Friday, September 27, 2013

Pilot Review: The Goldbergs

The Goldbergs (ABC)
Premiered September 24 at 9pm

I’ll admit that I expected horrible things from this show going into it, but it was pretty awful all on its own. It’s probably the worst and most inexplicable decision ABC has made since premiering another comedy in this same timeslot six years ago. “Cavemen” was based on a popular Geico commercial, and someone thought that thirty seconds of humor could translate to thirty minutes of hilarity. In short, they were wrong. The notion that a comedy about living in the eighties, however autobiographical, would be funny just because it was a comedy about living in the eighties, is equally illogical. And it’s not that this show’s humor is grounded in a world from thirty years ago, but rather that its characters and plotlines are supposed to be entertaining because, and only because, of their setting. It’s difficult to assign the moniker of worst character on the show to any of the family’s six horrible members, though George Segal gets a pass because he’s portraying the token grandfather. Jeff Garlin, who was perfect for his role on “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” puts so little effort into being the overreaction-prone father that it’s laughable, while Wendi McLendon-Covey, who has been good in fare like “Bridesmaids,” is so far at the end of the spectrum that’s she unbearable. “The X Factor” contestant Hayley Orrantia and the inconveniently-named Troy Gentile compete to be more like 80s stereotypical children, and neither wins, while Sean Giambrone’s narrator character suffers from acute precocious television child syndrome. There is nothing to laugh about on this show, and it’s hard to believe that enough people thought it would make a remotely decent TV show.

How will it work as a series? Despite dashing through a handful of clips of 80s films in its opening moments, this show hasn’t exhausted all of the most preposterous things about its selected decade. Beyond that, it will surely cover the traditional things that afflict families with children of different ages and present themselves in sitcoms.
How long will it last? I was shocked to find that while another terrible new series, “Dads,” scored a horrific 15 on Metacritic, this show netted a whopping 52, meaning that it’s not as despised as it should be. Its premiere numbers were fine, but I think it will fall considerably and inconsolably in week two and beyond, and is headed for cancellation sooner rather than later.

Pilot grade: F-

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