S6 E14 Florida’s Favorite Passenger Part 1

Welcome back friends and fans. Thank you for joining me in another review of GT. Florida is concerned about Larry, a student she drives to school. She believes he is mentally deficient but then discovers he has a hearing problem. Hope you enjoy the review.

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Keith and Michael were playing checkers and Keith was determined to beat Michael, who was unofficially the checker champ. When he told him to king Michael, he then said, since it was a democratic country, President me (lol). J.J. came out and returned the comb Keith left him. When he tossed it over to him, he messed up the checker board, causing Keith to concede “I had him, for the first time in my life, I had him”. Then, in a high-pitched, childlike voice, he repeated, “I had him”. As Keith was ready to kill J.J.,  he claimed that Keith couldn’t win anyway, for Michael had the checkers marked. J.J. was getting ready for a trip to Gary, Indiana, for a job with a new comic book company. He asked Keith to guard his portfolio while he was gone.

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Before J.J. left, he showed Thelma, Michael and Keith his new sketch, a picture of Dyn-O-Man. Bookman came up to announce that the elevator would out of service for repairs. Florida came home with a little kid, Larry. It turned out that the other kids on Florida’s bus were picking on him and she brought him upstairs to wait for his mother to come get him. She didn’t want those kids to follow him home and beat him up more. She also couldn’t understand why he was such a target. He was shy, quiet and stuck to himself (the sad truth is, kids like that are the best target for bullies). Keith told Larry not to mess with J.J.’s portfolio but Larry couldn’t hear him until he said it a little louder. She asked them to try a little patience with Larry, because she thought he was a little slow.

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Thelma and Michael were playing checkers and, naturally, Michael was winning. Keith went over to keep Larry company, claiming he had a special knack with kids. He tried teaching some riddles to Larry but Larry already knew them. He even taught Keith one he made up. Keith decided to ask Larry to go over and watch Thelma and Michael play, he answered, “why not?, there’s nothing going on here.”. When he was coaching Thelma on how to play, Florida accidentally dropped a dish and Larry asked what happened, for he couldn’t hear it. Then he took over for Thelma and actually beat Michael. Florida said he was very good at the game but he didn’t respond. Florida finally came to the conclusion that Larry, instead of being slow, just couldn’t hear very well.

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Willona came in just as Florida got off the phone with Larry’s mother, then she stated that her job informed her that she left long since. Willona was still not convinced that he wasn’t slow, until Florida told her he beat Michael at checkers. Willona asked “where is the little genius?”. Penny came in and got excited when Willona offered to let him stay the night with them if his mother couldn’t come get him. that was, until Florida told Penny that Larry was only 10. Penny answered he was jailbait, lol. J.J. came back and went to get his suitcase. Florida asked him what took him so long and he answered he was saying goodbye to some of his girlfriends. Larry came out to get a glass of water and Florida asked him how their checker game was going. Larry answered they were now playing smut. Florida asked what that was, Willona said it’s a dirty card game in which the loser gets flour smeared all over their face. Florida questioned why Larry’s face was clean and Keith and Thelma came out with flour all over them. Larry then announced he and Keith were about to play knuckles.

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J.J. went to leave and Florida gave him his portfolio. Penny, however, discovered he took the wrong one. What he took was something Larry was drawing. Willona raced out to chase after him and bumped into Larry’s mother, who finally arrived. She was exhausted after climbing 17 floors to the apartment and Florida offered her a cup of coffee and to talk about Larry’s hearing issue. His mother denied the fact and got extremely defensive. That led to an argument between his mother and Florida which went unresolved until Larry started to back into the elevator, unaware that it was out of order (I don’t know why the door opened if the elevator didn’t come). Florida and Larry’s mother shouted to him to stay right where he was and not to move. Larry, of course, couldn’t hear them properly and was about to slip and fall down the elevator shaft, leaving the first part of this episode on a cliffhanger.

Original airdate May 23, 1979

Written by Michael G. Moye

Directed by Gerren Keith

Guest stars Bebe Drake (2nd appearance), Derek Wells

This was the first episode to be aired after Good Times went on a winter hiatus

One of the better episodes from the final season. It also has a touch of reality. Many children who have hearing difficulties are often misdiagnosed as mentally challenged. I do believe Larry’s mother might have overreacted when Florida tried to convince her of such. Maybe she was jealous because Florida figured it out before she could. Another positive trait was how Florida was willing to get involved when she saw bullying taking place.

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