GOOD TIME FOR A
good times are back for Bernadette Stanis, who played sassy Thelma
Evans on the classic '70s sitcom "Good Times."
By MICHAEL STARR - New York Post writer
(a 1997 article)
Not only is Stanis thrilled with "Good
Times'" legendary status, but she's bringing Thelma back
tonight on "The Wayans Bros." (9-9:30 p.m. on WPIX/Ch.11).
The episode features a "Good Times"
flashback scene that also includes original cast members Johnny
Brown (handyman Nathan Bookman) and Ja'net DuBois (neighbor Willona
Woods) - who also has a recurring on "The Wayans Bros." as
"I'm wearing my big old Afro wig, bell
bottoms, platform shoes and my tight little shirt," Stanis told
The Post. "And while we were taping the episode, Marlon Wayans,
who played Michael, kept moving his neck back and forth like Michael
used to do. I almost forgot that, you know? But Michael used to jerk
his head from side to side and I went, "Oh, he did do
Shawn Wayans plays J.J. Evans and Marlon is
little brother Michael - roles originally played by Jimmie "Dy-no-mite!"
Walker and Ralph Carter in the CBS series (1974-79) that also
starred Esther Rolle and John Amos.
"Shawn and Marlon knew every one of the
"Good Times" episodes," Stanis said. "They said,
'Bernadette, we've watched every one of those shows.' They even
knew some of them that I'd forgotten!"
The groundbreaking "Good Times" was
TV's first sitcom focusing on a black family in a lower-income,
urban (Chicago) setting. It was spun off from "Maude" (in
which Rolle played Maude's housekeeper, Florida Evans), which in
itself was a spinoff from "All in the Family."
Said Stanis: "The show has lasted so long
and they still play it on TV. It's made its mark and it's here
forever. I feel so good about that."
In tonight's "Wayans Bros." episode,
a computer firm hires Shawn only because he's black.
Upset over his predicament, Shawn dozes off
while watching a "Good Times" marathon - and dreams he's
living in the '70s sitcom as J.J., who's in a similar situation and
seeks advice from Willona, Thelma, Michael and Bookman. "When
he wakes up from his dream he says, "That's it, that's what I'm
going to do,' as if the dream gave him the solution to his
dilemma," Stanis said. "Sometimes I feel that, with
"Good Times,' we gave people answers to some of those big
Stanis recently reunited with Walker on a
music video for hip-hoppers Camp Lo, where the actors reprised their
"Good Times" roles.
"When I saw Jimmie again I was so excited
and he was like, "Hey Bern, get over here!'" she said.
"And I was like, "give me a hug' because I always boss him
Stanis, a Juilliard graduate, now has two
daughters (ages 16 and 3) and is married to Kevin Fontana, with whom
she's producing a play, "Whatever Happened to Black Love?"
Stanis co-stars in "Black Love" with
Ernest Thomas, who played Raj in another '70s TV classic,
Said Stanis: "I play a female attorney
defending all the men, and Ernest plays the male attorney defending
all the females. The audience just loves it because they get two
stars from the '70s."