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The Goldbergs & Michael J. Fox Sending Millennials Back to the Future

Get out your flux capacitors: It's time for some real hope and change.

Susan L.M. Goldberg


September 24, 2013 - 8:35 am
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“I hate the ’80s!”

Little millennial twerp, I thought. I was a grad student, she was a freshman. Thrown together by virtue of shared religion/culture, I balked at this barely legal ’90s babe who scoffed at my decade of choice. Ten years later, she’s the loser now.  The ’80s are back and better than ever.

’8os nostalgia, birthed in the fashion world through stretch pants (now termed “leggings”) and blousy tops, is coming of age on television this fall with the premiere of the ’80s-era flashback sitcom The Goldbergs and the return of ’80s icon Michael J. Fox to the small screen in The Michael J. Fox Show.

Rattling reality TV ennui is a task welcomed by ABC, the frontrunner in resurrecting the family-sitcom formula. The marketing campaign for The Goldbergs is as ‘roided as Hulk Hogan on Saturday morning WWF. Along with lacquering social media with a series of ’80s flashbacks and publishing endless ‘80s nostalgia lists on BuzzFeed, ABC mass-mailed every Goldberg in the country (including this one) a faux 5 1/4″ floppy with a letter from “the family.” A USB sticking out from the cardboard classic linked you to the Goldbergs’ TV room online, harkening back to a simpler, pre-cordless phone time when everyone in the family watched television and did virtually everything else …together.

Michael J. Fox’s new self-titled show on NBC brings Family Ties into the 21st century. In the “old school family comedy,” Fox is now the dad who, in this case, isn’t letting his Parkinson’s get him or his family down. While the show is not set in the nostalgic decade, Fox’s return is the crowning moment for the family sitcom, a genre nearly murdered in the ’90s by snark and the rise of friend-based sitcoms.

The Michael J. Fox Show

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28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think the last family sitcom I watched with any consistency was "The Cosby Show;" they've all sucked for a long time. We didn't have much TV in Anchorage in the early '80s, just the 3 networks and public and little of it in real time, as in even in the same week people saw it in the Lower 48. In the true spirit of the '80s, I was too busy trying to make money to watch much TV anyway. The '70s in Alaska were about getting by and high; the '80s, at least the first half, were about getting high and rich. Alaska was at the heighth of the "Blue Eyed Arab" days with The Pipeline finished, money pouring into the State Treasury, and everybody trying to get a piece of it. I don't really even know much about '80s culture in the Lower 48. Everybody in Alaska was a thirty-something recovering child of the '60s unless you went straight from school to government work; then you could keep the same dumba** ideas you had sitting cross-legged in a college dorm smoking dope in the '60s and '70s.

For night life you could alternate between "Saturday Night Fever" and "Urban Cowboy" and then "'80s Power Rock," MJ, and Madonna later in the decade. The cowgirls were hotter but the disco queens were easier; walk out of the rest room scratching your nose and you had the rapt attention of practically every woman in the place. I had a red Porsche and a gold coke spoon for a reason. Those marriages begun so hopefully in the '70s were coming apart, mine included. Sport screwing hadn't yet become a blood sport, condoms were a quaint relic, and all the women had seen "Deep Throat." By the end of the decade I only knew a couple of people who were still with Spouse v. 1.0. By the late '80s I was single again and trying to sleep with every young, pretty woman in the World.

The private sector economy had gone to Hell because of the oil price crash of the mid-'80s. People in Anchorage and Fairbanks were literally putting the house keys in the bank's night deposit box and heading south down the AlCan. Being of sound mind, I went to the people who got the money first, the federal government, and then after my divorce the State government in Juneau. I had custody of my daughter, by then a high-schooler, and a fairly demanding job, so I had to settle down a bit. I was still in to very young and very pretty, but by the time my daughter was in college I tried to make sure she didn't have any classes with them. Then I slowly began dating women closer to my own age and the '80s ended.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Where's Jack Webb when you need him?

Today's "reality" shows cause me to vacate the seat in front of the television and yes, I actually enjoyed the escapism of the 1960's TV shows. Been watching the MISSION: Impossible series now on DVD and they are clever, even funny at times. But their adherence to formula is noteworthy and respectable in today's "gotta-have-gays-in-it" methodology, along with low-brow potty humor as noted by the season opener of "Two Broke Girls" which isn't funny anyway except in a puerile sense.

I enjoyed the season opener of "Two And A Half Men" until the final scene "reveal" which made me decide to never watch it again.

Hollywood is now pushing its agendas to the max and will result in production companies rising up out of other venues, like Canada and the billionaire wanting to build state-of-the-art studios in China. Hah! Take that wage-scale grips!

I think, given the garbage that's on now, though people won't turn off their TV's (gee, can't say "tubes" anymore can we?), they will be relegated more to background noise.

Or, possibility #2: The American population has been so dumbed-down that all this garbage now qualifies as entertainment and "classy" as judged by the 20-somethings who find it reflects their mindset.

Last good new show I watched was "Vegas" with Dennis Quaid. But, ratings were poor and it got shuffled to horrible time slots.

No car-chases, no blood, no sexual activity to see. So in the mind of an adolescent 30 year old, "borrrrrrrrinnnnngggg".

Shame, that. Sad. Pathetic, even.

But now that the gay and drug-use agendas are up full steam, I'll enjoy my DVD's of classic TV shows even more and watch MeTV more often as well.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sorry but the Michael J Fox show is unwatchable. Can't understand what he is saying, facial expressions don't match the dialog, the rest of the cast seems to be trying too hard to be casual about his condition. It's not interesting or funny. I think people will want to support this show and will root for him to do well for sentimental and humane reasons - but watching someone in the throes of Parkinson's trying to carry a show in the end gets tiring, if not off-putting, and there is nothing in it to distract you from that.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mid season cancellation in the works.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Michael J. Fox has alienated conservatives with his political advocacy over a decade now.

How about do us all a favor, Mike? Go away gracefully, but go away.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why didnt they just call it....The Jews?
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
While I love the 80's, I have no interest in watching this sitcom.

Even the previews, which should be the tease to entice viewers in, looks bland and boring and colorless.

The 80's were about the self-confidence and freedom of the individual.

Yes, there was adversity and calamities - but I think the approach to such things during that era was best epitomized by President Reagan after he was shot during Hinkley's attempted assassination when he joked to Nancy Reagan that he "forgot to duck!"

That era was not about self-confidence based upon a false sense of entitlement or mediocre achievement, but rather that this was a country in which anyone could succeed based upon individual effort.

Sadly, culture and politics and the government have thoroughly hammered that mindset for the past 3 decades to the point that seemingly today's generation don't believe they will succeed.

Facing that kind of cultural desert, why WOULDN'T today's generation find the message of hope and self-reliance of the 80's enticing?
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
From the very first promo of The Goldbergs, I knew it would be a shocking travesty: a warped view of a decades' worth of clichés, written by people who have no memory of the 1980s, who collected their information from collegiate professors and other unreliable sources.

I could see the board meeting now: "Hey, remember 'That 70's Show?' Let's do the same thing, but with the eighties!" "Brilliant!" "...Now who knows anything about the eighties?"

It's not a show done eighties-style; it's not even a modern show about the eighties. It's a modern show, with modern sensibilities, modern morality, and modern writing, that tries to force itself into an "eighties" mold. The problem is, no one seems to know, remember, or even be able to find out just what that is.

29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sad thing is, they already did that. Freaks and Geeks. Fairly well written. I liked the character growth of everyone but the idiot daughter who (spoiler) became a deadhead in the last episode. Everyone else on the show grew up some.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yep. You nailed it. "modern show, modern sensibilities, modern morality, modern writing." I give it 3 weeks.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm watching the Goldbergs now. Unfortunately it's terrible and not at all like an 80's family comedy. It's full of crass 2000's crude sex jokes including a grandfather graphically describing to his 10 year old grandson how to properly fondle boobs. Disgusting. The mother drops an m-f-ER which no mother in the 80's in TV would ever do. Imagine Maggie Seaver saying mofo. Or Elyse Keaton or Clair Huxtable, no that's impossible because they were incomparable women of character who have now been replaced by unlikable scabs who barely resemble humanity.God I miss the actual 80's.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
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