Reason contributor Glenn Garvin, who moonlights as a TV critic and op-ed columnist for The Miami Herald, reviews the new Mike Judge series, The Goode Family, which debuted last night and sounds great. A snippet:
Set in a more-progressive-than-thou college town where shoppers at the supermarket gasp in horror if somebody arrives at the checkout counter without his own reusable grocery bag, The Goode Family mercilessly lampoons characters who conduct their lives by the watchword WWAGD, What Would Al Gore Do? They live in desperate fear of being caught in a political free-fire zone by the abrupt Orwellian shifts in progressive correct-think. Told the preferred term is no longer black or even African American but "people of color," Helen sputters: "Impossible! That's just colored people in reverse! And I know that's not right!"
Worse yet, Helen's friends have persuaded her to try to bond with her teenage daughter Bliss by taking her on a birth-control shopping expedition. ("My daughter and I held each other and cried with happiness as he measured her cervix," says one.) The rebellious Bliss instead joins a church abstinence group, pledging to keep her virginity until marriage. "Where did I go wrong?" sniffles the distraught Helen.
Though it will no doubt be labeled right-wing agitprop by some of its trashed targets, The Goode Family is not really conservative, but something closer to the barbed libertarianism of South Park. What the show is really mocking is groupthink conformity—some of the funniest bits in the opening episode concern the creepy sexual-abstinence group, where teenage girls "marry" their fathers.
But when ridiculing conformity these days in Hollywood, where late-night comics are afraid to tell Obama jokes, most of your targets will necessarily be left of center. And The Goode Family is fearless in firing at them. When Gerald, a college administrator, tells his boss his department needs more funding to improve the percentage of minority employees, the boss replies: "Or we could just fire three white guys. Everybody wins!"
How long do you think it will be before we hear a joke like that from Jay or Dave?
More on The Goode Family.
Given his vast and vastly great body of work over the years (Beavis and Butt-head, Office Space, King of the Hill), can we give Mike Judge some sort of some of super-greatness award? Along with Matt Stone and Trey Parker of South Park, he's made the last couple of decades (and the next couple) liveable.
The starting point of it all, "Frog Baseball."