S2 E19 The Dinner Party

welcome back to another review of GT. This episode was called ‘The Dinner Party’. The Evans family had a neighbor that was so poor she was eating, (gulp), dog food. Hope you enjoy the review.

James was going over the bills and noticed the family was ahead by $35. That was because J.J. and Thelma had part-time jobs that helped with their surplus. James suggested Florida do something silly with the money, for she thoroughly deserved it. Florida stated she may call their neighbor, Girdie Vincent, to give Thelma voice lessons.  Ironically, Girdie came to the door to return a plate she borrowed from them. When Florida mentioned she just called her and she said she saved Florida a toll call, reason for that was everyone said she was so far out. Then she remarked the cake Florida gave her on that plate was just like her dead husband. It was sweet, black and satisfying. When she inquired why Florida was calling her, she said she wanted her to give Thelma voice lessons. Girdie said that wouldn’t be possible because she was giving that up. She claimed she was retiring which was hard for them to swallow considering she was an active woman for her age and liked hanging around with young people because it made her feel young. Willona came in with the scoop. She said Girdie was forced to stop teaching because every $2 she made from that, she would lose $1 from her social security benefits. Like James said, social security doesn’t make you feel very secure and it’s not very social (that’s a quote I use a lot). Michael came in and said she just gave him a nickel for bringing her garbage down. They reprimanded him for taking money from such an impoverished person. He stated if she was so poor why did she have a dog. When they wondered why he thought that, he said because her garbage was filled with cans of dog food, causing a shocked reaction from the family.

The Evans family were understandably horrified at the news and tried to think of some way they can help Girdie. J.J. made a lame joke that Lassie never had a sick day, then conceded that he wasn’t thinking. Willona said if they think of anything let her know. Then she stated she hoped when she reached 65 years old that wouldn’t happen to her. She then joked that wasn’t for 40 more years (Willona was in her 40s at the time). Florida decided they should invite her for dinner, especially with the huge chicken she had. They were trying to come up with a diplomatic reason to invite her, for they had her a few nights earlier. Michael suggested they just come out and tell her the truth, they knew she was falling on hard times. She called her and said it was J.J.’s birthday.  When she came, she brought a meatloaf and threatened not to stay if they wouldn’t eat it with her, prompting a good-bye from J.J.. The family foregone the chicken for the meatloaf but, in typical sitcom humor, thought she made it from dog food (Come on already, First of all, who would accept a dinner invitation and bring the food and reject what was to be served? Not to mention, make it out of dog food, how audacious can someone get?).

Willona came over seeking a meal after burning her own dinner. Her presence was short lived, as soon as she learned that Girdie’s meat loaf was the main course she backed out, wishing them a bon appetite with an impression of a dog. J.J. even stated instead of chasing foxes he’d be chasing cats. The whole family went to take turns over who was going to eat first. When they went to say grace, J.J. mistakenly said ‘the Lord is my German shepherd’. This was enough to tip Girdie off that they suspected she made the dinner out of dog food. She admitted she does eat dog food occasionally but bitterly protested she would never get her friends to eat it too. Florida apologized and was forgiven. Girdie then stated that maybe it taught her a lesson that she shouldn’t feel sorry for herself and get a bunch of other senior citizens and fight for higher social security benefits. Then she asked Thelma if she still wanted voice lesson, and, if so, she was willing to give them. She also told the family if they ever wanted more meat loaf, just howl for it, causing a great wolf impression by J.J..

Original airdate February 11, 1975

Written by Robert Fisher, Phil Naples and Allan Mannings

Directed by Herbert Kenwith

Guest Star Frances Foster

This was a particularly good episode. It pointed out how difficult living on social security was and what some people need to do just to survive. My question was didn’t Girdie Vincent get food stamps. If so, she wouldn’t be able to purchase dog food. Another thing that never made sense was when they told her it was J.J.’s birthday. J.J. celebrated his birthday several months earlier. If she was good friends with them, she would’ve known that. She also didn’t question where were his presents and cake. The funniest scenes were J.J.’s reactions and especially Willona’s dog impression.



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