'Good Times' Actress Says Fans Are Disappointed With Netflix's Animated Reboot Because It’s 'Not Progressive'

BernNadette Stanis, who starred in the classic ‘70s sitcom, shared her thoughts on Netflix's new take on the show.

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Bern Nadette Stanis, a star of the 1970s family sitcom Good Times, is sharing her thoughts on Netflix's upcoming animated reboot of the show.

Stanis, who played daughter Thelma Evans in the original, revealed in an interview with TMZ that the sitcom's original cast was initially in talks with Netflix about the cartoon reboot.

“Jimmie Walker did contact [Good Times executive producer] Norman’s [Lear] office in 2020, and he pitched a Good Times cartoon which would include all of us except for Esther Rolle, and we didn’t hear anything back from them,” Stanis explained. “A few months later, I think six months later, they came up, and somebody said they had a cartoon coming."

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But Stanis was later surprised to learn that Netflix was making progress on the show without them.

"My manager called up Norman’s office to see if we were included. I mean, if you're gonna do that, let us know. They said, 'Oh no, it’s going to be generations later and it’s going to be like progressive,' or whatever," she shared. "But [Netflix producer] Brent Miller loves us very much–loves me and Jimmie–I know that. He said, 'I can give you a small role in there.'"

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Even though Stanis was told the upcoming project would be "generations later" and "progressive," upon seeing the trailer she realized that was not the case. In a recent trailer for the new Good Times cartoon, which premieres April 12, the Evans family lives in the projects, in an arrangement very similar to the original show.

"When you see something that actually is not progressive, it kind of brings you back into the projects two generations later," Stanis said of the trailer. "Thelma had a baby, what happened to that baby? I wanted to be a surgeon, I guess I was. JJ was a famous artist. So you have positive images generations before that and then all of a sudden you see this?"

Good Times is not any old hit sitcom. It was the first Black family sitcom to feature a two-parent nuclear family.

Stanis added, "I’m not knocking it because I don’t know what the whole show will be. Maybe they’ll bring it back to a more positive situation. But, when you have the name 'Good Times' on top of that, our audience of 50 years has been really in our corner. They’ve always supported us. So, they were disappointed that they didn’t have it more progressive as the way I was told it would be."

Stanis also shared that while attending Lear's 100th birthday, just one year prior to his death, she asked him about the Good Times reboot, but he appeared to be confused.

"He kind of smiled and looked at me as if he didn’t really understand. Maybe it was a senior moment… He was 100," Stanis said. "But, I love Norman and I do believe that he maybe was told the same thing I was told–I don’t know…. because he only produced quality work. I gotta say on his behalf, I don’t know if he really understood what it was going to be about or he just knew it was going to be a cartoon called Good Times because like everyone else. You have the title on there, you automatically think of us."

Former Good Times cast member John Amos also shared a lukewarm reaction to the upcoming show, per The Hollywood Reporter.

"I really can’t form an opinion, as I’ve not seen any of the episodes yet," he said. "Norman—and the entire cast and company—set the bar pretty high. They’ll have a hard time reaching that level of entertainment [and] education. I wish them the best. I see people aspiring to that, but I don’t see anybody reaching that goal, especially in an animated version."

The new Good Times features voice actors J.B. Smoove, Yvette Nicole Brown, Wanda Sykes, Jay Pharoah, Marsai Martin, and Gerald “Slink” Johnson.

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