If you’re of a certain age, you remember the 1970s show “Good Times,” with Jimmie Walker. You probably have fond memories of Walker’s character of J.J. exclaiming his signature catchphrase “Dy-no-mite!” over the show’s six seasons, which later featured Janet Jackson in a supporting role. Viewers also likely remember the show’s most shocking episode, when the Evans family patriarch James (played by John Amos) was killed off.
According to a story from TheRoot.com, Amos revealed in an interview with the American Archive of Television why his character was killed off – producers and series co-creator Norman Lear did not like his constant complaints over the show’s shift from positive themes to degrading black stereotypes.
Lear, it should be noted, is the unofficial Godfather of Modern Hollywood Liberalism. His hit shows of the 1970s, including “All in the Family,” “Maude,” and “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” all dealt with social and political issues with a strong liberal worldview. He founded People for the American Way (which opposes the influence of religion in politics) and has been a vocal critic of Christian evangelists and activists.
When it came to storylines for “Good Times,” however, Lear’s supposed liberal ideals pushed the shiftless J.J. character over more positive characters, as Amos explained in the article:
I felt that with two other younger children, one of whom aspired to become a Supreme Court justice—that would be Ralph Carter, or Michael—and the other, BernNadette Stanis … she aspired to become a surgeon. And the differences I had with the producers of the show … I felt too much emphasis was being put on J.J. and his chicken hat and saying ‘dy-no-mite’ every third page, when just as much emphasis and mileage could have been gotten out of my other two children … ,” Amos stated.
Amos admitted he was not the most diplomatic person over his objections about the show’s direction, but he was shocked when Lear called him during their summer hiatus and fired over the phone. The show continued to push negative black stereotypes (with fewer positives), and eventually even Esther Rolle (who played Florida, the mom) left the show over disagreements with the show’s negative shift.
It seems liberals like to preach black empowerment, unless they can make money and get high ratings. Then, everything is “Dy-no-mite!”