Monday, September 23, 2013

ABC Fall Pilot Review: The Goldbergs - Premieres Sept. 24; 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Award Winners

The Goldbergs

The Goldbergs - Tuesdays at 9:00PM ET/PT on ABC
Premieres Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 9:00PM ET/PT

by Pavan

Before there were parenting blogs, trophies for showing up and peanut allergies, there was a simpler time called the '80s. For geeky 11-year-old Adam (Sean Giambrone), these were his "wonder years," and he faced them armed with a video camera to capture all the crazy. The Goldbergs are a loving family like any other -- just with a lot more yelling. Mom Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey) is a classic "smother," an overbearing, overprotective matriarch who rules this brood with 100% authority and zero sense of boundaries. Dad Murray (Jeff Garlin) is gruff, hot-tempered and trying to parent without screaming. Sister Erica (Hayley Orrantia) is 17, hot, terrifying and not one to mess with. Barry (Troy Gentile) is 16, an overly emotional teen with severe middle child syndrome. Adam (Sam Giambrone) is the youngest, a camera-wielding future director who's crushing on an older woman. Rounding out the family is beloved grandfather Al "Pops" Solomon (George Segal), the wild man of the clan, a shameless Don Juan who's schooling Adam in the ways of love. When Pops buys a new sports car and offers his Caddy to middle child Barry, it's enough to drive this already high-strung family to the brink of chaos.

Cast Details:
Wendi McLendon-Covey as Beverly Goldberg
Patton Oswalt as adult Adam Goldberg
Sean Giambrone as Adam Goldberg
Troy Gentile as Barry Goldberg
Hayley Orrantia as Erica Goldberg
George Segal as Pops Solomon
Jeff Garlin as Murray Goldberg

Wendi McLendon-Covey (Beverly Goldberg) has never been busier: In addition to her role on ABC's The Goldbergs, she is currently shooting the film Think Like a Man 2. Audiences will also be able to see her this winter in A Friggin' Christmas Miracle, opposite Robin Williams, Joel McHale and Lauren Graham, and next year co-starring in Tyler Perry's Single Mom's Club. She is perhaps best known for her starring roles in Bridesmaids, Reno 911, Lovespring International and the television series Rules of Engagement.

Patton Oswalt (adult Adam Goldberg) continues to find success in all areas of entertainment, from his Grammy-nominated comedy special, Finest Hour, to numerous memorable TV guest roles, the upcoming comedy The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, with Ben Stiller, and a starring role on Adult Swim's The Heart, She Holler. Last year Oswalt was recognized for his work on the big screen with a Critics' Choice Award nomination for his performance in Jason Reitman's Young Adult, opposite Charlize Theron. In addition to his guest roles this past year on Justified, Two and a Half Men and Burn Notice, Oswalt has a recurring role on the upcoming season of The Newsroom and also recurred in Caprica. He was a series regular on United States of Tara, and appeared as a guest star on Bored to Death, Flight of the Conchords, and The Sarah Silverman Program. He is also a regular contributor to Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Real Time with Bill Maher and Lewis Black's Root of All Evil.

Sean Giambrone (Adam Goldberg) is the 11-year-old version of the show's creator, Adam Goldberg. Giambrone is also a series regular on Cartoon Network's Clarence, a new animated series debuting this fall. He's the voice of Jeff, intellectual sidekick of the main character. Giambrone began his acting career at the age of 9 and starred in various television commercials, including for McDonald's and Friendly's Restaurants. He gained particular attention in the nationwide campaign for Sea World, even making an appearance in a spoof on The Tonight Show, and also appeared as Afro Boy in the film I Heart Shakey.

Troy Gentile (Barry Goldberg) got his start in entertainment at the age of 11 when he landed his first acting job, playing the supporting role of Hooper - the bear in the wheelchair - in the remake of Bad News Bears with Billy Bob Thorton. He later went on to play another supporting role as little Jack Black in the film Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny. His career continued its rise when he was cast in the role of young Dan Fogel in Good Luck Chuck. At the age of 13, Gentile was cast in Drillbit Taylor in his first lead role, opposite Owen Wilson and produced by Judd Apatow. He was also seen in Pineapple Express, Nacho Libre and Hotel for Dogs, with Don Cheadle and Kevin Dillon. In television he has had guest appearances in Entourage, Disney's The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, HawthoRNe and The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

Hayley Orrantia (Erica Goldberg) is a 19 year old actress, singer and songwriter originally from Highland Village, Texas. She was a contestant on Season 1 The X Factor USA. Originally auditioning as a solo artist, she and three other contestants were assembled during the boot camp phase by Simon Cowell into a girl group to continue in the competition. Calling themselves Lakoda Rayne, they were the last group in the competition and made it to the top 9. As a solo artist, Orrantia has recorded songs on the soundtracks for Disney's Tinkerbell and the Lost Treasure, Camp Rock 2 and Hannah Montana Forever. She has opened for several major artists and celebrities, including Hot Chelle Rae, Jack Ingram, JLS, Julianne Hough and Rachel Ray.

George Segal (Pops Solomon) is a veteran of stage, television and film, Segal has amassed an impressive resume of projects that run the gamut, from the lightest of comedies to the most heart-wrenching of dramas. He first gained critical attention as a distraught newlywed in Ship of Fools and as a P.O.W. in King Rat. He went on to garner an Oscar nomination for his performance as Nick in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Younger generations of viewers will recognize him from his successful seven-year run in Just Shoot Me!, and more recently from his confident, jaunty turn as Hollywood manager Murray Berenson in the hit show Entourage. Other recent TV appearances include starring on TV Land's sitcom Retired at 35 and guest appearances on Private Practice, Pushing Daisies, Boston Legal and Law & Order: SVU. On the big screen, Segal appeared as Jake Gyllenhaal's father in Love and Other Drugs, as well as in Roland Emmerich's epic adventure, 2012.

Jeff Garlin (Murray Goldberg) has talent encompassing writing, producing, directing, acting and performing stand-up comedy. He is best known as Larry David's manager on the critically acclaimed HBO comedy, Curb Your Enthusiasm, for which he is also an executive producer. In 2007 Garlin adapted his solo stage show I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With into an independent film. It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival to critical acclaim and was a successful independent release for IFC. His second feature as writer, director and star, dealin' with idiots, was released by IFC in July 2013. He's also an executive producer on the forthcoming documentary Finding Vivian Maier. Garlin has extensive feature acting credits, including Disney-Pixar's Academy Award-winning films WALL-E (The Captain) and Toy Story 3 (Buttercup the Unicorn). In 2012 he released a book, Curbing It (Simon & Schuster), in which he shares his eye-opening journey to reduce his waistline and his carbon footprint during the production of the seventh season of HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Pilot Plot:

"The Circle of Driving" (airs Tuesday, September 24 at 9:00PM ET/PT)

In the pilot episode for the series, Barry wakes on his birthday expecting to get a car, but is disappointed at the kitchen table when Beverly says that he's not ready for that responsibility and gives him something else that shocks him. Pops complicates matters by giving Barry the car he wants, but Beverly instantly makes her father take the car back. Meanwhile, Adam seeks Pop's advice on his crush at the local diner.

Guest starring Troy Winbush as Officer Pochinski and Brec Bassinger as Zoe.

"The Circle of Driving" was written by Adam F. Goldberg and directed by Seth Gordon.


After watching the pilot, I can't help but think of the well-done sitcom The Wonder Years. That show was aired in the late 80s/early '90s but was set in the '60s. This show is set in the '80s but it is airing 2013. The time is right for something like this. It's such a great pilot and we are really invested in each family member. The backdrop of the '80s is well done but the key to the show is this family. I was really looking forward to this show and it did not disappoint. Each character shines in this premiere and we have a great set-up for things to come. These days people seem to forget that pilots are just set-up and when reviewing something, you have to also look at what the future will hold. 11-year-old Adam is probably the funniest on this show, but the entire family including the father (Murry), mom (Beverly), older brother (Barry), older sister (Erica) and grandpa (Al "Pops") are all funny. Adam's chemistry with "Pops" is so good and Pops' advice for Adam and a crush he has at a diner is hilarious. It's like Kevin and Winnie all over again. I love it!

It's just an enjoyable premiere and you know it is something special when you want to watch the pilot over and over again. I've watched it about three times already and I laugh every single time. It may not be as sharply written as Modern Family's pilot, but in a way it reminds of that series. The core of the show is the family and that's what makes Modern Family so special. This show also is using real-life stories from the creator, like Modern Family has done. That makes it more real and funny and I'm sure many of you will relate very well to this. If you were living in the '80s or not. This is a core ABC family-centric comedy and it should work very well for them. Adam video tapes everything in his '80s video camera and you should be recording this show in 2013 on your DVR every week. Well, also watching live, too...because this is appointment television.


This is my favorite sitcom pilot of the season. It's watchable, laugh-out-loud funny, and it has a very relatable family. Many are writing this one out for no reason without even watching it. I don't get that at all because this is a hell of a show and it will surprise many. It won't surprise me, because it is fantastic. Why else would it be anchoring an entire night? The last time ABC tried to anchor a night with a new comedy was back in 2009 with Modern Family and we all know how that turned out. To me, it is the best and most enjoyable comedy pilot of the 2013-14 class and it is the most mainstream as well. Yes, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Enlisted and Trophy Wife have better writing, but this one is the most mainstream that anyone can enjoy. It is familiar, too, and familiar type shows are always well watched. Some shows that are not familiar and mainstream like 30 Rock, Happy Endings, have all struggled to find a mass audience.

The series is going to be following the most anticipated new series of the fall, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. so it will have an ample audience for its premiere. I'm predicting right now it will have one of the best comedy premieres of the season in adults 18-49, if not the best (watch out Robin Williams and Michael J. Fox). And whoever watches it will love it. It probably won't be getting the critical praise of Modern Family, but to me, it has the relatable and funny family aspect down pact. If you're looking for some fun, then you're going to be watching the right show. It's great family entertainment following a great entertaining new show that will be watched by all ages. New Girl, get ready to step aside, because you have a new comedy competition to beat you. The Goldbergs is pure fun and the best new comedy of the fall!

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4.5/5
Funniness: 4/5
Overall: 4.5/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 9:00PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • Official Site
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • The Goldbergs Photo Gallery


  • The 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards aired last night on CBS. Here are the winners!

    The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
    Girls (HBO)
    Louie (FX)
    Modern Family (ABC)
    30 Rock (NBC)
    Veep (HBO)
    WINNER: Modern Family (ABC). Racked up a fourth straight win! This was a sure bet.

    Jason Bateman, Arrested Development (Netflix)
    Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
    Matt LeBlanc, Episodes (Showtime)
    Don Cheadle, House of Lies (Showtime)
    Louis C.K., Louie (FX)
    Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock (NBC)
    WINNER: Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory (CBS). After not winning last year, Parsons comes back and wins it this year.

    Laura Dern, Enlightened (HBO)
    Lena Dunham, Girls (HBO)
    Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie (Showtime)
    Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation (NBC)
    Tina Fey, 30 Rock (NBC)
    Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep (HBO)
    WINNER: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep (HBO). For the second straight year. From this list, I would have guessed her, too.

    Adam Driver, Girls (HBO)
    Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family (ABC)
    Ed O'Neill, Modern Family (ABC)
    Ty Burrell, Modern Family (ABC)
    Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live (NBC)
    Tony Hale, (Veep) (HBO)
    WINNER: Tony Hale, (Veep) (HBO). I would have thought someone from Modern Family would have won. Ed O'Neill was very deserving this season.

    Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
    Jane Lynch Glee (Fox)
    Sofia Vergara, Modern Family (ABC)
    Julie Bowen, Modern Family (ABC)
    Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie (Showtime)
    Jane Krakowski 30 Rock (NBC)
    Anna Chlumsky Veep (HBO)
    WINNER: Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie (Showtime). Probably the biggest upset and "huh?" of the night. Bowen or Vergara should have won.

    Breaking Bad (AMC)
    Downton Abbey (PBS)
    Game of Thrones (HBO)
    Homeland (Showtime)
    House of Cards (Netflix)
    Mad Men (AMC)
    WINNER: Breaking Bad (AMC). Last year it was Homeland, but now Breaking Bad takes it.

    Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad (AMC)
    Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey (PBS)
    Damian Lewis, Homeland (Showtime)
    Kevin Spacey House of Cards (Netflix)
    Jon Hamm, Mad Men (AMC)
    Jeff Daniels The Newsroom (HBO)
    WINNER: Jeff Daniels The Newsroom (HBO). A first time winner!

    Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel (A&E)
    Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey (PBS)
    Claire Danes, Homeland (Showtime)
    Robin Wright, House of Cards (Netflix)
    Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men (AMC)
    Connie Britton, Nashville (ABC)
    Kerry Washington, Scandal (ABC)
    WINNER: Claire Danes, Homeland (Showtime). She takes it for the second straight time. We wanted Kerry Washington to win so badly.

    Bobby Cannavale, Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
    Jonathan Banks, Breaking Bad (AMC)
    Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad (AMC)
    Jim Carter, Downton Abbey (PBS)
    Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones (HBO)
    Mandy Patinkin, Homeland (Showtime)
    WINNER: Bobby Cannavale, Boardwalk Empire (HBO). We thought Aaron Paul would win again.

    Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad (AMC)
    Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey (PBS)
    Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones (HBO)
    Christine Baranski, The Good Wife (CBS)
    Morena Baccharin, Homeland (Showtime)
    Christina Hendricks, Mad Men (HBO)
    WINNER: Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad (AMC). I thought Maggie Smith would win.

    View the full list of winners.

    New on DVD/Blu-ray (September)

    The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season Modern Family - The Complete Season 7

    09/06 - Coach - Season One (Mill Creek) / Season Two / Seasons One and Two
    09/06 - South Park - The Complete Ninteenth Season (Blu-ray)
    09/13 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season (Blu-ray)
    09/13 - Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season
    09/20 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season
    09/20 - Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season
    09/20 - Modern Family - The Complete Season 7
    09/20 - Veep - Season 5
    09/27 - The Wonder Years - Season Six
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest

    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Tuesday, October 25

    The Middle - "Halloween VIII: The Heckoning" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    As Halloween approaches, Frankie is taken aback when she discovers that, if the circumstances ever arose where she and Mike got divorced, the kids would all choose to live with Mike. Meanwhile, Sue tries everything in her power to get her room back from Brick, and having to be so nice around girlfriend April all of the time leads Axl to lash out at his family.

    American Housewife - "Westport Zombies" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Katie, jealous of Taylor’s friendship with neighbor Viv (Leslie Bibb), reluctantly competes in the Westport Halloween “Zombie Run” after she finds out they’ll both be running. Meanwhile, Greg and Anna-Kat get a little too much in character for the “zombie” part of the run’s obstacle course.

    Fresh Off the Boat - "Louisween" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    It’s Louis’ favorite holiday, and he makes every attempt to scare Jessica into the Halloween spirit, but she is buried in her word processor, drafting her first horror novel. Meanwhile, Emery and Evan debate costume choices, and Eddie and his crew are excited to party with high schoolers at Nicole’s house.

    The Real O'Neals - "The Real Halloween" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    When Halloween arrives, or what Kenny refers to as “the gay Super Bowl,” he plans to go to Boystown to watch the festive costume parade. In an effort to prevent Kenny from attending, Eileen agrees to let him throw his own Halloween party at home. Eileen’s tolerance is ultimately tested when Kenny recruits Stuart and his gay friends to join the big party, and he makes a BIG costume change. Meanwhile, Jimmy and Shannon plan to pull off an epic Halloween prank.

    Atlanta - "Junteenth" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
    Why my Auntie trying to make me go to one of these bougie Junteenth parties again? I don't like them sadity people and I'm gonna miss my shows. Le sigh.

    Family Time - "Head of House" (Bounce TV, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    When the Stallworths have an unexpected visitor, they learn of a vicious crime that took place in their home years ago.

    Complete TV Listings

    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 24)

    Tuesday, October 25

    • Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth) - Catch Will on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He also chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Matt LeBlanc (Man with a Plan/Episodes/Friends) - Matt is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother) - Cobie appears on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Skylar Astin (Ground Floor) - Skylar is a guest on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Ron Howard (Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) - Ron drops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Mary Lynn Rajskub (How to Be a Gentleman/Veronica's Closet/The Larry Sanders Show) and David Koechner (Another Period/Hank/The Office) - Mary and David are guests on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
    • John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun/Twenty Good Years) - John appears on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
    • Jamie Lee Curtis (Scream Queens/Anything But Love) - Jamie Lee is a guest on Harry, so check your local listings.
    • Erinn Hayes (Kevin Can Wait/Guys with Kids/Worst Week) - Erinn plays a celeb guessing game with Rach, who’s serving up no-fail make-your-own takeout, on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
    • Mary Steenburgen (The Last Man on Earth/Ink) - Mary joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
    • Ana Gasteyer (People of Earth/Lady Dynamite/Suburgatory) - Ana will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET. She will also be on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
    • Cheryl Hines (Son of Zorn/Suburgatory/Curb Your Enthusiasm) - Cheryl is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
    • Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) - Abbi will be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. She will also be on the AOL Build Show 4pm.
    • Don Rickles (C.P.O. Sharkey/Daddy Dearest) - Don is a guest on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
    • Nico Tortorella (Younger) - Nico appears on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.