Wednesday, June 12, 2013

stevo looks back (at his twenty seven favorite episodes of all time). here's number eleven.

"I'm here, aren't I?" -- Miss Gordon.
"So's the garbage!" -- Willona Woods.


Admit it, the "Mud Bowl" running diary was kinda cool, right?  Well, it was the second most clicked link on this site last week, second only to this award-winning dissertation on ... hang on, I have to do this right.

Second only to this award-winning dissertation on (the late, great randall carlyle wakefield voice) How To Major In Asshole 101!  Hell, it should be Majoring In It 1001 -- this is graduate and/or doctoral level dissertation.

Anyways, it's time for the second of this (probably not) epic twenty seven (plus one) series, looking back at the finest twenty seven (plus one) moments television has ever offered, according to me.

Tonight's installment?  Glad you asked ...


In case you've forgotten, here's the twenty seven (plus one) that are getting the special Stevo-style live blog treatment as this summer rolls along:

1. "Hearts and Souls", NYPD Blue.
2. "The Man Behind the Curtain", Lost.
3. "Mud Bowl", Friday Night Lights.
4. "Heartland", NCIS.
5. "The Thrilla Near the Vanilla Extract", Roseanne.
6. "Chuckles Bites the Dust", The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
7. "Cries of Silence", Hunter.
8. "Raging Bulls", NYPD Blue.
9. "The Son", Friday Night Lights.
10. "The Shape of Things to Come", Lost.
11. "A Matter of Mothers", Good Times.
12. "Happily Ever After", Lost.
13. "Leslie and Ben", Parks and Recreation.
14. "2162 Votes", The West Wing.
15. "I Dream of Jesus", Family Guy.
16. "JR's Masterpiece", Dallas (reboot).
17a. "College", The Sopranos.
17b. "Made In America", The Sopranos. ***
18. "What a Day For a Daydream", Roseanne.
19. "Forever Blue", Cold Case.
20. "The Merv Griffin Show", Seinfeld.
21. "Pilot", Smash.
22. "The Rainy Day Women", The OC
23. "Two Cathedrals", The West Wing.
24. "The Wind That Blew My Heart Away", One Tree Hill.
25. "Cabin Fever", Swingtown.
26. "The Accident", The Wonder Years.
27. "Baby Blues", Cold Case.

(***: I have received not one, not two, but three -- three! -- "what the hell?  No "Pine Barrens"?  Are you nuts?" responses to the Sopranos episodes I chose.  To which I respond, (a) use a Brian Griffin voice when making that phrase, (b) it wasn't as good as you remember it to be, and (c) (leroy jethro gibbs voice) No!  You think!")


"A Matter of Mothers", Good Times.
Season Six, Episode Twenty.
First Aired: July 18, 1979.
Director: Not Mentioned on Wikipedia.
Writers: Not Mentioned on Wikipedia.
Run Time: Not Mentioned on Wikipedia.

Netflix?  No.
Hulu?  No.
Youtube?  Yes -- Part OnePart TwoPart Three.

Plot Summary: Willona's latest boyfriend, Jeffrey, has been showering Penny with extravagant gifts, even though they have been seeing one another for only a couple of months.  Little does Willona know, that he is part of a plan to make Willona look like an unfit mother, a plan engineered by Penny's scheming birth mother, Mrs. Gordon.

Why I Love This Episode So Much: because of all the absolutely insane plot lines "Good Times" hauled out in its final two seasons, this one takes the proverbial cake.

(late 1980s nbc announcer voice) And now, "A Matter of Mothers", from the final season of "Good Times".


0:01: I'm sorry: I can't help it.

"Good Times!  Anytime you need a payment!
Good Times!  Anytime you need a friend!
Good Times!  Anytime you're out from under!
Not gettin' hassled!  Not gettin' hustled!

Keepin' yo head above water!
Making a wave when you can!

Temporary layoffs?  Good Times!
Easy credit ripoffs?  Good Times!
Scratchin' and survivin'?  Good Times!
Hangin' in a chow line?  Good Times!

Ain't we lucky we got 'em?
(Na Na Na Na Na) Good Times!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Wait ... (brian griffin voice) what the hell?  They didn't include the theme song to open this clip?  (judge judy voice) That's outrageous conduct, Mr. Youtube Video Loading Dude!  Outrageous!

So, let's pick up with the real 0:01:

0:01: we open with Michael on the phone with some chick named Lisa.

0:05: "Girl, what kind of man would I be, if I was just attracted to you for your body?"  Uuh, a man?  Me?  90 some odd percent of the male species?  (And the ten percent that isn't, is attracted to the same sex, for the same reason)?

0:20" "Sure!  You know, all last week, I was telling people "That Lisa!  She sure does have a good head on her chest!"  (rimshot!)

Poor Gramps.

(Image credit: (I'm guessing) Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979.)

0:24: Lisa hangs up on him.  No sex for you tonight, young man.

0:35: Willona!!!

0:55: "Yeah you do have a little problem.  If you try to fit into that thing, the only thing you won't be showing, is a little common sense!"  (rimshot!)  Seriously -- how in the bluest of blue hells did this show last SIX SEASONS with side-splitting jokes like that?  (Pause).  What?  (Pause).  Oh come on!  This site's only on year five of piss poor joke cracking!

1:02: Jeffrey (apparently Willona's latest dating victim) bought a dress for Penny.  For 1979?  Gotta admit, it ain't half bad:

Oh, and it's 100 percent silk.  Just in case you didn't know.

(Image credit: Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979.)

1:19: "Well now, if that's 100 percent silk, I'd say it came from ... a worm somewhere in China!"  (cue laugh track).  Good Lord, why do I love this show?  These jokes are (charles barkley voice) TURRIBLE!

1:30: "God knows what (Jeffrey) buys next for (Penny)."
1:31: "Maybe a guest spot on "Charlie's Angels"!"  (rimshot!)

I know, I know -- who would have thunk the person to appear on this show to go on to the biggest career afterwards, would be Jay Leno.

2:06: "I know when I go out with Jeffrey, I'm going to have (this dress) on my mind all night."
2:09: "Don't worry Willona.  What you should do, is get you one of (this dress).  Then Jeffrey will have it on HIS mind all night!"  (rimshot!)

2:25: Florida: "I tell you, I think that boy reached puberty, liked it, and decided to stay there!"  (rimshot!)  (Pause).  What?  (Pause).  What the hell do you mean, this stuff isn't funny?

2:45: well, who could this be?

From "Good Times", to "Diff'rent Strokes", to "Rhythm Nation", to "Love Will Never Do Without You", to Nipplegate.  What a career!

(Image credit: Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979.)

2:55: Penny gets the dress.  That's good liberal parenting right there -- giving a twelve year old a suggestive night gown.

3:08: whoa, what's Bookman carrying?

3:18: it's the headboard for Penny's new brass bed!

3:27: Bookman cracks a fat person joke.  I miss the 1970s.

3:52: "Miss Woods, I can't do that (take it back)!  I'd miss over half my dinner!"  Again -- I miss the 1970s.

3:58: "Well that should feed about two thousand hungry people!" (rimshot!)

4:10: Penny's pissed.  She wanted that bed.

4:26: No, you did NOT just insult the great Willona Woods, Ms. Jackson!

4:36: we meet Jeff.  Dashing!

(Image credit: Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979).

4:53: Jeff getting comfortable on the couch.

5:05: Willona playing passive/aggressive, "I'm pissed but won't discuss it" with Jeff.  I HATE it when girls do that:

(Image credit: Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979).

5:14: Jeff: "why don't we just buy two flags, and signal each other!"  (cue laugh track).  Again, how is anyone NOT laughing hysterically at these brilliant one-liners?

5:22: hot damn, the joke worked!

(Image credit: Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979).

5:42: Jeff's done with the small talk.  He's ready to take it ... downtown (rimshot!)

5:50: Jeff's pimping the bed Willona refused to let Penny have.  (jim nantz voice) it's called "foreshadowing"! (cue smug grin).

6:09: wait -- Jeff gives her three little kisses, and Willona caves on the bed?  Where the hell are women who cave to pressure this easily in my life?  The three women I consider my closest relationships to, are all hard-driving, "I get my way or else" hard asses!  Where's my Willona?

6:14: now THAT'S a cock block!  Damned Bookman knocking at the door.

6:40: Willona trying to get Bookman to move the flight bed back up 17 flights of stairs.  Surprisingly?  I'm with Bookman on this one.

6:50: Bookman getting the Pillsbury Dough Boy treatment from Willona.  Wow -- was it really just 35 short years ago we could openly make fun of obese folks on network television, and draw a laugh out of it?  Who says TV is better today than yesterday!

7:12: Jeff and Willona are pleased with that last scene:

(Image credit: Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979).

7:16: Jeff propositions Willona.
7:17: Willona shoots him down.
7:18: "BOO!  BOO!" -- overheard at the Casa de Stevo.

7:25: Jeff tries a different approach: it's party time!  Tomorrow night!  At Willona's humble abode!

7:50: Willona finally says yes to something:

(Image credit: Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979).

8:02: Jeff makes one last gasp, hail mary effort at scoring.  Denied.

8:10: Jeff at the elevator.

8:12: Whoa, is that ...

8:18: "Miss Gordon!  What are you doing here?"

(Image credit: Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979).

8:20: a little plot line Cliffs Notes here, for those of you who weren't raised in front of a TV, watching syndicated reruns of "Good Times" on TBS every weekday afternoon.  Miss Gordon (played by Chip Fields), is Penny's (Janet Jackson) natural mother.  She beat the crap out of Penny back in season five's "The Evans Get Involved" very special four-parter on child abuse.  (An iron was involved -- this will come up later in tonight's rewatch.)  She's emotionally unstable, probably a drug addict (strongly implied, never confirmed),  and after the abuse is confirmed, Willona steps up to adopt Penny.  Miss Gordon never got over that.  She's here to extract her revenge on Willona for "taking" her daughter away from her.

Oh -- and here's your random trivia question of the day: Chip Fields is what famous actress' mother?

The answer ... coming up shortly.

8:25: whoa!  The bed came from Miss Gordon!  (Pause).  Wait a second ... she and Jeffrey are in cahoots?!?!?!

8:30: "I don't pay you to think!"

(Image credit: Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979).

8:35: this b*tch be scary!

8:52: so the plot is set: Miss Gordon proves Willona is an unfit mother to get her daughter back.  How, you ask, is that going to happen?  Well, let's find out ... as that's the end of Part 1.

Now, for Part 2:

0:03: overlapping from the last ten seconds of Part 1.  Someone needs editing classes.

0:21: Willona and Florida setting up for the party.

0:34: a Jackson Five song playing in the background ("Let's dance!  Let's shout!  Take your body down to the ground!")  With Janet nowhere to be seen at this point.

0:36: never mind; Penny's just asked if she can record the ... well, whatever she wants to record with her new "tape deck".

0:50: Penny wants to record Bookman cursing like a sailor while setting up her bed.  I approve.

0:58: "Speaking of incompetence, here comes a whale that can't swim!"  I swear to Christ -- the writers of this show get a residual off this?  Really?

1:03: "I heard that!  It ain't funny man!"  Truer words have rarely been spoken.

1:33: the guests arrive.

1:35: (peter griffin seeing ernie the giant fighting chicken voice) OH.  CRAP!

2:13: "Jeffrey?  Are these your friends?"  (Note: as soon as a moment comes when they're all together, I'll Snag-it and post.)
2:15: "Yes".
2:16: "Do you happen to own a circus?"  Gotta admit, I laughed at that one.

2:37: meet Worm.  "He's on a different wave length than the rest of us."  Actually, scratch my remarks at the 1:03 mark -- truer words have NEVER been spoken than right there.

(Image credit: Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979).

2:40: "Well don't look now, but I think the sucker just blew a fuse!"

2:45: random party guest tries to ass-grab Flo.  It does NOT go well for random party guest.

3:03: Flo: "There's a lady over there spiking all of your punch!"
3:04: Jeff: "What's wrong with that?"
3:06: Flo: "With goldfish?!?!?!"

3:14: go figure -- a guy named Worm is a drug addict.  Stunner!

3:26: the neighborhood pimp Sugar Foot is there!  With two of his girls!  Somewhere, Sweet Daddy Williams is pissed as holy hell.

4:10: "You see, Worm here, he doesn't want this to get out, but he has a little allergy problem."
4:15: "What's he allergic to, waking up straight?" (rimshot!)  (Pause).  Yeah, I know -- I can envision that one being thrown back in my face a time or two this summer.

4:24: Penny emerges from her room.  She heads for the recorder.  File this under the "we'll get back to it" department.

4:44: "What do you mean, the wrong kind of people?  These are everyday, normal people!"

A bald headed hooker.  Keep it classy!

(Image credit: Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979).

4:48: "Yeah, if every day was Halloween!"  You don't even need a laugh track for these one liners, they're so funny!

5:00: uh, oh, the cops show up.

5:06: Worm assumes the position.

5:17: "No wonder the streets are so clean.  Looks like everything dirty is up here!"

5:25: Flo trying to convince the cops she's not "one of these people".

5:34: "No no, you've got it wrong.  I'm employed."
5:36: "Good!  Then let Sugar Foot get you out!"  Gotta admit -- that's a great one liner.  Because if you're paying for sex with a woman with a bigger gap tooth than Michael Strahan has ... wait a second, let me rethink where I was going with that comment ...

6:05: "That's right, Miss Woods.  And the mistake seems to have been yours!"  Ooh, snap, Miss Gordon!  And snap, photographer who just happened to be next to you, to snap incriminating photos:

Yes, I know -- the image quality is (bruce willis in "armageddon" voice) piss poor.  My defenses?  (a) It's Youtube!, and (b) original 1970s stock.  In the words of the most self-centered, arrogant person I know: "deal with it!"

(Image credit: Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979).

6:10: Willona figures it out ... a solid seven minutes after every viewer has.

6:30: Jeff throws Willona under the bus.

6:34: Willona on the verge of an emotional breakdown.

6:43: my attempt to get the party guests in one swell shot:

(Image credit: Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979).

6:54: Penny, Miss Gordon, Willona, Florida, Gramps, and a cop are all that remain.  Let the verbal tirade begin.

6:55: Willona: "You set me up for this!  You set the whole thing up!"

7:00: Flo: "Who is she (to Miss Gordon)?"  Even I'd forgotten Flo took seasons four and five off, before the Brinks truck brought her back for the final season.

7:20: the Evans are gone.  We're down to four.

7:28: "It's ok.  (Let her stay).  I'm going to enjoy this":

Note: I would be lying, if I said I hadn't thought about assuming this pose, when the "War of the Summer of 2013" finally reaches its apex in the next few weeks.

(Image credit: Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979).

7:32: "I'll be waiting outside".  Exit cop.  We're down to three -- Penny, and her mama's.

7:39: "Mama's come to take you home!"
7:41: "What do you mean, take her home?  She's already home!"

7:55: "a home where you'll have a mother ... and a father."  (Pause).  What?  (Pause).  Yeah, I'm thinking about going there!  (Pause).  How?  How is it racist to point out that even 35 years ago, the black community was in shambles because the Great Society meant black men had to assume no responsibility, because the government would do it for them?  How is it racist to point out that 35 years later, the same problems persist that did in 1979?  And yet still, most African-Americans vote Democrat, as do the "white guilt" folks, thinking tossing a boatload of federal dollars at something, can fix the problem?  How is it racist to question people's sanity who keep doing the same damned thing for 50 straight years, when it never once has worked?

Let's move on.

8:02: "That's right Miss Woods.  I got married."

8:09: "Of course, I didn't know at the time he was from a wealthy family, but he is, baby!"  SURE you didn't know.  SURE.  And I'm typing this stone cold sober.

8:15: "Miss Woods?  Do you know what it's like to have everything you could ever possibly dream of?"  Considering she lives in the heart of the ghetto in Chicago, I'm going with "no for 200, Alex".

8:37: "She is NOT your daughter!"
8:38: "She is TOO my daughter!"  Ooh!  Verbal bitch slaps about to break out in this mo' fo'!!!
8:39: "Mama?"
8:40: Willona: "Yes?" / Miss Gordon: "What?"

8:42: neither one saw that last line(s) coming:

(Image credit: Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979).

8:45: Willona sends Penny to her room.  Part II is about to end.  Meaning we're set up, for the MOTHERLOAD of all verbal bitch slap throw downs, showdowns, hoedowns, about to break out, to open Part III ...

0:01: There's a solid minute of Part II to wade through, to open with.  Let me play this out -- Part III starts right after Flo and Gramps left, with about :50, :51 to go in Part II.

1:17: still on a replay of the previous part.

1:33: in the words of Brent Musburger: "you are looking live! ..."

1:40: "now we can pick up where we left off."  Willona is loaded for bear ... and Miss Gordon is said proverbial bear!

1:42: "Come on!  That's all in the past!"  Gotta love the "GODD*MMIT!  YOU'RE GONNA MAKE ME DEFEND MY WRONGDOING?!?!?!" look of disgust in Miss Gordon's eyes:

Oh -- your trivia answer?  Chip Fields (who plays Miss Gordon) ... is Tootie's mother.  AKA Kim Fields' mother.  And Kim (I believe) got her acting start on "Good Times" as a classmate of Penny's.  It is a small world after all!

(Image credit: Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979).

1:44: Willona fires the first shot: "you know, I know you're not wrapped too tight."

Let's just say, that did NOT go over well:

(Image credit: Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979).

1:55: "Let me tell you something -- that little girl in there, wakes up at night, screaming about your abuse, your beatings, the bruises, the cuts -- THE BURNS WITH THE HOT IRON!  She ain't gonna forget it!  You see, you remember it!  I remember it!  I only pray to God that one day, she can forget it!"

(cue a very loud "you go girl!" at the Casa de Stevo!  (fist pump voice) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

2:07: "Look it -- times change!  People change!  There's no need to bring up all that!"

2:12: "All that?  What about all this (referencing the bust)?"

2:15: "I mean, you come up here, and set me up like I'm some kind of gangster!"

2:22: "That was unfortunate.  But I needed insurance, just in case you wanted to take this thing to court!"

2:27: "Behind you trying to frame me, you better BELIEVE we taking this to court!"  Go Willona Go!

2:45: let's just say, Miss Gordon's last blast, hit home:

(Image credit: Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979).

2:52: "Now come on, Miss Woods!  Can't we just talk this thing out, woman to woman?"
2:55: "That depends.  (Pause).  What woman is gonna talk to you?" (cue audience "nah!  she did NOT just say that?!?!" reaction).

2:58: Miss Gordon is pissed:

(Image credit: Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979).

3:05: "You can see the look in that kid's eyes!  She wants to come home with me!"

3:14: "What could you possibly give her to top (Miss Gordon's gifts to Penny)?"
3:18: "Love."

3:19: F*ck you, Miss Gordon:

(Image credit: Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979).

3:23: "Can you (give her love)?"
3:25: "I'm here, ain't I?"
3:27: "So's the garbage!"

THAT ... is a verbal bitch slap!!!!

(Image(s) credit: Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979).

3:38: "You wanna take this thing to court?  Let's take it to court!"  God, I hope it winds up with Judge Wapner.

3:48: WHOA!  Jeffrey's been here for the whole thing!  Never saw him once.

3:51: "You.  You were in the whole thing, huh?"
3:55: "Oh yes.  He was a very expensive part of the whole thing.  And a mighty fine actor."
4:04: "An actor?"
4:05: "Bravo!"

4:11: "You know, it just proves to me that money can buy almost anything.  Lies.  Deceit.  Deception ... look, you get your little bit player out of here, and all your props, and get all your ... out of here before I break your neck!"

(Savvy readers: see it?  On the shelf?  It's about to come in handy ...)

(Image credit: Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979).

4:31: "Yes I am!  Serious as suici --":

(Image credit: Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979).

4:34: Willona gets what the recorder means.

4:36: Penny emerges from her room.

4:38: "Penny?  How long has this been on?"

4:40: "Since those people came to the party."

4:43: "Rewind it!"

4:47: "Well what do you think that's gonna prove?"

4:48: "I don't know!  Maybe the truth!"

4:51: Penny listening to her mothers' arguing.

4:59: the gig is up:

(Image credit: Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979).

5:08: "That's you!  On tape!"

5:12: "Penny, give that to me!"
5:14: "Penny, give it to Mama!"
5:16: decision time:

(Image credit: Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979).

5:19: Penny chooses Willona.

5:20: Miss Gordon attacks:

(Image credit: Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979).

5:27: Willona wins:

(Image credit: Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979).

5:29: a very pissed off Willona: "You tell me, all your violence is still in the past?"

5:33: Miss Gordon's response:

(Image credit: Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979).

5:37: literally speechless.

5:42: Jeff!

5:47: "Let's go, Miss Gordon."  You know, I actually think Jeff fell for Willona.  Seriously.

5:52: the last words Miss Gordon ever says to her daughter: "Penny, I ... (breaks down crying) ..."

5:58: Jeff confirms my theory!  "Willona?  Any other time?  Any other place?  (Pause).  You still would have been too good for me."

(Image credit: Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979).

6:13: Jeff and Willona are no mas.

6:40: Penny offers the record back to Miss Gordon.

6:42: "Baby no!  We need this for evidence!"

6:45: "It doesn't matter!  No matter what the court says, no matter what (Miss Gordon) says, no matter what anyone says, I'll always be with you, mama!"

7:02: if a sitcom can have a "f*ck you!" moment, this is it:

(Image credit: Norman Lear Productions, (c) 1979).

7:22: cue the closing credits.

And since I know the words to them by heart ...

"Just looking out of the window.
Watching the asphalt grow.
Thinkin' how it all looks hand me down!
(Good Times!)  Yeah!  (Good Times!)

Keepin' yo' head above water!
Making a wave when you can!

Temporary layoffs?  Good Times!
Easy credit ripoffs?  Good Times!
Scratchin' and survivin'?  Good Times!
Hangin' in a chow line?  Good Times!

Ain't we lucky we got 'em?

(na na na na na) Good Times!!!!!

Hope you enjoyed the second "Fine Twenty Seven Lookback".  And if you didn't?  Well sh*t, you didn't pay to read it, so consider it a sunken cost ...

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