S3 E9 Michael’s Big Fall

Welcome back friends to another review of GT. in this episode, the Evans family gets a surprise visit form Florida’s brother, Wilbur.

J.J. was painting a picture of his latest girlfriend, Marvelous Myrna The Human Burner. Florida stated if she’s so hot he should get her a skillet. He insisted he wanted her to see a true impression of his artistic talent. Florida replied he should paint something that would take her breath away. J.J. stated he thought of that but didn’t have time for a self-portrait. Thelma suggested he paint a still life like his brain. This led to another one of their hassles and Florida told them to quiet down. They asked her if something was bothering her, she answered it was Michael. He was going to a school for gifted students and has been coming home late. Thelma added he’s been very cranky lately, like that morning when she made the oatmeal, Michael wouldn’t stop complaining about it. (That was actually a natural thing, for Thelma’s cooking, or lack of ability to cook, was one of the many inside jokes of the show) This made J.J. make some more remarks about it and Florida asked them again to stop.

Florida went to answer the door and it was her brother Wilbur. She asked him why he didn’t tell them he was coming, he said they’d be counting the minutes and he didn’t want them to suffer. He told Thelma she got prettier every time he saw her and reminded him of Florida when she was her age. Florida lamented ‘don’t remind me’. (she was thinner back then) He told J.J. there was something different about him but he couldn’t spot it. It turned out to be his mustache. He asked him to save some of it, for he could use it on his head. Wilbur questioned the whereabouts of Michael, who he called his “genius nephew”, he said he hadn’t got home yet. He then asked how he did in his new school, assuming he was getting straight A’s like he always did. Willona came in and Wilbur asked how she managed to stay looking so young, Willona answered she lied a lot. She then claimed she saw Michael near her boutique at noon that day, when she went out for lunch. Soon they dismissed it as a boy who merely looked like him. Michael came in at this point, claiming he was late because he left one of his books in school and had to go back for it. He went into Thelma’s room and J.J. came in to talk to him. He wondered if Michael was smitten with a girl, which was not the case. There was  a knock on the door and when Florida answered, it was a student in Michael’s class named Bobby and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins. They claimed that Michael beat up their son.

A bewildered Florida protested that Michael was not the kind of kid who went around beating up other kids, they taught him better than that. Wilbur added they’d punch out anyone who said they didn’t (lol). Mr. Jenkins said they called him from work over that and he couldn’t afford to lose any hours pay. (why couldn’t they wait till he got off, sheesh) He then demanded they straighten Michael out or he’d have him kicked out of school. After a few insults from Wilbur and denials from Florida, they had Bobby tell them Michael beat him up because he got all A’s on his report and Michael didn’t. (Michael told Florida and Wilbur the report cards didn’t come out yet) Florida demanded Michael show them his report card which didn’t have a single A. Florida apologized to the Jenkins’ and tried to get Michael to apologize to Bobby, Michael went to hit him again for having a big mouth but was held back by Wilbur. Florida assured them that Michael wouldn’t bother Bobby again.

Florida then demanded to know why Michael was acting like this. Michael said he didn’t have one so Florida decided to go down to his school and Wilbur insisted on coming along. Then he got insulted when Florida said he preferred to handle the situation herself, then started to leave, believing she didn’t want him. The family tried stopping him and when Florida opened the door, Wilbur was standing there smiling.  While at the school, the teacher they were talking to stated that his behavior is merely natural. There they gave more homework and it was more competitive. Michael was always the smartest kid in his class but in that school there were other kids who were the smartest in their class as well. The teacher also added that some kids did things much worse and more tragic. Florida apologized to him and promised not to put so much pressure on him. She and Wilbur promised to let him make his own decisions and they’d support him no matter what.

Original airdate October 28, 1975

Written by Bob Peete

Directed by Herbert Kenwith

Guest stars Louis Gossett Jr. (2nd appearance), Jay Merreman Riley, Kathryn Jackson, Ronnie Cox, Norma Donaldson

James did not appear in the episode

Another good episode. This one dealt with how parents should expect their kids only to do their best and not to be better than others. I found the Jenkins family to be very annoying. It wasn’t right for Michael to beat up Bobby like he did, but they had no right barging into their apartment and criticize the way Florida raised him. They also should have taught Bobby to have more humility, after he taunted Michael because he got a better report card. On top of that, he called him dummy before they left. Uncle Wilbur was a great character played excellently by Louis Gossett Jr. (who previously played Thelma’s older boyfriend Donald in “Thelma’s Young Man”. I think he should’ve been in more episodes than that.  However, he was never even referred to in other episodes. I’m surprised he didn’t move in with them after James passed away.




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