'The Goode Family' smarter than it is funny
ABC's "The Goode Family" tries to mine its humor by putting characters in situations that conflict with their values.
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Where "King of the Hill" focused on a mainstream, semi-conservative family, new animated comedy "The Goode Family" (9 tonight, WTAE) centers on a wildly liberal clan. But the show is an equal opportunity offender, mocking both the Goodes and the conservative crackpots they meet in the world.
As a comedy, it's not-quite good enough. "Goode" is smart but not as funny as its creators imagine as the show introduces recognizable characters and puts them in situations that conflict with their values. That approach threatens to get repetitive, but since ABC is clearly burning the show off in the summer, it's not like it will be around long enough to go stale.
In tonight's premiere, written by series creators and "King of the Hill" veterans Mike Judge, Dave Krinsky and John Altschuler, viewers meet the crunchy Goodes, including slightly more practical father Gerald (voice of Judge), more radical mom Helen (Nancy Carell), daughter Bliss (Linda Cardellini) and oversize son Ubuntu (Dave Herman).
- When: 9 tonight, ABC
- Starring the voices of: Mike Judge, Linda Cardellini.
The Goodes adopted Ubuntu 16 years ago, thinking they would get a black baby, but they missed a check box on the adoption form and ended up with a white child from South Africa.
There are all sorts of jokes about the Goodes as vegans -- they even imagine their dog, Che, is vegan -- and they debate amongst themselves whether a black neighbor is considered an African-American or Person of Color.
The Goodes shop at a Whole Foods-like store and Helen almost has a nervous breakdown when she realize she forgot to bring her reusable shopping bags. In these scenes the show is too on-the-nose with obvious attempts to skewer self-righteous liberals ("WWAGD? What Would Al Gore Do?" one character asks).
It's funnier when the show plays off less obvious but still recognizable stereotypes ("'The View' is on," Gerald tells Helen. "The pretty one is saying crazy stuff again.") or when "Goode" focuses more on the characters (next week's episode reveals Helen is a closet football fanatic).
Even then, "Goode" really does feel too much like the flip side of "King of the Hill." The humor comes from the opposite point of view but it's still a too-similar-to-stand-on-its-own comedy.