May 13th, 2015, 8:30 PM, ABC
Love’s a big problem on this week’sThe Goldbergs. Erica’s trip to a summer school for the performing arts results in Great Amounts of Feelings to be expunged by Beverly, who insists on throwing her daughter a going away party, and a great amount of feeling smothering by Murray – who opposes Bev’s idea and refuses to tell his daughter ‘I love you’ when the prospect of her leaving for months becomes a reality. Once Murray’s pressured into saying the words by Pops and Beverly , he finds Erica suspicious and non-receptive, discouraging Murray from further expressing himself – and sending Beverly on a mission to force their daughter to use the l-word back. But father and daughter turn the word into a weaponized ballistic to lob back and forth at each other, leaving Bev to mediate. Meanwhile Barry has the opposite problem and tells Lainey he loves her in the most unromantic way possible, then tries to take it back and becomes the school mascot in an effort to get closer to his cheerleader girlfriend when she refuses to speak to him once he does. But Lainey then refuses to say the words back, leaving Barry to deal with a broken heart – and a huge fiberglass mascot head. Lastly, Adam worries that he and Dana will drift apart when she goes away for the summer, so he hand-writes a love note, then tries to get it back when he regrets dropping the l-bomb in text. After some encouragement gleaned from Mr. Meller and the example of his other brother, Adam rushes to Dana’s to spill the truth to her, but his actions just might result in a broken heart.
As previously stated, this episode is all about the words ‘I Love You’, and how the Goldberg clan uses that phrase. For Barry and Beverly it’s a totem of their impassioned and somewhat frenzied passion (the show at least admits that Barry’s spying is creepy, to its credit); for Adam it’s a wonder that encapsulates everything good he feels – and also acts as a double-edged sword that could ruin everything with the only girl he’s ever been in love with; and for Erica and Murray, reticent and hostile, it’s something to be defeated and conquered. The show does a good job of making each individual’s personality stand out and gives us multiple different points of view on why Barry’s hyper-intensity is both good and bad, and why Adam’s passivity isn’t the right approach either. Both Bev’s emotional forthrightness and Murray’s emotional constipation are explored and explained, making for an interesting contrast.
It’s interesting to suddenly note that the show has all but added Mr. Meller in as an extra adult authority figure at the kids’ school – shades of The Wonder Years, which also echo in the bittersweet romance of Adam and Dana. I wonder if his presence will lead anywhere in the next season.
The Goldbergs continue to do a great job at balancing the relatably heartbreaking with the outlandishly ridiculous. It’s a show that will be missed over the summer months, but at least they’ll return with fresh episodes this fall.
- The opening montage is really successful in breaking down how different Bev’s love is from Murray’s.
- Title drop!
- The foibles of Murray as a dad: once completely ignored Erica when she went off to prom, and left a hockey game of Barry’s early to beat the traffic (which, as previous episodes have established, is a general habit with him).
- Mr. Meller announces that he once had a bad experience with a mail order bride. Presumably before he hooked up with Miss Cinnamon.
- This episodes…..doesn’t have any particular descriptors that world firmly situate it in any year in the 80s.
- The kids’ school’s mascot is “The Fighting Quaker”.
- ”Not you, Kyle, you suck!”
- Musical motif: surprisingly the show has none this time.
- That last scene and shot may feel like the series’ concluding note, but the Goldbergs HAVE been renewed for season three!
- This week’s Actual Home Video Footage features many of the closing credit comparison shots from the season, and is dedicated to Adam Goldberg’s family.
- See You Next Season!