Wednesday, May 27, 2009

TV Review: The Goode Family


If you weren't saddened by the cancellation of King of the Hill a few months ago, you can stop reading now. As a fan of all things Mike Judge, my following review will make positive remarks about the observational genius' latest cartoon sitcom. Are the haters gone? Okay, let's talk about The Goode Family.

I just finished watching the pilot episode. Throughout the half hour, I laughed a few times. Nothing was hilarious, but I felt the familiar warmth of Judge's trademark satire. As was the case with King of the Hill, Office Space and Idiocracy (and even Beavis and Butthead to an extent), Judge is still concerned with the theme of morality. That is, he is concerned with what people define as "moral" anyway.

King of the Hill delivered over 10 years of commentary on the moral majority in conservative America. Office Space made us ask "what's wrong" with our working lives. Idiocracy took a telescope to intellectual responsibility. And now, The Goode Family is going straight to the core of contemporary morality. What does it mean to be good? And can it be funny?

Following the lives of a "green family" in the suburbs, the Goodes are doing everything they can to live ethically sound lives in 21st century America. And how do they define their ethics? Well through ecology of course. That's how to "be good" nowadays!

Jokes were so numerous, it became hard to keep up with the rapid pace of the show. From forgetting the canvas bags at Whole Foods to accidentally buying two-ply toilet paper, this show was loaded with sarcastic material. And for this reason, I'm looking forward to watching it again next week. It might take all season for this one to really find a good flow, but once it catches the drift, it's going to be an incredible social commentary on the philosophies of the modern American do-gooder.

One of my favorite lines came from a character with minimal screen time, he was a liberal know-it-all with absurdly pretentious ambitions. This scuzzy teenager was talking to the teenage Goode daughter about his ambitions as follows: "If the Declaration of Independence were written today, it wouldn't be written at all. It would be a documentary film." Lines like this were at a rate of about 25 a minute.

The Goode Family has some very good ideas, and a lot of them are pretty funny too. We've been in need of a satire on the Green movement for years now, and Mike Judge is bringing it with all he's got.

So watch this show. Support the good art that makes us think while we laugh. And remember to ride your bicycle to work, recycle, eat vegan, quote Obama as much as possible and feel guilty about your consumeristic lifestyle. 8 pm Chicago time on ABC.

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