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S05.E00: The Goldbergs: 1990-Something

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This Goldbergs-inspired special event picks up where the Goldberg family leaves off at William Penn Academy in the 1990s as former teacher and now Head of School John Glascott leads a faculty of teachers with wildly different views on how to mentor students and recruits his tough-as-nails-sister Lucy to join his staff and enroll her teenage daughters Felicia and Gigi as new students. Lucy is desperate to ensure they avoid the social pitfalls of high school and finds herself torn between Glascott's nurturing and communicative approach to parenting and Coach Mellor's tough-guy belief that physical competition brings out the best in students. Even Beverly Goldberg comes to visit the school's staff despite all her kids having already graduated and can't help but meddle one last time.

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Any school that wants to have a Backstreet Boys acapella group is a school I should have attended. 

 

That said, I can see why ABC said no to this.  I love Tim Meadows and Bryan Callan but they're  meant to play supporting comic foils.  And Nia Long is simply not good at comedy. 

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Well, that was atrocious.

'I Want It That Way' came out at the end of the damn decade! Yeah, I know they've been blurring the eras/years of songs and pop culture and what not throughout the shows run, but this one was just ridiculous.

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1 hour ago, Robert Lynch said:

What was the point of this spin-off? Nothing. Oh, well...

Did Nia Long have plastic surgery or something? Her face never moved at all...!

It was a pilot filmed for consideration for this season but wasn’t picked up and they figured rather than airing a rerun why not air it and save money (I believe it was a put pilot meaning if it didn’t air they had to pay).

1 hour ago, mtlchick said:

Any school that wants to have a Backstreet Boys acapella group is a school I should have attended. 

 

That said, I can see why ABC said no to this.  I love Tim Meadows and Bryan Callan but they're  meant to play supporting comic foils.  And Nia Long is simply not good at comedy. 

They could’ve shifted it to Freeform and aired it with Grownish instead of the trash that’s airing with it now.

42 minutes ago, Arcadiasw said:

Almost as bad as the Blackish spin off. 

I did smile seeing Crystal Pepsi. 

Grownish is actually really good and this is coming from someone who has dropped Blackish.

Edited by Skyfall
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The only part I liked was the DMV part. I would watch a 1/2 hour of Nia Long ‘serving’ customers. 

My kids love Goldbergs. My 14 yo said, “What is this crap?”  We spent the rest of the time moaning about how awful it was. 

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I can see both why ABC passed on this during pilot season and why Adam Goldberg went with this route to try it out a second time to see if it can make it to series. I thought it was rough around the edges, but workable and redeemable. I'd give this a fair shake if it premieres for real in the fall. This pilot felt strongly like a pilot, too much trying to be "on" and nail whatever the scene's intention was. But I saw what they were going for and I didn't mind it, think I would like it with the tweaks that typically come from picking a pilot up to series that allows it to settle and even out. The Goldbergs pilot suffered from these problems as well as far as I'm concerned and didn't come close to selling me on the idea it would turn into the well-rounded series it has. And the cast of the spin-off is solid and one that has several actors I either like or love, which is always a bonus.

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As much as I love Glascott and Meller this show would work better as a true comedy ensemble with the girls having their plot, Lucy the mom having her plot, and the male leads having  their plots instead of pushing Glascott and Mellor as the leads. I think you also need another adult female lead as Glascott's love interest as Lucy and Rick seem destined for some kind of sparkage.

What makes the mothership so strong is that it is strongly told through Adam's POV whereas Felicia was barely in this to justify her narration. Either shift the POV to Felicia or make the narrator a future kid of Rick's who is explaining how his parents met. Basicallly How My Parents Met and Ultimately Made Me ?

Gigi was cute with her earnest adorkableness even if her voice sounded like the girl version of Adam's nasally voice. I like having the lens of both the geek and the rebel sisters.

Definitely rough around the edges but it does have potential.

Edited by TobinAlbers

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Personally, I felt the biggest problem was that there wasn't enough Mellor. I don't give a flying flip about Glascott's family. Well, Gigi was kind of adorable, but not enough to make up for her mother and sister.

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5 hours ago, Silverglitter said:

Personally, I felt the biggest problem was that there wasn't enough Mellor. I don't give a flying flip about Glascott's family. Well, Gigi was kind of adorable, but not enough to make up for her mother and sister.

That's the same thing with another series called The Ropers. Norman Fell and Audra Lindley were best used as comic foils than carrying a season on their own. I love Tim Meadows, but the man was never lead material and it shows. If anyone remembers the movie Ladies Man, you know how limited he is there. Best use in small dosage, but not entire episodes dedicated to him or his family. There were some successful spinoffs that worked, but if you have this meh feeling with the other characters, you know something is up. Good idea, but just poorly executed.

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One thing that was weird in the past they have mentioned that William Penn Academy was a public school, I only remember because I was surprised and so looked up Adam Goldberg's school Jenkintown Middle/High School which is public, small and combined middle and high school which I had never heard of before. Anyway, during this episode it implied it was private with him telling his sister that if she came to work for him the girls could attend for free. I have no idea on such a hot mess of a show why that annoyed me but it did.

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You can tell that "The Goldbergs" is spun out of Adam Goldbergs' past and love for his family and the 80s, while "The Goldbergs: 1990 something" was spun out of ABC's desire to try to milk "The Goldbergs" fanbase.

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4 hours ago, Robert Lynch said:

That's the same thing with another series called The Ropers. Norman Fell and Audra Lindley were best used as comic foils than carrying a season on their own. I love Tim Meadows, but the man was never lead material and it shows. If anyone remembers the movie Ladies Man, you know how limited he is there. Best use in small dosage, but not entire episodes dedicated to him or his family. There were some successful spinoffs that worked, but if you have this meh feeling with the other characters, you know something is up. Good idea, but just poorly executed.

Yes I believe The Ropers is a great example of how not to do a Spin off series. Now granted it was doing well in ratings at the time and it probably would have gone on 2 more years if there weren't so many schedule conflicts with the series and Don Knotts success as Mr. Furley on 3s Company at the time. However, I think good examples of how to do spin off series such as: Fraiser, Angel, Deep Space 9 is how you can spin off popular to semi popular characters and do it right. The actors have a presence, writing is good and so forth. Here with this, you have a main set of actors that work in small doses or just one episode or two a season focused on them. When you try to do all of it, it just doesn't work. Even Bev's reason for being there was in character, but at that moment you would be: "So, if it's 1990 something, when did Adam finally graduate?" Even with a sliding time scale, it didn't work. Plus, where was the previous principal going? Was he retiring? Got a new job at another school, becoming a super Superintendent or assistant Superintendent? 

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I...didn't HATE it. I was hoping for more Mellor but got more Glascott and his insufferable family. I tolerated the narrator girl, mainly because she didn't do much, think Nia Long's character could get there if she takes it down a notch, but I couldn't stand the younger sister. The actress was overacting way too much. I probably wouldn't tune in if it were a series because the only thing I liked was Mellor and he's not the focus.

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3 hours ago, biakbiak said:

One thing that was weird in the past they have mentioned that William Penn Academy was a public school, I only remember because I was surprised and so looked up Adam Goldberg's school Jenkintown Middle/High School which is public, small and combined middle and high school which I had never heard of before. Anyway, during this episode it implied it was private with him telling his sister that if she came to work for him the girls could attend for free. I have no idea on such a hot mess of a show why that annoyed me but it did.

I don't recall if they suggested that William Penn Academy was a public school, but here's what I do know about this.  Mister Chips grew up in Jenkintown (before the '80-somethings) and attended Penn Charter, which is a private school in Philadelphia (it's a serious trek from Jenkintown to the campus, I hear).  As we've seen, Adam Goldberg grew up in Jenkintown and made the same commute into the city to attend Penn Charter.  The school has been really proud of his connection to it; there was a reunion this year, and the alumni publications have been really touting it.  

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So, I sat there looking confused for like 10 minutes, until I remembered that this must be the spin off thing I heard about. I can see why it didn't make it past the pilot stage. I didn't hate it or anything, but I cant imagine being interested in a series based around this. The Goldbergs works because its clear that Adam Goldberg has such warm, fond memories of his family, school, and this time in his life in general. So much of the show is taken from his real experiences, and thats a big part of the fun. This is so clearly a cash grab based on name recognition, without any real connection to Adam and his memories, that it just felt hallow. 

The perky sister sounded a lot like Millie from Freaks and Geeks. I think it was a high pitched voice. While I love my 90s nostalgia (I was very much a 90s kid), and I like Mellor and Glascott, I cant imagine tuning in for this every week. 

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3 hours ago, Mabinogia said:

I tolerated the narrator girl, mainly because she didn't do much

I remember as the girl who was booted off the X-Factor USA season 1 and had THE meltdown to end all meltdowns at the time.  

The only other upside? Octavia Spencer as the narrator. But as @TobinAlbers pointed out, when Felicia is the narrator and the story isn't really about her but more about her uncle and his co workers, it doesn't work as well. 

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What did I just watch?  That was terrible!  

On 1/24/2018 at 7:31 PM, mtlchick said:

That said, I can see why ABC said no to this.  I love Tim Meadows and Bryan Callan but they're  meant to play supporting comic foils.  And Nia Long is simply not good at comedy. 

Agree!!! They are great characters in small doses.  I didn't even recognize Nia Long!  Why do beautiful women mess with their faces?  

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I didn't think it was as bad as some other people here thought it was, but I thought the framing device of the daughter narrating it from the future wasn't really necessary (despite it being cool to hear Octavia Spencer's voice). Especially since they didn't bother giving the older daughter much of a personality and she was the least interesting character in the pilot. 

I wouldn't mind seeing a weekly series starring Tim Meadows and Bryan Callen as they're both funny performers. It seems like from the pilot too that Ana Gasteyer would have been a regular if it had gone to series. The humor revolving around the teachers and the coach was definitely more successful than the family-based stuff, but in time I could see those other characters becoming more interesting too.

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This reminds me of when Fox tried to capture the success of That 70s Show with That 80s Show. You have to have a good cast and writers for success. Nostalgia doesn’t work in the long run. 

And what were they thinking by having Missy Pyle in this and not giving her a line or anything to do?  Make her the lead. She’s fantastic 

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This seemed like a good idea on paper, but after viewing this episode, I would have given the spinoff series a hard pass.

I couldn't care less for Octavia Spencer as the narrator.  Gigi (Summer Parker) was annoying.  Coach Mellor is good as a supporting character only.  Having him and Mr. Glasscott as the leads didn't turn out to be that great.

Though, I did laugh at Johnny Atkins (RUSH guy) becoming a Radiohead fan in the 1990s.

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On 1/24/2018 at 9:34 PM, Skyfall said:

It was a pilot filmed for consideration for this season but wasn’t picked up and they figured rather than airing a rerun why not air it and save money (I believe it was a put pilot meaning if it didn’t air they had to pay).

I had no idea, thanks.  Frankly I have been a bit sick of the show and would flip over to see the episode topic.  I was surprised by how much I liked this episode.  It was a fresh break from all the yelling this show has been reduced to.  Don't get me wrong I loved the show in the beginning but like Roseann it has turned into a screaming match each week.

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1 hour ago, CarpeFelis said:

Who on earth thought this would be a good idea? We already have a ‘90s nostalgia show and this was no Fresh Off the Boat. Not even close.

That's the reason why Fresh Off The Boat works. It keeps with the time period and this could have been any year. It just wasn't worth it. I'm all for 90s nostalgia, but you need to have characters to make me care about. This one had none. I remember That 80s Show. I think it was in response to VH1's I Love The 80s segments or something. They thought they could have done something similar to attract 90s kids to watch the show, but it backfired.

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On 1/25/2018 at 9:59 AM, biakbiak said:

One thing that was weird in the past they have mentioned that William Penn Academy was a public school, I only remember because I was surprised and so looked up Adam Goldberg's school Jenkintown Middle/High School which is public, small and combined middle and high school which I had never heard of before. Anyway, during this episode it implied it was private with him telling his sister that if she came to work for him the girls could attend for free. I have no idea on such a hot mess of a show why that annoyed me but it did.

I’m not sure how widespread this is but in my area/state you have to pay for your child to go to a school outside of the one they are mapped for. They can however go to schools that are “open enrollment” which are schools that are under enrolled to try to reduce the overcrowded schools but you’ll have to get there yourself (no buses, etc). WITH THAT SAID, I do believe that if you have a family member working at the school those costs don’t apply thus why he would mention they could attend for free.

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7 hours ago, seasons said:

Horrible.

 

Too many new charters at once that I don't care about.

It was a pilot for the potential spinoff that didn’t get picked up not a regular episode...

1 hour ago, jumper sage said:

I had no idea, thanks.  Frankly I have been a bit sick of the show and would flip over to see the episode topic.  I was surprised by how much I liked this episode.  It was a fresh break from all the yelling this show has been reduced to.  Don't get me wrong I loved the show in the beginning but like Roseann it has turned into a screaming match each week.

Yeah I dropped the show after the Erica held a party in the dorm episode.

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41 minutes ago, Skyfall said:

I’m not sure how widespread this is but in my area/state you have to pay for your child to go to a school outside of the one they are mapped for. They can however go to schools that are “open enrollment” which are schools that are under enrolled to try to reduce the overcrowded schools but you’ll have to get there yourself (no buses, etc). WITH THAT SAID, I do believe that if you have a family member working at the school those costs don’t apply thus why he would mention they could attend for free.

In the 1990s? But apparently the random mentions of this being a public school were only in rhe first two seasons.

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2 hours ago, jumper sage said:

I had no idea, thanks.  Frankly I have been a bit sick of the show and would flip over to see the episode topic.  I was surprised by how much I liked this episode.  It was a fresh break from all the yelling this show has been reduced to.  Don't get me wrong I loved the show in the beginning but like Roseann it has turned into a screaming match each week.

Same here. All the yelling. The Goldberg's have become too over the top/obnoxious for me. Also tired of the same show formula every week - conflict, misunderstanding, yelling, then a song plays and they come back around. I think the show has run its course.

Edited by seasons
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I'd love if network would air pilots they didn't pick up.. to let viewers see for themselves why certain pilots aren't picked up, etc.  I hope ABC does that for other pilots they passed on.

With that said, to do a spin off... you have to pick a strong supporting character that can work as a lead with strong support behind them (I.e. Rhoda was a strong supporting character that got spun off and had strong support on her own series... vs Phyllis that had a small dose character as lead.. and it didn't work)>

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On 1/25/2018 at 11:15 AM, Mabinogia said:

I...didn't HATE it. I was hoping for more Mellor but got more Glascott and his insufferable family. I tolerated the narrator girl, mainly because she didn't do much, think Nia Long's character could get there if she takes it down a notch, but I couldn't stand the younger sister. The actress was overacting way too much. I probably wouldn't tune in if it were a series because the only thing I liked was Mellor and he's not the focus.

not a fan of nia long in this and yes, the younger daughter was terrible. i would definitely try  a few more episodes but it needs more mellor and less sister and  her daughters. 

Edited by msrachelj · Reason: spelling

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On 1/27/2018 at 1:02 PM, biakbiak said:

In the 1990s? But apparently the random mentions of this being a public school were only in rhe first two seasons.

I went to public grade school for 1995-2008 so yes.

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On ‎1‎/‎25‎/‎2018 at 1:04 PM, Chippings said:

I don't recall if they suggested that William Penn Academy was a public school

I would assume any school called "Academy" is private.

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37 minutes ago, ByTor said:

I would assume any school called "Academy" is private.

There are definitely public schools with Academy in the name, SF has several.

I always assumed it was public because in the first or second season the JTP got into a fight with private school kids, one of them named Bradley Cooper. 

Edited by biakbiak

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