Some sitcoms go under your personal radar for a while. Such is the case for The Goldbergs. Watching The Complete First Season 3 DVD set made me put this show on the must watch list next season. It has been a while since prime time TV had an easy listening family based sitcom.
Think The Wonder Years meets the eighties –there is a callback to the swing scene in the pilot-- and a Jewish mother and you basically have The Goldbergs. The show is based on the recollections of show creator Adam F. Goldberg and so far seemns to be very close to biographical. There are even home movie clips of the real Goldbergs at the end of episodes to show the real basis of an episode.
The Goldbergs are a middle-class Philadelphia family. The story centers on young Adam Goldberg and shows his life with his older sister and brother, mother and father (Wendy McLendon-Coven who is excellent in the rold and comic Jeff Garlin), and his grandfather played by George Segal of Just Shoot Me fame. The mom is definitely queen of her castle and ruler of the roost.
Plot wise, this situation comedy does not break new ground. The Halloween episode is about Adam wanting to do his own thing for Halloween, the Thanksgiving episode has to do with inviting a relative the head of the family does not get along with and some reconciliation, and things like being bad at sports and being bullied by the older brother. The show does make these stories interesting and funny.
The Goldbergs is set in eighty-something so one show can refer to something that was big in 82 and the next be basedon something released in 87. If you were there at the time, it makes the show even more fun.
Special features include a short on creating eighties appropriate costumes (and Bev Goldberg wears the real Bev Goldberg's hand-me-downs), achieving the eighties look for the set, and a behind the scenes and a making of.