Thursday, September 26, 2013

Family Funnies

One of the first TV sitcoms ever was The Goldbergs, a radio hit that transferred to the boob tube in 1949.  I guess ABC figures that was long enough ago that they can try the title again. This time the subject is a bit different.  Sure, it's another family named the Goldbergs, but this is a nostalgic look back at the wacky 1980s. (It's kind of frightening to realize the 80s are further back now than the 60s were when The Wonder Years debuted.)

It's a one-camera show, but also a one-video show, as some of the footage was allegedly shot by the youngest son, narrated in the present by Patton Oswalt.  The leads are all Goldbergs. There's the dad (Jeff Garlin), big and loud, the mother (Wendi McLendon-Covey), who's really in charge, the granddad (George Segal), who tries to be hip but is out of it, and the three kids, oldest sister Erica, middle brother Barry and the youngest, Adam.  Adam Goldberg also happens to be the name of the show's creator, and The Goldbergs, as you might guess, is based on his life.

The show wants to be both funny and warm, and in the pilot was sort of both, but not quite enough of either.  We've seen this kind of family fun before, but done better.  If it moves in the right direction, however, it just might get where it needs to be.

Following The Goldbergs on ABC's Tuesday night is Trophy Wife, also a one-camera, narrated sitcom.  It's about a good-hearted party girl (Malin Akerman) who marries an older man and has to deal with his two ex-wives and kids.  All sorts of wild things happen, and there are talented actors like Bradley Whitford and Marcia Gay Harden here, but, in the pilot at least, things are more crazy than funny.

I'm not sure how it happened, but ABC, with Modern Family and The Middle and even shows like The Neighbors, has become the go-to network for family sitcoms.  Here are two more.  They're not ready to join the big leagues yet, but let's see what develops.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Goldbergs was (were?) a huge disappointment- too big and obvious, grating though [SPOILER] the Hooters reference at the end was cool. Trophy Wife wasn't bad with cleaner crisper characters but we've all seen this before and its not really new but based on what came the next night, it may be the best of ABC's bunch

2:53 AM, September 26, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure Bradley's really rockin' the hair, there.

Why can't "The Good Guys" succeed? Now that was art.

3:28 AM, September 26, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Malin Ackerman comes off as a sweet nice girl mom who is pretending to be a party girl- then again that's probably what the suits wanted.

6:50 AM, September 26, 2013  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

Thumbs down for me on both. I have to admit, we didn't even watch the entire half hour of each pilot. But this was our same reaction to "Two Broke Girls," so maybe they will both be hits.

8:14 AM, September 26, 2013  
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