Bad Times for Good Times

Myron Clifton
4 min readApr 15, 2024

As promised I watched the new Netflix animated Good Times. I made it 5 episodes. It is as bad as folk thought. Worse even. I’m embarrassed and ashamed this sewage made it all the way to Netflix.

My question is: Who are the intended audience?

Answer: People who want to laugh AT aspects of stereotypical city Black culture centered in poverty.

Answer: People who want the pleasure of confirmation bias.

Answer: People who hate Black people.

Answer: People who who want to make fun of “lower” class people.

Answer: Comedians who want permission to spew racist, classist tripe .

Answer: Netflix executives who received the earned negative feedback after years of prematurely canceling acclaimed and beloved Black-led series.

Good Times is Netflix’s violent revenge for daring to criticize them for their poor choices as related to Black stories and Black creators.

The show has a stellar cast of voice actors, experienced show-runners and writers… and yet.. here we are.

I want to say something about the Black voice actors in the series. Hollywood jobs are hard to come by for Black artists, even for animated movies and series.

There was a reckoning in animation as white voice actors were called out for voicing Black and POC animated characters. Networks and streaming companies loudly proclaimed their regrets, and promised to correct the racist hiring practices that shut out Black voice actors.

Now a few years later a Netflix series is hiring and it’s fronted by Seth McFarland, backed by Stephen Curry, produced by the acclaimed showrunner Ranada Shepard. Add in icon Norman Lear (who passed away before the series went to air) and I understand why each person accepted the call, accepted the job, and did the job.

Some of the family and social issues played for laughs include:

  • White folk buying Black art because artist is dead
  • The daughter having her first period, and the option of using a tampon is refused by her mother because it is “Like having sex”
  • An At-school bathroom stall “abortion” by an unseen girl where we hear the fetus/baby splash into the toilet bowl
  • Baby gangsters w/ guns
  • Talking /singing cockroaches
  • ADHD dampening feelings/art; so stop.
  • It’s okay to do poor in school

If there’s anything remotely good it was when the father, a cab driver, picked up Elon Musk and while in the car, slapped him for deploying dangerous autodrive cars.

Some of the jokes and gags *may work as part of a standup routine by Black comedians. None work as part of an animated Netflix series that inexplicably uses the Good Times name and set up. That’s not to say the 1970’s television series Good Times wasn’t without issues because it was.

But that was prime time in the 1970’s.

An animated series making fun of poverty by using every vile stereotype fully earned the scorn it is receiving.

This is 2024 with the backdrop of today’s social issues, racial setbacks, and the maga-fication of mass media, social media, and television.

As I and many others wrote about the failed movie Society of Magical Negroes..We want better, not setbacks.

Because we can do better. I mentioned what Disney is doing w/animators from Nigeria/South Africa. It can be done. The talent is here. Black Americans are diverse in thought, experiences, education, rural and city, poor, middle, upper class, and the wealthy class.

We are diverse thinkers, with diverse religions, genders, jobs, and political views.

It’s not too much to ask that our diversity be reflected in media and animation.

We know it’ll come with hatred -Hello Halle Bailey, and all the other Black and POC actors playing fantasy, superhero, science-fiction, and historical figures.

But it will also come with acclaim… and profits.

We have talented writers, voice actors, producers, and animators. They deserve the opportunity to shine.

The systemic pull to use each new generation of Black talent to reinforce harmful historical stereotypes is insidious.

That pull makes its way to our youth. There has to be a counter to the ugliness of animation that panders to the worst and ignores the best.

Hopefully Netflix will continue their trend of canceling Black-led series after one season. This time the series — Good Times — deserves it



Myron Clifton

Indie published author, Voice Memos Podcast, Dear Dean EMagazine owner, Blogger at Medium. Myron Clifton on Spoutible. Check out my books at link below. 👨🏾‍💻