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ABC's Goode Family is Judged OK

Premiering: Wednesday, May 27th at 8 p.m. (central) on ABC
Voiced by: Mike Judge, Nancy Carell, David Herman, Linda Cardellini, Brian Doyle-Murray, Gary Anthony Williams
Produced by: Mike Judge, John Altschuler, Dave Krinsky, Michael Rotenberg, Tom Lassally

Hank Hill wouldn't know what to do with these people. Other than try to convert them 360.

From Austinite Mike Judge, creator of the dearly departed King of the Hill, comes a new animated brood whose matron wears a "Meat is Murder" T-shirt and whose hybrid is festooned with bumper stickers, including "Support Our Troops and Their Opponents."

ABC's The Goode Family, sandwiched on Wednesday nights between new episodes of Wipeout and (urp) Surviving Suburbia, is both a poke at political correctness and a dig at standard issue American "values." It's amusing in some of these pursuits, with Judge again curbing any inclinations to revisit the lower level humor of his initial creation, Beavis & Butt-head. Nor is this Family Guy, whose gross papa bear, Peter Griffin, would repulse the Goodes no end.

For better or worse, the Goodes consist of college administrator Gerald (Judge); his community activist wife, Helen (Nancy Carell); a teen daughter, Bliss (Linda Cardellini) and the adopted 16-year-old Ubuntu (David Herman), who initially was thought to be black but turned out to be a white South African. They all try to live by the motto WWAGD -- What Would Al Gore Do? Although Big Al does like a good steak.

Oversized Ubuntu appears to be more than a little slow-minded or dim-witted, although I guess no more so than Beavis -- or Butt-head. In Wednesday's premiere episode, he wants to get his driver's license while Bliss joins an abstinence group and attends its Purity Ball after tiring of mom's copulation talk.

"You're teaching our son to drive and our daughter not to have sex. Where did I go wrong?" Helen rails at Gerald.

The family dog, Che, is unhappy, too, with his enforced vegan existence. And Helen's strident, carnivorous dad, Charlie (Brian Doyle-Murray), thinks the whole family is crazy.

Goode Family can be grin-worthy, too. Helen's efforts to properly address her black neighbor Ray (Gary Anthony Williams) result in a funny series of false starts. And a mother-daughter trip to a high-end organic grocery store underscores the high price of eating delicacies such as "soy fingers." Even the reusable bags are $10 bucks each.

Next week's weaker second episode finds the hulking Ubuntu turning into a star offensive tackle for his high school football team while Bliss attempts to evade enrolling for anything at substandard Greenville Community College.

None of this is likely to have anywhere near the staying power of King of the Hill, which hung in there for 14 seasons on Fox. But as a summertime diversion, The Goode Family turns out to be perhaps just good enough.

GRADE B-minus