This is “The Breakdown” where we look at some of the biggest moments in our lives (and by “our lives,” we mean stuff that was happening on TV) and get at the heart of what makes these scenes and characters so unforgettable with five thoughts.

This week, we’re returning to the show that left such a mark on us all — “Good Times.” Specifically, we are looking at the episode 501, which is technically called “The Evans Get Involved” — however, we all know it as “The One When Penny Got Burned with an Iron.” (Catch a marathon Friday night at 8/7c and Saturday starting at 8am/7c).



1. This should probably go without saying, but OMG wasn’t little Janet Jackson adorable?!? Those big eyes and cute voice, it’s hard to imagine that sweet little girl would grow up to not only rule the pop world (sorry Bey) but sing songs that would make a Kardashian blush.

2. “But you disobeyed me didn’t you?” Oh man, nothing says “you’re about to get your ass beat” than a calm parent dropping a line like this while not looking at you. We’d like to thank/hate actress Chip Fields (Kim’s mom BTW) for our PTSD flashbacks since she played the exact right mix of cool and crazy that we all witnessed before all hell broke loose. Of course, we never got burned with an iron, but we get it.

3. Speaking of irons, since we KNOW what’s going to happen, we can’t take our eyes off of it while crazy-mom pretends to be normal — just ironing that shirt like she’s NOT totally about to burn her child. It’s like watching someone walk around with a loaded gun.

4. Straight-up, this feels like a horror film. And what makes it so horrifying is what’s NOT happening. We don’t know about you, but by the time our mom was ready to grab the belt, she was screaming mad. Not this mom. And maybe that’s the point. This is not a normal mom and this is not a normal whupping. No matter where you fall on the subject, most of us got hit growing up but “Good Times” knew in order to make this story stick, they had to scare the hell out of us, not just hold up a mirror. Mission accomplished.

5. No shade, but we haven’t seen Janet kill a scene like this in a minute. At only 10 years old, she pushes beyond the “here comes mama with the belt” to a look of soul-deep terror. We know “please mama don’t” has become kind of a silly meme, but actually watching it makes it hard to believe that this was actually on a prime-time comedy. Were we so woke back then that even our sitcoms had to punch us in the gut, damn! 

Got a TV moment you’d love to see us break down? Leave a comment below or hit us up @tvonetv

Want more Breakdowns?

1. “A Different World’s” Wedding Scene

2. “Good Times” Damn, Damn, Damn Moment

3. Max and Kyle Sleep Together on “Living Single”

4. The opening to “What’s Happening!!”