The Goldbergs, Cowboy Country, (2.12) - TV Review


Goldbergs Cowboy

February 11th, 2015, 8:30 PM, ABC

It’s Valentine’s Day AND 1980-something, which means it’s time to revisit the Goldbergs after a few weeks away from their cozy abode. Adam’s been working strenuously on building his body up and gaining muscle – and well, growing up, because the rest of the kids in his class are developing more quickly than he is. Trying to stimulate peach fuzz growth and fending off rivals for his girlfriend Dana (specifically Anthony Balsamo, the near-ten future possible doctor who invites them both to a party), Adam soon finds himself going head to head against Beverly, who’s upset with his attempts at growing up and rebelling, especially when he gives the diamond ring he inherited from his nana to Dana as a gift. Unsurprisingly, Beverly forces Adam to give the ring back to Beverly, and they soon find themselves arguing over whether or not Adam’s growing up too fast. Leave it to Erica to help Adam stage a jailbreak when Beverly grounds him…and leave it to Adam to totally humiliate himself in front of his whole class and girlfriend in multiple ways during the party, making Beverly realize that she needs to let her little boy go – if in increments and inches instead of great leaps.

Meanwhile, Lainey and Barry play matchmaker…for their fathers, whom they try to convince to watch a football game together. While Murray’s charmed by Lainey’s dad’s 53 inch projection television, their friendship soon sours - the game is the big Cowboy-Eagles game, Murray’s an Eagles man and Lainey’s dad is a huge Cowboys fan, and they soon start scrimmaging over the superiority of their chosen cities and teams.

Every week I tell you how cute the Goldbergs are. It’s the show’s best asset, that simple inborn ability to produce something that’s adorable without being too saccharine, and it manages to pull off the right atmosphere every week, which is somehow endearing with the right kick of knowing sarcasm. The show does manage to capture the pains of joys of being and blossoming into adolescence well, too – which is something that this episode does a great job of bringing to life. Adam’s struggle to adapt to life as a teenager is painfully relatable – for every teenager has gone through that moment where you look at other kids and worry you’re not enough, where you think if you don’t become perfect you’ll lose your chance at love. And yeah – it’s also funny and yet sweet to watch him try, to see him try to scramble down a watertower ladder and see him try to sculpt himself into shape with his mother’s Buns of Steel workout video.

Funnier was the Barry and Lainey subplot. I’m still glad the show’s stuck with keeping them together, especially if they’re going to reward us with stuff like them struggling to make their disparate lives work. Murray and Barry plots are always fun, and this episode is no exception to the rule; whenever they bond there’s always a ridiculousness afoot, and a breezy good time to be had.

The acting continues to be uniformly excellent and it’s always great to see Dave Koechner on my television set. The Goldbergs continues to get young love and young friendship right. Perhaps there’s not much more that needs to be said about the show than that, but I’ll keep saying it every week unless they get it wrong.
The Roundup

  • Adam’s middle name is Frederick.
  • Dave Koechner, best known for his role as Champ Kind in the Anchorman movies, appears as Lainey’s dad.
  • The show drops a rare blurred f-bomb in tonight’s episode.
  • This episode….is definitely set in 1987-something, which was when the Masters of the Universe movie came out.
  • This Week’s Actual Home Video Footage gives us a glimpse at the real Adam in tenth grade.
  • Next Week: Murray takes Erica’s car privileges away, so she and Barry go in together on a used van and Adam is disappointed to be voted “Nicest Guy” in the yearbook in “Van People”!< /li>

Another sweet little trip back to the 80s, though not quite ring-worthy, it does feel like the proper thing to wind down with after a blood-pumping college football game. As always, pleasant, sweet and funny.

  • GREAT 8.5

About Author

Staff Television Critic: Lisa Fernandes, formerly of, has been watching television for all of her thirty-plus years, and critiquing it for the past seven. When she's not writing, she can be found in the wilds of the Northeastern United States.

  • luke_a

    This was without a doubt the best episode of The Goldbergs so far. I was laughing harder at Jeff Garlin and David Koechner than anything since the beginning of 2015.