Monday, May 25, 2009

'The Goode Family' review - Sepinwall on TV

In today's column, I review "The Goode Family," Mike Judge's new animated ABC comedy, which I found funny in a few spots but mostly disappointing. Because it's Judge, and because it's summer, I'll likely give it a few more shots, but I don't see the premise (the world's most politically correct family) sustaining itself.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised to see you speak with such fondness for "King of the Hill." My husband only got me to sit through a few months of it before I finally pointed out to him that each character was more repellent than the last. The adults were horrible, close-minded, nasty, bigoted, and frankly stupid people who reveled in their own ignorance -- including Peggy, the alleged teacher -- and the kids were marginally better only because they hadn't been 'alive' long enough to get that way.

Your description of this show makes it sound just as tin-eared and one-note as KOTH. I enjoy a well-done mocking or clever satire as much as the next person, but this is just pointing and saying "Look how excessive these morons are! And they don't even realize it! Har har har!"

I think of Mike Judge as the anti-Joss-Whedon: if Judge's name is on it, that's reason enough for me NOT to watch.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't agree with your worldview = "Close minded & bigoted"

Hank Hill is one of the most realistic animated characters ever created, unlike almost every other sitcom where the lead guy is a schlub and the wife is a hot genius.

Myles said...

"but I don't see the premise (the world's most politically correct family) sustaining itself."Well played, Alan.

There's nothing else on, so I'll be checking it out even with the uninteresting commercials.

Otto Man said...

Eh, this looks like a Bizarro World version of the conservative spoof in "American Dad." Not funny there, not funny here.

PFJ said...

"I think of Mike Judge as the anti-Joss-Whedon: if Judge's name is on it, that's reason enough for me NOT to watch."

Have you never seen Office Space?

Marquis said...

King of the Hill is very hit or miss.

Hank is close minded and just a little bit ignorant.

The second last episode of the season I think had Bobby on a baseball team and Hank hated it because Bobby wasn't good at it, but the Coach kept encouraging Bobby and he had some success. Hank was eventually brought around to the Coach's way of thinking. Until Bobby ran into some difficulty and the Coach didn't pull him and it kept getting worse until Hank pulled Bobby from the game.

I understand that the lesson we were supposed to take from it is know your limits and no one can be good at everything. It's not fair to give unreasonable expectations

But to paraphrase a quote from another Cartoon TV dad, "Son you tried something and it didn't work out. The lesson is never try."

I'm sure you get that's not a good lesson.

Then in the finale Judge decides to turn a family of Canadians into assholes just to keep Hank as the good guy.

It feels like sometimes King of the Hill is trying to be All in the Family. except that Archie Bunker is right.

From what you've said this seems to be continued in the Goode Family, where the family seem to be the focus of mockery not sympathy.

Kensington said...

Looks like a recipe for comedy gold to me, but whether that turns out to be so or not, I think maybe I've missed out on something special with King of the Hill.

I'm going to start watching that.

ghoti said...

I loved Beavis and Butthead and worship Office Space, but this show looks so aggressively annoying I think I'm going to skip it entirely.

Bruce Reid said...

Marquis: "Then in the finale Judge decides to turn a family of Canadians into assholes just to keep Hank as the good guy."

I agree with your general assessment of the show as "hit or miss," though I'm quite as fond of it as Alan. But I thought the gag in the last episode was that Hank was being driven up the wall not by an asshole but by his Canadian doppelganger, who was every bit as puffed up on regional pride and enforcing the social contract (remember Hank's boasting in the episode how he got that old lady who wouldn't mow her lawn to move) as our nominal hero, only spouting his homilies in a nasal bray rather than a clipped-off twang.

Anonymous said...

Marquis, I think you missed a bit on the baseball episode a few weeks ago. The point was that the coach was puffing up Bobby's confidence to the point where Bobby was thinking about poses for his major league baseball card. The coach was having Bobby run around every base after a dinky grounder. He was giving him all of the confidence and none of the skills, treating him like a superstar in the making. The coach was delusional and passed his delusion onto Bobby. Then when they finally played a game, Bobby not only played poorly but was targeted by the other team, and the coach refused to take him out. His confidence was shattered and he was a laughing stock, but the coach clung to that delusion. Hanks supports Bobby, but has spent pretty much the entire series coming to terms with the fact that his boy isn't good at sports. I liked that episode a lot and thought it would have worked well as series capper, if only because Hank accepting Bobby as being a non-athlete, in baseball in particular, was a part of the opening scene of the first episode.

Yes, the show was hit or miss the last few seasons, espcially when they had Peggy bouncing from job to job at a whim, and the introduction of Lucky was a deathknell, but when KotH was clicking, it was one of the best drawn shows on TV. And I don't mean the artwork. I mean they had the most clearly defined characters, so that you knew exactly where they were all coming from no matter what the situation. You knew them like you know your own neighbors (or better)

Isaac Lin said...

When it was at its best, King of the Hill's strength was showing Hank trying to be broader-minded than the viewpoints that had been fostered by his upbringing and environment. Unfortunately, in the past few seasons, the writers have failed at maintaining the personalities they had built up for each of the characters. Anyone wanting to see King of the Hill in its prime should skip the pilot (where the rough brush strokes are still visible) and later seasons and watch reruns from its earlier seasons.

Anonymous said...

I think King of the Hill and Friday Night Lights should be required viewing for those of us who live in the Blue States. Both those shows really add a lot of empathy/humanity to people who live in Texas, which should be considered before we dismiss them for not nearly being as intelligent as we are.

King of the Hill was really funny and well written. It was one of the better shows of the past ten years; possibly, it was the most underrated.

I loved Beavis and Butthead. Office Space is classic. I didn't like Idiocracy. But I'm definitely going to give this show a try.

BF said...

Sounds like "Mr. Van Driessen: The Series" to me.

mrsb said...

As someone who was raised and spent most of her life in Texas, I abhor King of the Hill. Every character on the show is a podunk, redneck hillbilly.

Having that show represent Texas is like having The Real Housewives of NJ represent the women of New Jersey.

dez said...

I know people like Hank and some of the other characters on KotH and not a one of them is from Texas. I never viewed the show as representative of Texans.

Anonymous said...

I was born, raised, and educated in Texas, and am even a social liberal. Yet I LOVE King of the Hill. *Of course* its characters are not the full cross-section of Texas society; they're the guys Mike Judge saw hanging out in the alley in his Garland neighborhood. They're semi-blue-collar, slightly ignorant, but basically decent.

It comes closer to capturing mainstream Texas than almost any other show I've seen--right down to the Texas-shaped clock on the kitchen wall.

Anonymous said...

This show is not funny, period. The reason is not the fact that it's making fun of "green" families, but that there isn't much to it. Seriously, how many episodes can they really make out of this show? I think King of the Hill is very funny because of its realistic characters, maybe because I'm not a redneck. But I'm not a hippie either (I barely recycle). This show is nothing but consecutive meant-to-be cheap shots. I put this on the same category as the tasteless cartoon published on the New York Times about president Obama.

Anonymous said...

I was looking forward to The Goode Family because I am so saddened by the cancellation of King of the Hill. I am quite shocked at people saying KOTH is close-minded and bigoted. I don't know of another television show that has taken on so many issues with such intelligence and humor.

This is a show that has Hank Hill joining an organic grocery store coop because he values quality and customer service. It shows how gentrification adversely affects existing neighborhoods. In my opinion, it has the most realistic kids I have ever seen in a TV show. Hank might cringe sometimes that Bobby does not fit the stereotypical gender role, but the show does not mock Bobby for it and clearly Hank and Peggy love their son.

King of the Hill reruns are about the only reason this liberal Texan lesbian still subscribes to cable. Whenever the KOTH box set comes out, I'll probably cancel it.