I’ve never been to Brooklyn. My whole life has been spent in the midwestern and plains states. Truth be told, I don’t have an ethnic bone in my body. And yet, this quaint family show grabbed me on levels I cannot begin to articulate. After watching all 34 episodes of Brooklyn Bridge, I could see myself fitting in rather well, with my grandparents just downstairs and my best friend just down the hall. Brooklyn Bridge is the most personal creation from the heart and mind of Gary David Goldberg, the same guy who created Family Ties and Spin City. This is his story, this is his life, growing up Jewish and worshiping at the shrine of the Brooklyn Dodgers, with Gil Hodges and Jackie Robinson as his objects of awe. The story centers on young Alan Silver, middle school boy next door; popular kid who makes good grades and has wacky friends. He is into sports and girls; well, one girl, Katie who attends an all-girl Catholic school. This dynamic, the merging of the differing cultures, makes for some of the better moments in the show. Alan has a younger brother, Nathaniel, who oozes precocious from every pore. Goldberg admitted once that Natie is really him at that age. He follows Alan everywhere and rarely quarrels with him. Makes for warm fuzzies but I had four brothers and none of us got along that well! Phyllis and George are the boys’ parents and they have the unenviable task of taking a back seat, both to their kids and Phyllis’ parents, Sophie and Jules Berger. Especially George, who doesn’t even enter the hour long pilot till the very last scene! This is to cleverly establish Grandma Sophie as the foundation of the show. Played to the hilt by Marion Ross (Mrs. C from Happy Days), Sophie is the conscience of the show. This is well established in the pilot as well as she lectures Alan on doing the right thing by his friends. Her ideals, her convictions and refusal to sell out the traditions of her family are what give Brooklyn Bridge its depth and texture. Jules is Sophie’s husband, a big kid himself, a kindly grandfather who is just along for the ride. The supporting cast is also superb and along the way there are some great guest stars, including Carol Kane and Joel Grey. Some shows make it, some don’t. some shows are mediocre or less and for some reason keep getting renewed. Others, like Brooklyn Bridge could have gone down as one of the most successful television programs ever. But CBS axed it and only 34 episodes exist. Alas, it is simply in my opinion the best show ever made. Thank you, Mr. Goldberg.
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