Jeff Garlin, George Segal, Wendi McLendon-Covey
Why aren't you watching The Goldbergs?
The '80s-set ABC family comedy, based on creator Adam F. Goldberg's childhood and his childhood home videos — which are shown at the end of episodes — doesn't have the star power of some of the new fall series or a glossy name and built-in selling point like its lead-in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but it's one of the better freshmen series of the new season. And you are definitely missing out on some big laughs and rad '80s fashions if you're not tuning in.
Here are four reasons why you should be watching The Goldbergs.
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1. It's relatable
The shout-y dad. The overbearing mom. The horny granddad. The outcast older brother. They sound like (and are) clichés, but in Goldberg's hands, we have one of the more realistic and believable family dynamics on-screen in years. Your family might not be as abrasive or as loud as the Goldbergs, but we all know or have met some gruff yet huggable people who might grate, but ultimately mean well. On the surface, the show seems to be taking "the louder we are, the funnier" approach, but to write it off as a high-volume shriek-a-thon is to ignore the nice, quiet emotional beats it does take. Take last week's video proof of Murray (Jeff Garlin) doting on his wife Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey), courtesy of Adam's (Sean Giambrone) chronic filming of his clan. Murray might never say (or scream), "I love you," but he does show it. It's not easy to mix cacophonous craziness with sweet sentimentality so effortlessly, but The Goldbergs has, and now they're the family you never knew you wanted.
2. The performances
All the actors are wonderfully cast, but McLendon-Covey and Troy Gentile, who plays Barry, are the standouts. McLendon-Covey's overprotective, overly cautious, loving mom who'd purposely scare her son just so he'd hug her is just the right degree off-center, while Gentile has made Barry a roller-skating rapper/NBA star/weirdo we'd all love to befriend.
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You don't have to have lived through the '80s to appreciate them. But The Goldbergs is not just about the decade that gave us Trapper Keepers and parachute pants — it celebrates all of our childhoods. Who doesn't get wistful reminiscing about a more innocent, carefree time in our lives when your biggest concern was figuring out how to get Reebok Pumps (or Air Jordans or the next iPhone)? And if you do remember the '80s, all the better, which leads us to...
4. '80s references
One of viewers' biggest pet peeves is the anachromisms. No, Say Anything... and REO Speedwagon's "Can't Fight This Feeling" didn't come out the same year, but what does it matter? The beauty of memories is the moment, not the time-stamp. We've all been there when we're telling an old story and got the date or year wrong. Plus, being intentionally vague about the time (as Patton Oswalt voice-overs as Old Adam, it's "1980-something") allows the show to reference '80s items and pop culture contributions any time it wants. "We're not telling a historical timeline of the '80s. ... This gives us so much more to play with," Goldberg told TVGuide.com last month. "And if we get canceled, at least we would've put in the '80s things we wanted to!"
The Goldbergs airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on ABC. Have you been watching?