The Goldbergs, “Dance Party U.S.A,” (2.22) - TV Review


Goldbergs Dance

April 29th, 2015, 8:30 PM, ABC

Adam tries to harness some of Pop’s luck with dice after attending a loosely organized craps game with him but instead of emulating his grandpa’s superhuman sense of luck ends up gambling away his Nintendo, the associated games and all of his Transformers to Barry Baldwin after a spirited game of finger football, leaving Adam lamenting his lack of luck and Pops and Beverly to win back his stuff, through political pressure and skills alike, but Adam soon has to absorb the valuable lesson that sometimes luck isn’t everything and his Pops isn’t the flawlessly lucky gambler he always thought him to be. Meanwhile Erica’s attempt at appearing on USA Network’s popular “Dance Party USA” is derailed when a jealous Barry accidentally gives her pink eye. That precipitates a slow slide of awkwardness and freak accidents that results in her looking exactly like her nerdy ninth grade self, forcing her to see life through her uncool older brother’s eyes and leaving her to choose between hiding and looking like a dork on national TV. Meanwhile, Barry takes lessons from his gym teacher to become a better dancer and impress Lainey on the show.

I often describe The Goldbergs as a cute show. This, I have a feeling, will not change for as long as it airs, for it does do a decent job of cranking out good old fashioned sitcom fluff week after week. That’s not a negative comment; some sitcoms could do well to do the same with their programming. The Goldbergs differentiates itself by providing kids refreshingly honest POVS that are understandable and easy for kids to relate to. While it seems, on the surface, pretty hard to relate to gambling and trying to get yourself onto a dance show, in the end the show makes Adam, Erica and Barry worth rooting for.

In this episode, it’s all about Erica coming to grips with the fact that image isn’t everything – since she tends to be the most image-focused Goldberg this is a good lesson for her, and in the end she accepts that looking perfect isn’t nearly as important as making good memories. Even if that means standing next to your goofy brother while he dork-dances his way into local celebrity.

Meanwhile, Adam discovers two things – that his Pops isn’t entirely infallible, and that he doesn’t have to be exactly like him in order to have his own sense of success and honor. Meanwhile Beverly and Pops come to the sad realization that Adam’s school is filled with the kinda hardcore cardsharps one normally associates with small town casinos and that they’ll have to help Adam some other way. This season’s been about Adam figuring out how to relate to the adults in his life as he enters high school and starts preparing to face adulthood himself; this is the first time Pops, who’s been seen as Adam’s partner in crime, has ever been given an Achilles heel, and the show does a good job dealing with this newfound kink in their relationship.
Overall, Dance Party USA is a solid episode of The Goldbergs. Not terribly distinguished but still charming, fizzy and fun to watch.
The Roundup

  • Poor awkward ninth grade Erica.

  • And yes, mid-80s fashion really did involve that much hairspray.
  • Barry got his pink eye from using a kaleidoscope found under the bridge .
  • Dance Party U.S.A. aired on the USA Network from 1986 to 1992 on the USA Network. It was indeed filmed in Philadelphia, which is where the Goldbergs is set.
  • This episodes…..were definitely set in 1987-something, when Dance Party USA was at its fullest flower.
  • “And with that, my mom rushed off to settle my gambling debts…”
  • Musical motif: We hear Kenny Loggins’ “You’ve Got the Touch”, from the Transformers Movie and “Faithfully”, a hit by Journey from 1983.
  • The actual home video footage this week is dedicated to the colorful dancers of Dance Party USA. We get an outfit montage. It is kinda painful.
  • Next Week: Eric tries to make a music video as part of her application to Julliard but with Adam directing and Beverly helping things start to go awry. Meanwhile, Murray and Lainey’s dad bond and Murray learns about friendship in “Bill/Murray.”

A funny episode that’s not particularly distinguished, but good acting abounds.

  • GREAT 8.0

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.