The Good Life

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This is the life...

Britcom about a married couple (Tom and Barbara Good) who decide to give up the rat race and become completely self-sufficient. On his 40th birthday, Tom Good gives up his job as a draughtsman in a company that makes plastic toys for boxes of breakfast cereal. Their house is paid for, so he and his wife decide to live a sustainable, simple and self-sufficient lifestyle while staying in their home in Surbiton. They dig up their gardens and convert them into allotments, growing fruit and vegetables. They buy chickens, pigs, a goat, and a rooster. The Goods generate their own electricity, attempt to make their own clothes, and barter for essentials which they cannot make themselves.

Their actions horrify their conventional, and conventionally materialistic, next-door neighbors, Margo and Jerry Leadbetter. Well, they horrify Margo. Tom's former co-worker Jerry is mostly just bemused. Hilarity Ensues. Notable for being a sitcom about Sustainability before sustainability was actually important.

Came ninth in Britain's Best Sitcom.

Known as Good Neighbors in the US because NBC had an unrelated Pilot called "The Good Life" a couple years before.

Tropes used in The Good Life include:
  • Acting Unnatural: In one episode, Tom and Barbara think Margo is having an affair. When Jerry walks in, Tom tells Barbara to 'be natural'. They then both stand at attention and grin like idiots.
  • Annoying Laugh: Jerry. A heh. Heheheheh.
  • Arrow Cam: At least one episode includes an example of 'Goat Cam:' "Geraldine! Kill!"
  • Butt Monkey: Margo - Deconstructed in one episode:

Margo: I never understood jokes... so I became the butt of them.

Tom: It's hurting the back of my eyes!

  • George Jetson Job Security
  • The Ghost: A number of Margo's acquaintances including Miss Mountshaft of the music society are talked about regularly but are never seen.
  • Happily Married: Both couples fight - Jerry & Margo constantly - but have very strong relationships.
  • Henpecked Husband: Jerry, although he doesn't hesitate to put his foot down when need be.
  • Homemade Sweater From Hell: Traditional version in the Christmas Special (natch) but the Goods have a habit of wearing their own homemade clothes as well.
  • Ho Yay: In-universe example. Tom and Jerry make a few jokey comments about being married to each other.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Margo. She may be stuck-up, but she isn't afraid to apologise when she's wrong.
  • Kick the Dog: In the episode Anniversary the Goods home is burgled and instead of leaving when they couldn't find anything worth stealing they proceed to completely vandalize the interior of the house - even going as far as to rip up Tom's birthday card. The look on Barbara's face should tell you all you need to know about how pointless it was.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Subverted; both couples have active sex lives, and neither has or desires children. In one episode Jerry comments sardonically that he and Margo use so much protection they barely touch.
  • Market-Based Title: As noted, it has a different name in the US.
  • May-December Romance: Although it was Jerry's actor who was twenty years older than Margo's, in-show it was Tom and Barbara who sometimes gave off this vibe.
    • Clues given in the show make it about a ten year split between Tom Good and Barbara. In one episode, Tom talks about how they moved into the house "a week before they were married" ten years ago. Tom and Jerry, roughly the exact same age, began at JJM at the same time at this same point. In the episode with the two hippie kids, Tom asks Barbara what she was doing "when she was that age" (the hippie girl was early 20ish) and she responded that she was "waiting for some bloke [Tom] to call me back." While they may have dated a while before they married and I don't recall if Ruth the hippie girl's exact age is given, it appears that when they married, Barbara was at least early 20s while Tom was at least 30 or very near that age.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Tom and Barbara think Margo is having an affair in one episode.
  • Nobody Here but Us Chickens
  • Noodle Incident: The amateur production of The Sound of Music. Margo prepares for it for a few episodes and eventually we see her getting ready to perform. The episode cuts directly to Tom, Barbara and Jerry discussing what transpired. It begins with Tom asking, "That was The Sound of Music we saw wasn't it?" and goes downhill from there.

Tom: Why did Margo sing "Maria?"
Jerry: That's the name of her character.
Tom: I know, but I thought that song came from "West Side Story".
Barbara: It did.

Margo: They're becoming incoherent and vulgar! Jerry, do something!
Jerry: All right. [stands up] Good night. [leaves]