S4 E17 Willona’s Surprise

Hello again friends and fans. Welcome back to another review of GT. This episode revolves around Willona receiving a visit from her sleazy and manipulative ex-husband, who claims he has changed his philandering ways.  Hope you enjoy the review.

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It’s Willona’s birthday and the family was planning to give her a surprise party. Thelma was making the cake and questioned how many candles to put on her cake. Florida started counting slowly but then decided not to bother. Otherwise, they’d be starting another great Chicago fire. Michael asked why so many women were sensitive about their age, Florida answered she wasn’t. Michael started to guess her age and she interrupted him with “how would you like me to go upside your head?”. Thelma went to hide the cake so Willona wouldn’t see it and Michael hoped J.J wouldn’t stick his elbow in it, like he did at her previous party. He then added how funny he thought that was but Florida didn’t. She wondered why the middle of it was so low and J.J. messed up his good suit. J.J. came in asking if the coast was clear. He had a picture of Willona as her birthday present and wanted to sneak it in. He claimed he had a hassle carrying it on the bus, a woman kept gabbing at him and when he got up to see what it was all about, she stole his seat. When he went in her room to hide the portrait, he accidentally sat on the cake. Florida told him to either change his pants or put frosting on the rest of his clothes to match.

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Willona came by blowing a party favor (this was the second time the Evanses tried to throw a surprise party but the person already knew about it, last time was for James in “The Family Tree”). Willona stated she cried when she woke up that morning because she’d never see 24 again. Florida said she wouldn’t even recognize it since he hadn’t seen it in so long. When Thelma and Michael excused themselves to help J.J., Willona sat down with Florida to tell her that her ex-husband, Ray, called her. Florida said that Ray called her as well and sweet-talked her into inviting him to Willona’s party. Willona was less than thrilled to see him. Florida stated she would rather stand on her head in the window at Marshall Fields than invite him, but when he showed up at the door, Willona asked when was the first show at Marshall Fields starring you know who. Ray reminded her of when he told him to go to hell 6 years earlier and he was back. He then tried convincing her that he changed and was begging her for another chance, only Willona wasn’t having it. The kids came out with her cake and she made a wish it wasn’t so low again. J.J. came out with the portrait and Willona stated it was gorgeous, it was fantastic, and it was her (lol) . Florida and the kids came out the cake and when Florida asked him where he stayed, Ray stated he got an apartment nearby and claimed he became very domesticated. Willona recalled that he couldn’t even make toast, for he was never there long enough to even see it pop up. When he got the message that he wasn’t welcome, he got up to leave. Before doing so, he gave her a gift, a locket. He said he wanted to get her a diamond but couldn’t find a cracker jack box that had one. Florida offered him a piece of cake and asked how he liked it, he answered “delicious” while staring at Thelma, who noticed.

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Florida asked Thelma to fasten a necklace for her, but she broke it while doing so. Willona came in announcing she and Ray were reuniting. She confided into Florida and Thelma that she and Ray were getting remarried. She even said they were thinking of having a baby. Florida and Willona excused themselves to go shopping while Thelma stayed behind to do homework and studying. J.J. called and asked if he had any messages. Thelma said he didn’t but he refused to believe her. Then she told him some woman called shortly before and said she never wanted to see him again, and if he ever showed up at her house again her father would kill him (inside humor to make light out of a serious episode). Ray came by to wait for Willona and offered to help Thelma with homework. Instead, he made a pass at her but when Florida and Willona came in but Thelma dismissed it as he was teasing her. She went into her room and Florida, suspicious of his shenanigans, followed Thelma in and told her how she can fool some people, some of the time, or all people, all of the time, but she can never fool her mother none of the time. It turned out Thelma didn’t want to hurt Willona so she kept silent at first, but Florida came out to tell Willona what happened. They both started to argue but then Thelma came out and said they shouldn’t end their friendship over that creep. She then confirmed that it was true and the rest of the family told him to get lost. Willona then told everybody to stop it, like she was going to stay with him, then she turned around and punched him in the face and threw him out. That was the end of Ray. Willona called the bakery to cancel the cake she ordered for the wedding. She hoped they found a buyer, because she couldn’t.

Original airdate January 26, 1977

Written by Austin and Irma Kalish

Directed by Gerren Keith

Guest star Carl Lee

A good episode. It proves a theory that a leopard can never change his spots. It also shows how some people like Willona are usually in love with just being in love. My only question is what did Ray come back for? Did he by chance notice Thelma somewhere and thought she got so pretty he used Willona just to get to her?


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