Today’s world is a crazy and scary place. TV, like most other creative mediums, is often used as a platform to reflect current issues back on to society, whether that be directly with the likes of Black Mirror or more inadvertently. Yet comedy has always provided respite, turning tragedy into laughter and cynicism into optimism.
Arguably, (bar a few exceptions) the days of genuine sitcoms with real heart are long gone. Instead we are left with insipid ‘comedies’ like The Big Bang Theory which is still spewing out the same unintelligent and vaguely misogynistic rhetoric.
The Goldbergs, however, offers the perfect antidote to the naff, lazy sitcoms and the visceral, all too realistic dramas. Silly, loveable and easy to watch, it’s the kind of show that offers true relief in these turbulent times. It is the kind of TV you didn’t know you needed
Set in the 1980s and born from the childhood memories of creator Adam F. Goldberg, The Goldbergs is the perfect form of escapism. Told from the perspective of the prepubescent Adam Goldberg (Sean Giambone) the audience is invited to reminisce on their own adolescence and the universally awkward experiences of growing up.
Five seasons later and it hasn’t become monotonous. Its success is mainly due to the excellent characters which form the foundation of the show. Based off Goldberg’s real family members, there is an authenticity to their distinct personality traits, albeit perhaps slightly exaggerated for comedic effect.
Recently, the 100th episode was released, marking a significant milestone for a show that seems relatively unheard of in the UK. This Halloween episode from returning director Lea Thompson brilliantly encapsulates the essence of The Goldbergs.
True to form, Adam is struck by another nerd dilemma: can a Star Wars fan date a ‘Trekkie’? Murray tries to offer advice but is thwarted by everyone’s favourite overbearing mother ‘smother’ Beverly. There is a bittersweet reunion for Barry and Lainey, played by AJ Michalka, who makes a wonderful guest appearance. The episode rounds off with some heart-warming Erica and Geoff moments.
Well-loved and in for the long haul, The Goldbergs was already renewed for its sixth season back in May, showing a confidence in its future success. This move will hopefully allow the writers a bit more room to explore creatively, in terms producing episodes that differ from the usual format – for example, an upcoming episode that is based solely around the events of one family dinner. Moreover, a spin off is already at the pilot stage, set in the 1990s and featuring fan favourite Coach Mellor (Bryan Callen).
The comedy isn’t always sophisticated and the writing is sometimes lacklustre, but it has a joyous innocence about it, the likes of which seem to be lost on TV of today. Every episode ends with a cheesy but cathartic resolution and a lesson to be learnt. Life isn’t always that simple, but for twenty minutes a week we can believe it is.
Image: Thesis P @ Wikimedia Commons