Netflix’s “Good Times” Reboot: Who Is This For?

Netflix Good Times Trailer Remake Norman Lear Stephen Curry Seth MacFarlane

You might have seen the trailer for Netflix’s upcoming animated series called “Good Times.” It’s a reboot of the classic 70s sitcom of the same name, but this time it’s animated. The original series followed the Evans family, a Black family living in a Chicago housing project. They dealt with everyday struggles of poverty, unemployment, and trying to make ends meet, but they also had a lot of love and humor in their lives.

This new animated reboot of the Norman Lear series finds the latest generation of the Evans family, cab driver Reggie and his wife, the ever-aspirational Beverly, scratching and surviving in one of the last remaining housing projects in Chicago along with their teenage artist son, Junior, activist daughter Grey, and drug dealing infant son, Dalvin. It turns out the more things change the more they stay the same and keeping your head above water in a system with its knee on your neck is as challenging as ever. The only thing tougher than life is love, but in this family, there’s more than enough to go around. Norman Lear’s Act III Productions, Steph Curry’s Unanimous Media, Seth MacFarlane’s Fuzzy Door, and Sony Pictures Television developed the project, with Ranada Shepard serving as executive producer and showrunner.

Good Times Trailer Reaction:

Cringeworthy at First Sight

Upon watching the trailer, I have to admit that it left me with a rather awkward feeling. It was just uncomfortable to watch. It wasn’t funny, and instead of showing the characters overcoming challenges, it appeared to be focused on poverty, negative stereotypes, and situations that just made me cringe. I did see a few moments where it looked like the show would address deeper issues such as the systemic realities that affect Black neighborhoods such as how guns are brought into the communities and gun violence. However, the balance of positive to negative imagery seemed rather off. 

Netflix Good Times Trailer Remake Norman Lear Stephen Curry Seth MacFarlane

Within 6 days of this posting, this trailer did not bode well with audiences. It currently holds over 4K positive Likes and an overwhelmingly 30K dislikes.

Who’s This For?

The reason why I have a problem with the Good Times trailer is mainly because of one I don’t know who it’s for. I don’t know how it benefits Black people who may watch this series. So, if it doesn’t seem beneficial for black people, my question is, “Who else is going to watch this?”. The answer to that will be non-black people.

That is where my other concern comes in. When you look at people who are not black, watching shows like this that portray Black stereotypes, I get worried. It’s not because of what the non-Black people see, but rather what they don’t know. These are the types of images that reinforce the stereotypes that they already have. It becomes problematic because many of the non-black viewers more than likely do not have close proximity to black people to counteract those stereotypes. This is also evident on an international scale. Going to other countries, you hear about how they view African Americans in a particular way and it’s primarily based on what they see on TV, in film, and in hip-hop/rap music. What we see on TV and in movies shapes how we view the world. For many people around the world, these shows are their only window into Black culture. The problem is, when these portrayals are filled with stereotypes, they make things worse, not better.

A Bigger Issue

Netflix Good Times Trailer Remake Norman Lear Stephen Curry Seth MacFarlane
Good Times. Yvette Nicole Brown as Beverly in Good Times. Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2024

Nevertheless, in America, reinforcing these types of depictions to non-Black viewers is even problematic. When those viewers don’t have a real-life counter to the stereotypes, it finds a way to negatively impact Black people. Those non-Black viewers can have their opinions and views skewed. That can then impact how they vote. It could impact which politicians they support. This could also lead to rights being taken away, resources becoming limited, or laws getting passed.

Is There Any Hope?

Maybe. There’s a chance the show might have some positive moments sprinkled in, highlighting the love and humor that were hallmarks of the original series. There’s also a chance that this series could have some real honest criticisms similar to how The Boondocks handled its own depictions of Black culture.  However, will those positives be enough to outweigh all the negativity? Honestly, I don’t know.

Netflix Good Times Trailer Remake Norman Lear Stephen Curry Seth MacFarlane
Good Times. Marsai Martin as Grey in Good Times. Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2024

Furthermore, for those who may be under the impression that this early reaction is premature without seeing the show, let me remind you of this critical fact. The purpose of a trailer is to market and advertise to audiences in a manner that will entice them to watch the content. If the animated series is actually a subversive way to uplift the Black community, then the trailer is not doing it any favors.

Will this Good Times series bring down the Black community? Is it going to be the downfall of Black folks in America? I highly doubt that. However, it does make me question how does it help and who does it help?

Netflix Good Times Trailer Remake Norman Lear Stephen Curry Seth MacFarlane

Showrunner: Ranada Shepard
Exectutive Producers: Seth MacFarlane, Stephen Curry, Norman Lear, Ranada Shepard
Stars: Yvette Nicole Brown, J.B. Smoove, Wanda Sykes, Jay Pharoah, Slink Johnson, Marsai Martin
Good Times will stream on Netflix on April 12, 2024. Be sure to follow E-Man’s Movie Reviews on Facebook, Subscribe on YouTube, or follow me on Twitter/IG @EmansReviews for even more movie news and reviews!

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About Emmanuel "E-Man" Noisette

Emmanuel is a Rotten Tomatoes Approved, Chicago film critic who founded Eman's Movie Reviews. He's contributed to other outlets such as ScreenRant andThe Wrap, and has been featured on television such as MSNBC. Be sure to join the other fans on his Facebook Fan Page for even more movie opinions and fun. Feel free to contact him with any professional inquiries: [email protected]