GOOD TIMES (1974-1979) is an American sitcom. It was a spin-off of MAUDE, which was itself a spin-off of ALL IN THE FAMILY.
04/25/10 | Television

Good Times

by Reanna Esmail

In the middle of everything you develop a drinking problem. When you were younger, in college, you were just having a good time. But when you’re thirty-eight and divorced, you have a drinking problem. You live alone with your cat but you’re beginning to suspect that even she doesn’t like you very much. Every time you open the door, she sprints for the neighbors’ yard and spends far too much time rubbing up against strangers. At dinner parties you drink far too much when people start talking about how they envy you for not caring about things like your career, having children, your appearance…

When you were younger, you were beautiful. You looked sexy, and interesting. Now you just look tired, mostly. Your golden hair knotted and plastered on top of your head, moistened by the beads of sweat that cascade down your scalp. Your legs and breasts which once boomed like the bright lights of a city now lay there dimming with age. Only shedding light on forgotten trails, potholes, and depressions. When you were younger, men would call you for days on end. But you got married too young and divorced too late.

Now the only person who calls you is your mother.

She asks you “Why don’t you date any nice men anymore?” And “Why don’t you move back home, stop all this California nonsense.”

And you laugh when she tells you “Harry’s new wife is pregnant.” And when she doesn’t respond for a while and you think she’s starting to pity you. You tell her want to come home and visit. She giggles excitedly and you can hear her smacking her lips as she says, “Oh Kell, that’s so wonderful. You should really meet Barbara’s son. He’s a big realtor, and doesn’t care that you don’t want children and have already been married.”

When it was finally over, you wish you hadn’t come. You sleep in your childhood bedroom, still adorned with stuffed animals. You begin to feel horribly old. Minnesota is colder than you remember. And your mother, although you’re almost forty, still refuses to let you drink with her. You go on a date with Ted, the realtor, who has plastic hair. He orders your meal for you, and tells you how the market just isn’t what it used to be in 1998, when he started his firm. You drink too much wine and tell him you haven’t been with a real man since 1998.

The dinner was so far unsatisfying for Ted. Ted was a large man, with a mustache. Growing up he had always understood that a well-groomed mustache was a good indicator of success. When he started his real estate firm, he grew a large mustache and accredited it for much of his wealth. But you were uninterested by his success as a realtor. You kept looking up at him grunting in between glasses of wine. He didn’t find you particularly attractive, but felt there was something becoming about you. Ted liked that you lived in California although you did not seem quite glamorous enough for California, he thought. Ted also liked that by your fifth glass of wine you made it very apparent that you intended to sleep with him.

Ted’s house is cold and overcompensating. He has a wine cellar and a TV that is far too big for a man living by himself. He refuses to turn the lights on while undressing you. Afterward, you ask him to tell you you’re beautiful and interesting. He sighs and tells you he has an early morning tomorrow and should probably take you back home. You turn the lights on and gather your clothing.

When it all started—your marriage deteriorating, your divorce—the move to California seemed like the best thing for you. You and your husband were barely talking. Your conversations had become a series of grunts and sighs in competition of who could hurt the other more. Then one day at dinner, calm and quiet he said “I want a divorce.” You just sighed and finished your salmon. The papers were filed and you bought a ticket to California. You were barely in your mid thirties, and tired of the cold. But you didn’t know how to be alone anymore. You slept with far too many men. You tried dating a few. But when they stopped calling you back, or you found out they were married or not looking for anything serious, the glass of wine you always drank with dinner turned into two glasses, then three, and then the whole bottle. But you tell yourself, It’s okay. You’re just having a good time.