The Goldbergs Spinoff
Logline: Set in the 1990s, it follows two high school teachers who become unlikely father figures to the kids at their Philadelphia school, the same school Adam of The Goldbergs graduated from. One of the teachers is coach Mr. Mellor, a recurring character on Goldbergs.
Cast: Bryan Callen, Tim Meadows, Rachel Crow, Summer Parker, Nia Long
Creators: Adam F. Goldberg (W / EP), Doug Robinson (EP), Marc Firek (W / EP), Seth Gordon (EP), Doug Robinson (EP), Jay Chandrasekhar (D)
Studios: Sony TV, Happy Madison, Exhibit A
When I reviewed Fresh Off the Boat very briefly in 2014’s inaugural The Runway, I said I loved the pilot, but my only concern was it was another 1990s set comedy on the network. The Goldbergs Spinoff would be the third such. Is there a limit to how much nostalgia can air on one network? Does it make a difference when Bryan Callen and Tim Meadows are the leads?
We start off meeting your classic 1990s PE teacher, Rick Mellor (Callen), talking to the Goldbergs‘ matriarch, Beverly. He’s still a little salty over not being named Head of School, with that honor going to Andre Glascott (Meadows). Our narrator, Lucy, is revealed to be interviewing for a job at the school, and is Glascott’s sister, with two teenage girls. The rest of the pilot is a lot of 90s humor (trying to make a call while being connected to the Internet at the same time, referencing slap bracelets, etc), some decent interplay between Mellor and Glascott after a faux promotion, and one of Lucy’s daughters falling in with the bad crowd that likes to hacky-sack. As with The Goldbergs, everything kind of works out in the end.
First off, whenever there is a spinoff like this, the new series gets unfairly compared to the original. I will fall into that trap. The plotting in this spinoff isn’t nearly as tight at The Goldbergs‘ pilot. That being said, the humor is good and the characters interesting enough to want to follow. Plus the show has a lot of diversity to it, something ABC has been striving to add in recent years.
The downside is the familiarity (this seems like a pedestrian The Goldbergs episode) and that it comes from an outside studio (Sony). It does promise interviews at the end with the real teachers, and I’m definitely a sucker for that. This spinoff is a safe choice, and I think its prospects really reside in how the other pilots around it come in.