First Impressions

The Goldbergs

Aired on: ABC

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

                Previews of the new ABC comedy series called The Goldbergs reeled me in with feelings of nostalgia for the 80s.  I could see the comedy in the outfits, the hairstyles...I could really see where they were going with this series.  It was a show based in a decade in which the youth of America still retained some semblance of innocence and the promos left me laughing hysterically.  I couldn't wait to check it out when it aired at 9pm EST on Tuesday, September 24, 2013.

                Based on series creator Adam F. Goldberg's life, The Goldbergs stars Sean Giambrone as a very young Adam Goldberg.  The series opens with a now adult Adam (Patton Oswalt) discussing his early years and his obsession with filming every moment in his life with his video camera...a video diary if you will.  As we listen to the narrator, we get the feeling that he is watching his home videos and explaining some of the most awkward moments in his life.

                In the premiere episode, Adam introduces us to his dysfunctional family.  His father, Murray (Jeff Garlin), is a high strung man with difficulties expressing his love for his family.  Mother Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey) is a fitness nut and spendthrift with an overprotective nature towards her family.  Adam's sister, Erica (Hayley Orrantia) is a fashion plate heading off to college and looking for some independence.  His brother, Barry (Troy Gentile), is what we would call a dork trying to find his place in the world.

                While serving as an introduction to the family, this episode also focuses on Barry's desire for a car.  Beverly is dead set against it and Murray agrees to keep the peace.  Enter Adam's grandfather, his mother's dad Albert (George Segal).  He wants to give Barry his old car, having bought himself a Pontiac Firebird...his "chick magnet."  Albert is a feisty old coot who has been showing Adam how to pick up girls, but although his heart is in the right place, we soon learn that sometimes Albert's brain isn't.

                I was so hyped to see this show, but when it actually aired, it left me feeling flat.  Sure, there were funny references to 80s fads like Star Wars shirts, Jordache jeans, breakdancing and more, but things just weren't as funny as I expected them to be.  And what was with all of the poorly bleeped out cursing?  Now I understand why this show was placed in the 9pm time slot - the language content which I do believe was supposed to draw more laughter from the audience.  What we have here is a less clean The Wonder Years wannabe dressed in too high 80s hair and tight, funky-colored clothing.   I wanted lots of laughs, but all I got out of this show was a chuckle or two and a sincere dislike for Barry, the whining older brother.  The Goldbergs will definitely be left off of my must-watch list.


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