Review: ‘The Goldbergs’ Season 3 Premiere

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'The Goldbergs' Series 3 Premiere
‘The Goldbergs”Wendi Mclendon-Covey and new series regular AJ Michalka

America’s favorite 1980-something family is back from Summer hiatus to entertain us yet again with dysfunction, nostalgia, and warm-fuzzies in the season 3 premiere of ABC’s The Goldbergs. And for this card-carrying “Goldnerd” super fan, it wasn’t soon enough. “A Kick-Ass Risky Business Party” may not have been very cleverly titled, but it did deliver as promised.

In AJ Michalka’s first episode as a series regular, Lainey is home alone for the week and Barry and Erica are qiuck to plan a Risky Business-style party. As you may have guessed, things don’t go according to plan (do they ever?). Take a peek at the clip below from the top of the episode to see just how derailed their plans become.

If you were hoping for an entire movie-themed episode like their previous Goonies or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off home runs, you may be disappointed. That’s not to say there isn’t great stuff in this episode, but aside from the opening scene and some ubiquitous shots of Barry sliding across the floor in his underwear the episode mostly follows two other subplots.

One forgettable subplot deals with the youngest Goldberg, Adam, reeling from the loneliness of a long distance relationship. While this episode’s laughs are mostly reserved for other cast members, the focus on Adam does allow for the show to address actor Sam Giambrone’s voice change and maturation in a much more subtle way than The Brady Bunch paraded around poor Peter Brady.

The bulk of this episode revolves around Michalka and the I-can’t-believe-she-was-snubbed-for-an-emmy-nod Wendi McLendon-Covey. Lainey’s week on her own allows for matriarch Beverly Goldberg to sink her sugar-sweet teeth right into the unsuspecting girl to make her an honorary Goldberg. The interactions between the two are great and Lainey’s slow realization that Bev’s “smother” moniker is no accident is fun to watch. Although I understand the appeal of throwing in the Risky Business nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake, the adoptive daughter subplot was the real meat of this episode and can stand entirely on its own merit.

Speaking of standing on merit, the ever-expanding supporting cast of this show continues to get better and better. Tim Meadows was absolutely hilarious as the school’s guidance counselor and made me and my wife laugh out loud in each of his scenes. (More, please!) And although he’s already a series regular, please give more screen time to George Segal! He’s a national treasure who can do more than conveniently offer wisdom to advance the story.

By now, the cast and crew have hopefully worked out all the kinks and can meet the high expectations they set for the fans. Despite my fanboy grievances, this was an enjoyable episode to kick off the third season of the show. The whole gang was back to their usual antics, but just like a kid returning from summer vacation in his or her new back-to-school clothes there’s still some room to grow.

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