 15, 1974

Written by Roland Wolpert, John Baskin and Roger Shulman

Directed by Herbert Kenwith

Guest Star Louis Gossett Jr.

Another good episode describing the personality of Thelma. As she previously stated in ‘Sex And The Evans Family’ from Season 1, boys her age were boring and immature, a mature girl like Thelma liked older men. In this episode, however, she had a man that was a bit too old for her. It’s surprising that James and Florida didn’t call the police or press charges against Donald Knight. Or James at least could’ve told him to stay away from their little girl. The episode also demonstrated that Thelma at least was no gold digger, considering Donald was a wealthy and successful fast food chain store owner. Very little humor though, like James scaring Michael into going to see Willona, or J.J. stating how they blew his chances at a lifetime of free chicken.


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