So I freely admit that I have woefully fallen behind on contributing … well, anything! … to this site as of late. Real life intruded for a bit there, but I am back now and ready to do some TV dishin’! I have lots of episodes to catch up on but I did just watch The Goldbergs ep 1×02 so let’s discuss that one first, shall we? (Yes I am more than a week behind but if you haven’t seen that episode yet; this review is new to you. And if you have seen it, reminisce with me lol Thanks!)
This episode of The Goldbergs was entitled “Daddy Daughter Day”. The moment I saw the episode title I immediately thought “okay, how badly is Daddy Murray going to seriously eff up this special occasion with Erica?” I had many preconceptions about the episode but I am happy to say that the majority of them were wrong!
You see, being that I am an active consumer of modern-day sitcoms; I know a lot of the trends. The writers of said sitcoms seem to think “the bigger and more contrived we make [the gags], the funnier the audience will find the show and we won’t get cancelled just yet”. So I went into watching this expecting a lot of far-out, contrived and slap-sticky occurrences to happen during or even on the way to Erica and Murray’s special outing. I was truthfully expecting some seriously epic disasters. Anything for a laugh, right?
Admittedly, there were some seriously disastrous moments like Murray going into near-catatonia when Erica went on ad nauseum about her and her best friend Lainie’s wild teenage dramas. And when he forbade Erica to associate with Lainie anymore which we know is, of course, a big no-no for any teen girl, that was a disaster. And it was of course doubly disastrous that he made her so mad while they were roller-skating that Erica rolled away and left her father there, trying to “merge” into skating traffic. Which resulted in him plummeting to the floor, unable to get up.
So yes, those were disasters but they were what I’ll call “natural disasters”. They could easily happen in REAL life and they do! And that’s when I had a serious revelation. Yes, I had an “A-HA!” moment watching a TV comedy! I realized that the reason The Goldbergs is so funny is that it’s generally realistic. The writers take moments that have and do happen and will continue to happen in REAL people’s lives and put them on screen for us to watch in all their awkward glory (utter embarrassment is utter embarrassment in the 80’s and every other decade too!). It’s a highly relatable, as are the characters, and that’s the beauty of it. REAL life is disastrous and awkward too and sometimes you just have to laugh about it or you’ll just cry hysterically. There are no exaggerated stunts or gimmicks on this show designed to try to force a laugh out of you. They don’t drag out the dog and pony show or make a million and one fart jokes to cause you to chuckle. They just amp up reality and the results are hilarious. REAL life, in hindsight, is hilarious. When you’re not crying about the craziness of it all, of course.
Speaking of crying, there was some crying in this episode and again, it felt very realistic here. How many Moms have been in Beverly’s Bedazzler-accented tennis shoes, terribly sad that their kids are just growing up way too darn fast? Beverly had a very human moment in the kitchen where she was all teary eyed and lamenting that with Adam, she feels as if she is having to “say goodbye to a little boy [she] was just getting to know.” And there is Pops (boy, do I love Pops! I want a Grandpa just like him!) to give her some sage advice which forces her to immediately spring into action. She knew then that she had to give her kids growing room. She also knew that she had to give Adam what he wanted for a change. In this case he wanted a really cool back-to-school outfit that his mom had not picked out. (Yeah, I’ve so been there, haven’t you?)
The episode winds up quite nicely with Bev (played to uber-perfection by Wendi McLendon-Covey; once again, I will say she had better get an Emmy for this role!) taking Adam shopping for some “dangerous” designer duds. (She finally agreed to ditch the obnoxious and childish train-appliquéd sweater she had tried to saddle him with earlier in the episode.) She has to literally threaten the store employee who was ready to close the shop into keeping it open long enough that Adam could get some awesome jeans but she got it done. (I want to note here that the sales girl seemed truly terrified of Bev! She even agreed to honor the year-old expired coupon Bev brought with her. We all know it’s a fact that Mama Bears do attack and well, Bev is the ultimate Mama Bear. She would eat her own young before she’d let someone else hurt them! Lol)
And finally, back at the house, Murray and Erica watched an old home video of her as a kid and share a nice moment. A moment that feels authentic and real. (Awkward authenticity is basically the whole framework of this show.) And when Murray starts calling Erica a “Moron” once again, it’s deeply felt and even appreciated.
The Goldbergs has quickly become my favorite new show of the fall season. I will admit that Murray’s yelling does grate on my eardrums and nerves at times and that there are moments I find Adam oddly, highly annoying, but like with true family, sometimes you just have to love them anyway – in spite of their many flaws and hang-ups!