S5 E12 Penny’s Christmas

Welcome back my friends. Thank you for joining me for another review of Good Times. This episode is about Willona and Penny’s first Christmas together. Hope you enjoy the review.

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Thelma came out of her room with a wrapped Christmas present and she asked Michael what he got her. He answered he got her a Betsy Wetsy doll. Penny knocked on the door, causing them to go in a panic and hide the presents. Michael went to hide the gifts in the oven but Thelma stopped him, then he stuffed them in the refrigerator (why couldn’t he just bring them inside and hide them under the bed). Penny came in and started looking around suspiciously. They asked if she may have been snooping, she answered she lost something last time she was there and was looking for it. Thelma asked her what she lost and she said she wouldn’t know until she found it (lol). Then she purposely dropped her purse but Michael told her she would just have to wait till Christmas Eve.

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J.J. came in with a Christmas tree which did not look any better than the one Charlie Brown got in a Charlie Brown Christmas. He claimed it was in much better shape before he got it on the bus to get home. Penny asked what they thought Willona would like for Christmas. Michael suggested the new Donna Summer album. She asked if Willona would really like it, he said that he sure would. She saved up $10 in change. Willona came by to get Penny to go Christmas shopping. Penny asked her to promise not to peak while she does her shopping. Willona stated she was too tired to peak, for it was a madhouse and people were pushing and shoving each other and pulling other people’s hair, and that was only in the ladies room. When J.J. opened the door to the refrigerator and found Penny’s gift. He commented on the Betsy Wetsy doll that Michael got Penny, although she claimed she heard nothing (lol). bookman came up and told Willona, that her gift to Penny just arrived, calling it a you-know-what for you-know-who. Michael suspected that because he was being so nice, he wanted something. He stated that a Christmas bonus was the last thing on his mind. Willona replied it was the last thing on their minds also. Actually, he wanted to attend their Christmas party that evening, for Mrs. Bookman was visiting her mother and she and Bookman couldn’t stand each other.

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Willona and Penny were down at the department store and Penny reminded Willona about letting her shop alone. Willona told her to meet at that exact spot in one hour, and gave her cab money in case they miss each other. She told Penny that it was her happiest Christmas and how much she loved her. Penny said it was the same for her. Just as Willona was about to get on the elevator, Lootin’ Lennie came out and gave one of his rhythmic sales pitches. Willona told him to go climb a chimney somewhere, then got in the elevator. A saleswoman asked her if she needed assistance, calling her miss. When Penny realized she was talking to her, she asked to see a necklace for $10. Penny liked it very much and was about to get it. However, a thief sneaked into her pocket book and stole her money (Awww). The saleswoman put it back and went to assist another customer. Penny then took it and sneaked it in her pocket book and took off. Meanwhile, the hidden camera caught her misdeed (why didn’t it catch that jerk who took her money). Back at the Evans apartment, Michael and Thelma were decorating the tree while J.J. came out with Penny’s new bike (Willona’s present to her) and Mrs. Dobbs, the social worker who granted Willona adoption of Penny, came to visit. She announced that Willona’s probation period was coming to an end and she was there to approve the final adoption. Willona came back and just as Mrs. Dobbs was about to fill out the paperwork, Penny came in with a police officer, who stated she was busted for shoplifting.

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Penny apologized and promised not to do it again, instead of explaining why. Willona told her to go back to their apartment for a talking to. J.J. excused himself to finish maintaining Penny’s bike, Willona told him not to bother because she wasn’t giving her the bike, despite J.J.’s best efforts to learn the instructions in Japanese (sayonara). Mrs. Dobbs stated that that could be a major problem and that was not the right environment for Penny. Willona, after an emotional display, invited Mrs. Dobbs to their Christmas party that evening to prove that it was the right environment. Mrs. Dobbs accepted her invitation. When Willona asked her first name, Mrs. Dobbs answered it was Hortense. She requested that she not tell anybody, including her husband, he thought her name was Carlotta and their marriage needed all the romance it can get.

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J.J. came to the door in a Santa costume and a tipsy Mrs.. Dobbs told Penny how lucky she was that Santa came to the party. Penny told her she knew it was J.J.. Bookman came to the door also in a Santa costume and Mrs. Dobbs let on how Santa came after all. Penny again let her know that is was Bookman (Buffalo Butt). Bookman told J.J. that he never got to see Santa and asked if he can sit on his lap. J.J. answered he didn’t want it to break.  Mrs. Dobbs was very drunk by this time and went to sing the 12 Days of Christmas, failing miserably. When Willona tried talking to her about changing her mind about Penny, Mrs. Dobbs was still deciding. Willona claimed she had a tape recorder running and didn’t think the people at Children and Family services would like very much hearing her sing while drunk. Penny came up to Willona with a necklace she made out of paper. Willona said it was priceless. Mrs. Dobbs also decided that they were in a loving environment and finally granted Willona legal custody of Penny. Willona stated that was the best Christmas present she could ever receive. Willona announced the good news to everybody and they all sang “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” in disco style.

Original airdate December 21, 1977

Written by Robert and Rosalind Stevenson

Directed by Gerren Keith

Guest stars Alice Ghostley, Dap Sugar Willie (fourth appearance), Helen Verbit, George Jordan

A good Christmas episode. It may have fell short on plausibility, however. I think Willona would know better than to go Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve, not to mention leaving Penny on her own. I also didn’t get why Penny got caught but not the thief who stole her money, especially with the camera right behind them, and how could someone be so heartless as to steal money from a little kid, was he really that cash desperate? It also was not in Willona’s nature to try to blackmail Mrs. Dobbs into deciding in her favor. On a positive note, it strongly demonstrated the love Willona and Penny had for each other, as well as the healthy environment surrounding Penny with love.




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