The Goode Family



Reviewer Gabe Delahaye has some harsh words for Mike Judge's new comedy The Goode Family:

Perfect, a sweatshop joke is already a winner, always, but when it's used in conjunction with a character's status anxiety, with the implication being that the sole reason for doing any of the environmentally conscious or culturally engaged behaviors and activities that the Goode Family do throughout the episode is really just a desperate attempt to win some kind of popularity contest. Nice. I know this is supposed to be humorous, and that in comedy exaggeration is key, but come on. For one, no one actually gives a shit what bag anyone's carrying (An Inconvenient Bag joke? Seriously?) and second of all, since I suppose I belong in some part to the community being mocked, I'm capable of pointing out that reusable bags never cost anything near $10. They're affordably priced as an encouragement to consumers to use them. And wait, am I really supposed to believe that a vegan woman who has installed solar paneling on her home and won't even drive her hybrid for fear of what it will do to the environment has never heard of reusable shopping bags? Because of course she has.


That paragraph has alot in it to dissect, so here goes.

For one, no one actually gives a shit what bag anyone's carrying (An Inconvenient Bag joke? Seriously?)


While in Berkeley a couple months ago, I visited the Elephant Pharmacy, a yuppified organic food mecca. For sale were reusable bags that literally said "What would Al Gore do?" That's even more ridiculous than "An Inconvenient Bag," and a true story to boot.

Next:

since I suppose I belong in some part to the community being mocked, I'm capable of pointing out that reusable bags never cost anything near $10. They're affordably priced as an encouragement to consumers to use them.


Goodness gracious. This is very revealing and threatens to sink Delahaye's entire review. His being offended by having his countercultural group mocked shows him to be exactly part of the group that is the target of Mike Judge. Sure, when the suburban mediocrity of Beavis and Butt-Head and King of the Hill was Judge's target, he was to be loved. When targeting holier-than-thou leftists, he is to be loathed.

As for who the show is made for, it's made for people like me, your average American who follows what they think is right over dogma or adherence to one ideology or subgroup. Because people like me don't fall easily into categories, Gabe Delahaye may have a hard time identifying us.

2 comments:

le chat noir | June 3, 2009 at 3:32 PM

I would have liked to read a more in depth analysis of Gabe's argument as well as yours and why you actually enjoy the show similar to the other detailed, thorough articles you've written for other publications.

BUT.

I think one of Gabe's arguments is that he could have very well enjoyed this show even though he identifies with these very liberal characters because "Over-the-top extreme liberals are funny just like everything extreme is funny." I don't think it's about him being "offended."

But his problem with this show is that the "jokes fall flat" they are dated and not very concise in details about the targeted group. He can't laugh at himself and his group of liberals because the jokes seem very uninformed.

Moreso, people are embracing this lifestyle more and more now that the world is going to end so to make fun of it NOW is just kind of lame especially if the jokes about the targeted group are inaccurate.

His other problem is that these characters aren't exactly likeable, they do foolish things all the time. BUT, their "enemies" are Evangelicals.

This is why he asks who this show is for? Who is he supposed to root for? I mean, to laugh at an extreme group's buffoonery every week gets old. He wants to invest in these characters but it's hard.

And although you don't think you fit into a category, you do. You fit in the category of "people like you" maybe not "easily" but still. And the fact that you enjoy this show which is targeted at a certain group of people, in a way perpetuates the creations of these categories. You're laughing at extreme leftist liberals. And that's fine, it's funny. But only if it's done right.

Gabe wrote a very convincing article.

Michael | June 3, 2009 at 6:48 PM

I've only met a few people like me and they were very strange indeed. I think if a network developed stuff for us, it would look a bit more like Ren and Stimpy or The Mighty Boosh than The Goode Family.

As for flat jokes, I do see that. I think that overall the show was mediocre and did rely on schtick. That would have been better explained in a lengthy piece. I remember the first King of the Hill episode being rather bland as well.

My post mostly focused on Gabe's hangups about the bag scene. There he very much revealed himself to be a member of the demographic being satirized.