About three years ago, my good friend Beth recommended watching “The Goldbergs,” an ABC period sitcom about a family of five. At the time, although I had heard of it, and maybe caught a glimpse of it in passing once or twice, I never figured out a way to carve out the time to sit down and watch.
Then, as we all know, a pandemic hit our world. In early 2021, after a year of plowing through Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and other streaming services, we found ourselves looking for a new bingeworthy show to watch as a family. From the moment we played the first episode, we were hooked!
What makes this series, which first premiered in 2013, so enjoyable to my family is how relatable it is, even though it’s based in an era more than 40 years (ouch) in the past.
It’s relatable in so many ways that in fact I can’t cover them all here.
So here are the top five reasons “The Goldbergs” resonate so much with us:
First: the era. Sometime in the 1980s. It brings back memories from my formative teenage years (and my husband’s early 20s). For those of you who weren’t around, I have to say, you really missed out. The big music, fashion and economic prosperity were unparalleled in comparison to other eras in the last 100 years. Although it’s what some call the Greed Decade or the Reagan Decade, it was a very unique time to grow up.
Second: the neighborhood. Jenkintown, Pa. I lived on the border of Jenkintown for a couple of years in my 20s and 30s so it seems like I’m watching a snapshot of my past and revisiting the people and places from the area.
The references to Judaism, the Flyers, the Eagles, Lee’s Hoagie House, Kremp Florist, and Willow Grove Mall to name just a few are so fun!
Third: the family size. It’s exactly like ours – party of five!
Fourth: the sibling ratio. It’s just like ours – two boys and a girl. Although the Goldberg kids weren’t born in the same order, the dynamics are very similar. (Fun fact: In real life, the Goldberg kids were all boys).
Fifth: the characters’ personalities. (Warning: this is the longest part).
The father, Murray, is similar to my husband in that he is the frugal parent – watch Season 3, Episode 10, “A Christmas Story,” for a hilarious example of this involving “Super Hanukkah.”
He’s not afraid to shout to make a point. Although he (thankfully) doesn’t drop his drawers at the front door and walk around the house in his tighty-whities, he does have the habit of leaving his shoes and briefcase in the middle of the floor when he arrives home. If you ever hear of my sudden demise, it likely is a result of me tripping over one of these and breaking my neck.
The mother, Beverly, is similar to me in many ways, not only because she has blonde hair, but she calls herself a “Smother.” She is the quintessential helicopter mom. She will do anything and everything she can to assure that her kids are removed from harm’s way and coddles them to the nth degree.
Although you won’t ever find me creating my kids’ science project or telling their coaches how to coach, I was at one time known to run errands and visit amusement parks with backpack leashes on my kids. Recently I jokingly threatened to “Karen it Up” in front of my kids when there was a problem waiting for our takeout order at Chipotle. Beverly was a Karen decades before it was even a thing. And, honestly, she’s been known to drop a curse word here or there, just like me.
The biggest similarities with the kids’ personalities are definitely with the boys Barry and Adam.
Barry, the older brother, is similar to one of my kids in that he possesses a no-fear attitude and has the tendency to tackle anything or anyone as hard as possible. To this day, I have no idea why my son isn’t a wrestler or rugby player. But he does love skateboarding (like Barry) and snowboarding. And he has a passion for rap music. If he doesn’t one day form his own rap supergroup like the Tasty Boys, I’ll be shocked!
Adam is the nerdy brainiac of the family. He’s fascinated by videography and imaginative play toys, Star Wars movies memorabilia and Garbage Pail Kids cards. My youngest son is the ’20s version of him. He enjoys the 2020s version of these – making videos, some for his YouTube channel, building Lego cities, and collecting Robux points and Pokemon cards.
If you haven’t already discovered “The Goldbergs,” I strongly urge you to run to your TV or smart device now to watch an episode or season. You will likely find yourself hooked, and relate to the setting or characters as much as we do!
This blog post is dedicated to George Segal. R.I.P. “Pops.”
For more mom blogs from Paulette, visit www.justthreepumpkins.com.