By popular demand of @lilydiamond and @angusisley, a thumbnail list of life lessons I picked up from this groundbreaking Norman Lear situation dramedy of the 1970s (but I watched it after school in the 80s, between What's Happenin'! and Sanford & Son)
  1. There has never been, nor will there ever be, a television actor as compelling or with as much gravitas as Esther Rolle. Period, the end.
    5fcff9f2 6eb1 40b2 88d5 dc5864baf070
  2. I learned as much about levity and commedia dell'arte from watching JJ and Thelma clown around, as I could from eleventy-two seasons of Shakespeare in the Park.
    B97fa240 4598 428d a1ba d1a7130338a6
  3. I was Michael, Michael was me. And that's good, because it meant I wasn't Penny.
    70a5773d 31a9 4805 a375 595ca1276a2f
  4. And I don't mean that in a gender-normative, sexist way. I mean my mother, for whatever faults she may have had, never burned me with an iron.
    2c27ea3d 0dd7 4688 a371 a0eaa925dff7
  5. James's death was the first time I saw a family deal with profound loss and grief. It's still the purest emotion I can recall seeing on television.
    E7c89ef9 bd18 4519 a2d1 091cb3f8967d
  6. When I found out relatively recently that he was killed off and written out of the show because he was a pain in the ass to work with, it became a new lesson I use in my erstwhile acting career.
    Cad773fe c100 4aa0 833e 2d07a6043b90
  7. Be suspicious of every department store's dressing room mirrors... Wilona's ethics were tested, but that was a different time.
    4c480b3e 7360 44f1 97e2 fe444c1ef3fc
  8. Art can always be a way out of your current situation. JJ painted to get out of the ghetto. I act and write to stay out of the south/suburbs.
    7cca3d57 8e77 4087 92e4 228c9d1607ab
  9. Supers are shifty, avoid them like the plague and bond with your neighbors by calling them "buffalo butt."
    6ca5f08b d095 4b9c 9fb7 51ed4004fae9
  10. Poor or rich, you are only as good as the community you build, no matter the one you're born into.
    464a7205 5e2e 41fc 90af d0885e25bdab
  11. A theme song can be a rallying cry.