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Equal TimeTelevision and the Civil Rights Movement$
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Aniko Bodroghkozy

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036682

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036682.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 26 February 2021

Prime Time, Good Times

Prime Time, Good Times

(p.203) Chapter 8 Prime Time, Good Times
Equal Time

Aniko Bodroghkozy

University of Illinois Press

This chapter explores how the CBS family sitcom Good Times turned into an important site of contestation and struggle over questions of “blackness,” the black family, “authenticity,” and black-versus-white control in the immediate aftermath of the civil rights movement. Good Times “answered” the vehement criticisms about Julia. Whereas Julia gave viewers a simulacral “Super Negro” to inspire blacks and comfort whites, Good Times presented a more “realistic” image of the challenges, struggles, and poverty that many blacks actually encountered in their daily lives. In addition, the CBS comedy pointedly addressed hot-button issues such as school busing, teen pregnancy, and street gangs. This chapter assesses the cultural legacy of Good Times's racial imagery and asks whether the show was a victory for African Americans in the struggle for “positive images.” It concludes with a discussion of the sitcom's significance for post–civil rights race politics and argues that it was ultimately both a success and a failure.

Keywords:   family sitcom, Good Times, blackness, black family, civil rights movement, poverty, CBS, school busing, African Americans, race politics

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