The Goldbergs

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
The Goldbergs TV Poster Image
Loud look at '80s family life has positive takeaways.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 42 reviews

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Episodes typically end with a strong takeaway: for example, our parents love us, even if we don't always feel like they understand us.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The Goldbergs are far from perfect, but they're a close-knit family that spends time together -- even though their communication skills could use some work (the father, for example, frequently calls the kids "stupid" and "morons"). The fact that the kids' grandfather is a regular fixture in their lives adds a nice, intergenerational touch.

Violence

Any type of violence -- whether it's a fall or a car crash -- is played for comedy.

Sex

Light to moderate innuendo with some story lines that touch on relationships and dating. Characters might use language such as "cop a feel" or "boobs."
 

Language

Language includes gateway terms such as "hell," "crap," and "damn," with more creative slurs such as "assbag," and, on occasion, some bleeped swearing ("motherf--ker"). There's sexual language such as "boobs," plus some insults from parent to child: "moron," "idiot."

Consumerism

Some brand names are featured -- from Hooters to MTV -- but it's mostly for the sake of nostalgia.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Dialogue hints at teen drinking, but it isn't shown on-screen.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Goldbergs centers on a quirky family with three kids, ranging in age from 11 to 17, coming of age in the 1980s. They like to yell. A lot. You'll mostly hear gateway terms like "hell" and "damn," although there's some occasional bleeped swearing for stronger words such as "motherf--ker." There's also some mild sexual innuendo related to teen dating and raging hormones, and some dialogue suggests teen characters drink alcohol. Any violence is played for comedy, and most brand names are mentioned for the sake of nostalgia.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBigchris September 18, 2013

Swearing is a problem but this show is hilarious dont let a bad first impression fool ya

Ok I will admit I found this show hilarious I really did but the problem with this show is that it is marketed as a family show yet there is a ton of swearing... Continue reading
Adult Written byrotowriter January 14, 2015

Excellent and relevant

Despite focusing on a generation gone by, the theme of the show remains quite relevant -- family. It's not homogenized as one reviewer wants it to be. I no... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old February 4, 2014

MoreTruth!

I think kids like me are ready for these words. America, you try to keep them away from bad stuff. Might as well quit now. even if it DOES have bad words, no us... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byThePointIsHere July 1, 2014

Middle-School Level

The goldbergs is a great comedy and it brings back memories for the parents. The language they use is nothing other then stuff they hear in the middle school ha... Continue reading

What's the story?

As seen through the lens of 11-year-old son Adam (Sean Giambrone), who carries a video camera with him virtually everywhere he goes, THE GOLDBERGS depicts a loud-but-loving family with a tendency toward yelling their feelings. However, their excessive volume is the perfect match for the excesses of 1980s popular culture, from mom Beverly's (Wendi McLendon-Covey) love of jazzercise to older brother Barry's (Troy Gentile) burgeoning romance with rap music. Rounding out the clan are bellowing patriarch Murray (Jeff Garlin), surly older sister Erica (Hayley Orrantia), and ornery octogenarian Pops (George Segal).

Is it any good?

If you've ever seen The Wonder Years, which won an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series in the late 1980s, The Goldbergs will look and sound awfully familiar -- except that The Goldbergs replaces The Wonder Years' 1960s style with the flashy fashion of the 1980s and Daniel Stern's nostalgic narration with slightly snarkier commentary from Patton Oswalt. And lots of yelling. Still, although it doesn't play like an Emmy contender, The Goldbergs ultimately charms in its own way with memorable characters, solid takeaways, and goofy nods to '80s excesses.

A notable twist is that the fictional Goldbergs are modeled after the real-life family of writer and executive producer Adam F. Goldberg, who really did carry around a video camera as an awkward 11-year-old in the '80s and capture his mother, father, brother, sister, and grandfather in all their glory. (This point is made clear in the pilot's closing credits, wherein the young Goldberg's actual footage plays alongside clips from the show.) That's part of the reason these Goldbergs have heart, in spite of their loud way of showing it.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the fact that The Goldbergs is based on the dynamics of a real-life family (that of writer and executive producer Adam F. Goldberg). What are the pros of using your own life as a springboard for creative inspiration? Are there any cons to turning your parents, siblings, and grandparents into two-dimensional characters? If your family life played out on TV, would audiences be laughing, crying -- or just plain bored?

  • Does the show's nostalgia for the 1980s appeal to today's kids or only to their parents? Was being a kid in the '80s a lot different than it is today? Has anything stayed the same?

  • How do the Goldbergs measure up as role models? Does a family have to be perfect to impart a positive message?

TV details

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Themes & Topics

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