With ABC’s The Goldbergs about to pop around with gifts in the form of the home entertainment release of Seasons 3 & 4, we’re here to take a look around the neighbourhood to see who else might live on a fictional estate housing our favourite TV families of all time.
It was an intense real estate battle, with some reputable names missing out. Family Guy‘s The Griffins, The Pritchetts of Modern Family, Al Bundy’s clan from Married With Children, and The Addams Family, were just a few of the names interviewed without success.
Seasons 3 and 4 of the immensely popular US sitcom brings with it more domestic trials and tribulations. High School hi jinx, the perils of video dating and puberty, 80s icons Stephen King and Arnold Schwarzenegger are pivotal to some of the episodes – it’s everything you’d expect from the real America’s Funniest Home Videos…
Joining Jeff Garlin and Wendy McLendon-Covey’s Goldbergs on this small screen street of houses stacked like a shelf of your favourite boxsets are the following five families.
The jaundice skinned residents of Springfield have been around so long that we probably take them for granted, simply dismissing them, along with Glastonbury Festival and blockbuster filmmaking, as relics of a bygone era.
Sitting on your own sofa, staring straight ahead in a mirror image of those iconic opening titles, spending a Sunday evening in the company of The Simpsons used to be a religious event. However, now they’re a multi-channel, every day occurrence that has possibly diluted the must-see appeal of a show which has taken the odd dip in quality, but after 29 seasons, that’s forgivable.
Their legacy can’t be questioned, from zeitgeist defining quotes that had everyone uttering “Doh” long after it was culturally cool, to “Don’t have a cow” becoming a stock phrase in multiple languages. If its been a while since you found out what Bart is writing on the chalkboard, then it’s definitely worth a reunion. Best. Family. Ever.
The Bluth Family
We’ve all got those family members like the ones who make up Mitchell Hurwitz’s Bluth ensemble. The ones who just won’t go away, even when viewing figures dictated that nobody liked spending time with the most dysfunctional family on this list, and Arrested Development was cancelled after three seasons, thanks to Netflix, the Ron Howard narrated madness came back for a fourth season.
How could you turn away the delightful doofus that was G.O.B. (Will Arnett), with his “bees” company, Franklin, and penchant for tricks, sorry, “Illusions, Michael“?
Every character was richly layered, every episode as rewatchably brilliant as the last, and the jokes came at such a rate that you could put an episode on now, and miss jokes that you hadn’t spotted the first five times you’d watched it; Bob Loblaw’s Law Blog, “there’s always money in the banana stand”, and “I blue myself”.
This backstabbing, narcissistic bunch might be the most despicable gene pool on the list, but they’re unquestionably the one you’d visit the most.
Groundbreaking in so many ways, the Don of scripted hour-long television changed the small screen landscape in such a way that without The Sopranos there would have been no Fisher family from Six Feet Under, or Game of Throne‘s Lannisters. If you thought they had problems at King’s Landing, flick through the family album of Tony Soprano.
For James Gandolfini’s nasal breath mafia boss, not only did he have to contend with controlling his own wonderfully written fractured family, he also had to deal with the other connotations of that word, his criminal brothers and sisters.
You could make one of those early-noughties “Top 50 moments” TV shows with the amount of memorable narrative developments that occurred through 86 episodes; Nancy Marchand’s incredible turn as Livia Soprano, Tony’s villainous mother, whose sad death during filming robbed us of this horrible matriarch. Or Funhouse, the episode in which Pussy is taken on one final boat ride. However, the most talked about element of David Chase’s show was THAT ending. Not since people gathered in Times Square to watch the Seinfeld finale, has the end of a show prompted such debate and parody. That’s a legacy Tony, and the late Gandolfini, would be proud of.
The Banks Family
“In West Philadelphia, born and raised”, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air was the ultimate after school treat for a generation, one that introduced the watching world to one of Hollywood’s last bankable film stars in Will Smith.
The story of a smart-mouthed teen who’s sent to live with his well-to-do cousins, much to the chagrin of his stuffy Uncle Phil (the late, great James Avery), with whom he regularly clashed in front of a live studio audience.
The Banks are a family unit who’ve transcended the years since the camera stopped hovering in Geoffrey’s kitchen, or that lavish front room with winding staircase. People still fondly remember Alfonso Ribeiro’s scene-stealing Carlton, largely through Twitter GIFS. Tatiana Ali went on to have a brief pop career, and Smith, while no longer the draw he once was, is essentially just The Fresh Prince with a couple of decades tacked on.
It remains one of those shows that if you accidently find a window into the mansion whilst channel surfing, you’re sticking around for the duration. All together now…“in a playground is where I spent most of my days”.
Despite some catastrophic colour themed weddings of poisoning and backstabbing, the family Stark have endured seven seasons of death, re-birth, potential incest, bastards, dog-handling, and face-swapping, but they still stand where other houses have fallen.
Sophie Turner’s Sansa has emerged as a fan favourite, Maisie Williams as Arya matches smarts with a twinkle in her eye. Together they shared the finales most triumphant moment, and in a season with evil dragons, that’s testament to their character appeal.
The Starks work so well, simply because in a series in which you’ve sometimes needed a compendium to keep track of your Targaryen or Dothraki lineage, they’ve been a constant presence upon which to hang the narrative. In our neighbourhood you’d like to think that they’d be the ones hosting the BBQ, with the grill overseen by Ned, whilst the frowned upon family from another street, The Wildlings, pet the Direwolves on the front lawn.
In short, they’re the most relatable family in world in which brothers kill fathers, brothers kill brothers, heck, everyone kills everyone, except The Starks, and if that isn’t what family is all about, then what is?
Season 3 & 4 of The Goldbergs are available NOW on DVD, featuring Gag Reels, Deleted Scenes and Episode Commentaries!