I’m not really a big fan of sitcoms. Comedy is always a really mixed bag for me as a viewer, because I usually feel that it’s so much harder to consistently be funny than it is to create dramatic moments (not that drama is necessarily easier, but it seems to feel more natural to me as an audience member). I was, however, a huge fan of The Wonder Years “back in the day,” so when I heard about The Goldbergs, I was intrigued. Fortunately, now nearly two full seasons into the show, I have not been disappointed.
The Goldbergs is an ABC sitcom that follows a fictionalized version of creator Adam Goldberg’s family as they live life in the 1980s. The show definitely takes advantage of this time period, and it would be virtually impossible to tell the stories that The Goldbergs does without this setting.
While the audience for the show has grown in its second season, I still feel that not nearly enough people are watching what has turned out to be one of the most impressive new sitcoms of the past few years. Here are five reasons why I think you should be watching The Goldbergs:
To have a great sitcom, you have to have a great cast. ABC really lucked into something great when they landed Wendi McLendon-Covey for the role of Beverly Goldberg, the matriarch of the family. Beverly has all the makings of a classic TV mom: she is extremely overprotective to a fault, she continuously thrusts herself into her kids’ lives, and she shows the greatest love that is possible between and mother and her children. Beverly is often one of the major sources of comedy in The Goldbergs, and McLendon-Covey absolutely shines in the role. McLendon-Covey has already been nominated once for a Critics’ Choice Award for the role, and it would be a shame if this talented actress fails to receive any Emmy love in the future.
The Family Dynamic Feels Genuine
While Wendi McLendon Covey is great in her own right, it is truly a credit to the entire cast and writing team that the family dynamic on The Goldbergs feels like one of the most genuine examples on television. Despite the fact that so many of the storylines are outrageous, it is incredibly easy as a viewer to connect with the family. When Adam (played by Sean Giambrone) is embarrassed, you understand why. When Murray (played by the incredible Jeff Garlin) is frustrated by his family’s antics, you feel frustrated, too (but in a good way). The entire cast, including Hayley Orrantia, Troy Gentile, and George Segal as Erica, Barry, and “Pops,” respectively, make the roles their own through a perfect interpretation of generally stereotypical sitcom characters.
Nostalgic, But Relevant to the Present
One of the biggest strengths of The Goldbergs is its ability to play around in its 1980s’ setting, but it is equally commendable, if not more so, that the stories told in the show are applicable to modern day as well. Stories on The Goldbergs often deal with family interactions, school situations, love, friendship, and more aspects of life that are just as meaningful to families of today as they would have been to the Goldberg family in the 1980s.
ABC’s Confidence in the Show
These days, networks tend to not be very patient with new shows, and many of them are never able to see if they can find a real audience. Season 1 of The Goldbergs started off well, but the show lost a large number of viewers as the season progressed (typical of any new show). However, ABC was pleased enough with the show’s quality and the audience that already was there, and it renewed the show for a second season while also moving it to a new night. The Goldbergs has shined on Wednesday nights, and it has been a great addition to the network’s comedy block. In addition, many critics that were not huge fans of the show in the first season have remarked on the much improved quality this year, a fact that wouldn’t have been possible if The Goldbergs had not been given more time to really find its creative footing.
“Barry Goldberg’s Day Off”
The Goldbergs has always relied on homages to 1980s pop culture throughout its run, but this has never been more present than in “Barry Goldberg’s Day Off,” one of the best episodes the series has ever produced. As made obvious by the episode’s title, this Season 2 gem is based on the classic movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The episode hits on many of the major beats from the film, and the characters on the show feel natural in the roles that they embody from the characters in the film. The entire cast, including many of the show’s recurring characters, shine in this extremely well-written homage, and it even features a cameo from Charlie Sheen in a reprisal of his Ferris Bueller role. Based on the success of “Barry Goldberg’s Day Off,” the show’s crew have stated a desire to play homage to other classic films in future episodes. If these later episodes prove to be as good as this treasure, I can’t wait to see what they have in store.
[Photos via ABC]