The Goldbergs, Season 2, Episode 10, “DannyDonnieJoeJonJordan”
January 7th, 2015, 8:30 PM, ABC
Is anyone surprised that everyone’s beloved smother Beverly has kept every single artifact of the kid’s childhood accomplishments? Stockpiled in the garage (along with the beer Erica’s hidden and the magazines Barry’s “keeping for somebody else”), they mount up and mount up until Murray ends up buried beneath a stack of dioramas and unfortunate-looking art projects. After experiencing “the Goldberg avalanche,” Murray demands Bev clean out all but one trunk’s worth of precious memories, only to run into opposition from Bev, who can’t part with anything. He tries to solve the situation by sending everything to the dump – but the trunk ends up swept off to the incinerator with it, forcing Pops and Murray to scribble duplicates. The truth quickly comes out, but while Murray scrambles for the kids’ art in the dump and ends up framing somebody else’s memories, Bev’s quietly hidden the kids’ stuff away in a storage locker, leading both to discover the limits of their own sentimentality. Meanwhile, Adam and Barry try to revenge themselves on Erica for years of fond sibling torment (like ripping off Barry’s tear-away pants in a school hallway) by exposing her friends to her childhood New Kids on the Block fandom. They soon discover that Erica’s still got a thing for the band, and while trying to tease her about her crushes soon find themselves falling down the slippery slope of fannishness themselves. Soon all three kids must learn to embrace their inner NKOTB dork to find sibling harmony.
As always, the best thing about The Goldbergs –much like its neighbor Modern Family – is that it’s good at rooting itself in little situations that are part and parcel of the human condition and writing them larger. The sight of Murray determinedly picking through a trash heap to keep his wife from being so upset with him works on an emotional level – and on a purely visual one, in that it’s hilarious. Also hilarious is Adam and Barry’s two-man tribute to NKOTB, which only gets funnier when you see the actual Adam Goldberg’s tribute to his favorite guilty pleasure. There are some lovely moments where Murray and Bev find themselves marveling over their children’s handiwork – a nice bit of quiet contemplation, that balances out the giddy joy of everything else going on in the kids’ plot.
And when it comes to their plot, I’m of a divided mind. Occasionally Erica’s actions seem a tad too cruel, and yet the pay off – her coming to realize her brothers are worthwhile people most of the time – is more than worth it. Plus the music video is side-achingly hilarious.
There are a few moments that don’t pay off the way you expect them to; there is, for instance, a great scene where Bev, dressed up like a 40s film noir heroine, tells an employee at the storage place that the boxes contain ‘pieces of her kids’. I was waiting for that to pay off in some way, somehow, but it never did.
Still, this episode hits a sentimental and yet comforting note. It’s warm and relatable and darn funny. Another solid episode.
- The episode’s title is derived from the first names of the boy band New Kids on the Block, the object of Erica’s crush.
- Embarrassing artifacts of the Goldberg children’s past: Barry had a head-shaping helmet as a toddler and Adam had a stuffed “potty pal” because he was afraid of the toilet.
- That tee-shirt Erica sports in her video looks exactly like a vintage NKOTB one your humble recapper owned; kudos to wardrobe.
- ”Crossfire” was an extremely popular game in the late 80’s – they were mainly known for awesome commercials like this (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCwn1NTK-50)
- This episode….is definitely set in 1989-something, just after NKOTB got big (though they didn’t really end up dubbed ‘lame’ until the early 90’s).
- This Week’s Actual Home Video Footage is dedicated to NKOTB. We eventually get a side-by-side comparison between the real Adam’s Hangin’ Tough tribute video and the version shot for the show!
- Next Week: Erica enlists Bev to help her find a date for Barry for Sadie Hawkins’ Day and Adam and Pops get into an argument in “The Darryl Dawkins Dance.”< /li>
A funny episode with some solid points that’s hampered by a few small quibbles. Still an enjoyable way to pass a half hour.