Fall TV Pilot Review: The Goldbergs
Network - Day - Time: ABC - Tuesday - 8 PMCT
Brief Plot Synopsis: The Goldbergs are a dysfunctional Jewish family living and dropping pop-culture references in the 1980s. The family consists of overbearing mom Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey), angry dad Murray (Jeff Garlin), obliviously aging grandfather Pops (George Segal), and children Erica (Hayley Orrantia), Barry (Troy Gentile) and youngest son, and perhaps star, Adam (Sean Giambrone). A surprising bonus is that comedian Patton Oswalt acts as narrator.
Is this what a Jewish family from the '80s was really like? There are few things I can honestly attest to understanding, but Jewish families living in the 1980s happens to be one of them. This show gives a reasonable depiction. My mother's name is also Beverly and she also used guilt as a weapon.
New Idea or Retread? The premise is a new-ish idea. Family situational comedies are certainly nothing new. I would imagine the pitch meeting went something like this: It's The Wonder Years meets Freaks and Geeks meets That '70s Show meets Family Guy, but more Jewy.
Who's The Audience? People who like '80s nostalgia, people who like Jeff Garlin, people who think Jews are underrepresented in the media, people who are too lazy to change the channel after S.H.I.E.L.D.
Will You Watch It Again? I'm not sure. I love Jeff Garlin and I think he is a comedian with good instincts, which would make me think this show is worthy of a second viewing. It wasn't not funny (I know that was a double negative); there were a few very funny jokes. Wendi McLendon-Covey is also a very talented comic actress, and she really nailed the overbearing mother character. Thus far the children are the weakest link and that will be a big issue going forward. If the writing gets stronger and the plot weirder, this show could be a Malcolm In the Middle in the making.
Odds Of Lasting the Season: 50 percent. Sitcoms are tricky. If they don't get an immediate following, networks tend to drop them without giving them much of a chance. ABC has had some success with family sitcoms so they may find a way to make this thing work; however, The Goldbergs is much more niche than say Modern Family.