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New Fall Season: 'The Goldbergs' a fun '80s nostalgia trip

The Goldbergs
Tuesdays at 9 on ABC

Based on trailers released this summer, "The Goldbergs" was the sitcom I expected to most love in the new season. Unfortunately, the full pilot is a bit of a letdown, since all the best parts are in the trailer (but they're still funny parts, I must admit).

"The Goldbergs" is not-so-loosely based on the real life of creator Adam F. Goldberg, who stalked his loud family with a video camera all through the 1980s. Jeff Garlin ("Curb Your Enthusiasm") plays preteen Adam's dad, Wendi McLendon-Covey ("Reno 911") plays his mom, and George Segal is the grandad. He also has an older teenage sister, Erica, and a brother, Barry, who turns 16 in the pilot.

For me, the super high-strung Barry steals the show. His station wagon showdown with his dad and his shout-out to Flavor-Flav are worth the whole half-hour. Conversely, the overbearing mother becomes extremely annoying pretty quickly and I found myself wanting to mute her scenes -- which is saying something, considering her counterpart on the show, Garlin, pretty much screams all of his lines. Still, he didn't grate my nerves as badly as she did (and I kind of like hearing Jeff Garlin scream).

And in case you're thinking Goldberg exaggerated his family here, stick around for the credits when we get to see some of the scenes from the pilot as originally performed on VHS by the real Goldbergs.

If nothing else, "The Goldbergs" is a fun trip down memory lane for those who grew up in the 80s (raises hand) -- lots of reveling in memories of Pac-Man, Ghostbusters, shoulder pads and T-Top Trans Ams. Let's just hope Goldberg has more than nostalgia to sustain the series for a whole season.

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