Rob O’Hara binges on ABC-TV’s The Goldbergs, and spots a few choice anachronisms:
Despite the fact that each show is introduced as taking place in “1980-something,” in regards to its historical accuracy, the show is awful. For example, in one episode, Adam both goes to the movie theater to watch Police Academy 5 (released in 1988) and gets excited about the release of E.T. for the Atari 2600 (released in 1982). Occasionally toys or movies are referenced before they would have been released, but more commonly, things appear way later than they should. I have read that it would have been too difficult for the show’s writers to keep track of a firm timeline of events and pop-culture references, so they chose to go with a “throw everything in every episode” approach and blur the timeline. And while generally speaking that approach works, seeing kids with brand new Tron shorts and valley girls in episodes that take place in 1989 will seem out of place for anyone who grew up during that time.
Then again, these are relatively minor issues:
To be fair, to focus on the show’s anachronisms is to miss the point. When Barry and his pals put together their own dance crew, all I could think about were the breakdancing videos my friends and I made in my living room using my parents’ video camera. And, while watching the episode titled “The Kara-te Kid,” I was less worried about the accuracy of the timeline, and more focused on my own memories of the karate demonstration I participated in right before The Karate Kid premiered in our local mall’s theater. As we used to say back in the 80s, “been there, done that, got the (wrinkled) t-shirt to prove it.”
Now to me, The Goldbergs has its chronology out of sorts for a wholly different reason: the first The Goldbergs series, which debuted on NBC on 20 November 1929. NBC radio, you may be sure. A television version first appeared on CBS in 1949. Show creator Gertrude Berg went on to win an Emmy and a Tony (for Leonard Spiegelgass’ play A Majority of One in 1960, with Berg as lead actress). Adam F. Goldberg, creator of the 21st-century series, used none of Berg’s material, but he has his own right to the Goldberg name.