David Thompson
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June 29, 2009

Comments

 Simen

While I do enjoy the vegan dog and the missing neighborhood pets, I keep wondering who the joke is on with the Goodes - Is the show making fun of the ultra-PC left-winger, or is it making fun of the preconceptions that people have against the PC left-wingers? I fear that it's a little of both, and thus misses both points.

Of course, one wonders how much fun a comedy about the antics of a German progressive family in the 1930s would be....

-S

David

Simen,

It does seem to be trying to have it both ways, while committing to none. In some respects it’s also much too gentle, in that it doesn’t really acknowledge the vindictiveness and passive-aggressive attitudes that so often go with ostentatious eco-piety, or with socialism in general.

Karen M

Helen's "friend" Margo is the token bitch but everyone in the Goode family has pure motives. They're stupid and fake but they "mean well". They should all be bitches. It would be more realistic.

David

“They should all be bitches. It would be more realistic.”

Heh. Well, yes, it’s a bit of a fudge to offload the really unpleasant attributes to an incidental character. We’re allowed to dislike Margo, who’s depicted as an obvious bitch, but not the main characters, even though they aren’t really that much different. It feels like we’re supposed to forgive their neuroses and pretensions and like them anyway, though for reasons that aren’t clear. Maybe we’re supposed to see them as victims, but that doesn’t seem to work.

TDK

I have no objection to anyone being vegetarian or green or whatever, provided it's in their own space. It's when they demand that I live as they do that it becomes irritating. So attacking people for their beliefs will come off as small minded; attacking them for being proletising prigs is a different matter.

Evangelism always invites ridicule but the Goode family are too meek and ordinary to be ridiculous.

The Goodes should be demanding that power consumption is cut by 80% and then finding they have cut theirs by just 1%. They should be attending conferences and rallies to save the planet and finding they're US Air's best customer. They should hate the maternal grandfather for being a Republican (who we know hate) but then be undercut by the fact that he's actually a nicer person. They should perpetually be talking about giving to the needing but always finding that others like Grandad always gives more to charity.

We don't know anything about the lecturer's study area. Surely he teaches something ridiculous. The potential comedy from him teaching X and then live "Not X" must exist.

In addition the bureaucracy of PC needs to be a target. Our recycling people collect paper. However, paper doesn't mean cardboard or window envelopes. If there's a staple it gets rejected. Then we know that the bulk of this just ends up in landfill anyway. This kind of petty mindedness attached to high expectations is ripe for ridicule.

 Simen

As to cutting only 1%.

I strongly recommend the Finnish-American Katastrofin Aineksia (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0892773/ ) - an idealistic American documentary-maker and his Finnish family go on an 'oil-diet' to prove to themselves (he to himself) that they can live green.

His wife is a saint of patience, until she finally boils over...

Trailer available on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dptitTZqRMc ).

-S

Anna

Simen, does it end in divorce or does she just murder him and go on the run with the kids?

 Simen

Anna, Neither, I'm happy to say. Although she's Finnish, no axes are involved.
It does end on a bitter-sweet 'it didn't matter but it brought us closer together'-note, again showing that it is the experience and the suffering that matters - at least more than tangible results.

-S

David

“…again showing that it is the experience and the suffering that matters - at least more than tangible results.”

That might explain the urge to publicly fret about the politics of showering and deodorant…

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2008/05/sweet-moral-ago.html

And those who declare a deep, deep concern with peanut butter residue.

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2008/03/credentials.html

georges

"The Modern Parents" in VIZ did it so much better. The comedy was much more vindictive, and, err, I guess I liked it that way.

David

A key difference between the two shows is that the main characters in King of the Hill are by and large sincere. Yes, Dale is paranoid and borderline insane, and Peggy may sometimes indulge in grandiose delusions, but by and large the characters are who they appear to be. In The Goode Family, at least half of the characters are chronically insincere. And it’s hard to feel much empathy with characters that are not only deluded but dishonest too.

Tired of Everyone!

Berke Breathed skewered all of this decades ago. As much as I enjoy mocking dim-witted self-righteousness, it's really been done to death. I've never liked Mike Judge's artless drawing anyway.

However, if Camille Paglia writes about this, it might become interesting again.

TDK

Yes the "Modern Parents" were very good.

TDK

More episodes here

http://www.yidio.com/show/the-goode-family

Note that the first link to each episode is ABC which cannot be viewed outside the US. So try the subsequent links for each.

Episode 105 is an improvement - captures that awkward feeling like The Office. Sample: Grandad knows all about Lesbians - he has an extensive video collection.

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