Is 'The Goldbergs' Really the Modern-Day 'Wonder Years'?

The new ABC sitcom bears a strong resemblance to the classic '80s comedy. But is it as good?

Critics keep calling ABC's new sitcom The Goldbergs a modern day version of The Wonder Years. So before the series debuts -- Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET -- let's see how the two shows match up. 

The time frame:
The Wonder Years premiered in the late '80s, but was set in the late '60s. The narrator was the grown-up Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage), looking back on his suburban family life when he was a middle schooler. 

The Golbergs is premiering Tuesday but is set in the '80s. The narrator is the grown-up Adam Goldberg, looking back on his suburban family life when he was a middle schooler. In this case, however, Goldberg is also the show's creator, and it's all based on actual events (which he documented on his video recorder as a kid). "The way I'm pitching every episode, it's like, 'Here's the real story and here's our version of it,'" he told TV Guide. "I would say all the stories are real in some way, if not from me, then from one of the writers." 

The Arnold family:
Kevin Arnold was awkward, geeky and lovable. Dad (Dan Lauria) was a gruff yeller, but had a heart of gold. Mom (Alley Mills) was much nicer but inadvertently embarrassed Kevin and his siblings anyway. Big brother Wayne (Jason Hervey) was Kevin's bullying nemesis. And big sister Karen (Olivia d'Abo) was the family's free-spirited hippie. 

The Goldberg family:
Adam Goldberg (Sean Giambrone) is awkward, geeky and lovable. Dad (Jeff Garlin) is a gruff yeller with a heart of gold. Mom (Wendi McClendon-Covey) is over-emotional and inadvertently embarrasses her kids. His brother, Barry (Troy Gentile) and big sister, Erica (Hayley Orrantia) both torment Adam, but they receive their fair share of parental torture, too. Grandpa Al "Pops" Solomon (George Segal) is, well, horny. 

The humor:
The Wonder Years was fueled by coming-of-age jokes, mostly focused on poor Kevin's growing pains. Watch a classic clip here:

The Goldbergs is also fueled by lots of coming-of-age jokes, but the misery is spread around to all occupants of the Goldberg household. Watch a preview clip here:

As you can see, the critics are right to compare the two shows. But will The Goldbergs capture the viewing public's imagination like The Wonder Years once did? We'll have to wait and see! 

Jennifer Graham Kizer is an Atlanta-based writer who covers pop culture and watches too much TV. Luckily, iVillage gives her an excuse to watch even more. Follow her on Google+.

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