DVD Review: The Goode Family (The Complete Series)

Ever chuckle at the people at Whole Foods with their cloth bags, sandals and Save the World stickers plastered all over their double parked SUV? They try so hard to follow a hippie dream. When they slip, the natural tendency is to mock their hypocrisy. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to eat healthy, conserve electricity and be nice to others. But there’s a point where the people doing it can be so damn annoying in their crusades. The Goode Family was Mike Judge’s attempt find comedy in a character that was a kindred spirit, yet opposite of King of the Hill‘s Hank Hill. The show ran in the summer of 2009 and now all 13 episodes are available on The Goode Family: The Complete Series.

Gerald Goode (Mike Judge) seems related to David Van Driessen, the hippie teacher on Beavis and Butthead. He means well as he dreams of being the ultimate recycling, healthy eating and globally aware guy in the neighborhood. His wife Helen (SNL‘s Nancy Carell) does her best to keep up with the other green ladies in town. She is tortured by her conservative dad (Brian Doyle-Murray). The couple have an adopted son Ubuntu. They wanted a South African baby. They were surprised to get a white one. They do their best to keep him in touch with his African roots making him look like a ’90s De La Soul groupie. Their daughter Bliss (Freaks and Geeks‘ Linda Cardellini) thinks her parents are strange like any teenager does. Finally there’s the dog Che who doesn’t appreciate his vegan meals. He often eats out by dining on neighborhood animals.

“Pilot” introduces the family and their extreme green lifestyle. Mom and dad have decided their daughter is at the age to be sexually active. She’s creeped out by their concern so much so that she embraces the abstinence only outlook. Dad gets dragged into the conservative lions den known as a father-daughter pledge dance. “The Pleatherheads” puts the family in an odd position when Ubuntu gets recruited for the school’s football team. “Goodes Gone Wild” is a hairy animal tale. Helen hopes to win her father’s love by adopting an odd animal from the shelter. “Helen’s Back” shows how far they’ll go to have a great looking organic garden.

“A Tale of Two Lesbians” shames the family at the true lack of diversity in their friends. “Freeganomics” ponders how to get rid of a house guest without being rude. “Graffiti in Greenville” gets gritty with one of the family members learning to paint on the wild style. “A Goode Game of Chicken” shocks Gerald when his vegan meal has chicken. How will he deal with a chef who made him eat forbidden food. “After-School Special” makes the Goodes mentor at risk kids. Trouble happens when their neglected kids become troubled teens. “Public Disturbance” raises the evil specter of NPR coming to town. “Trouble in Store” is the family’s worst nightmare. They’re banned from the faux-Whole Foods grocery store. How will they eat? “Gerald’s Way or the Highway” pits the family against drug smugglers. Can they protect themselves with positive thought? “A Goode Man is Hard to Find” makes Gerald get into the world of donating more than newspapers or blood to help a cause.

The Goode Family lasted as long as it needed to exist. It’s hard to imagine that the show airing for over a decade like King of the Hill. There just seems to be a limited comedy appeal to the family. Gerald Goode makes a better odd neighbor than a lead character. It would be like Ned Flanders getting a spin-off series from The Simpsons. Mike Judge hopes The Goode Family would get the same comeback as Family Guy and Futurama. The 13 episodes creatively mine the best of Goode’s potential. If there is more to explore, the Goodes should move next door to the new cartoon family on the block.

The Episodes
“Pilot,” “Pleatherheads,” “Goodes Gone Wild,” “Helen’s Back,” “A Tale of Two Lesbians,” “Freeganomics,” “Graffiti In Greenville,” “A Goode Game of Chicken,” “After-School Special,” “Public Disturbance,” “Trouble in Store,” “Gerald’s Way or the Highway” and “A Goode Man is Hard to Find.”

The video is 1.78 anamorphic. The transfer look as fresh as when you saw the show in 2009. The audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. You can hear that Prius engine wrapping around the room. The episodes are Closed Captioned.

Commentary tracks feature Executive producers John Altschuler and Dave Krinksy on “Pilot,” “Goodes Gone Wild,” “A Tale of Two Lesbians” and “A Goode Game of Chicken.”

Unproduced Scripts are three episodes that were next on the production slate when ABC pulled the plug. This is a DVD-ROM feature so you can read things properly.

Meet The Goode Family (4:05) is the ABC introduction for the show. You get to see Mike Judge doing the voice of Mr. Goode.

Deleted Scenes are parts of the show that were cut in the pencil stage. The dialogue is raw recordings. There are a few scenes that made it the ink and paint department.

The Goode Family: The Complete Series dares to look at a family trying to live up to Al Gore’s ideal. The show is funny without being too snide at the family. The 13 episodes bring out the best of the Goodes. Consider taking a reusable bag to the store when you buy the boxset.

Shout! Factory presents The Goode Family: The Complete Series. Starring: Mike Judge, Linda Cardellini and Brian Doyle-Murray. Boxset Contents: 13 episodes on 2 DVDs. Released: January 8, 2012. Available at Amazon.com


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