The Goldbergs TV Poster Image

The Goldbergs

Loud look at '80s family life has positive takeaways.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Network: ABC
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2013

What parents need to know

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

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.


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


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 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."


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.

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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Premiere date:September 24, 2013
Cast:George Segal, Jeff Garlin, Wendi McLendon-Covey
Topics:Brothers and sisters, High school, Misfits and underdogs
Character strengths:Compassion
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of The Goldbergs was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Everybody Hates Chris TV Poster Image
    Everyone will love this funny take on real issues.
  • The Wonder Years TV Poster Image
    Nostalgic coming-of-age sitcom still charms.
  • The Waltons TV Poster Image
    Beloved '70s family classic continues to win fans.
  • Roseanne TV Poster Image
    Blue-collar sitcom with language, sarcasm, social issues.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 11 years old February 4, 2014


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 use flipping the channel. damn is a word an 8 year old knows about. It wont scar them or kill them. And its best they know words like that around age 9
Educator 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 I couldent really beleve the amount but if you. Are able to look past all that and some mild to extreme sexual jokes its a good show for family's I say 10 or older I would still admit I hate mother Goldberg but the rest of the family make up for her ps it's also a good way to show your kids how it was back then and Awsome family values. My entire family me 24 my sibs 10 thru 14 and my parents all watch this every week and love the laughs and time we take away from this Awsome family show as good as the middle " our 1 family. Favorite " if not better I can't suggest sting enough to try this show atleast once
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 halls. If somebody drops the f-bomb then they bleep it out. BOTTOM LINE: start having your kids watch it when they're in middle school, but watch it with them because you'll laugh because it's true and if there's a reference (Star Trek, ghostbusters, etc) that they don't get you can tell them your story about it.
What other families should know
Too much swearing