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October 24, 2014

The Goode Family gets gooder with episodes two and three

by Danny Gallagher, posted Jun 5th 2009 10:02AM
The Goode FamilyThe premiere episode of ABC's The Goode Family didn't do a great job of giving its titular family the kinds of three-dimensional emotions and motivations that make them more than just two-dimensional characters.

It seemed to doom the whole series to the bland, predictable taste of a tofu hot dog.

Last Wednesday's double feature of Goode Family episodes gave the family and even some of the lesser characters more depth and funnier situations. The Goode Family may not be so bad after all.

The second and third episodes presented very funny situations that challenged the family to face their beliefs in the context of the rest of the world and even within their own family. It also expanded on some of the characters' behaviors and motivations and made them seem like more than just a gaggle of granola-eating hippies.

The first episode features the Goode's adopted South African son Ubuntu getting his big shot on the high school football team, an episode that seemed very promising since the title alone, "Pleatherheads," made me laugh. I'm a sucker for a funny title. That probably explains why I also like porn, sort of.

Ubuntu becomes the team's star tight end and almost immediately becomes the star player because he can create the kind of blockage that only a Double Quarter Pounder value meal can replicate. This brings Helen's red state father Charlie from behind the curtain and unveils some of the motivations that can turn Helen into a jabbering mental patient. She's clearly running from her father and his meat-eating, gun toting, racist ways but is willing at the same time to seek his affections without compromising herself or her family. This dynamic creates some great tension between the two with the Goode patriarch Gerald often caught in the crosshairs and helps the comedy float faster to the surface.

This dynamic carries over to the second episode, "Goodes Gone Wild" (again, made me laugh, but not because it sounds like porn). Helen is stuck with a hideous adopted pet that only someone like Charlie can adore, and it drives her to seek her father's approval, even if the pet gives her entire family ebola. The pet alone, nicknamed Gutterball, was worthy of laughter. This hideous, green drooling, partially shaved blob of an animal got a lot of laughs from me and it didn't even have any lines. It's dumb, expressionless face interspersed with its ability to pick its nose with its tongue was very funny all by itself. It reminded me of why I admire Mike Judge and company's work so much. There is just as much wit and humor to be found in the design and imagery as there is in the script.

The same can also be said for porn.

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