I Sez: Ouch on The Goode Family
Posted by Andrew Unterberger on May 17, 2009
Look, there’s no question that there’s a derth of quality animated programming out there right now. Adult Swim’s lineup has been mostly running in place for years, South Park is almost at the same level as The Simpsons in terms of being past its expiration date, and the only thing really keeping Family Guy at a decent level of watchability is comparison to the other shows it made possible (or soon to no doubt be the case with The Cleveland Show, spun off directly). I even watched an episode of King of the Hill for work tonight, and dear lord–for the better part of a decade, that show was as reliable to give you between a 6 and 8 for every single episode as a classic-period Matchbox 20 hit, but now its cancellation is starting to look more and more like a mercy kill. There needs to be a new show from someone, somewhere, to pick up the slack.
Mike Judge, he behind King and Beavis and Butthead, among other quality non-animated fare, would seem as good a candidate as any to be the cartoon creator to step up and fill the void. But man, does The Goode Family look to be a huge, huge fucking whiff. I mean, a show about over-zealous liberals that satires political correctness? Being near-militant about recycling and veganism? Gawking at homosexuality? Making embarrassing gaffes while attempting to avoid being racist? This is really what’s being counted on to bolster FOX’s once-dominant lineup, to replace a show that’s been as sure a thing as there’s been on TV for 12 years and 252 episodes? It still makes me cringe most of the time when they do this kind of humor on otherwise relatively solid shows like The Office and Curb Your Enthusiasm; to build an entire show around it…it’s almost unfathomable.
And not only is it brutally unfunny, it’s also mind-blowingly out of date. Has this show just been in development hell since 1996? I mean, replace the shit about hybrid cars and Al Gore with some nonsense about hemp or saving the rainforest, and this show–especially with its staid, Judge-trademarked animation style–absolutely looks postmarked from a decade and a half ago. Why aren’t the characters also wearing beanies and tye-died shirts? Are they going to be kicking around a hackey sack instead of drinking in front of the fence? Will there be episodes centered around going to the HORDE festival? Jokes about how difficult it is to pronounce the coffee names at Starbucks? Who’s psyched for the Ani DiFranco and Jeanine Garofalo guest appearances? And I thought Parks and Recreation was a dangerously unimaginative retread.
Worst of all, though–you’ve got a brand-new show to market to the McFarlane/Parker/Stone generation, to be one of the new rocks of your Animation Domination lineup, and the song you use to introduce it in your new audience is…“Two Princes”? The fucking Spin Doctors? Even back in 1996 that would have been a borderline unacceptable decision, to use the song in an ad in this day and age–and the year is currently 2009, unless we’ve lost sight of this–it ends up satirizing themselves better than it does their subject. I mean, nothing against the ‘Docs and all, and I like “Two Princes” as much as anyone (which is to say, a very small and pretty much negligible amount), but to use this song to promote a new edgy show is basically to run a disclaimer across the bottom of the screen that says NOTE: NO ONE INVOLVED WITH THE GOODE FAMILY IS NOW OR HAS EVER BEEN UNDER THE AGE OF 45.
Hey Judge and company–are you sure King of the Hill doesn’t have another couple seasons of fumes left to run on? Might not be the worst thing after all.