Relive 1980-something with The Goldbergs – The Complete First Season on DVD


ABC’s blast from the past hit comedy ‘The Goldbergs’ comes to DVD just in time to get caught up before the second season premieres.


One of the best, funniest new comedies to launch last season was ABC’s The Goldbergs, about a suburban family and their day-to-day adventures (or misadventures) in the 1980s. The show is based on the real life family of show creator Adam S. Goldberg who videotaped almost every waking moment of his family’s lives. Many of the show’s storylines come directly from those recordings, brought to life by a brilliant cast – Jeff Garlin as dad Murray, Sean Giambrone as Adam, Troy Gentile as older brother Barry, Hayley Orrantia as sister Erica, George Segal as grandfather Albert (aka Pops), and the brilliant Wendi McLendon-Covey as mom Beverly.

Wendi McLendon-Covey brilliantly walks a fine line between clown and real person as mom Beverly.

The show’s focus is seen from Adam’s viewpoint as these are his recollections (voiced by the adult Adam a la The Wonder Years) but the star of the show is undoubtedly Beverly. McLendon-Covey has taken a role that could have been a complete caricature with her over-the-top hair and garish 80s outfits and manages to walk that very fine line between clown and real person. She makes Beverly, whom the kids call their “Smother,” funny but warm, never allowing the viewer to simply laugh at her like a buffoon. She may be over-the-top, she may smother her kids with over-protective love, but she’s relatable as well. Who among us has never heard “Call me when you get there” when we got our driver’s license and ventured out on our own for the first time? There’s an entire episode built around that sentence which is executed brilliantly, right down to Murray finding Barry lying face down in a ditch!

The show can also bend space and time by taking place in “1980-something” as adult Adam (Patton Oswalt) tells us at the beginning of each episode, so it’s not locked into a specific year. Two of my favorite episodes revolved around a particular movie of the 80s. The first, Episode 3: “Mini Murray,” finds Adam wanting to go see the new horror film Poltergeist (1982). When Beverly forbids him, he tricks Pops into buying tickets for a kids movie but they sneak into the other one. Beverly finds out and teaches Adam a very hilarious lesson.

The season’s most famous episode, “Goldbergs Never Say Die!”, was a direct homage to The Goonies (1985) with Adam and his friends going on a treasure hunt for a bag of missing jewels. The writing and directing was spot on, mimicking many shots from the movie and including Cyndi Lauper’s theme song and even the Goonies font used during the opening credits of the show.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has released the complete first season of The Goldbergs on DVD with all 23 episodes on three discs. Each episode is presented uncut and looks and sounds as good as one can expect from a high definition production down-converted for DVD. On a high def monitor, you can barely tell the difference. It may not be quite as sharp as it could be if it had been a Blu-ray release, but the image is still superb and the gaudy 80s color palette is displayed in all of its saturated beauty.

Among the extras, there are commentaries on five episodes, “Call Me When You Get There” (7), “Kara-Té” (10), “You Opened the Door” (13), “Goldbergs Never Say Die!” (15), and “Lame Gretzky” (16). Commentaries include Goldberg and various cast and crew members discussing production of the episodes (not always scene specific), and how the episodes came to be. Not all of the episodes are from Goldberg’s life as it turns out, and no one wanted to do the Goonies episode except Goldberg. The kids on the show hadn’t even seen the movie (nor had many of the writers), but it became such a favorite that Goldberg reveals there will be another 80s movie homage in season two – a John Hughes film which he refuses to name (my best guess is Sixteen Candles, but Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is another possibility). My one nitpick on the commentary for “Call Me When You Get There” is that no one seems to know who guest actress Kathryn Leigh Scott (the original Dark Shadows) is! Some of the writers think she’s British!

There are also many behind-the-scenes extras (no bloopers?!?) spread over the three discs including:

  • Blast from the Past: Making Season One (17:47) — Cast and creators talk about the development of the show and the characters, how they relate to the real people they portray, the great writing, and how they’ve become a family over the course of the season. (Disc 1)
  • Our House: The ’80s Revisited (11:51) — Production Designer Cory Lorenzen gives a tour of the Goldberg home and discusses how they were able to recreate the look of the 80s with vintage items and how they strive to not make fun of the era.(Disc 1)
  • On Set with Jeff Garlin (9:43) — A day on set, around the studio lot and on location with Jeff Garlin. (Disc 2)
  • Patton Oswalt: Adam Grows Up (8:29) — Oswalt discusses the art of doing voice overs for the show. (Disc 3)
  • Costumes of the ’80s: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (5:38) — Costumer Kari Smith talks about the show’s wardrobe. (Disc 3)
  • Previews — Network promo for the second season of The Goldbergs (Disc 3)

If you watched The Goldbergs during its first season on ABC, you should enjoy the DVD collection and the bonus material. If you haven’t seen the show, then by all means pick up this DVD and get caught up before the second season premieres on September 24.

The Goldbergs Season One DVD was provided by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment for review.

Photo Credit: Sony Pictures

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