S2 E18 The Debutante Ball

Welcome back friends and fans. We bring you to another episode of GT called ‘The Debutante Ball’.  In this one, J.J. dated a rich girl whose parents did not approve. Hope you like the review.

J.J. got a job as an usher in an uptown theater and seemed very excited about it.  Henrietta called and he dumped her because he started dating a wealthy girl named Clarissa, who lived down on South Shore, which was a wealthy black community. According to Michael, they ate their fried chicken broiled. When Florida asked him how he met her, she went to the theater and he escorted her to her seat, then he found out it was true love. He then excused himself to get ready for work, he even wore his usher uniform there. Clarissa called to invite him to go to a debutante ball with her. That caused James to repeat his claim that there’s something about the Evans men. J.J. then said he needed to rent a tuxedo.

Florida was teaching J.J. how to waltz, but he seemed to have two left feet. While teaching him the 1-2 step, he was doing 1-2 kick and kept stepping on her feet. He wondered why they had to start the dance with a waltz, he claimed he was meant to boogie. Florida then taught him he should look down at everybody and talk about money. If somebody asked him about the economy, he should say that people are unemployed because they are not working. He stated it made no sense and Florida claimed that’s why it was perfect economy talk. J.J. went out to rent his tux but shortly after Clarissa came by to tell him he couldn’t take him to the ball because her parents objected.

Clarissa explained that her parents didn’t approve because J.J. lived in the projects and they had another wealthy man picked out for her. They got into such a heated argument that she walked out on them. She tried telling them how much she liked J.J., he was talented and much fun to be with. They wouldn’t listen or care since he didn’t have money like they did. J.J. returned home wearing his tuxedo. He joked that a mugger asked for a dance before asking for his money. A furious James stated that he wasn’t so concerned about the dance, he didn’t like J.J. being put down because of where he lived.

Clarissa’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Robinson, showed up. James bitterly welcomed them to the ghetto. When Florida asked them to come in, James suggested they spray the apartment with Lysol. J.J. came out and tried to shield from the Robinsons, although James reminded him that was his home and he shouldn’t break and run from anybody. J.J. offered them Kool-Aid and James said he shouldn’t offer Mr. and Mrs. Oreo that, but imported champagne. This was enough to boil Mrs. Robinson’s blood and he suggested he and James get down (fancy talk from a man who lived uptown). He explained that he was originally from the ghetto and worked hard for many years to succeed. He said that James suggested that success was a dirty word. James assured him the dirty word was forgetting. He forgot where he came from and Mr. Robinson wanted to forget the pits and poverty of the ghetto. James said if they were lucky enough to make it they would never forget about the ones who got left behind. They showed them some of J.J.’s paintings and that was his way of making it out of there. They found it to be unusual and powerful and Mr. Robinson offered to pay $100 for one of them. Florida and James told them that and J.J. were not for sale. When they asked Clarissa to come home, she agreed on the condition that she can still see J.J. and not go to the dance that evening. They agreed, but Mr. Robinson stated that Clarissa was leaving for college in a couple weeks and a small investment of the painting was all J.J. meant to them. Florida was ready to tell him off but James mentioned he had a right to his opinion and then threw them out of his house.

Original airdate February 4, 1975

Written by Patricia Edwards, Jack Elinson and Norman Paul

Directed by Herbert Kenwith

Guest Stars Rosanne Katon, Santiago Gonzalez and Ann Weldon

Willona did not appear in this episode

A good episode which deals with snobbery. It symbolizes the fact that many underprivileged people who live in neighborhoods like that are often put down and oppressed by the wealthy. Regardless of character and personality, some wealthy people overlook the content of character and judge only by monetary status. it also displays how such a shift from poverty to wealth can go to one’s head. The funniest scenes are James and Mr. Robinson duking it out, along with J.J.’s references to how hooked he was on Clarissa.

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