The Biotic Woman: The Goode Family makes for good TV
I'm a little late to the party on this one, but I must say: when did ABC get so progressive? Granted, they canceled the show I'm about to plug, and Comedy Central recently canceled the syndication as well. But still! Because I currently have to rely on the internets for my American TV shows (save the ridiculous smattering of FBI/cop shows they export to Danish television), I'm only now catching the recently-canceled reruns of the short-lived animated sitcom by Office Space/Beavis and Butthead creator Mike Judge, The Goode Family.
The Goodes are the epitome of clueless liberals—painfully white, completely unaware of what PC language they oughta be using, and seemingly unwilling to learn why that might matter beyond not embarrassing themselves or their Black neighbor. Their adopted son, ironically named Ubuntu, marks "African American" on his driver's license because while White, he was born in South Africa and thus African American, his academic father insists to the black man at the DMV. Obsessed with environmentalism, the Goodes drive a hybrid, though dad mostly bikes everywhere and is often seen in his bike gear, totally out of context. The family is vegan, shops at a ridiculously expensive snooty grocery, and even gives their dog Che vegan dog food (though he often sneaks off to chase and eat neighborhood animals). The entire premise—if you have enough progressive political awareness to get the jokes and can laugh at yourself—is riotously funny.
The humor in this show is excellent for several reasons. It points to the reality that veganism isn't monolithic, even if mainstream veg*n movements often look and sound incredibly homogenous. It also isn't true that veganism doesn't have to be expensive, nor does any healthy eating really. (I won't get into the vegan pet food debate here, though if you feel like it, chime in.) Ubuntu, who is portrayed as a bit dopey, often recites things like "meat is murder" without thinking and loves to drag race the hybrid—as long as his parents don't find out. Bonus points for Julia Sweeney voicing one of the petty adult female characters who's constantly, self-righteously keeping tabs on the Goodes.
Another classic scene for feminist avengers is in the show's pilot episode, when daughter Bliss goes to a purity ball by accident. She and her dad are equally freaked and try to escape before they're forced to participate in a marriage-like ceremony to seal her virginity to her father. The gag runs later that Bliss will often choose the conservative option in life just to freak out her parents, but her genuine horror at the virginity pledges is truly hilarious.
I doubt calling ABC or Comedy Central will bring the show back, but fear not. Episodes are on YouTube and, um, other places where you might find digital video online.
Did you see The Goode Family on the air? Did you love or hate it? If you didn't catch it the first time, join me in catching up.
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