You might believe that global warming is a hoax or that green is just a fad doomed by greenwashing. One thing's for sure: Green has gone mainstream, and with the May 27 premiere of the ABC animated series The Goode Family, environmentalism has joined the ranks of prime-time network programming.
In case you missed the first episode—watch the show, which got at best mixed reviews—here are a few details to get you up to speed: The Goodes live by the motto WWAGD, as in "What Would Al Gore Do?" Their front yard is dominated by a vegetable garden. The family pooch, Che, is a reluctant vegan (he salivates over the neighbor's beef jerky and noshes on a unsuspecting kitty). And even reusable shopping bags are deemed unacceptable by the mother, Helen, because "they're made in sweatshops." The tone of The Goode Family can also be mocking, as when the dad, Gerald, forgives his teenage son for using too much gas but reminds him that "what's important is that you feel guilty about it."
The Goode Family is cocreated by Mike Judge, whose credits include Beavis and Butt-head and King of the Hill, which Fox cancelled after 13 seasons. The latter series had its moments of eco-zealousness—in a recent episode, the Hills' guests complain about rash-inducing petrochemicals in their hosts' synthetic-leather sofa—but nothing like the dark-green fanaticism that is the Goode life.
This environmentally oriented programming is reminiscent of The Simpsons Movie, in which the entire city of Springfield is quarantined under a giant dome by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency after Homer turns Lake Springfield into a toxic cesspool.
American TV has plenty of eco-themed programming, especially on cable channels, including Living With Ed, the HGTV series about actor-and-environmentalist Ed Begley Jr.'s low-carbon lifestyle. And last year, the Discovery Home channel sprouted into Planet Green.
But seeing solar-power roof panels, wind turbines, and signs for "fair trade locally grown sustainably harvested certified organic" fruit in prime time says a lot about the state of green in America.