Hello again friends and fans. Welcome to another review of GT. This episode is called ‘The Enlistment”. It revolves around J.J. joining the army as a result of he and James losing their jobs. Hope you enjoy the review.
Florida is out of town and Thelma is taking over the household clothes. She is having difficulty with ironing, making breakfast and coffee. J.J. and Michael are not making things any better by picking on her and refusing to lend a hand. James came out to see if Thelma finished ironing his shirt but she messed it up. Michael tried to tell Thelma the oatmeal was burning, causing her to lament she was making a mess of everything. Florida called to say hello and James told her Thelma did a great job of taking over. He had the kids say hi to her but to make it quick, because it was a long distance call. J.J. came on and started to tell her about the disaster Thelma caused. James snatched the phone from him and said good-bye. Then he told J.J. his membership in the family was hanging by a slim thread.
James told J.J. and Michael to eat Thelma’s (delicious) breakfast. When J.J. questioned why he didn’t, James just said shutup. He said he needed to excuse himself by getting ready for work, when Thelma asked him why we wouldn’t have breakfast, he stated as good as it looked he didn’thave time. He also held back his opinion on the lousy job Thelma did on his shirt. Later on, J.J. and Thelma were arguing as usual and James came home with the bad news that he had been laid off. J.J.’s boss called and asked him to come down to the theater. He mistook it with the news that he would get a promotion. However, one of his co-workers was in the office crying because the manager told her the theater had to shut down. When J.J. came in, Mr. Carter, the manager, told him they had a new sign on the theater, saying ‘Closed Permanently’, starring him. In other words, his job there was over. When J.J. came home, he announced to James, Thelma and Michael that he just enlisted in the Army.
James at first thought he was joking but J.J. couldn’t be more serious. James told him he would never make it through basic training, considering how rough it is. J.J. answered it couldn’t be rougher than living in their neighborhood. James suggested they would have made them crawl on his stomach with live ammunition above him. J.J. said every once a week they had to do that when The War Lords and The Satan Knights have their weekly rumble. James also mentioned 10 mile hikes everyday. J.J. answered they did the same there when the elevator broke down. Finally, James reminded him he wouldn’t have a date for 12 weeks, J.J. responded with ‘OOOOH, NO’, but then conceded the girls needed to make the sacrifice. James tried telling him he wouldn’t allow him to go in the Army, but J.J. stated that he was 18 and he didn’t need his permission. He also stated it was good Florida wasn’t around because she’d try talking him out of joining. He then revealed the reason was so he could send money home to help out the family. After he left to take his physical, James got upset because J.J. signed up because he lost his job. Thelma tried to assure him that J.J. didn’t say that but James stated that he didn’t have to. Then he got angry about the economy causing his family to split up. The phone rang and turned out it was his job. James lamented that they have wanted his last check back. Actually, they called to say the layoff was over then he went to stop J.J. before he got sworn in.
Down at the induction center, the officer took one look at J.J. and thought ‘Good God, what did they send us?’. Then the doctor called him in to examine him, noticing he had his tonsils and all his teeth. When he asked J.J. to face the wall, he put his hands on the wall as if it were a bust. When the doctor asked him to run up and down the steps till he said stop. then the phone rang and it was the doctors’ wife who called to chit chat. James came down there to get J.J, who was finally told by the doctor to sit. The doctor said to quiet down because he couldn’t hear J.J.’s heart, he stated because it stopped beating. James told him he had his job back and J.J. yelled inside the doctor’s stethoscope that he would de-enlist. He and James then walked out and went home.
Originally aired March 4, 1975
Written by Ben Joelson and Are Baer
Directed by Herbert Kenwith
Guest Stars Bill Walker, Maidie Norman, Cal Wilson, William Christopher
Florida and Willona do not appear in the episode
Another good episode. This one deals with the lengths people can take in times of desperation. Economical conditions were not good in the mid 1970s and the cost of living was high (by 1970s standards). James was right about J.J. not joining for the wrong reason. Not everybody is cut out for the Army. The scenes at the induction center and in the office of J.J.’s boss were by far the funniest.