Marry: It’s always fun to watch old home videos at your parents’ house, right? In one of the gems from the Le Vine family vault, my brother and I attempt to recreate the Moscow Circus (which our parents had just taken us to see) in our family room. This involved putting a piece of toilet paper on a wooden coffee table to serve as the tight rope, which I guess is kind of clever for a 3- and 6-year-old — until you see me dancing around on top of the table, basically everywhere but the tight rope. My brother nonchalantly accompanies me on the piano, oblivious to the fact that his inept high-wire artist would have fallen off a long time ago, and he can probably stop playing because the stuffed tiger act is entering the ring.
My family finds the Moscow Circus video — and the entire drawer full of ones just like it — hilarious. You, on the other hand, probably wouldn’t. Hell, you probably tuned out during that last paragraph. And that’s exactly why ABC’s new sitcom The Goldbergs doesn’t quite work. It’s based on creator Adam F. Goldberg’s home movies from the '80s, and we even get to see the footage of his real family in the closing credits. It’s not that it’s inauthentic; it’s too authentic. Everyone watches old home movies and thinks their zany family should be the basis for a sitcom. That doesn’t mean their crazy family should get said sitcom. Or that we need an entire third-act montage set to REO Speedwagon’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” which will now be in my head all day.
All of that said, I do love Wendi McLendon-Covey, who plays the Goldberg matriarch. She’s rocking full-on frosted hair and shoulder pads like a champ, and she totally nails the “I’m only doing this because I love you, so why are you hurting me like this?” guilt trips we members of the tribe have all taken. Wendi holds the pilot together, and hopefully she’ll carry the rest of the episodes while the other characters get their quirks worked out. Because, really, I’m not sure how many episodes of Jeff Garlin as the dad who expresses his love through unnecessarily loud yelling and put-downs I can take.
Kill: Now, I know there’s a learning curve with new shows. We didn’t all fall head over heels with Parks and Rec after the first episode. When you’re creating an entire world of people and trying to find clever, funny ways for them to interact with one another, there’s not always enough time for one or two of said characters to become three-dimensional human beings in a mere 22 minutes. That’s why I’m not writing off Detective Rosa Diaz (played by Stephanie Beatriz) of Brooklyn Nine-Nine just yet.
But, let this serve as a warning to Mike Schur and Dan Goor (because I know they’re reading this) that she needs to do something besides act sullen and make snide catcalls during morning meetings. It’s totally fine if her role is resident tough chick, but right now she’s acting too much like a third-grade bully who somehow made it through the entrance exam, psychological evaluation, and rigorous training one has to pass in order to join the police force. It’s kind of unclear how or why she did any of those things, since she doesn’t seem to care about anything.
And if it doesn’t get better, then hey, they can always Brendanawicz her and bring in two ringers à la Adam Scott and Rob Lowe. (You remember city planner Mark Brendanawicz from seasons one and two of Parks, right? Yeah, neither do most people.) I hear Eliza Coupe is out of a job**, and she’s way too good for the recurring guest spots she’s booked on CBS’ new Will Arnett dud The Millers and House of Lies.
**Missing you, Happy Endings.