20 years ago Bruce Springsteen lamented there were 57 channels and nothing on. Well now I have 400 channels and guess what? Some things never things never change.
I have a general policy against anything labeled “reality” television. I found two bright spots in the 2013-14 t.v. series. The Crazy Ones pairs Robin Williams from way back in the day with Sarah Michelle Gellar. Williams plays a legendary t.v. ad exec who is in the process of passing the torch to his daughter. It’s not just about a funny cast or the Robin Williams heavy outtake reel; the writing is clever and often makes a point about the things that really matter.
The Goldberg’s does for the 80’s what the Wonder Years did for the 60’s. Yes, of course I love the references to the A-Team, Alf, Night Rider, Rubic’s Cubes, Ghostbusters, Karate Kid and breakdancing. But the show is also hilarious. Adam Goldberg is basically making a sitcom documentary of his real life family, sometimes ending the show with VHS home movies he made with the family’s big ol’ camcorder back when.
Okay, I finished writing the above reviews and became aware of a strange connection between the two shows. Happy Days was a show made in the 70’s about the 50’s. Robin Williams appeared on Happy Days in 1978 and again in ’79 as an alien known as Mork, eventually leading to the spin off series Mork and Mindy. Happy Days was about the 50’s, Wonder Years in 80’s was about the 60’s, That 70’s Show began in 1998 and, duh, was about the 70’s. Somehow 20 years ago is inherently cool no matter what decade we live in. I enjoyed all of those shows but the Goldberg’s is the Happy Days of my generation. I turned 5 in 1980; Ronald Reagan was the first president I can remember in office. I was in the fourth grade when the Challenger exploded. I’m just waiting for Adam Goldberg to try summoning Orson.