Self-sufficiency in Surbiton

1975 was the year the Jefferson’s moved on up, the year Baretta and (more significantly for me) his parrot found their way onto the airwaves, the year that Anne Romano moved to Indianapolis with her two daughters, and the year that we saw a horrifying vision of what space uniforms might look like in Space 1999. At the time, I’m pretty sure I could have told you when each of those shows was on the air – and, I went out of my way to be staring at my TV set whenever they were.

Somehow, these stories seemed important.

A mere four decades (or so) later, somehow they don’t. I don’t even think I could muster the curiosity to watch a whole episode of any one of them. But there is one series that started airing in 1975 that I find myself watching every couple of years: The Good Life (which, if you’re from the US, and watched PBS, you might know as Good Neighbors).

The Good LifeIt was a charming, witty show about a couple that decides to opt out of the rat race, and become self-sufficient. The series follows them as they turn their home in a residential neighbourhood into a small farm, much to the dismay of their dear friends and neighbours. There are no special effects, no impossibly beautiful people, no murders, no perfect NY apartments, no space ships, and no parrots … but there are pigs and chickens, not to mention great chemistry between the characters.

More significantly, almost 40 years later, the show seems even more relevant than it was then – and Tom & Barbara’s determination, passion and values are worth emulating (not something that can be said of many TV couples).

If you’ve never seen The Good Life before, there are far worse things to spend money on on Amazon. The scene below is from the first episode…

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