Pilot Perception: The Goldbergs

Welcome to Pilot Perception, our feature in which we break down the first episode of each new show in order to help you decide whether it’s worth your time.

The Show: The Goldbergs, ABC in the U.S. and CTV in Canada, Tuesdays at 9/8c

The Pedigree: The show was created and written by Adam F. Goldberg (Breaking In), who executive produces with Doug Robinson (Rules of Engagement). Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses) directed the pilot.

The Cast & How You Know Them: The Goldberg family is played by newcomer Sean Giambrone, Wendi McLendon-Covey (Rules of Engagement), Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm), George Segal (Just Shoot Me!), Troy Gentile (Hotel for Dogs), and Hayley Orrantia (The X Factor).

The Premise: The Goldbergs is a semi-autobiographical comedy about a family in the 1980s, told from the perspective of a geeky 11-year-old with a home video camera.

A Taste:

What Works: First of all, the eighties opening was delightful. I like the framing device of the youngest child looking back on his childhood. And I like the concept of a semi-autobiographical comedy about family life set in a time that’s so recent and yet so different from now in regards to technology and pop culture. There were a few tender moments toward the end that I found touching. But . . .

What Doesn’t: I know a lot of people loved this pilot, so this might just be a matter of taste, but it really didn’t work for me. Almost all of the dialogue is yelled, and all of the characters say terrible things to and about each other all the time. I know we’re supposed to see this as their dysfunctional way of expressing love, but I just found it unrelentingly unpleasant to watch. The jokes were often crude and misogynist, and almost always just mean. I’ll try another episode or two to see if these issues get toned down at all, but if the tone of the pilot continues, I’m not sure for how long I’ll be able to convince myself to sit through the show.

Our Favorite Line: “You’re killing your father. I hope you’re having a happy birthday.”

You Might Like This if you like slightly offbeat family comedies. It reminded me of Malcolm in the Middle. And the recent historical setting was reminiscent of That ’70s Show.

If You’re Interested: Catch up on the first episode on Hulu, the ABC site, or the CTV site. Then set your DVR for next Tuesday at 9/8c for episode two.

(Photo courtesy of ABC.)

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