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Things you missed on the first episode of The Goldbergs

Fans of the perennial sitcom The Goldbergs are in for a lean fall in 2020. The long-running show about a boisterous and lovable family living through the 1980s has premiered a new season every September since 2013, but because of production delays, the release date for season 8 is currently to-be-determined (via TVLine). That's obviously a disappointment, but while waiting for new episodes to drop, why not go back and do a rewatch? After all, there are currently 163 episodes of The Goldbergs already made, and going back to give everything another viewing gives one an opportunity to see how a show has changed and grown over the years.

In fact, go all the way back to episode one. The pilot of The Goldberg's is uncommonly solid, as far as sitcoms go. As with the rest of the series, it's chockablock with '80s references, as well as fun gaffes, continuity errors, and other easy-to-miss moments. We went through and pulled a few of our favorite things you might not have noticed from the pilot episode of The Goldbergs.

Burt Reynolds isn't officially the Sexiest Man Alive

While "The Circle of Driving" does a good job of introducing all the main characters of The Goldbergs, the plot of the episode focuses on Barry's (Troy Gentile) desire to get a car of his own and start driving. When Pop (George Segal) shows up at the Goldberg house with a brand-new sports car, the family descends into an argument about who's going to get his old car. Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey) makes it clear that she's not letting Barry have the hand-me-down car, and he storms off, just as Murray (Jeff Garlin) comes outside.

When Murray sees Pops' new car, he exclaims, "What, we having a drag race? What's with the bird car?" Annoyed, Beverly responds, "My father thinks he's Burt Reynolds," to which Pop says, "The sexiest man alive? Yes I do."

That particular phrasing seems to be referencing People magazine's popular annual custom of naming someone the Sexiest Man Alive. The tradition kicked off in 1985, with Mel Gibson taking the title. During the '80s, Gibson was joined in the honor by future NCIS star Mark Harmon (in 1986), Harry Hamlin (1987), John F. Kennedy Jr. (1988), and Sean Connery (1989). Notably absent from the list of inductees is Burt Reynolds, who shockingly has never won the honor. That must have been Pops' own editorializing.

The Goldbergs' pilot introduces an early version of a future recurring character

On The Goldbergs' very first episode, the story mostly sticks to getting viewers acquainted with the titular family. However, in the midst of all the Goldberg introductions, we do meet one other future recurring character ... sort of.

During one scene in the middle of the pilot, the family is having one of their typical yelling matches on the front lawn. Eventually, the camera cuts across the street, and we see another family standing outside their house, watching the Goldbergs go at it. When Beverly sees them, she yells, "Oh hello, Gina. Why don't you take a picture?! It'll last longer!" Adult Adam (Patton Oswalt) follows that outburst with a bit of narration that provides an important piece of context: "For the record, Gina — that's my mom's best friend."

Now, fans of the show know that the characters on The Goldbergs are based on real people from creator Adam Goldberg's life, and Gina is no exception. In 2017, the actual Beverly Goldberg tweeted a photo with the caption, "My three best friends Essie Karp [,] Gina Kremp & Linda Schwartz." On the show, the Kremp family moves in across the street midway through the first season, and the character of the mother, who becomes Beverly's friend, goes by the name Virginia (Jennifer Irwin). As we can see on the website of Kremp Florist, the real family's business, the Kremp matriarch is referred to both as Virginia and Gina.

It looks like a possibility that the pilot episode of The Goldbergs wasn't quite sure what to do with the character of Gina/Virginia, so they gave her a soft introduction in the form of this joke, but then altered the character and her origins later.

Pay attention to the lyrics at the end of The Goldbergs' first episode

"The Circle of Driving" comes to a sentimental end when Murray finally agrees to let Barry get his driver's license. As they drive home together, Murray puts on the REO Speedwagon tape he bought Barry earlier for his birthday. The song "Can't Fight This Feeling" starts playing, and both father and son sing along in a moment of familial bonding. The song plays in the background throughout the rest of the episode, as the other characters confront their own feelings about their various predicaments. It provides both a nice thematic tie-in for the narrative and a sly moment of ironic comedy.

During the last scene of the episode, the entire Goldberg clan piles into the station wagon — with Barry behind the wheel, ready to begin his driving journey. The song continues to play as Barry starts up the car, puts it in gear, and looks behind himself in preparation to back out of the driveway. He then puts his foot down on the gas ... only to realize he's actually in drive. The station wagon rams through the garage door in front of them — and if you're paying attention to the lyrics of the song as that happens, you'll notice that REO Speedwagon's lead vocalist Kevin Cronin is singing, "And if I have to crawl upon the floor, come crashing through your door."

The subtle, guffaw-inducing moment is a perfect end to a fantastic pilot, and was clearly a sign of good things to come for The Goldbergs.

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