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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of puff paint t-shirts, it was the age of acid washed pleaded Guess jeans, it was the age of Pocket Rockers, it was the age of Alf, it was the age of closeted pop singers.
It was the 1980s.
As a child of the 80s, I miss this decade with its timeless pop-culture brilliance that now appears on $19.99 graphic tees at Target for 20-something
douchebags hipsters to wear while drinking their microbrews, discussing their energy efficient apartment (i.e. Mom’s basement), and expounding on why they didn’t vote in the past election. If that’s the case, take off that Sixteen Candles shirt because Jake Ryan would never respect you.
Completely extraneous but much desired Jake Ryan lip bite.
But the 80 was also a time that made you cringe and break out into hives whenever you see a jacket with shoulder pads.
And no show encapsulates the splendor and horror of 1980s like The Goldbergs.
I discovered the show three years ago while visiting my best friend in Switzerland, which is completely irrelevant to this topic but I just wanted to mic drop my travel experience. Deciding to take a break from taking picture after picture of buildings I have now completely forgotten the name of, we binged the entire first season of the show and I was hooked ever since. That same year, I joined TN and swore to myself that I would write about The Goldbergs. Alas, I pushed that topic to the back burner as other posts – um, Outlander, book, Outlander, turning 35, more Outlander, being a teacher, Sam Heughan and Outlander, and other posts not about The Goldbergs – took precedent.
This past week, as I sat wondering what I was going to write about, I turned on the television and heard the theme song:
It was totally a sign from God. #blessed
So, if you’ve never seen the show or have seen every episode and memorized each one of Bev Goldberg’s sweaters, here are just a few of the reasons why The Goldbergs is one of the most binge-worthy shows on television.
Since it’s based on executive producer Adam Goldberg’s life, The Goldbergs showcases a young Adam’s obsession for 80s cinema and features those movies you still quote over 30 years later.
These episodes pay homage to what made these movies classic: the memorable lines, the music, the plots, and yes, even a DeLorean. Think of your favorite 80s movie, and chances are the show recreated it. Unless it was Soul Man. Good luck seeing that ever being remade.
Whether they’re having a Goonies adventure, settling a dispute Karate Kid style, or making like Ferris Bueller and taking a day off, the movie tie-in episodes are worthy of the ever precious “Save This Episode” setting on your DVR. So long that PBS documentary that I acted like I was going to watch but never actually planned on it. It’s time to make DVR room for The Goldbergs’ version of The Breakfast Club:
The 1980s saw rap and hip hop music come to mainstream America and with it, practically every kid thought they could beat box. It just ended up sounding like a dog farting or that you were having a horrific asthma attack.
No one portrays the sheer embarrassment of suburban white boys thinking they could freestyle rap better than Barry Goldberg and his hip hop alter ego, Big Tasty.
Watching any of Big Tasty’s masterpieces – like his love song “Ferris Wheel” complete with lyrics like include, “sexy floating basket” – makes you want to find that cassette tape of your older brother himself rapping along to Rob Base’s “It Takes Two,” and blast it outside, Say Anything style.
Remember the cool moms of the 80s: Growing Pains’ Maggie Seaver, Cosby Show’s Claire Huxtable (who would have totally whopped Bill Cosby’s ass in real life), Sophia Patrillo from The Golden Girls. Don’t act shocked. You know you wish your grandmother talked like Sophia while rocking a whicker purse.
But those women pale in comparison to Beverly Goldberg, the unparalleled, sweater rocking smother.
Where do you even start with Bev Goldberg?
She’s the overprotective mama bear that we all fear and yet all want at the same time. Sure, she’ll embarrass you by showing your friends photo albums solely devoted to your first potty, but in the end, she loves her children and would do anything for them. You can’t really complain about that. Unless she’s wearing a sweater shirt with your face on it and telling people that she grew you. Then you can complain a little.
Remember watching your mom Jazzercise? Waking up before the sun rose on a Saturday morning to watch the absolute worst cartoon, The Littles? Your family’s confusion on how to use the new cassette stereo that replaced the 8-track player? What about using the new video camera to record your own version of The Return of the Jedi, staring your brother as Luke because he’s the oldest and blond, you as R2-D2 because you were the smallest, and your dog as an Ewok?
The Goldbergs remember. They remember EVERYTHING.
The ubiquitous staged family photo that would later be found on Awkward Family Photos.
From Barry Goldberg’s American Gladiator audition tape to Adam Goldberg’s basement birthday party, the show reminds us just how uncool we really were back in the day, and that’s okay because no one was that cool unless your name was Molly Ringwald.
Best embarrassing moment? Adam and Barry’s music video for New Kids on the Block’s “Hanging Tough,” complete with a side-by-side comparison to the real Adam and Barry Goldberg.
Nothing says “We’re rough” better than white boys doing the running man in the family’s living room.