The Goldbergs, “Barry Goldberg’s Day Off,” (2.14) - TV Review


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February 25th, 2015, 8:30 PM, ABC

Inspired by the classic 80s movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Barry vows that he’ll be as epic as his newfound idol and decides to create a day off of school for himself in the exact same way and manner Ferris did. With Pops and Adam at his side (and Erica forced to fulfill Jeanie’s role as the worried, Jealous and disapproving scold), Barry quickly discovers that it’s not easy replicating movie magic; after getting a borrowed Firebird stolen and fished out of a pool by his frantic mother, it seems like his hope for the perfect day is lost and gone with his dignity; it’s up to all three Goldberg siblings to team up and help him make the scene. But can Barry make it to the Homecoming Day Parade in time to support Lainey, who’s riding as queen on the main float? Meanwhile, Erica tries to track down her brothers but ends up having a heart-to-heart with an anonymous drug addict at the police station that allows her to let go of her fear of looking uncool. And elsewhere, Beverly takes a part-time job at her friend’s flower shop but has her first day ruined by her need to check in on Barry.

Let’s face facts: unless you’re an 80s fanatic, born before 1985 or have a strong affinity for FBDO, this episode is going to be lost on you. Little more than a long-form tribute to the movie it’s homaging, it replicates familiar scenes with playful twists – for example, instead of becoming absorbed in the art around him, Barry stares at abstract nudes and tries in vain to make out their bare breasts, then gets the whole gang thrown out of a museum while trying to force a child to hold his hand during a replica of the ring-around-the-rosie scene. There’s some original comedic value to be had here – Wendi McLendon-Covey has a terrific bit of physical comedy where she speeds home in a stolen van, for instance – but not much to be had otherwise. At least the characters continue to progress, with Barry and Lainey’s relationship getting stronger and Adam’s love of moviemaking continues to take shape.

The producers are ironically on the record saying that they didn’t include more cameos from the stars of the film because they didn’t want people taken out of the episode, as if the big Charlie Sheen cameo isn’t distracting enough, and as if the watching the Goldberg kids behave OOCly to better fit in with what happened in the movie. There is a moment where Beverly calls her daughter a NARC and threatens to ground her, which is absolutely something that makes no sense for Beverly, who craves popularity with her children like an alcoholic craves brandy. These moments weaken the overall worth of the episode, and ultimately the show ends up boiling down to the question of whether or not you’re willing to sit through yet another homage. For those willing it’s a delight. For those unwilling, though, it proves a torture.
The Roundup

  • Thirty years later and that replicated Charlie Sheen cameo is just depressing instead of cool.
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was released in 1985. It launched the careers of Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Grey and featured Charlie Sheen in one of his first memorable roles (just before his award-nominated turn in Platoon, released the same year). The movie’s general plot is playfully recreated in this episode, and the movie obviously turns 30 this summer.
  • Beverly Goldberg insists she could’ve been a lawyer, even though she only attended a single semester of college.
  • “If there’s one thing I know, being on the junior royal court opens a lot of doors…”
  • This episode….is definitely set in 1987-something, after Dirty Dancing was released and after FBDO’s mid-80s release.
  • YEL-LO’s “O Yeah,” a musical motif in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, is heard throughout the episode.
  • The actual home video footage this week is dedicated to John Hughes, and followed by a clip of the real Beverly Goldberg replicating the famous post-credits line by Matthew Broderick.
  • Next Week: Dana and Adam are assigned to care for a baby doll – which, of course, Beverly can’t resist mothering, thereby wrecking the twosome’s project. Meanwhile, Barry gets between Lainey and Erica which puts his sister on the warpath in “Happy Mom, Happy Life”!< /li>
7.4 GOOD

If Ferris isn’t your hero this episode, like life, will pass you by.

  • GOOD 7.4

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.