The Goode Family - Helen, Bliss, Ubantu and Gerald Goode © ABC
The Goode Family - Helen, Bliss, Ubantu and Gerald Goode © ABC

From John Altschuler (Kind of the Hill) and Mike Judge (King of the Hill and Beavis and Butt-head) comes a new animated series which spotlights Gerald and Helen Goode, who live by the motto, ‘What would Al Gore do?’ They are determined not to leave their carbon footprint on the planet, but are finding the continuously changing standards hard to keep up with. They’re zealous vegans; they drive a hybrid and recycle everything possible.

The Goode Family - Helen, Gerald and Ubantu © ABC

“The series is not about taking down environmentalism,” says Altschuler. “It’s about us trying to be good. It’s like the paper versus plastic debate [in supermarkets]. I got a reusable bag, and I looked in it and it was made in China. I’m like, ‘Okay. You know it’s probably made by slave labor, and God knows what pollutants it produced.’ Then I kept forgetting to bring the reusable bag, so I kept buying more of them. And then a friend of mine bought a hybrid car, and she found out it didn’t get the gas mileage that she thought it should. She was crushed, and she just looked up and went, ‘It’s so hard to be good.’ So we think it’s a relatable world that we’re all living in now.”

Che the dog © ABC

For Mike Judge, doing another animated series was not in his future. “We were all sick of animation and then [ABC] sucked us back in. [With animation] you have so many opportunities to rewrite, it’s kind of a double-edged [sword] because then you keep wanting to make it better and re-record. And we thought it might be easier to get noticed on ABC, [as they don’t do animated programming]. It seems like people don’t just say, ‘I feel like watching an animated show.’ I think they see something they like, something grabs them, whether it’s animated or not.”

Judge not only created the series, but also voices Gerald Goode. “Gerald is a reasonable person. The whole family are good people. It’s just funny to see them try so hard in a world where the rules are changing.”

Altschuler concurs, “What we like about this show is it’s about a family that is middle-class, trying to live right and trying to shop at One Earth. We liked that aspect of being middle-class and trying to be good, when the world around them is not the world that the Goode family thought they would be surrounded by.”

Gerald Goode © ABC

“We had a lot of networks wanting this show,” acknowledges Altschuler. “ABC had a very clear goal and a passion for it that we decided was the way to go. We think it will stand out, because it’s the world we live in now. There’s a sad thing happening in sitcoms where the vast bulk of them are horny guys who have a kid, horny guys who live next to a bimbo, horny guys who are married with other young guys who are getting laid. This is actually a show about something, and ABC embraced that. So I think that’s what’s going to make it stand out.

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.