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The Goode Family: The Complete Series DVD Review
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Dec. 13, 2012 12:01 a.m.

The Goode Family is an animated series created by Mike Judge, John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky, the folks behind the hit show King Of The Hill. (And of course Mike Judge is known for Beavis And Butthead, Office Space and Idiocracy.) The Goode Family aired on ABC in 2009, and didn't last long, which is a shame because it's a really good show. Like a lot of folks, I missed this series when it originally aired, so I'm glad this DVD gave me a chance to enjoy it. This two-disc set includes all thirteen episodes, as well as lots of bonus material.
The Goode Family is about a somewhat poor family (named the Goodes) who are doing their best to do the right thing in all aspects of their lives - to do everything possible to help the environment, to be on the right side of every social issue, to be peaceful, and so on. And the running theme of the series is that is really hard to be good. Or, at least to be good all the time. The opening shot of the pilot sets the tone. It is a bumper sticker which reads, "Support Our Troops...And Their Opponents." Perfect, right?
Gerald Goode (voiced by Mike Judge) and his wife Helen (Nancy Carell) have adopted a baby from Africa, but due to some mishap, ended up with a white baby from South Africa. So of course now the boy, Ubuntu, is an African American. (That is wonderful - I've always said that Charlize Theron is my favorite African American actor.) The pilot episode has another great sequence about what black people are supposed to be called these days, and pokes fun at ridiculous terms like "African American" and "People of Color." They also have a biological daughter named Bliss, who sometimes offers a dissenting voice in the family. Another member of the family who tries to offer a dissenting view is the dog, who they have forced to be vegan and who has consequently turned to devouring neighborhood pets.
Episodes include a pet adoption drive, the need for public radio, a restaurant owner who doesn't consider chicken to be meat, and community service (the last in an episode that asks the important question, "What are The Hamptons anyway?"). One of my favorite episodes is "A Tale Of Two Lesbians," which features the great line, "Because anyone can create art, but not just anyone can buy it." By the way, during that episode's party scene, pay attention to all the additional background voices. One of them says, "I was against Katrina."
I actually enjoyed this show more than King Of The Hill. Maybe it's because I could related to these characters more. I am a vegetarian, and I try to recycle everything I can (after reducing and reusing, of course). And I try to cause as little harm to the world as possible. So it's wonderful to have a show poke a bit of fun at that, because, after all, there is humor in everything. When I was living in Eugene, Oregon, I used to get upset because of lot of the left-wing folks had no sense of humor about themselves. It was difficult, because I agreed with basically everything they were saying, but I hated the way they were saying it. I wonder if those people will enjoy this DVD. I hope so.
Bonus Features
This two-disc set has several bonus features, including commentary tracks on four of the episodes. The commentary tracks are by executive producers John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky. While it's a shame that Mike Judge was unavailable to participate in the commentaries, the tracks are still truly interesting.
On the pilot's commentary track, they talk about how the idea of the show came about, and about their regret that they did not go with the original look for Ubuntu. They also discuss how the network didn't quite understand the time needed for an animated series, as well as some of the reviews (NPR hated the series).
In the commentary for the episode "Goodes Gone Wild," they talk about how Margo was based on an "administrator at a very, very posh private school in Los Angeles who just had everybody under her thumb." They also talk about how it was hard to come up with a name for the animal rights group because the craziest things they came up with were already taken (Eventually they chose Animals Or Else). And they talk about how they couldn't afford the original theme from The Courtship Of Eddie's Father, and so they used a cover version. And in the commentary to "A Tale Of Two Lesbians" they talk about getting great guest cast members in the series, including Elvis Costello.
Also included in the bonus features are deleted scenes from every episode. There is a deleted scene from "Goodes Gone Wild" that is excellent. And I love the garbage acid trip scene from "Freeganomics."
There are also a few short promotional spots, including "Meet The Goode Family," which features some of the actors and producers talking about the characters and idea of the show; "The Music Behind The 'The Good Family'," with the musicians joking about using instruments made from fruit and sticks and whatnot; "Getting To Know Helen Goode," with Nancy Carell talking about her character; and "Trying Hard" promo. There is also an animation test and an unaired PSA.
The disc also includes unproduced scripts for three episodes (that feature works on the computer).
The Goode Family: The Complete Series is scheduled to be released on January 8, 2013 through Shout! Factory.

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