S6 E20 A Matter Of Mothers

Welcome back friends and fans. Thank you for joining me for another review of GT. This episode deals with Penny’s biological mother who had a devious plan to regain custody of Penny. Hope you enjoy the review.

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Michael was on the phone with a girl named Lisa. He was explaining how he liked her for her mind and not for her body. He then let on that he was telling his friends how she had a good head on her chest (shoulders), uh-oh. She hung the phone up on him, bumming poor Michael out. Willona came in with a silk nightgown two sizes too small. Florida joked if she wore that, the only thing she wouldn’t be showing was a little bit of common sense. She answered that her latest boyfriend, Jeffrey, has been extremely generous to her and Penny, for he bought Penny an expensive tape recorder the previous week. She inquired what would be his next gift, Michael answered he wished it would be a few new law books, sport coat, electric shaver and basketball (lol). When she said she’d have that on her mind that entire night, Michael answered she should buy one of those for herself and he’d have it on his mind all night. Florida joked that when Michael reached puberty, he decided he liked it and wanted to stay.

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Penny came in and Willona decided to let her keep the nightgown. However, Bookman came in with a headboard for a new brass bed Jeffrey purchased. Willona decided that was over the top and refused it. She ordered Bookman to bring it back downstairs to the basement, causing resentment from Penny. That evening, Willona and Jeff came home from a date while Michael was babysitting for Penny. She went to check on Penny and when she said her prayers, she said “God bless everybody, and , oh yeah Mama too”. Jeffrey talked her into letting Penny keep the brass bed and to have a party the following evening. She then had Bookman carry it all the way back up 17 flights of stairs (it was too big to fit in the elevator). When Jeff got into the elevator, Ms. Gordon, Penny’s biological mother, asked him what was going on. It turned out she became a hooker and paid him to use Willona in an effort to prove Willona was an unfit parent and that she can have Penny back.

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Florida helped Willona put the party together while Bookman put Penny’s new bed together. That caused him to gain a callous on his hand (not to mention several others from carrying it up and down the stairs). Jeff came in with the party guests, which turned out to be a group of assorted riff-raff, including a noted drug addict named Worm. Willona felt a migraine coming. She kindly asked Jeff to get rid of the circus he brought in. He said they were just normal everybody people and she answered if every day was Halloween. At this time, the cops came in and busted everyone.

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Willona tried explaining to the police that she knew none of these people and they came along with Jeff. Jeff denied the whole thing and that they were all there when he arrived, prompting a devastating response from Willona. Ms. Gordon showed up and it caused Willona to conclude she set the entire scheme up. She lied to Penny that she married a man from a wealthy family (she even claimed she didn’t find that out until after they wed). She then said she lived in a nice house with a backyard and a swimming pool. To add to her series of lies, she said she was rehabilitated and much more fit to be a mother. When she asked Willona to forget about the past but Willona said they could never get past what she just did. Mrs. Gordon stated she needed insurance in case Willona brought it to court, which Willona had every intention of doing). She added that there was no way Willona would convince the jury the whole thing was a setup. Then she told Mrs. Gordon to leave or she would break her neck (nice going, Willona, you wanna get in bigger trouble for threatening somebody with bodily harm?). Then she stated she was serious as suicide about battling it out in court, that was, until she noticed the tape recorder playing and recorded everything she said. When Mrs. Gordon asked Penny to give her the recorder but when she wouldn’t, she tried to attack her and take it. That proved that she was just as bad as she was before and even Jeff stated that no matter what, Willona would have been much too good for him, before she told him to get out of her house. Then she asked Mrs. Gordon to go downstairs and tell the police she was dropping the charges. When Penny tried to give the recorder back to her, stating she wanted nothing form her, Willona said they needed it for evidence. Penny said it didn’t matter because she didn’t care what the courts said, or what anybody said, she would always be with Willona, the much better mother. A distraught Mrs.. Gordon shamefully left while Willona and Penny hugged each other.

Original airdate July 18, 1979

Written by Jacqueline Henken and Michael G. Moye

Directed by Gerren Keith

Guest stars Chip Fields (fifth appearance), Rod Perry, Dave Turner, John Witherspoon, Barry Cutler

J.J., Thelma and Keith are not in this episode

This was the only episode not to feature Thelma

Overall a good episode. It brings us a theme not usually shared on Good Times. As Willona depicted, money can buy lies, deceit and deception. A person can be poor and live in the ghetto but can be a good and decent person. It also displayed how close Willona and Penny really got, and how terrific a mother Willona was, especially when you compare her to Ms. Gordon.


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