Written by Scott Clifford
I’m not a fashion expert. I don’t care about the clothes that I wear. My favorite outfit is simply a white t-shirt, a pair of jeans, and a hoodie jacket. With that being said, my father wears really lame shirts and sweaters that he gets from all sorts of random websites. How bad are these shirts? Well, one day it’s a bright orange shirt that will only be worn on Thursdays. The next day it’s a yellow sweater with gray squares on it for some reason. On this very night, which is also the series premiere of the ABC ’80s sitcom The Goldbergs, it’s a red and blue shirt that makes no sense. It’s the same shirt that one of the characters wears in a show that is supposed to take place in 1985. My Dad bought it six months ago.
I don’t remember the name of the character that is wearing my father’s shirt. In fact, I don’t remember much of anything that happened in this series premiere. What’s happening here?
I’m going to keep things simple. The Goldbergs is a half-hour sitcom on ABC that is involves a man named Adam Goldberg (Patton Oswalt/Sean Giambrone), the youngest sibling of a crazy family that would videotape everyone at all times. Murray Goldberg (Jeff Garlin) is the dad who shows his love by yelling at his kids while watching TV in his underwear and wanting everything done his way. Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey) is the helicopter mom who obsesses over everything, refuses to give her kids any privacy, and is afraid of her kids growing up. Erica (Hayley Orrantia) is the oldest sibling and only daughter in the family. Not much is known about her yet except that she wants a car and likes boys. Barry is the middle child, who now I remember is the character who wears my Dad’s shirt. He also wants to have his own car so he can get away from his parents while running like a girl and listening to Flavor Flav in a time period when no white suburban kid would have even heard of Flavor Flav/Public Enemy. Oh yeah there is also the lady-chasing, single grandpa named Albert Solomon (George Segal) who likes to show Adam how to get girls while over a plate of waffles at the diner. I like this character. It gives us an excuse to laugh at boob jokes between him and Adam.
Most of the twenty-two minute runtime of “Circle of Driving” is spent fleshing out the characters that I just described to you. This is understandable for any television pilot. It’s just unfortunate that the plot is just as clichéd as the characters. Everyone yells constantly. Barry tries to get privacy in the shower as his mom walks in on him to see what he wants for his birthday. Barry then goes to the family table to open his birthday gift. He hopes that it’s a car but it isn’t. It’s a locket with his mother’s picture on it. More yelling. Barry leaves the house to find Albert offering him the keys to his old car. More yelling. Beverly doesn’t let Barry drive. More yelling. Albert drives Adam and Barry to eat with them. Albert blacks out and crashes the car on the way back. More yelling. Insert random ‘80s references such as REO Speedwagon. Murray can’t stop yelling at Barry long enough to teach him how to drive after Grandpa’s accident. Albert and Adam exchange boob jokes while trying to figure out women. I start sensing some heart in the show until Beverly shows up to crash the party. More yelling.
Jeez, I’m tired. The Goldbergs has a chance to be a good show. The lead parents have experience in good comedies and the show’s creator, coincidentally named Adam Goldberg, based this show directly from his experiences of growing up. This means that he might have the passion to make this work. Will I watch it next week? I’m not sure. All I know is that my Dad needs better shirts.