Yes, JJ eventually did one too many DY-NO-MITEs, which began to look a little Steppin Fetchit. But this was also the show that tackled child abuse (Janet Jackson as Penny - Kim Fields' mama was the abuser ; Chip put her foot in that role), senior poverty (that old lady eating cat food and lighting her apartment with candles), questioning if Jesus was black (Ned the wino served as the subject of JJ's painting of the black Jesus), teen drug abuse (Debbie Allen playing JJ's spoiled, rich, junkie girlfriend) and corrupt politicians (Balderman Davis).
Many of my friends would beg to differ, but because I grew up watching this in the 70s, I grew to identify with it so closely, even though I was from a family that sent me to private school, owned 2 homes, 2 cars and an RV and went on vacation every year. I think it was seeing black folks on TV that made me identify with them, even if their situation was different than mine. Child, these folks were po'. They were so poor they couldn't afford the 'or'.
One of my all time favorite fashion icons was from this show. WILLONA WOODS, played by Ja'net DuBois, was one of the most stylish women on TV during the 70s. They must have spent half the budget on her wardrobe, because sister girl was constantly DONE in the name of Diana Vreeland. She had more wigs, ensembles and accessories than I. Magnin. I guess she had to, seeing that she was the head buyer at THE BOUTIQUE!
Thelma, the middle child, aka BABY GIRL, was quite simply one of the most beautiful women on TV at that time. And I won't even start up again about my crush on James Sr. DAMN, DAMN, DAMN!!!!! It was totally innocent. Oh, and Michael too. Must have been all those tight, bell bottom corduroys.