Good Times

Season 2 Episode 20

The Houseguest

Aired Unknown Feb 18, 1975 on CBS

Episode Recap

The Evans family is having ham for dinner. During dinner, one of James' friends from home, Ernie Harris, stops by for a visit. He tells James that he's passing through on business. Ernie calls James by an old nickname, Patches. James says it was because he had patches on his pants. Florida says he said that everyone did back then, but James says he had patches on his patches. He says that Ernie's parents helped out his family by giving them food on credit at the grocery store they owned. James offers for him to stay for dinner. He asks about the store, but Ernie says he sold it. Florida comments on Ernie's outfit. He tells James that he is in public relations. He says he has no kids or wife because he is too busy traveling. When he goes to leave, James offers to have him stay the night. Ernie says not to, but James shows off a pair of silver salt and pepper shakers that Ernie's parents gave them for a wedding gift, the only silver they own. James says he can sleep with the boys, Florida can sleep with Thelma and Ernie can take their room. Later that night, Florida says this will be the first time they will be sleeping apart since they were married. They kiss good night, then James gives Florida a pat on the rear, saying, 'Lord, help me make it through the night!' Ernie leaves, saying he has a client to see. James gives him a spare key so he can get back in. The men get into bed but JJ insists on sleeping on his usual side. Michael doesn't want to be in the middle and JJ is used to sleeping next to Michael, so they shift till JJ is in the middle. They all say good night, with JJ adding, 'Good night, John-Boy.' Then they fight over the covers and James lays down the law. Then they hear a knock at the door. JJ answers it and it turns out to be two men who grab JJ. James comes out and the one of the men pulls out a gun saying they are looking for Ernie. They say he owes someone $5000 in Cleveland gambling. They have come to collect. James tells them they haven't seen him but JJ spills the beans. Ned the wino comes in thinking there's a pajama party going on and he wasn't invited. James tells the collectors Ernie came and left. They tell James to tell Ernie to come up with the cash. James tells JJ not to tell the others about what happened. When Ernie gets back, James is waiting for him and tells him about the men who came by. Ernie tells him he will take care of it, but James says it's his problem because his family is involved. He tells Ernie to clear out in the morning. The next morning, James tells the family that Ernie will be leaving, but not why. He is still troubled about Ernie but he still doesn't tell the others, but when Willona comes over to borrow the salt and pepper shakers, they are gone. Ernie starts to leave, but James confronts him and finds them in his suitcase; he was going to pawn them off to pay off his debts. He says that he would get $10 for them, then bet on a horse at Arlington Park that would get him in a crap game. Florida says that being addicted to gambling is no different than alcohol or drug addiction. She tells Ernie he needs help but he says he doesn't have a problem and that he got enough lecturing from his wife. She says he first said he wasn't married, but he says he had a wife and two kids but she divorced him because he didn't understand him. James gets the truth about his losing the store gambling too. He tells Ernie to take the salt and pepper shakers and do what he has to do with them. He says if he does, it proves Ernie is sick. He says he's not, but leaves with them, saying he will get them back to James with interest. James tells the kids he's sorry they had to see that, but maybe it's good because it shows them the evils of gambling. JJ says it's 2-to-1 he will never place a bed. James comforts Florida over the loss of their precious gift.