Back in the 1970s, there was a British sitcom called Good Neighbours, starring Richard Briers and Felicity Kendal as Tom and Barbara Good, names which mean exactly nothing to American audiences. Anyway – the premise of the series was that one day the Goods have had enough with their fast-paced, rat race, pollution-creating, junk food-eating, and costly life and decide to go the hippy-dippy sustainable route. They decide to dig up their lawn and put in a garden, raise animals, and use natural, home-made products, all to the horror of their social climbing neighbors, the Leadbetters. It’s light and silly a la a Three’s Company episode. The goals of the Goods probably sound a bit like some of the lefty-ish people in your life today, as sustainability and eco-friendly living has become quite a bit more trendy than it was in the ’70s. The original sitcom is certainly worth checking out, but so is a modern spin-off of the show, a short reality series from the UK called Giles and Sue Live The Good Life, which informs about environmentally friendly, urban homesteading life – and pokes a bit of fun at it too.
Sue Perkins and Giles Coren are writer-humorists who have a track-record of tackling different lifestyles for our entertainment and amusement, including the Cooking Channel historical gourmand series, The Supersizers Go. However, in The Good Life, the duo try to emulate the life that Tom and Barbara Good aspired to, in a modern London suburb. The results are funny and informative, inspiring and illuminating. And lucky for all of us, some wonderful bastard went and put all the episodes of The Good Life up on YouTube. You can watch the first one below:
Check out Sue and Giles’ attempt to plant a garden, make their own wine, build a chicken coop, try out self-generated power, partake in animal husbandry that includes chickens, goats and pigs, learn the art of canning and preserving, and take up the spirit of “make do and mend” as they create clothes, shampoo, and gifts from the land. Undoubtedly, the comic team do their share of goofing and mocking their own efforts, but they also get a lot done and reap a fair bit of vegetables, eggs, and goat milk – all from their own backyard.
It’s well worth a watch, but if you’re more the book-learning type, you can also pick up their publication, Giles & Sue Live the Good Life: How to Go Self-Sufficient in the Suburbs, from Amazon.com.