Sony Pictures Television

Esther Rolle said Good Times proves that you can be happy anywhere

In the '70s, residents who lived in poor communities connected with the words, "keeping your head above water, making a wave when you can." The Good Times lyrics resonated with audiences worldwide who knew how it felt to be behind on bills. Norman Lear created the series, and actress Esther Rolle portrayed Florida Evans, the loving mom who stayed positive despite her family's circumstances.

There weren't many shows that aimed to portray life in "low economic areas" accurately. According to Esther Rolle, Good Times was a series that was true to life.

"My family in Good Times is pretty average for people in the low economic area," she said in an interview with the Associated Press in 1975. "The show speaks to people all over in the class. I think it erases the common [mindset] and says that you [don't need to be rich to] be happy."

Rolle, the ninth of 18 children, grew up poor and understood early in life that there's a lot to smile about even if you can't afford things you want.

"Love of home and family and sharing what little you have is more important than wealth. The poor person looks at television and sees a life that is not attainable. Good Times provides the message: Let down your bucket where you are," Rolle added.

Many people would say that the structure of the show and its episode plots are the reason for its success, and they're right. Throughout its run, Good Times touched on vital topics in every episode. From eviction to education, the value of honesty and more, viewers always saw the family at their worst.

However, they also saw the Evans rise above their challenges, learn something new, move on and hold their heads high. In real life, those were the types of messages that people in poor communities needed to see.

Even today, while watching Good Times on Catchy Comedy, those lessons can be used to stay positive, no matter your economic status. 

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