‘The Goldbergs’ Series Premiere Review – What Did You Think?

Published 2 years ago by

goldbergs premiere abc The Goldbergs Series Premiere Review   What Did You Think?

When ABC first presented their fall line-up this past May, it was clear that the network had pieced together strong trailers for their new, upcoming series. Though some (Trophy Wife) ultimately proved to be quick cuts of the few funny lines the pilot contains, there was hope that The Goldbergs with Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Jeff Garlin – which arguably had one of the most positive response from ABC’s upfronts – would be one of the comedic gems of the new fall season.

From the duo behind Fox’s short-lived, quasi-cult comedy Breaking In, Adam F. Goldberg and Seth Gordon, ABC’s The Goldbergs is an endearing, semi-autobiographical series based on the life (and video tapes) of Goldberg’s real-life family in the ’80s, when political correctness was unheard of and being called a “little bastard” was meant with love.

Like most nostalgia series, The Goldbergs makes great use of its familiar period elements, allowing viewers to be easily transported to a time not long ago. What separates The Goldbergs from the other throwback series that have made it to air, however, is the fact that the series never really revels in its nostalgia; instead, the ’80s is simply used as the setting by which to tell tales that have a modern-day counterpart. This element, which seems like it should be a requirement for all television series, is often overlooked and pushed aside, as many series would rather simply make numerous references to the ’80s than depict the not-too-far-off lifestyles of that time, compared to ours.

goldbergs premiere abc segal The Goldbergs Series Premiere Review   What Did You Think?

In the pilot, it’s not about Barry (Troy Gentile), Adam’s older brother, longing for a specific edition of the Pontiac Firebird (which the writers found out was coveted by new drivers at the time); it’s about getting your license. Through Barry obtaining his license, and Erica (Hayley Orrantia), the oldest child, fighting for her own vehicle – all while Adam tapes it – an earnest coming-of-age tale worth watching kicked off the show’s first chapter.

Unlike most series, where fantastical made-up characters are created on the spot, The Goldbergs have real-life counterparts which are obviously important to the creators – and it shows. Each character – from Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey), Adam’s outspoken (and always correct) mother to “Pops” (George Segal), the ever-intrusive grandfather – is fully developed and works surprisingly well within the ensemble. The one weak link, however, may very well be one person everyone was looking forward to seeing: Jeff Garlin.

goldbergs premiere abc garlin The Goldbergs Series Premiere Review   What Did You Think?

Garlin on Curb Your Enthusiasm is like having a hilarious blow horn under the control of a symphonic master (Larry David). As for Garlin on The Goldbergs? He still brings that same boisterous voice that everyone knows and love; it’s just that this time it might be a bit too much. Like Denis Leary in the throwback baseball film The Sandlot, Garlin feels a bit out of place once the pilot gets going, and there isn’t much that’s done to rectify that by the end. Still, while it was very much Beverly, Barry and “Pops” who stole the show, there’s hope that Garlin could join the rest of the cast in becoming a well-rounded character soon enough.

When one begins to look at the fall line-up, it quickly becomes apparent that there aren’t that many choices for new, strong comedies out there – so it’s important to give those which have the most potential a shot. While it may be a few weeks before Garlin settles into his character (it is the pilot, after all), there’s more than enough reason to give The Goldberg’s a watch – and not just because of all the REO Speedwagon songs.


The Goldbergs return next Tuesday @ 9pm on ABC with “Daddy Daughter Day”.

Follow Anthony Ocasio on Twitter @anthonyocasio
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  1. I really enjoyed the episode and not just because I’m stuck in the 80s. I lost a lot of sitcoms last year, so I’m looking forward to finding some good replacements

    • I thought it was funny! I really enjoyed seeing the short clip of the actual family members at the end…and quite honestly…wouldn’t mind seeing a little more real footage shown.

  2. I hated it. Way to over the top. The father was horrible – I couldn’t stop looking at the growth on the inside if his bottom lip. I had to change the channel.

    • Yeah, WTF is that growth on his lip?

  3. It was good over all, and will watch another ep to see if they can get better and work out the kinks. I predict the sister will disappear this year and never be seen or heard from again. She was the weakest part on the show with nothing to do, and no real personality.

    • Sister was put in by the network. HIS real name is Eric, that’s why no video of the sister the end.

  4. It was pretty funny
    Will definitely watch after agents of shield

  5. Goldbricks does not interest me.

  6. didn’t see it but is it like That 80′s Show ? tryin to catch nostalgia in a bottle

  7. The MVP of the pilot was Wendi McLendon-Covey. I tend not to like shrill, bossy TV moms (see Malcolm in the Middle), but her comedic talent persevered. I really enjoyed her in Reno 911 and Bridesmaids.

    The little kid, however, seems like a product of studio interference. I know he’s a proxy for the show’s creator, but his personality, and the acting behind it, is just so off-putting.

  8. I loved Wendi in Rules of Engagement. I see a little of her grossout humor here.

    This is an awful lot like Malcolm in the Middle. With a better looking Malcolm and less attractive parents.

    • You could’ve just stopped at awful

  9. I kept trying to like the characters, and it just wasn’t happening. There were humorous moments but not enough to sustain interest. I’ll give it a couple of more tries to see if it smooths out a bit.

  10. Great show
    If it should get canceled, I hope they finish at least one complete season. All shows should have one completed season (24 episodes) before cancelation.
    Pan am is a great shows that wasn’t given much of a chance to develop.
    canceled after 15 episodes. (they should have had a Beatles episode.
    Don’t allow THE GOLDBERGS to travel down the path of Pan am.

    • Alan, you must be a writer for that show. Because it will get canceled after 2 more episodes. It’s awful. But at least you can stil finger paint.

      • I’m sorry you feel that way.

  11. Carbon copy of Everybody Hates Chris

  12. I love this show, it is like a combination of “the wonder years” and “Roseanne” I just wonder if it does do well they will have problems with it later because of all the music. Like “the Wonder Years” had copyright or licensing because of all the different songs in the show.

  13. My husband ad I LOVE this show. The premiere was not the best, but most of the episodes leave us howling and crying with laughter. We hope ABC renews this gem.

  14. My husband and I LOVE THIS SHOW. I don’t know why but we love the older son!