Ah, the ’80s — REO Speedwagon, denim jumpsuits and the ability to call your kids morons without anyone alerting Child Protective Services. The Goldbergs (which premiered Tuesday at 9/8c on ABC) revels in all these luxuries, but did the period sitcom make you nostalgic or nauseated?
The titular family is headed up by Murray (Jeff Garlin, Curb Your Enthusiasm) and Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey, Rules of Engagement), parents who love their kids but often show it in the most therapy-inducing ways. Murray can’t stop yelling long enough to teach his middle son Barry (the ironically named Troy Gentile) to drive, while Beverly smothers her youngest son Adam (newcomer Sean Giambrone) — and her father (George Segal, Just Shoot Me), who is in denial of his senility. Oldest child Erica (former X Factor contest Hayley Orrantia) just wants to crimp her hair in peace. The show’s driving concept is that Adam films everything with his camcorder, and the show is narrated by his older self (Patton Oswalt, Justified).
The show tries to be a Jewish, ’80s-set Wonder Years, and it certainly succeeds in reminding us of a decade some would rather forget. Garlin has certainly not curbed his enthusiasm for yelling his lines, but he shines when Murray tries his best to show Barry he loves him. It’s always nice to have a sitcom that’s not too cynical to conclude on a feel-good note, and our heartstrings were definitely pulled by the episode-ending comparisons between creator Adam F. Goldberg’s real-life family, upon whom the series is based, and the actors on his show.
The series is often charming and brings some laughs — mostly at the expense of awkward rap-loving Barry — but its biggest hurdle will be convincing us that Beverly is actually Jewish (McLendon-Covey just has a certain shiksa quality we couldn’t get over).
But enough about what we thought: What was your take on The Goldbergs? Grade the episode via the poll below, then hit the comments to back up your choice!Follow @mishasolomontv