Original ‘Good Times’ Actress BernNadette Stanis Expected ‘More Positive’ Animated Reboot

Original Good Times actress BernNadette Stanis. (Credit: Instagram/BernNadette Stanis)

Original Good Times actress BernNadette Stanis is disappointed by what she’s seen of the animated Netflix reboot.

The actress played Thelma Evans, daughter of Florida and James Evans, on the classic 1970s Norman Lear sitcom.

Now after watching the trailer for the new series, Stanis, 70, said it appears the show tarnishes the Good Times name.

“When you see something that actually is not progressive, it kind of brings you back into the projects two generations later. Thelma had a baby, what happened to that baby? I wanted to be a surgeon, I guess I was. JJ was a famous artist. So you have positive images generations before that and then all of a sudden you see this,” she told TMZ Live on Tuesday, April 9.

Related Story: ‘Good Times’ Petition Calls for Boycott of Animated Reboot

Netflix describes the new series as an “irreverent reimagining” of the original sitcom.

The show’s edgy trailer was released on March 27, and features a new generation of the Evans family living in a housing project in Chicago that’s surrounded by crime.

Stanis said it was not what she expected.

“I’m not knocking it because I don’t know what the whole show will be. Maybe they’ll lean it back to a more positive situation,” she said. “But, when you have the name Good Times on top of that, our audience of 50 years has been really in our corner. They’ve always supported us. So, they were disappointed that they didn’t have it more progressive as the way I was told it would be.”

The actress also revealed Jimmie Walker pitched an animated revival four years ago that would have included the surviving cast members.

“Jimmie Walker did contact Norman’s office in 2020 and he pitched a Good Times cartoon, which would include all of us except for Esther Rolle, and we didn’t hear anything back from them, but six months later they came up and Sony said they had a cartoon coming,” she explained. “My manager called up Norman’s office to see if we were included… They said, ‘No, it’s going to be generations later and it’s going to be progressive,’ or whatever.”

Following the release of the trailer, fans started a Change.org petition calling for a boycott of the new series. It currently has about 3,500 signatures.

At issue are images depicting a bleak neighborhood. There’s a drug-dealing baby, a shootout between rival gangs, people playing dice on the street, and a teacher drinking from a flask in her classroom.

Among the complaints, some viewers say the revival “makes a mockery of what the original Good Times was about.” Urban Hollywood 411 contacted Netflix about the petition, but did not hear back.

The animated comedy comes from executive producer Seth MacFarlane and showrunner Ranada Shepard.

The voice cast includes J.B. Smoove as “Reggie Evans” and Yvette Nicole Brown as “Beverly Evans,” along with Jay Pharoah, Marsai Martin, Gerald “Slink” Johnson, and Rashida “Sheedz” Olayiwola.

The 10-episode series is produced in partnership with the late Norman Lear’s Act III Productions, Sony Pictures Television, Fuzzy Door Productions, and Unanimous Media.

Among the executive producers are Steph Curry, Brent Miller, Erica Huggins, Erick Peyton, and Jeron Smith.

The series premieres Friday, April 12 on Netflix. The trailer is below.