Review: “The Goode Family”  »

The Goode Family
Episode 1, Season 1
A review, by Meave and Joel

Because we are the/a definitive (/arbitrary) guide to modern vegan living, I felt obligated to watch The Goode Family, to see how exactly these ca-razy vegans were being portrayed. I cajoled Joel into watching it with me, to make it less of the drag I feared it would be. This is our story.

(outside the Goodes’ house, the parents are arguing about “what to call” black people.)
Meave: do people still argue about this? I mean, people who grew up post-Civil Rights Act?
Joel: I doubt it.
Meave: Okay, I get it’s “ironic” that the dad elephant dung from circus, but it’s not like a clever aside or anything.
Joel: yeah.

(Che the vegan dog salivates over the neighbor’s beef jerky)
Joel: do you want to write about Hazel, and how she eats chicken bones off the street?
Meave: Hazel likes vegetables, and she’s not starved on her vegan diet. maybe she would like meat, but she gets plenty of sidewalk snacks, and it’s not like she’s vegan “for the animals,” so.
Meave: But she’s definitely not a bloodthirsty predator.

(the parents are remembering the story of adopting their son, Ubuntu, from Africa, and being surprised that he was white instead of black. then they say something about rescuing him from his “viciously racist” birth parents)
Meave: why are parents so obnoxiously naive?
Joel: (shrugs)

(The parents are deciding where to do their grocery shopping)
Meave: why are their two choices the Whole Foods stand-in or the FoodsCo stand in? it seems like really dedicated “good” people would go to farmers markets or use a CSA.
Joel: but it’s necessarily one-dimensional. It’s for people who know what “Whole Foods” is but not what Rainbow is, or who don’t have a Rainbow.
Meave: Yes fine, but now the thing to do is go to farmers markets. There are eight in the city alone, and they’re them EVERYWHERE in the world, once a week in tiny towns, fruit stands off the 80 open six days a week—they’ve been around forever, but now we all go there because we love heirloom tomatoes and independent farmers and no pesticides and so on. I mean, they even have unofficially sanctioned farmers markets in North Korea. This show is so clearly written by people on the outside, as it were.

(mother’s friends brag about the openness of their relationships with their daughters, as opposed to Mrs. Goode’s adversarial relationship with hers)
Meave: Are “modern” mother/daughter relationships really like this? “It’s skanky out there” is kind of a funny line. but “total” openness and honesty is gross. Even my mom, the at-home nudist, knew better than to ask for full disclosure. Ugh.

(dog sniffs at bowl of VEGAN dog food, groans, walks away)
Joel: Dogs will eat anything. A dog would not turn its nose up at a dang thing.
Meave: Dogs eat poo; they’ll definitely eat flaxseed dog food.
Joel: Dogs don’t eat cats.

(Ubuntu has a deep voice, and does not always speak in full sentences)
Meave: Is Ubuntu functionally retarded?
Joel: I don’t know, he might just be fat.
Meave: And that is his “fat” voice.

(closing scene)
Meave: The stuff at the Purity Ball is pretty all right.
Meave: This grandpa is just the the grandpa in—
Joel: —King of the Hill.
Meave: Except with legs.

Joel: That wasn’t quite as terrible as I expected, but it was pretty terrible.
Meave: I didn’t laugh. If they could develop it into a show that’s about more than, “Ha ha, look at the try-too-hard neo-hippies,” it might be all right to see a vegan family on TV.
Joel: Might be.
Meave: But this isn’t the most promising start. It’s not that it’s offensive, you know? It’s that the jokes are old, the references are lame, and it’s boring.

Joel: Would not watch again.
Meave: Would watch one further episode, just in case.

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