The Goldbergs, Season 2, Episode 11, “The Darryl Dawkins Dance”
January 14th, 2015, 8:30 PM, ABC
Cupid’s pulling back his bow on this week’s Goldbergs. Upon discovering that her best friend Lainey and Barry have been kinda-sorta seeing each other (IE making out on the Goldberg couch), a status that’s limited by Lainey’s fear of being seen with the uncool Barry, a horrified Erica tries to forbid them from seeing one another. But that doesn’t work, so she then asks Bev to help her set Barry up on a date to the Sadie Hawkins Day Dance. She picks Evelyn Silver, a carbon copy of Bev and the daughter of a woman in Bev’s scrapbooking circle. Now Erica has to pick between mending Lainey and Barry’s relationship and living with the pain of watching her best friend date her brother or bite her tongue as Barry takes out a miniature version of their mom! Meanwhile, Adam, obsessed with the death of Optimus Prime in Transformers: The Movie, decides to rewrite the ending of the film. In the process of filming the reconstructed ending, Murray realizes that Adam’s masking his fear of death into his anger over Optimus’ passing and gives him The Death Talk. That just results in Adam worrying about Pops’ health, but when he rewrites the movie to maximize Pops’ safety Pops is offended, and the twosome get into a fight.
The Goldbergs in general tends to be one thing from week to week: cute. And in the hallowed halls of cuddly Goldbergs episodes, this episode is more adorable than a speckled puppy cuddling with a flock of chicks under a rainbow. You get to see little Adam wrestle with mortality and come out learning that his Pops’ love is something he’ll carry with him for all time (and just imagine how happy Adam was when they did return Optimus back to life for awhile in the G1 series) . You get to see Lainey and Barry finally get together after a season and a half of sweet moments combined with exasperation, complete with Bev and Murray at their clueless best, horrifying their children with their perhaps-too-comfortable with one another ways, giving out terrible advice while being incredibly supportive. And, of course, you get to see Pops in an Optimus Prime costume.
Speaking of large, wise robots, the episode in general is a fun experience, and it strikes a chord with anyone who was young and fannish in the mid-80s. I’ve repeatedly maintained that The Goldbergs also does an excellent job calling to mind those cultural touchstone for Millennials and Gen-Xers who grew up in the world it describes; Optimus Prime’s death was a universal psychological troubler; not only did it teach us that anybody could be killed, but it also taught us that sometimes the wise and benevolent people who fed us our Saturday morning cartoons didn’t know what was best for us. There were thousands of Adams all over the country playing with their own home video cameras, their own typewriters and word processors. It’s a universal faultline, something tying all of us creative types together. We’ll all be born – we’ll all die. But in between we should try to have fun. And The Goldbergs is Wednesday’s best way to do it.
- Isn’t it sad that we have to explain Saturday morning cartoons to the upcoming generation? They get a similar experience tuning in to Nickelodeon and Discovery Kids, but still it’s not quite the same.
- And yeah, the Transformers movie really was that traumatic to kids back in the day.
- Allie Grant, who plays Evelyn, also portrayed the hapless Lisa in the recently cancelled ABC sitcom Suburgatory.
- Lainey and Barry’s relationship has had its stops and starts throughout the before reaching its triumphant apex in tonight’s episode. Barry first expressed his interest in the blonde during the episode “For Your Own Good”, and turned into an intense and semi-requited two-way crush in episodes like “Sweater Party!”, “The Facts of Bleeping Life” and “Family Take Care of Beverly.”
- This episode….is definitely set in 1986-something, which was when the Transformers movie came out.
- This Week’s Actual Home Video Footage is dedicated to The Transformers: The real Adam Goldberg’s self-professed first love. We get a few clips of his revision!
- Next Week: The Goldbergs go on a weeklong hiatus! See you in February!< /li>
Universal truths abound, and there’s a lot of tenderhearted laughs to be had.