Nostalgia is in, and yet the 80's seem to be the one decade impervious to this trend. We will salivate over the 60's, laugh at the outrageous-ness of the 70's, and create endless tumblrs commemorating the 90's, but the decade that gave us big hair and Duran Duran remains sorely overlooked.
It's not for lack of trying. Freaks and Geeks was technically set in 1980, but a) it only lasted one season, and b) it seemed to revel more in the 70's rock and aesthetic. Last year The Carrie Diaries barely evaded cancellation, but it did so by leaving any period-accurate trappings by the wayside. That 80's Show and Do Over embraced the vulgarities of 80's fashion, and each only lasted a handful of episodes. For some reason, the world can fondly gaze at flannel and grunge, but it's too soon for acid-wash and New Wave.
Somehow, I don't think The Goldbergs is the show to change America's mind. The fashion and flair look more accurate, but the show itself is too grating to stand. The volume of the characters is treated as a joke, but just because they let the audience know that they're in on the humor doesn't make it good. Self-aware loudness is still loud, and it's exhausting. And I swear, if I have to watch one more show where children talk to their parents in such derogatory, holier-than-thou tones, and the viewer is expected to cheer for the kid? I might slap my screen silly. Especially when it comes to birthday presents. Guess what, kid? Your parents gave you life! They really don't have to give you anything else, let alone something awesome. So shut your trap and have some respect.
To give The Goldbergs some credit, it is one of the few family-themed shows that does not appear to keep that mean-spirited tone throughout. The family doesn't seem to completely hate each other, and the heart-tugging moments of sincerity, though calculated, have a note of sweetness to them. I don't think it will be able to strike that balance with any semblance of consistency, but kudos for trying.