The Goldbergs, “Wingmom,” (3.9) - TV Review


GB Wing

December 2nd, 2015, 8:30 PM, ABC

As we all know by now, Bev’s smother skills are legendary. So when Barry – inspired by the movie Top Gun and Tom Cruise’s toothy coolness – decides to join the ROTC and experience a taste of the military world she forbids him to participate, as it conflicts with the long list of jobs she’d prefer her children avoid. Murray signs the permission slip behind her back, but Barry soon discovers that the job isn’t at all glamorous – it’s actually pretty demanding and painful. He turns to Beverly to beg his way out of the situation, and then she naturally tries to apply some administrative pressure – but Murray’s already called ahead of her, so she’s forced to wiggle her way around the rules, take a page out of the Private Benjamin handbook and join up too. Barry’s initially embarrassed by Bev’s appearance at the sessions, but soon he becomes one with the smother and gives in to her pampering. Unfortunately Bev’s fond pandering ruins Barry’s training, which leads to a family confrontation. Meanwhile, Adam’s opinion of his beloved grandfather dips after he’s swindled by a time share pitch. When Erica suggests that Pops is old at 80, Adam panics at the prospect of losing his main man and then tries to coolify him to block the slings and arrows of age – and prevent Pops from taking off to Florida on his proposed timeshare vacation. They fight and stop speaking, and Adam tries to bond with his other grandfather while Pops and Erica team up to make him jealous, which leads to a loud confrontation that leaves Adam and Pops to figure out how to love each other without releasing their stubborn beliefs.

Every good sitcom has a military-related episode, and the Goldbergs manage to squeeze one out without growing the kids up too far, sending the hapless Barry on the route once taken by Richie Cunningham nigh on so many years ago, through ROTC training and off through military basics. Naturally he hates it. Naturally, Beverly freaks out as she pictures someone smushing his good looks. Naturally, it all ends with Bev realizing she needs to give her son a little bit more space, even as she embarrasses the pants off of Barry. Troy Gentile and Wendy McLendon-Covey banter wonderfully as mother and son try to navigate awkward waters and new experiences, leaning ever heavily on the letting go plot that usually happens with Adam. There’s just enough Murray thrown in, and his purpose in the storyline boosts it along smoothly.

And the Pops subplot pops due to the inclusion of some new faces. Jud Hirsch continues to be a great addition to the show as Murray’s cranky, unlikable dad, and the conflict between the two grandfather figures in Adam’s life is a lot of fun to watch play out. Of course, Pops and Adam’s relationship remains rock-solid, and the show only playfully rocks the boat, just enough to allow Adam a little bit of growing space. It’s not the show’s best moment, but it’s still an entertaining way to pass the evening.

The Roundup

  • Top Gun was a 1986 drama about elite naval fliers, led by Pete “Maverick” Mitchell. Maverick must deal with rivalry, the perils of combat, his own ego, the romantic attention of a superior officer and the shadow of his father’s memory to become an ace flier. The film was a huge hit and launched Tom Cruise onto the A list. The final scene in this episode is a direct tribute to the volleyball scene in that movie.

  • Barry’s middle name is Norman.
  • ”Mom says beware of timeshare people – they’re like the gypsies of the mall..”
  • Pops was born in 1903.
  • This episodes……definitely takes place in 1986, after the release Top Gun.
  • Other jobs that Beverly’s kids are forbidden from taking: construction work, pro sports (except for golf, tho no riding around in the carts), astronaut, deli guy, government clerk and robot technician (“ROBOT UPRISING!”)
  • ”Who is this Frankie and why does he want me to relax?”
  • Musical motif: Extracts from the score to Top Gun are heard in the background.
  • Pops wears Zubaz pants during his ‘cool’ makeover; they were popular neon-colored workout clothing that became briefly popular from the late 80’s through the mid-90s.
  • This week’s Actual Home Video Footage is of the real Pops’ condo in Florida, and dedicated to it as well.
  • Judd Hirsch appears again as Murray’s dad, Pop Pop.
  • ”This is Beverly Goldberg – she’s the Delta Force of mothers.”
  • Bev cursing moment: “What the f**k!”
  • Next Week: Beverly tries to encourage family togetherness by inventing “Super Hanukah” and Barry deals with a dare from Adam in “A Christmas Story”.

Grandpa rivalries and KP duty collide to make a funny if not extra distinguished episode.

  • GREAT 8.6

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.