I haven’t posted about too many TV sitcoms, yet after watching a few episodes of “The Goldbergs” recently, I wanted to share my thoughts. The 1980s were a part of my childhood and early teen years, so I could relate to many aspects of the show right away. Breakin’ it down by several characters, here are a few elements that jostled nostalgia.

Barry (Troy Gentile)

A regular item he carries is a denim backpack and I had one just like it. But that wasn’t all; I went through a variety of denim pocketbooks in different sizes as well. Then, there were those cropped denim jackets with long strips of white leather fringe. It was…like, totally…denim overload!

In the world of fragrance, many girls like myself were spritzing ourselves with Debbie Gibson’s Electric Youth perfume. In one episode, Barry gives Adam pointers on how to be more attractive to a girl, advising him to use Drakkar Noir. I actually wasn’t aware of that cologne in 80s, but later on, my high school crush wore it and he rocked that scent.

Erica (Hayley Orrantia)

I love the pop culture posters decorating Erica’s bedroom. At some point, my walls were covered with New Kids on the Block pin-ups from the pages of teen magazines. Not just page-size pin-ups, but centerfolds and pull-out posters. I also had a few banners, wherever they were bought, along with tons of other fan merchandise. While on the subject of my generation’s boy band NKOTB, I had a quick glimpse of Erica wearing a t-shirt featuring Jordan, Donnie, Danny, Jonathan and Joe. Later, I caught part of an episode with their names as the title; if the onscreen fan mentioned her favorite, I missed it. I’ll have to catch that one from the start next time it reruns. But who was my favorite guy? Jordan…loved his eyes, smile, hair, voice, style, dance moves. I saw NKOTB in concert back in the day and even got to see them again when they had a tour date in Philly last June. Check out my NKOTB concert blog post.

A lot of other styles Erica wears takes me back to the 80s. My friends and I all loved the combo of big earrings, bangle bracelets, jelly bracelets and denim dyed to colors such as teal. I never shopped at Benetton as the onscreen teen does, but it’s among brands I remember clearly. While watching the show, I haven’t noticed specific footwear looks representing 80s shoe styles. My favorite sneaker brand back then was definitely L.A. Gear.

Erica also had a pen pal who she eventually meets. I remember filling out forms to sign up and get matched to pen pals based on common age range, interests and so on. As a teen, I wrote to a handful of pen pals, but never met them. They lived in countries including Ireland, Germany, Malaysia, Australia and Italy. I still have my letters from them, stored away with many other mementos from my early teen years.

Adam (Sean Giambrone)

It’s funny relating even to the youngest kid on the show, but my generation often did something he did – going out to a local video rental store. It feels like a completely different world or lifetime compared to these days. I hadn’t thought about it for a long time, renting movies on VHS. Then, a guy in one of my graduate writing classes wrote a short story about his own video rental store experiences. The tone of his story was that he missed those times and included several reasons why he felt that way, despite convenient streaming technologies of today. He saw a video rental store trip as an adventure. And of course, we couldn’t forget to rewind and get any movies we rented back by the due date.

A couple of other episodes revolving around Adam had themes of “The Goonies” and “The Karate Kid.” Who knows how many times I’ve watched these two movies? A sense of friends’ one last adventure, led by inspired Mikey (Sean Astin) makes me think of how different time periods in life come to a close. A friend moves far away or we graduate and lose touch with some classmates. At least that’s the case with my generation, since our high school years came before the era of social media and easily keeping connected. Also, the whole plot of a long-ago maritime mystery is a favorite theme of mine that, in the spirit of “The Goonies,” never dies. Then, in “The Karate Kid,” there is the story of a new kid who gets bullied, finds love and the strength to hold his own. It was a mix of common situations that teens experience, making this a relatable movie. But I also had a huge crush on Ralph Macchio when he became known for his role of Daniel, “The Karate Kid.” I remember wishing I could be his onscreen girlfriend, Ali (Elisabeth Shue). And who could forget the wisdom and humor of Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi?

Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey)

Her use of Aqua Net hairspray reminds me of junior high and all that stiff, high-poofed hair many girls had to top off their look. Beverly had a more toned-down style as the mom. However, some late-80s teen girls in my yearbooks must’ve had their bangs sprayed up to stand five inches high!

Opening references to 80s pop culture and history moments are among what I relate to as well, remembering those myself. I also love the added touch of home videos featuring the real-life people behind the show’s characters.

Jeff Garlin and George Segal star as the father and grandfather respectively, rounding out the Goldberg family regulars. Patton Oswalt narrates episode stories from Adam’s point of view.