26 October 2007

DVD: The Good Life (or, Good Neighbors)

I was reading the forums on Ravelry the other day, and someone started a thread about handknits on BBC shows. The first series that came to mind was The Good Life, which was called Good Neighbors here in the US. I have fond memories of watching that show on PBS when I was in high school. As soon as I posted about it on Ravelry, I had a craving to see it again. Luckily, the whole series is on DVD.

The Good Life originally aired on the BBC from 1975 to 1978. The plot revolves around Tom and Barbara Good, a couple that decides to live a self-sufficient lifestyle. Rather than packing up and moving out to the country, they carry out their plan in their home in the suburbs. This does not sit well with their neighbors and friends, Jerry and Margo Leadbetter. The bulk of the comedy is derived from the Goods' attempts to teach themselves various skills such as baking bread and raising pigs, as well as the Leadbetters' reaction to their activities.

There is a reason why The Good Life was voted #9 on a list of Britain's top 100 sitcoms. Unlike some sitcoms that I liked during the first run but can't bear to watch again, this show has held up pretty well even 30 years after its original airing. With all the renewed interest in green living, it almost seems relevant again. The writing is honest; the scripts don't shy away from the fact that there will be things you miss if you go off the grid. The show also features spouses that bicker a little but still have a genuine affection for one another.

For my part, I attribute my fascination with self-sufficiency to late-night viewings of this show. Living off the grid, feeding and clothing your family by the sweat of your brow -- the whole idea of it appeals to the hippie chick in me. I know myself well enough to realize that I would never be able to manage that kind of life. Thanks to Netflix, I can spend the whole weekend indulging in the fantasy of it.
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