I’ve decided to turn the spotlight on a show that is currently airing its entire first season in my country, “The Goldbergs”. It takes place in the perpetual time of “nineteen-eighty something”, and loosely depicts the life of the show’s creator, Adam F Goldberg(Sean Giambrone), as he documents his life in suburban Pennsylvania with his surly but caring father Murray (Jeff Garlin), loving “smother” Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey), his dim brother Barry (Troy Gentile), his formerly nerdy turned popular sister Erica (Hayley Orrantia), and his maternal grandfather Pops(George Segal), who occasionally dispenses advice to each of the family members.
The show has been likened to “The Wonder Years”, and with Patton Oswalt narrating as the voice of older Adam from the future in very much the same way as Daniel Stern did on the earlier show, it’s not hard to see the comparisons. But unlike “The Wonder Years”, each family member is based on a member of Adam’s real-life family of his parents and older brothers, each sharing the same quirk as their counterparts (Adam’s oldest brother, Eric, has been changed to a girl in order to add a more feminine approach to the series).
Part of what got me intrigued in watching this sitcom were the array of 80’s pop-culture references sprinkled throughout. Due to the ambiguous timeline of the show, the pop culture sometimes feels all over the place. This is to enable the writers to get as many references from the 1980’s as they can, without worrying that they’re not accurately depicting the timeframe before it. For instance, one episode has Adam and Barry preform Twisted Sister’s 1984 hit, “We’re not Gonna Take it”. Later on, Erica and her best friend Lainey (AJ Michalka) duel against the boys with The Bangle’s “Eternal Flame”, which wasn’t officially released as a single until 1989. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the subplot of the same episode sees Beverly and Murray renew their wedding vows in order to correspond with the upcoming nuptials of Prince of Wales, Charles, and Lady Diana Spencer. Only trouble is, that event occurred in 1981!
Despite my many nitpicks of the show’s references, I must admit that I greatly enjoy this show. The entire ensemble cast manages to play off each other quite well. Although some might call the ending montages with with corresponding hit songs from the 80’s a tad corny, for me they’re the best part of the show. and really adds to its overall feel good nature.
In conclusion, I’d recommend this show to anyone who loves nostalgic shows like “That 70’s Show”, or “The Wonder Years”, or simply loves family-orientated sitcoms. Be warned, however,as some jokes contain slight inneundos which might not be appropriate for kids under the age of 13. I award “The Goldbergs” 4 and a half stars out of five.
Please let me know your opinion of “The Goldbergs” in the comments below!