The Goldbergs is a dream come true. I never thought I would see the day when a show captured my childhood in the way that the brilliant “The Wonder Years” did for kids back in the 60s and 70s. My teen years were the 90s, but nothing compares to growing up as a kid in the 80s. However, the show goes much deeper than just a nostalgia fix. More on that later.
The show centers around the Goldberg family. Mom is an overbearing, overprotective ‘smother’ named Beverly (Wendi Mclendon-Covey). Dad Murray (Jeff Garlin) is a loud man with a fondness for yelling and dropping his pants at the front door. The kids are passionate, slightly manic Barry (Troy Gentile), the oh-so-cool 80s daughter Erica (Hayley Orrantia), and the youngest is Adam (Sean Giambrone), a bespectacled every kid who films everything with his video camera (just as I did). Then there is Pops (George Seagal), Bev’s dad who is a cool older guy who still loves the ladies. Every episode ends with real life home videos taken by the real Adam Goldberg.
I won’t go through every episode, but here are some of the toppers. The pilot episode, where Barry is hoping for a car, is a little rough around the edges, but it has the hallmarks that will come to be the show. Natural 80s homages, sweet endings, a real heart, and kick butt 80s song that will always end the show. “Daddy-Daughter Day” has Murray trying to spend more time with Erica by going to the roller rink. “Mini-Murray” is hysterical as Adam gets Pops to take him to an R rated scary movie, which Bev uses to her advantage.
The Halloween episode, “Who Are You Going To Telephone”, is a classic as Bev learns that the kids are old enough now to have holiday plans that don’t include her. “Call Me When You Get There” has Bev insisting on Barry call her when he gets his driver’s license. “Goldbergs Never Say Die!” is the epic episode that pays loving homage to ‘The Goonies’. A lot of the little detail is amazing. “A Wrestler Named Goldberg” mixes Barry going on the wrestling team with Adam going to see ‘Return Of The Jedi’. The season finale, “Livin’ On A Prayer”, is a great way to end things when Barry tries to throw an epic party. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Character to watch: Sean Giambrone as Adam.
Journal your answers to the following questions after you watch the series.
- How does this particular character’s journey compare with yours?
- Did the character develop certain characteristics during the movie that you have or that you would like to have? If so, what are those characteristics?
- What obstacles did this character face? What was his or her biggest challenge?
- What would you have done differently if you had been in the same position as the character?
- Is this character the type of person you would be friends with? Why or why not?