I just binged watched the entire third season of The Goldbergs and I must admit, the show is very good.
The Goldbergs was one of my most anticipated shows back in 2013 although I eventually stopped tuning in to new episodes once it became clear the show was going in a different direction then I originally thought. Initially, I thought the show would be more… sentimental and melodramatic like The Wonder Years. Both shows have a similar concept although The Wonder Years takes place in the 1960s while The Goldbergs is based in the 1980s. However, I have no begun to accept the show for what it is.
The Goldbergs are a dysfunctional yet loving family who always end up in a multitude of arguments and disagreements with each other, usually out of their frustration and love for the other, only for the issue to be resolved in true sitcom style, by the end of the episode.
The Goldbergs is a very cute show with a fantastic ensemble cast who all complement each other. The pilot episode was my favourite from the 2013-14 season largely due to the cast. Some of the standout performances include Wendi McLendon-Covey as Goldberg matriarch Beverly, whose smother approach to parenthood as well as her swearing gives the character both a sense of relatability and cartoonish humour. In fact, many of the Goldberg characters are cartoonish and loud but this only adds to their uniqueness. For example, Troy Gentile portrays Barry Goldberg; the high strung middle child who literally has a meltdown every episode over something trivial although Gentile’s performance and conviction to the character makes Barry likeable and lovable.
Newcomer Sean Giambrone plays Adam Goldberg, the youngest child of the Goldberg clan who is smart, geeky and has an affinity to filming his family’s antics on a VHS recorder. The character and the other Goldberg family members are based on the series creator Adam Goldberg and his family as he grew up in the 1980s. Autobiographical comedies based on young males in dysfunctional families have become the norm in American television however, Sean Giambrone displays such a high level of geniality and natural charm which singles the actor out as one of the most talented child actors currently on TV.
The third season kicked off with a flurry of great episodes which use a recurring formula which works well for the show. Each episode begins with Adult Adam (voiced by Patton Oswald) introducing the main theme of the episode, such as swimming class or Halloween. We then see the conflict between the Goldberg family members unfold which is resolved with a sweet slice of nostalgia and affection. Each episode is like an epic rollercoaster ride as the Goldberg family learn to progress into the future by learning from the past.
Best Episodes according to Moi:
A Chorus Lie
No longer in his cute kid phase, Adam is going through puberty; his arm pits smell, he has pimples, he's seeing every woman he comes across in a new light, and worst of all, his voice is changing. Despite that last change, he wins the solo in the school production of A Chorus Line, mainly because his classmates' voices are equally bad. Barry tries to help Adam through his "pubening", but only gives him bad advice. After hearing the news that pop duo Milli Vanilli deceived the public by not actually singing on their albums or at their concerts, Beverly asks Miss Cinamon to let Adam lip sync in the school musical, and to their surprise, she agrees.
Jimmy 5 is Alive
In order to get a robot, Adam tricks Murray to buy him one by going though Beverly, saying it's a "learning-based project". They end up building the robot together, but Murray's attempt at bonding with Adam goes awry when the two start fighting over the robot's specs and he tells his son to grow up. Learning from her Strawberry Shortcake doll smelling fetish, Erica advises Adam it's time to grow up and move on from his childish robots. Taking their advice, Adam quits his robots and begins to watch the Weather Channel like his dad. Meanwhile, Barry makes a huge mistake when he accidentally tapes over Beverly's beloved video of his 5th birthday party, recording "Monster Jams" with the Jenkintown Posse. In an attempt to hide the evidence, he frames his own mother for the mistake. However, Beverly doesn't take the news well and spirals into a depression, Beverly, seeing Barry's attitude, consoles him. She tells him that he has so much more talent outside basketball and makes her own video of Barry's best moments, and the two reconcile. Barry realizes what her children's tapes mean to his mom and asks her to watch him film his next slam dunk "monster jam" session.
I Caddyshacked the Pool
Now that Adam's body is changing, he is afraid to take swim class with the rest of his classmates for gym. It's awkward for them; the boys have to take off their shirts and just wear trunks and the girls have to wear one-piece swim suits, so Adam makes up several excuses not being able to swim. But when Mr. Meller tells Beverly that Adam is failing gym and he must swim or risk repeating the 8th grade, Beverly decides to buy Adam Jams to make him feel better, but Adam tells Beverly it's his body he is afraid of. Beverly then tries to tell Adam he has a beautiful body and when she fails, she makes Murray say it to him, and he thinks back to that phase in his childhood.
When Erica throws her annual Troop Beverly Hills pyjama party with Lainey and their friends, Adam and his friends spy on them by hiding his video camera during the party to gain insight into young womanhood. But when Beverly catches them, she can't resist and enjoys becoming a secret member by watching Erica and her friends gossip, make prank calls and give beauty tips. It doesn't last long because one of Erica's friends discovers the hidden camera and Beverly is caught. In retaliation, Erica "grounds" her own mother from her life, saying she isn't allowed to participate in it ever again. Within a week, Erica and Lainey are busted by an undercover cop posing as a concert scalper and they land in jail. Meanwhile, Barry and Pops discover the new pet store at the mall. Barry was told by Murray all his life that he is deathly allergic to dogs, but that doesn't stop him from playing with the puppies. To his surprise, he's totally fine and realizes Murray lied to him about the allergy. Barry asks his dad for a dog every single day until Murray finally gives in and gets him a dog that Barry names "Lucky". But Lucky recognizes Murray as the alpha male and hangs around only with him, making Barry jealous.
In Conclusion, Thanksgiving
For this year's Thanksgiving, Beverly insists the entire family get together, including inviting Murray's estranged father Pop-Pop, who didn't like her cooking way back when they got married. When Adam shows Murray a music video he made with the father/son relationship song Cat's in the Cradle, which really speaks to him, but to his surprise it spoke to his dad even more. With that emotional impact, Adam subliminally uses lyrics from the song to manipulate Murray to pay for a pricey wide-angle lens to make more serious videos. Beverly sees this and instead of punishing Adam, she uses the song to get Murray to invite Pop-Pop so he could see what an amazing cook she is.
A Christmas Story
After seeing the Kremps' getting into the holiday spirit together as one happy family, Beverly wants to be—as she says—"good at family" too. She decides to spice up her family's Jewish traditions and creates "Super Hanukkah". But it's practically the same as Christmas with decorating the house, hanging blue and white lights, and opening presents under a Hanukkah bush on one night.
Have a Summer
Adam and his incoming freshman friends worry about Freshman Fear Week, the last week of school where the seniors haze the incoming high schoolers. However, while his friends get hazed, Adam gains the respect of the seniors by bodyslamming Barry. This leaves Barry humiliated and Adam respected. Meanwhile, Geoff Schwartz schemes to get Erica to be his girlfriend. She keeps refusing until Erica and Beverly trying to dig up a time capusle gets Geoff and Erica suspended for a day because a water pipe broke in the process. In the end, after hearing a mixtape Geoff made her, Erica realizes she likes Geoff and goes to tell him. However, Erica sees Geoff with his new girlfriend because she had been rejecting him, and walks away.
Here are several screen shots from one of my favourite scenes of the show; Beverly encouraging Adam to declare "I HAVE A BEAUTIFUL BODY"