The Goldbergs: The Complete Second Season DVD Review

     Actors: George Segal, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Sean Giambrone, Troy Gentile, Hayley Orrantia
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, English
  • Region: Region 1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 3 
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 8, 2015
  • Run Time: 519 minutes


            One of television’s earliest sitcoms was also named “The Goldbergs,” but this new series feels far more like a remake (or re-imagining) “The Wonder Years,” a family driven single-camera sitcom from the 1980s. “The Goldbergs” is actually based on the childhood of creator Adam Goldberg, though elements were clearly changed in ways that make it more similar to “The Wonder Years,” including the addition of an older sister character. It is more than that, however. When I was a child in the late 1980s, I watched a show about a family living in the 1960s. Twenty-some years later I am watching a series about a family in the 1980s, and can finally relate to what “The Wonder Years” must have felt like to my parents.


            Highlighting a facet or trend from the 1980s in every episode, along with a plethora of cringe-worthy costuming choices, “The Goldbergs” follows the hijinks of 11-year-old geek Adam (Sean Giambrone). Adam is obsessed with movies and frequently carries a massive home video camera around to make his own films, a practice which was clearly shared by the real Adam, whose actual home footage is often shown at the close of most episodes. Adam has a popular older sister named Erica (Hayley Orrantia) and an older brother who has delusions of being just as popular despite awkward teenage behavior and random outbursts of rage. As much as the show’s storylines are often focused on the kids, it wouldn’t be the same without the contributions from their polar-opposite parents. Their mother, Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey), brings new meaning to the word ‘over-protective,’ while their father, Murray (Jeff Garlin) is happiest wearing only underwear and sitting in a recliner in front of the television. They are also joined by their womanizing grandfather (George Segal), who seems to be taking life lessons from Hugh Hefner.


            Season one of “The Goldbergs” won me over, despite a pilot with some uneven performances and an uneven tone. I could harp on many irritating aspects of “The Goldbergs,” but all that really matters is that it made me laugh and reminded me of my own childhood. And how can you fault a show that does that? Season two continues the pattern of season one, with more 80s pop culture references planted in episodes with simple life lessons.


            The complete first season of 23 episodes is included in this three-disc set, along with a handful of extras. The special features include commentary tracks on five episodes, as well as a handful of featurettes. There are casting featurettes on Jeff Garlin and Patton Oswalt, who provides the voiceover for adult Adam. There are also featurettes on the costumes, the house, and a retrospective look on the making of season one. Adam continues his sweet young relationship with a neighborhood girl, but more often the episodes are about the dynamic within the slightly dysfunctional family. This gives McLendon-Covey ample opportunity to ham up her performance, as Beverly quickly becomes a favorite well for the show to draw from. The obsessive mother bit can grow somewhat tiresome when it engrained in nearly every episode, leaving season two feeling slightly less inspired than the first.


            The 24 season two episodes are included on three discs, along with a handful of extras. There is a gag reel and deleted scenes, as well as two on-set behind-the-scenes featurettes with actors McLendon-Covey and Giambrone. There is also a making-of featurette for an episode which recreates the plot of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.   


    Entertainment Value: 8.5/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 8/10

    Historical Significance:  7/10

    Special Features: 7.5/10

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