TV Recap: The Goldbergs: The Tasty Boys, (03.11)



January 6th, 2016, 8:30 PM, ABC

While Adam and Barry try to launch their own rap supergroup, Bev deals with envy over the Kemps’ new kitchen. Annoyed by the dingy tiles and brown interior of her own domicile, she demands a remodel and finds herself bumping up against Murray’s tendency to be set in his ways and resistant to new ideas. When Bev points this out he tries to follow her request that he be more spontaneous and open and to try new things – only to realize that he’s happy to be stuck in his ways, forcing Bev to remodel the whole thing by herself – with an assist from This Old House repeats. She destroys the entire kitchen with her clumsy effort, forcing Murray to pay for repairs – but it turns out that Beverly’s alleged ‘hamfistedness’ hides a secret that leads into a Goldbergian war of determination. When Murray restores the kitchen to its former state the twosome must try to figure out if change is a good thing after all. Meanwhile, Adam and Barry find themselves arguing with Erica about their group – when she points out that she’s the blossoming family professional musician who cares about her craft and content over flash and image, the boys ignore her and they concentrate on their exterior circumstances while avoiding rehearsals and songwriting time. As Barry and Adam add Geoff (who seeks only to impress Erica) to the band and spread rumours about their legendary successes, they also point out that Erica isn’t taking any further steps to polish up her own career. All of their hype results in a concert in the school auditorium – but when the time to perform arrives the guys are seized by uncertainty and realize they don’t have a plan for the performance. Will Erica be the one to save the day?

This week’s Goldbergs is an interesting study of what ignoring previous canon can accomplish for a sitcom. Music has always strongly driven the kids in the Goldberg clan; Erica’s singing career being the clearest example of that trope. Which is why it’s weird that Barry seems to think his sister doesn’t have much ambition. Wasn’t Erica the same girl who defied arrest to deliver her cassette to Tiffany? The same one who doggedly pursued her dreams and ended up taking them to a music camp in last years’ season finale? It’s quite a sudden switch to see her efforts proclaimed as simple piddling about, as if she’s displayed no ambition at all into her future. Another nitpick definitely bubbles to mind when one thinks of the end result of the Tasty Boys’ first concert; would a bunch of kids happily react to and believe that their classmates had major ‘cred’ with a huge label when their sole talent seems to be happily lip synching along with someone else’s music. It all end with a happy dance party and not a riot, which is a little bit of happy sitcom magic in of itself. But for all of its weaknesses, the plot is at least briskly funny, with a lot of great character moments. Barry really is becoming one of the show’s highest high points, and all credit to Troy Gentile for making the character so ridiculous and likeable.

Bev and Murray’s subplot is pure sitcom from start to end and Wendi McLendon Covey and Jeff Garlin manage to buoy the show beyond formula into something genuinely fun.

The Roundup

  • The Beastie Boys were, indeed, a bit of a game changer when it came to opening rap up to middle class audiences. Their first major hit was in 1985, with “You’ve Gotta Fight For Your Right (To Party)”. Though License to Il, released in 1985, is referred to several times, the album that the kids lip synch to is 1989’s “Paul’s Boutique” .
  • ”Dude, you spelled license wrong.”
  • New Coke was a brief marketing phenomenon in 1985. The story behind the switch is actually pretty fascinating. Coca-Cola returned to its old formula in the same year New Coke was introduced, an event deemed exciting enough to warrant a national news break.
  • ”And I’m sitting! Which counts as yoga!”
  • This episodes……definitely takes place in 1989-something, which was when Paul’s Boutique was released.
  • Turns out that Bill is in tile.
  • Among auditioners for Barry and Adam’s band auditions are the rest of the Jenkintown Posse and Saxophone kid.
  • Musical motif: Several Beastie Boys songs are heard.
  • Items on Bev’s list of things she wants Murray to do: “Wear a turtleneck, take a couple’s massage, floss, do yoga, take Bev on a picnic, wear boxer shorts and wear jeans.”
  • This week’s Actual Home Video Footage is of the real Adam singing along to the Beastie Boys, and dedicated to the band.
  • Murray endorses jeans: ”I love the stiff, unforgiving fabric!”
  • Items on Barry’s “Rap Group To do List”: “Nebbishy Manager”, “Keep it Real” “Buy Dookie Ropes”
  • ”You called a hammer ‘a poundy thingy!’.”
  • ”We can’t lay tile!!’.”
  • ”It’s Pops, your biggest fan!’.”
  • ”Turns out forming a rap supergroup is harder than it looks…”
  • Next Week: Bev volunteers to take part in Hands Across America in the hope of impressing Barry and Erica and Adam deals with double trouble when he agrees to take both Emmy and Dana to the school dance in “Baio and Switch”.

Another solid and funny episode.

  • 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.