After watching Friday night’s Goode Family, "A Tale of Two Lesbians," I’m still not convinced the show will last, but I do think I finally understand why series creator Mike Judge is so well-loved. What Judge did with King of the Hill, Beavis and Butt-Head and Office Space was isolate a subset of the population, and push it so far to the extreme that it’s safe for anyone to laugh at — no matter how much or how little you relate to the characters.
"A Tale of Two Lesbians" is a perfect example. Wherever you fall on the scale of Knowing-No-Lesbians to Being-An-Actual-Lesbian, there was something to make you giggle.
It all starts when Helen decides she wants a seat on the city’s art council. She sees no way to work herself into the group until she meets an art council member at the grocery store with a lesbian couple in tow. With more than a little derision, the art council member introduces Helen to her friends.
Art council member: Helen, this is Dr. Jennifer Wilcox, and this is Sookie Lou, of the publishing Lous. Jenn, Sookie: Helen.
Jenn: We moved here from Manhattan.
Sookie: We just bought the most amazing Victorian on Third and Welsh.
Jenn and Sookie: Mmm hmm.
Helen: Well, um, welcome! I would love to come by and see your place some time!
The lesbian couple invite Helen and Gerald over for a game night, so Helen rushes home to work out a plan for using them to her advantage.
Helen: I have no idea what kind of housewarming gift to give to lesbians. I’d say a Georgia O’Keefe print, but maybe that’s too obvious.
Helen’s dad: You wanna know what I find lesbians like?
Gerald: Ugh, Charlie, you don’t know what you’re talking about.
Helen’s dad: I have an extensive video library on the subject. They like paradise coves and bikini car washes. And, ooh, you know what else? Pizza. They order it constantly.
Helen: Don’t you see what this game night represents? Jenn and Sookie are cool and chic and same-sex! If I become friends with them, I’ll be part of that hip art scene swirl.
Gerald Well, I have always wanted to have lesbian friends.
At the party, Helen reminds Gerald: "Remember, we have to say the right things and do the right things." Their courtship of the art council goes brilliantly — first Helen compliments Sookie and Jenn’s art (a jar of water from Hurricane Katrina), and then she correctly guesses that the artist was going for "scathing" — until the games start. During a round of charades, Helen points to Jenn, trying to get Gerald to guess the color of her shirt (purple), but instead he guesses, "lesbians!"
Helen and Gerald are mortified after the party, assuming they will be shunned from the group because what could be more offensive than calling a lesbian a lesbian?
Gerald: OK, damage control: What can we do that’s really gay?
Helen: What about this: We find another nice same-sex couple to be friends with. We’ll be seen around town with them, and then people will talk, and then everyone will know that I’m cool, and you’re not a homophobe. Of course, not all lesbians are like Jenn and Sookie. They don’t usually hang out with straight people.
Bliss: Once again, Mom, you have no idea what you’re talking about. Kevin’s moms have plenty of straight friends.
Bliss agrees to introduce Helen and Gerald to her boyfriend’s moms, Mo and Trish — two lesbians who, shockingly, are not part of the hip art scene swirl. Gerald’s first question upon meeting them: "So, who long have you been… a roughneck?"
Helen and Gerald invite Mo and Trish to dinner, where they bump into some people from the art council. After being introduced, one of the members says to Trish, "So, you two are…"
"That’s right, we’re lesbians," Trish says. "We just proved it in the parking lot."
After hanging out a couple of times, Mo and Trish invite The Goodes to spend a holiday with them: Lucy Lawless’ birthday. Helen and Gerald agree, until Helen gets invited to host a dinner party for the art council with Jenn and Sookie. She cancels Lawless Night, but Mo and Trish show up anyway. The art council mocks them all night, until finally Gerald tells Helen, "This isn’t right; Mo and Trish have feelings too!
"You’re right!" Helen agrees. "I have to get rid of them."
Of course, because she’s Goode, and this is the way TV works, Helen has a change of heart and gives this little speech to the people at her party:
Mo and Trish are our friends. Granted, we only befriended them to prove that Gerald’s not a homophobe. And yes, they can be a little off-putting, but we don’t judge them, because they’re our friends. And they don’t judge us. And if you think you’re entitled to condemn our friends because they don’t meet your qualifications, well, then, you’re not that cool.
So, the art people bounce, leaving Mo and Trish to play Bingo with the Goodes.
The moral of the story: Lesbians come in all shapes and sizes. There are art-lover-shaped lesbians; porn-shaped lesbians; butch-shaped lesbians. And if Mo and Trish make you uncomfortable, do not attend any Pride events in June.
The Goode Family gets an "A" for effort and heart for "The Tale of Two Lesbians." And it also gets a pat on the back, for managing to show more diversity in the lesbian community in 25 minutes than The L Word did in six seasons.
What did you think of "The Tale of Two Lesbians"?