15 shows about working-class families that aren’t Roseanne

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Good Times

This show is the predecessor for all the other shows on this list, and without Good Times, none of these other shows would even be possible. Good Times was one of the first shows to feature an all African-American cast, to tell stories of the working class, and to showcase issues facing the black community at the time.

The premise: The series tells the story of the Evans family, living in a housing project in south Chicago. All five of them live in a two-bedroom apartment. Mother Florida works as a housekeeper for a white family, and James works as a bus driver.

Their three children, Thelma, JJ, and Michael, understand how hard their parents work, and are often forced to face issues that are beyond their years, although JJ and Thelma are practically grown by the time we meet them.

Why you’ll like it: It’s classic American TV. If you need to know where so much of our TV canon gets its narrative style, pacing, casting techniques, dialogue, blocking and so much else, look no further than Good Times. The show was groundbreaking for a lot of reasons, but mostly, it was the best at making us love the characters.

They are some of the most beloved characters of all time, and the show was one of the most simple and essential of all time. Most of the action took place in the two rooms of their tiny apartment, but you never feel limited or boxed in.

Where to find it: While all six seasons are worth the watch, be sure to watch for a young Janet Jackson to join the cast in season five. You can get most episodes on YouTube.