Monday, March 21, 2016

Television Review: The Goldbergs Season One (ABC)

There comes a time when you've caught up on all of your shows and you need something new to watch.  I'd already watched two seasons of "Cuckoo" on Netflix and had started seeing commercials for "The Goldbergs" on Hulu so since all of the seasons are still available to watch I decided to give it a go.   Interestingly enough, the dad is from "Curb Your Enthusiasm", which seems a bit obvious by the promo shots and all, while the mom is from "Reno 911" and I didn't realize it until I searched iMDB but the older son- Barry- is Troy Gentile, a grown up version of the kid from "Drillbit Taylor" who just wanted to battle rap and sleep naked.

Many shows are about families.   When I try to think about shows which are about families ("Family Guy", "The Simpsons", "Modern Family", "Family Matters", etc) I tend to come up with more shows about families than shows that aren't about families.   In any case, a lot of live action shows fall short for me simply because they all seem to be about families and after a while it just becomes too much of the same and I stop caring.    And then I watched "The Goldbergs".    This show is funny- don't get me wrong- but I'm not sure if people under the age of 30 will find it as funny as I do.

The show revolves around Adam Goldberg, who actually created the show, and his real life family, which is actually the same in the show except that there are three boys in real life and a girl in the show for comedic purposes.   These aren't really characters in the way that they are "made up" but more in the way that this was Adam Goldberg's actual childhood, most of which seems to have been documented by one of those video cameras that you put VHS tapes in.  

In fact, this has a lot of moments at the end of an episode where the actual footage from 1980something is shown that goes along with that episode.   As much as you have to love the overprotective mother, geeky younger brother, doofy older brother, random sister and apathetic father ideal, I think what I like most about this show is that it takes place in the 1980s.

From Ghostbusters to Transformers to Voltron to video stores, this is all about what happened in *my* childhood as much as Adam Goldberg's and for similar reasons as to why I loved "Freaks and Geeks" so much I love "The Goldbergs".     As the episodes progress through the first season, they begin to even get themes based on the 1980s.   Obviously the Top 3 episodes of the first season are "Goldbergs Never Say Die!" (a Goonies themed episode), "A Wrestler Called Goldberg" and "Livin' on a Prayer".   (FYI: "A Wrestler Called Goldberg" even has a lot of "Return of the Jedi" in it)

When I had finished watching all of my newest episodes, I'd go and watch something else I'd never seen before- like the aforementioned "Cuckoo".    But when you start piling up first run episodes in favor of binging on "The Goldbergs" you know you've got something special on your hands.   This is one of my favorite shows right now and I am only surprised it took me this long to find out what it was all about.

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