Maybe There’s A Downside To The Constant Drumbeat of Apocalyptic Defeatism

If you’re not watching “The Goode Family”, you’re missing some very funny stuff. The above line is spoken by Helen Goode in response to her kids’ despondency over the doom of the earth. (Said despondency I personally recall from my school days. If global thermonuclear war didn’t get us, the ice caps were going to melt and send us spinning off into space. I’m not sure how the ice age was going to bring that on, but there it was.)

It still makes me laugh, a lot. The Goodes themselves are, of course, very good. Well, Gerald is very good. Much like Hang Hill, his straightforwardness in life not only prevents him from getting very far ahead, but actually prevents him from seeing how venal people really are.

Like Hank, he’ll act to stop something he perceives as immoral, but he usually has to come the long way around to realize that people operate immorally–no matter how many times he sees it happening. Gerald’s at a slight disadvantage (versus Hank), because he’s not entirely sure what a man is supposed to do, though this is not too far removed from Hank’s politeness and diffidence (which allows others to take advantage of him).

Interestingly enough, the message of both shows is pretty much the same: For every principle, philosophy or ideal (worthy or not, good or bad, right or wrong), there’s someone willing to exploit those who believe it for personal advantage.

So far in the series, we’ve seen an ALF-style group exploit Ubuntu (the son), prisoners and bureaucrats exploit the entire family after they adopt-a-highway, a graffiti-cleaning program in an area with no graffiti, NPR as a front for people not talented enough to make it in the real market, meatless chili (with and without chicken), and acres of hypocrisy.

I enjoy “King of the Hill,” but for me, Arlen is as far away as Oz. But whatever small town the Goodes live in is right next door. I’ve seen the “Good/Bad” tote board at Whole Foods. I’ve spent some time hashing out–for nutrition reasons, not really moral ones–which of the six different varieties of apple is “best”.

But I’m sort of reminded why I didn’t follow that road: It’s freaking insane. But it’s hard not to empathize with them, which is really what makes the show watchable.

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