ABC’s The Goode Family Pokes Healthy Fun at Green Living

Gerald and Helen Goode are vegan, hybrid-driving, baby boomer parents who live by the creed: WWAGD (What would Al Gore Do?). When the well-intended couple adopts a baby from Africa, he turns out to be South African…and white.

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Ubuntu is now 16 and not quite down with his parents’ eco friendly lifestyle—he has a penchant for fast cars, power tools and violent sports. Teen daughter Bliss believes that, with her family’s PC leanings, she’s reached her “weirdo tipping point.” Even their dog Che is fed only vegetables but away from home turns into a four-legged Ted Nugent, stalking the neighborhood for squirrels, rabbits and birds.

The Goodes are always striving to do better yet it always ends up…not so good. And Mike Judge (creator of Beavis and Butthead, King of the Hill and Office Space) is sure to guarantee that the Goode life will keep getting worse. “It’s like if you were trying to join some religion,” explains Judge, “and they just keep changing the rules on you.”

Co-creator and exec producer John Altschuler says we face green gridlock every day. “You go into Whole Foods and they have a list of the fish you’re supposed to eat and ones you’re not supposed to eat. We [my wife and I] got into an argument because I swore that farm-raised catfish was on the ‘don’t’ list and she swore it was on the ‘do’ list.” [Most greens put it on the “do” list.]

And paper or plastic? “I got a reusable bag,” Altschuler explains, “and it was made in China, probably by slave labor and God knows what pollutants it produced. Then I kept forgetting to bring the reusable bag so we kept buying more reusable bags.” What it boils down to is this: “We just don’t know when we’re doing things right and there’s [always] somebody there to tell you you’re not being good enough. It’s so hard to be good!”

Gerald Goode, a college administrator (voiced by Judge), and his community activist wife Helen (voiced by Nancy Carell, wife of Steve) proudly live in a neighborhood they chose for its United Nations makeup. Unfortunately their neighbor Ray is “basically a NASCAR fan and black redneck,” says exec producer Dave Krinsky. “And the Samoans, who the Goodes think are going to be so culturally unique in their Samoan ways, just watch football on weekends and order pizza. The Goodes are disappointed when their neighbors aren’t the sort of image they hold these people in.”

The show is not about enviro-bashing, insists Altschuler. What the creators find funny is the lack of perspective. “It’s not bad that people drive hybrid cars but it’s funny when [uber Hollywood agent] Ari Emmanuel pulls up at the Bel-Air Hotel [trailed] by other power agents in hybrid cars. What I’ve noticed with being in Hollywood is that when you’re rich, it’s easy to be good. But this show is about a family that is middle class, trying to live right and trying to shop at One Earth.”

The Goode Family premieres Wednesday, May 27 from 9:00-9:30 ET on ABC.

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