Tuesday, May 26, 2009

ABC Summer Pilot Review: The Goode Family - Premieres May 27; TV's 50 Funniest Phrases Airs Tonight

The Goode Family

The Goode Family - Wednesdays 9:00PM ET/PT on ABC
Premieres Wednesday, May 27, 2009 at 9:00PM ET/PT

The Goode Family is a new animated series from Mike Judge (King of the Hill, Beavis and Butt-head), John Altschuler & Dave Krinsky (King of the Hill, Blades of Glory).
With standards always changing, no matter how hard you try to be good, it's virtually impossible these days... especially for the Goode family.
Meet Gerald and Helen Goode, a couple who live by the motto WWAGD ("What Would Al Gore Do?"). Gerald, a college administrator, and Helen, a community activist, are determined to obliterate their carbon footprint on the planet: They're zealous vegans, they drive a hybrid, and they recycle everything possible. Even the family dog, Che, is vegan. In the words of Helen, all the Goodes want to do is buy organic apples and call minorities by their right names. But despite their best efforts, something always goes haywire with their politically correct plans.
Like adopted son Ubuntu - Gerald and Helen thought they were doing the right thing by adopting a baby from Africa, only to learn that Ubuntu was South African... and white. Now a teenager, he eagerly tries to embrace the Goodes' love of things like crafts and organic gardening, even though deep in his gene pool is a drive towards more blue collar pursuits like driving fast, using tools and violent sports. Teenage daughter Bliss is constantly mortified by her parents (especially her mom's efforts to talk openly, girlfriend-to-girlfriend, about sex). Even Che is rebelling against his owners - he's secretly depopulating the neighborhood of every stray squirrel, cat, rabbit and bird in search of a square meal.
Their kids and dog aren't the only ones who find the Goodes hard to understand. Helen's SUV-driving, meat eating dad, Charlie, thinks her efforts to save the planet are just a waste of time. Neighbor Ray Johnson (recurring star Gary Anthony Williams) is bemused at the Goodes' attempts to refer to him by the right ethnic catch phrase ("African American?" "Person of Color?") and the constant drama unfolding right next door.

Cast Details:

* Mike Judge as Gerald Goode
* Nancy Carell as Helen Goode
* David Herman as Ubuntu Goode
* Linda Cardellini as Bliss Goode
* Brian Doyle Murray as Charlie
* Gary Anthony Williams as Ray

The Goode Family is voiced by Mike Judge as Gerald, Nancy Carell as Helen, Dave Herman as Ubuntu, Linda Cardellini as Bliss and Brian Doyle Murray as Charlie. Gary Anthony Williams is recurring as their black neighbor Ray.

Mike Judge (Gerald Goode) considered cartooning a hobby while he toiled as bassist for Anson Funderburgh and Doyle Bramhall, but when MTV picked up his 1992 short, Frog Baseball, animation history was made. The network simultaneously decided to spin-off Beavis and Butt-Head into a show of its own, making him the premier animator of the 1990s. The creation of these two teenage icons led to his next equally successful project, Fox TV's King of the Hill. Judge expanded his artistic endeavors into directing films such as 1999's cult classic, Office Space, featuring Jennifer Aniston, and his underrated Idiocracy, with Luke Wilson, as well as doing voices for South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut and acting in Robert Rodriguez' Spy Kids series. Writer, actor, producer, director, composer, animator, musician... Mike Judge is many things, but nothing beats making it okay for grownups to hold up their hands and proclaim, "I am Cornholio!"

Nancy Carell (Helen Goode) got her start in comedy at The Second City, and from there went on to join the cast of Saturday Night Live. She appeared for three years as a correspondent and guest host on The Daily Show. Carell has been a recurring character on the comedy series The Office as Carol Stills, the real estate agent and former girlfriend of Michael Scott. Her feature film work includes The 40 Year Old Virgin and Anger Management. She and her husband, Steve Carell (The Office), have two children.

David Herman (Ubuntu Goode) was one of the eight original cast members of Fox's late night sketch comedy show, Mad TV. In 1997 he began doing voice work on the Fox animated sitcom King of the Hill" where he met writer/director/actor Mike Judge. He was so impressed with Herman that he cast him as Michael Bolton in his critically acclaimed cult hit, Office Space. He also began doing voices for the Fox animated sitcom Futurama.

Linda Cardellini (Bliss Goode) is well known for her portrayal of Nurse Samantha Taggart on the NBC series ER. She has reprised her role, which she originated in 2003, in its 15th and final season. Cardellini first came to prominence starring as academic decathlete Lindsay Weir on the Emmy Award-winning series Freaks and Geeks, which has recently enjoyed a renaissance on DVD. In 2005 Cardellini delivered a heartfelt performance as a jilted lover in Ang Lee's highly acclaimed, award-winning drama, Brokeback Mountain. Last year she starred with Val Kilmer and Steve Zahn in the epic CBS miniseries Comanche Moon. Cardellini captured the hearts of young girls, boys and teenagers worldwide for her portrayal of Velma in Warner Bros.' popular Scooby-Doo and Legally Blonde, as well as in the Adam Sandler produced comedy, Grandma's Boy.

Brian Doyle Murray (Charlie, Helen's father) has appeared in such films as Daddy Day Camp, Nearing Grace, Snowdogs, Bedazzled, Drowning Mona, Stuart Little, As Good As It Gets, Waiting for Guffman, Jury Duty, Cabin Boy, Coneheads, Groundhog Day, Wayne's World, JFK, Nothing But Trouble, Christmas Vacation, How I Got Into College, Ghostbusters II, The Experts, Scrooged, Club Paradise, Legal Eagles, The Razor's Edge, Sixteen Candles and National Lampoon's Vacation. His television work includes Yes, Dear, Lucky, Family Guy, King of The Hill, Seinfield, Ellen, The Martin Short Show, Married with Children, Roseanne, Bakersfield PD and many others. In addition he appeared in over 50 episodes of Saturday Night Live and was nominated for three Emmy Awards for writing for the series. As a writer, he also co-wrote the hit comedy film, Caddyshack.

Pilot Plot:

We have received the first three episodes for air for review!

#1 (PROD #101) "Pilot" (Airs Wednedsay, May 27, 2009)
In the premiere episode, "Pilot," Helen is distraught when Bliss, fed up with her mom's trying to talk to her about sex, joins an abstinence group. Things go from bad to worse when Bliss asks her father, Gerald, to take her to the group's purity ball. Meanwhile Ubuntu turns 16 and wants to learn how to get his driver's license.
Guest voice cast: Gary Anthony Williams as Ray/the DMV Person/Ted, Mo Collins as the Checker/Lucy, Dee Bradley Baker as Che, and Julia Sweeney as Margo.
"Pilot" was written by John Altschuler, Mike Judge and Dave Krinsky, and directed by Wes Archer.

#2 (PROD #106) "Pleatherheads" (Airs Wednesday, June 3, 2009)
Gerald and Helen have a tough time adjusting to the demands of being a football family after Ubuntu unexpectedly becomes a star on high school football team. Meanwhile, Bliss tries some unorthodox ways to improve her college prospects.
Special Guest Voice: Adam Carolla. Guest voice cast: Bob Odenkirk as Brian Kennedy, Gary Anthony Williams as Ray/Coach/Mr. Alvarez, Amy Hill as Jacki/Kiki, Phil Lamarr as Mr. Whitmore/Solosolo and Laraine Newman as Mo/Nice Old Lady.
"Pleatherheads" was written by Dave Jeser & Matt Silverstein and directed by John Rice.

#3 (PROD #102) "Goodes Gone Wild" (Airs Wednesday, June 10, 2009)
Helen sees a way to win her father's approval when he takes a shine to one of the rescues at her pet adoption. Unfortunately, it's a disgusting animal of unknown origin named Gutterball who has to stay with the Goodes because Charlie's "home" doesn't allow pets. While Helen copes with Gutterball, their dog Che gives Gerald a hand with the college's squirrel problem.
Guest voice cast: Gary Anthony Williams as Ray/the Animals First Leader, Dee Bradley Baker as the Animals First Leader/Che/Gutterball, Lori Nasso as Penny and Julia Sweeney as Margo.
"Goodes Gone Wild" was written by Jordana Arkin and directed by John Rice.


I received for review the first three episodes airing. This animated comedy is produced by Media Rights Capital (MRC). It is about a family who wants to do good for the world, but they just can't get it right. They are learning on the way, though. This family is certainly a 21st century family, as they are vegans and an energy saving family. The father and mother (Gerald and Helen) are trying their very best to practice what they believe in, but you'll see not always what they believe is what they actually believe in.
The family is pretty likable. If you like current animated comedies like The Simpsons and King of the Hill, and animation styles of King of the Hill and Beavis & Butt-head then you'll certainly will want to watch this show. Mike Judge has created a show about a family that we can all relate with. It honestly reminds me of a live-action comedy. It is a great family comedy that you'll enjoy. This show has a lot of pop-culture related jokes to make it even more hip.
The characters are pretty interesting. The father, Gerald is probably the one who wants to do the most "good." He works for the local college as an administrator. His wife, Helen also believes in "good" but sometimes her inner bad comes out, as you'll see in many episodes. They have a teenaged daughter, Bliss, that is pretty smart and attractive as well (she reminds me of the type of girl on Beavis & Butt-head). She doesn't really like the "good" way, but still does it. They also have an adopted son named Ubuntu. He was adopted from South Africa, but he is white. He dresses like an African as well. He is a bit eccentric and likes to do good, but as you'll see even he tries to be wild at times. The family also has a dog named Che. He is a vegan dog, but hates it. Gerlad and Helen have no idea that he eats wildlife when they are not looking. Rounding out the characters are Helen's father Charlie, who does not like at all what this family practices and their neighbor Ray, who is black and the family tries to be "politically correct" with him.
In the first episode, it is basically about Helen and Bliss, as Bliss is fed up with her mom's trying to talk to her about sex so she joins an abstinence group. She even goes to a purity ball, but it doesn't work out. Also in the episode Ubuntu turns 16 and wants to learn how to get his driver's license.
In the second episode airing, Ubuntu joins the high school football team, but his parents sees the demands of being a football family are not good and they do some not so "good" things. Also in the episode Bliss tries ways to get into college.
In the third episode airing, Helen never has had her father's approval, but when he takes a shine to one of the rescues at her pet adoption...she tries to take advantage. The catch is it's a disgusting animal of unknown origin named Gutterball who has to stay with the Goodes because Charlie's "home" doesn't allow pets. Also in the episode their dog Che gives Gerald a hand with the college's squirrel problem as he goes wild without them knowing again. The episodes get better and better...maybe because we are now engulfed with the family.


This show is pretty funny. It is a show about the family itself and not a show about to be a vegan or drive hybrid cars. So don't get freaked out by them saying "What Would Al Gore Do?" This family wants to do "good," but it is so hard to do that, as you'll see with every episode. The show premieres after last summer's biggest hit Wipeout, so the premiere should be sampled in the ratings. Promos have been airing a lot over the past few months, so this is not just a summer burn-off. ABC has ordered 13 episodes, but only 6 are airing this summer (and wow, I've seen 3 of them already). I'm thinking if this show does well, you could see it in the regular season perhaps in the winter on Tuesday nights with Scrubs and Better Off Ted? I've never really watched much of King of the Hill, but I do like The Simpsons and the family element of that show makes it so likeable and it is shown here as well. I did like Judge's other show Beavis & Butt-head, though the only thing similar about that show with The Goode Family is the animation style.
I think if you're going to give this a try, give it a few episodes. I think I liked it more and more because I saw more than one episode. Think about it, sampling something with just one episode is not a good sample. This is the summer, so there won't be much new scripted programming anyway...so stick with it! The episodes get better and better. We need a good animated comedy that is not on Fox. It is very watchable and the laughs are also there. The Goode Family is a "goode" show and I was surprised!

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4.5/5
Funniness: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by pavanbadal on 05/26/09

Discuss the show after you watch it on Wednesday, May 27 on our message board.

Related Links:

  • ABC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • The Goode Family Photo Gallery

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