This article was originally posted last year. I had been planning on reviewing every Goldbergs episode. Well, as we approach another television season, it’s about time I get to it! This is an introduction of the show, so anybody who missed it the first time around, can see it now. And this can be a refresher for anybody who had seen this when it was originally posted.
It was 1980-something, and the Goldbergs of Jenkintown, Pennsylvania bought a video camera. Youngest son, Adam (not to be confused with the Adam Goldberg that had that gruesome death in Saving Private Ryan), used it often to record his family.
Adam would go on to become a movie and television producer. This led to him creating his own show, based on his own family – The Goldbergs. In my opinion, it is the best show on TV right now. It is a show that everybody can enjoy, but if you are a child of the ’80s, this is “Must See TV”.
Every character is outstanding and hilarious. Each episode features at least one ’80s song towards the end – as issues are resolved. Then in most episodes, real video footage is shown at the end.
When the show premiered in September 2013, I tuned in to check it out. I knew that it took place in the ’80s. I was a little nervous about how the show would be handled. After the fiasco that was That ’80s Show, I had lost faith in the ’80s on television. But, what a pleasant surprise The Goldbergs was! There was no over-the-top ’80sness. There’s like totally no Valley Girl vocabulary, like for sure, and no Flock of Seagull hairdo’s. Everybody is “normal” like most of us were back then, which makes the show easily relatable. Thank God Adam F. Goldberg has genuine respect for the ’80s. Plus it didn’t hurt that the first words ever uttered on the show was “Man, I loved the ’80s”.
The show is narrated by Patton Oswalt (maybe best known as Spence on King of Queens) as an adult. This reminiscent of The Wonder Years.
One thing that stands out in this show is that it is not pigeon-holed into a specific year in the ’80s. It is a mashup. For example, early in the season I got a little confused when Adam went to go see Poltergeist in the theater with his grandfather. At the same time, Adam’s brother Barry believed he was going to be a basketball star now that he had his Reebok Pumps. Poltergeist came out in 1982, and I’m almost positive that the Pumps did not come out until the very late ’80s. My first reaction was [in nerdy voice] “This is inaccurate!” But, that feeling faded fast for me. I think it is a brilliant idea!
First of all, the show does not get stuck having to stick to a particular year each season. It can stay on the air for many years, and still remain set in the ’80s.
And best of all, we get to reminisce about every portion of the decade. If you are a little older, you will catch all the early ’80s references. And if you are in the younger demographic, you will understand all the late ’80s references. I was born in 1970, so I feel a strong nostalgia for every single portion of the ’80s.
So, I think it’s pretty cool that in one episode, Adam can be playing Nintendo, and in another episode, Murray can be enjoying
when he’s not being interrupted That’s Incredible!
Speaking of Murray (played by the awesome Jeff Garlin), I cannot express enough of how great the cast is. So, let’s meet these characters.
Murray Goldberg (Jeff Garlin)
Murray has a colorful way of speaking and seems abrasive, but he has a big heart. After a long day of work at the furniture store, Murray walks in the door of his home, and immediately takes his pants off and wants to watch TV in his underwear in peace and quiet. But with this crazy family, peace and quiet is out of the question. This makes him high strung – and hilarious!
Murray is played by comedian Jeff Garlin. Garlin has appeared in several movies, including Daddy Day Care (with Eddie Murphy), as well as small roles in Robocop 3 and Fun with Dick and Jane, as well as being a voice actor in the movies WALL-E as the Captain of the Axiom spaceship and Toy Story 3 as Buttercup. He also is a co-star and executive producer in the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm along with Larry David.
Beverly Goldberg (Wendi McLendon-Covey)
The mother of all “smothers”. There are no boundaries for her in the Goldberg household. She’s everywhere! She may be smothering and tough with her family. But, God help anybody who crosses the family or tells her kids that they can’t do something! She’ll leave them quaking in their boots with just a look. And that goes double for any cashier who tries to rip her off! I think most of us have mothers that have at least a little Beverly Goldberg in them, which makes us totally relate to what the family has to deal with. But, at least my mother never referred to me as being “delicious” or “yummy”.
Beverly is brilliantly played by Wendi McLendon-Covey. She is best known for her roles as Deputy Clementine Johnson in the Comedy Central series Reno 911! (2003–2008), as Liz on CBS sitcom Rules of Engagement (2010–2013). McLendon-Covey is also a comedian and was a member of The Groundlings Theater in Los Angeles from 2002 to 2009. She was there with Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig, with whom she would later star in the movie Bridesmaids.
Erica Goldberg (Hayley Orrantia)
Erica is the oldest child, and only daughter, in the Goldberg household. She is rebellious, often hanging with the wrong crowd. She also loves to push her brother Barry’s buttons in order to set him off into one of his meltdowns. She may be tough with her brothers, but when push comes to shove she looks out for them, and they look out for her.
Erica is played by Hayley Orrantia. She was a contestant on Season 1 The X Factor USA. According to ABC.com, originally auditioning as a solo artist, she and three other contestants were assembled during the boot camp phase by Simon Cowell into a girl group to continue in the competition. Calling themselves Lakoda Rayne, they were the last group in the competition and made it to the top 9.
Here they are performing “Landslide”
Erica got to show off her singing chops, in an episode I will cover, by singing “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”. It would be great if they could find more ways to get her to sing.
Barry Goldberg (Troy Gentile)
Barry is my favorite character in the show. He is a classic middle child, and he is high strung and an over-reactor. He could be happy as a clam, until the slightest little thing sets him off. Sometimes, his temper tantrums end with him running off. It is the funniest run I have ever seen in my life! I laugh every single time he does it, and I’m chuckling right now thinking of it. Erica is not the only family member with singing chops. Barry is a rapper, with the rap name Big Tasty. I wonder if he came up with that name from his mother calling him “yummy” and “delicious” all the time.
Barry is played by Troy Gentile, who steals every scene he is in. Here is his bio from abc.com:
Troy Gentile got his start in entertainment at the age of 11 when he landed his first acting job, playing the supporting role of Hooper – the bear in the wheelchair – in the remake of Bad News Bears with Billy Bob Thorton. He later went on to play another supporting role as little Jack Black in the film Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny. His career continued its rise when he was cast in the role of young Dan Fogel in Good Luck Chuck.
At the age of 13, Gentile was cast in Drillbit Taylor in his first lead role, opposite Owen Wilson and produced by Judd Apatow. He was also seen in Pineapple Express, Nacho Libre and Hotel for Dogs, with Don Cheadle and Kevin Dillon.
Adam Goldberg (Sean Giambrone)
Adam is the youngest child of the family, and the reason why this show exists. He always has the video camera ready so he can capture every family fight, embarrassing moments, and touching moments. Adam is into some of the things I love, such as Star Wars and Tron. But mostly, he’s from my little brother’s generation, and is into Transformers, GoBots, He-Man, and Nintendo. Adam is at a transitional age where he is beginning to like girls, and wants to start picking out his own clothes.
Adam is played by Sean Giambrone. according to ABC.com, Giambrone began his acting career at the age of 9 and starred in various television commercials, including for McDonald’s and Friendly’s Restaurants. He gained particular attention in the nationwide campaign for Sea World, even making an appearance in a spoof on The Tonight Show, and also appeared as Afro Boy in the film I Heart Shakey.
Albert Soloman (George Segal)
Albert is Beverly’s father. This widower is quite the ladies man, and is adored by his grandkids especially Adam. “Pops” is a human lifeboat to the kids when their parents are getting out of control. He constantly gives advice to the kids – sometimes good, sometimes not so good.
Albert is played by George Segal, perhaps the most familiar face of the cast. I could not picture anybody else playing Pops. Segal was nominated for an Oscar for his role as Nick in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966). Most of us probably know him from his role as Jack Gallo in the sitcom Just Shoot Me! (1997–2003).
Narrator Adam Goldberg (Patton Oswalt)
A Christmas Story had Jean Shephard, The Wonder Years had Daniel Stern, and now The Goldbergs has Patton Oswalt. Not only does he narrate the show, but he enhances it with his perfect timing. It was a brilliant idea to have a narrator, and Oswalt was an awesome choice.
Most of us know Patton Oswalt from his role as Spence on King of Queens. He also performed the voice of the lead character, Remy, in Pixar’s Ratatouille (2007). He is also a successful Stand Up Comedian.
If you have not seen The Goldbergs yet, please tune in! It airs on Tuesday nights at 9:00pm Eastern on ABC.
In upcoming articles, I will write about each individual shows. It will be a lot of fun, just like the show itself.Follow @returntothe80s