This week’s installment: Series summary of The Goldbergs, and “Lainey Loves Lionel” (2/10/16)
by Luke Leonetti
Right now, my favorite show to watch on TV is The Goldbergs. It airs at 8:30 PM on ABC every Wednesday. Created by Adam Goldberg, it’s about his family of the Goldbergs; a Jewish (although not observant) family living in 1980-something Jenkintown, Pennsylvania (About ten minutes North of Philadelphia). The family consists of Beverly (the overprotective mother), Murray (the stubborn but loveable father), Erica (the eldest child), Barry (the overly-optimistic middle child), Adam (the nerdy youngest child), and Pops (the grandfather). As a child, Adam Goldberg always filmed his family and events around him via video camera, and now has these events recreated for television. Each episode, we get an adult version of Adam (voiced by Patton Oswalt, not the real Adam) narrating the story in the present time, and we even get authentic footage of the real events of the episode during the credits. This show has never had a bad episode, and it’s fantastic to watch. The episodes are fantastically written, and will overload you with nostalgia if you ever grew up in the 80’s. The humor of the show is what it does best, and it never fails to make me laugh. Lainey Loves Lionel is no exception
This episode’s first plot features Adam suffering from his mother’s refusal to let him grow up, and his father’s attempts to turn Adam into a man. Adam desperately wants to see Porky’s, a Rated-R film notable for featuring full female-frontal nudity; which was hard to find back then. In today’s day and age, we’ve got the internet to help us out. But, this is the 80’s we’re talking about, where the internet didn’t exist. Unless you had magazines, you were pretty much out of luck finding naked women. With Porky’s though, every teenage boy had to see it. However, Beverly downright refuses to let Adam see a movie filled with potty language, adult situations, and Florida attitude; suggesting that he sees Annie instead. But, Adam’s no sucker for a mother’s warnings. He will go see Porky’s, and nobody is going to stop him! His way of getting in is to buy a ticket for Annie, then sneaking into the theater playing Porky’s. It’s a foolproof scheme that shows just what a rebel Adam is! Unfortunately, Adam is no rebel. He chickens out, and sees Annie instead. Murray finds out about Adam not being able to find the courage to be rebellious, and, much to Adam’s surprise, encourages him to break the rules every so often. Murray tries to get Adam to break the rules by trying to get Adam to talk to Dana (his long-distance girlfriend from Seattle) on the phone for a little longer than his ten minute limit. But, being the chicken that he is, Adam thinks Murray is playing mind games with him, and hangs up instead of talking for a longer amount of time. Murray knows Adam wants to see Porky’s, so he decides to let Adam sneak into the movie to see it. This time around, Adam succeeds. But, his success is short lived when Beverly shows up at the theater and busts Adam just before the opening credits. Angry, she bans all phone contact with Dana, leaving him unable to talk to her on Valentine’s Day. After this, Adam decides to follow what his dad says, and be rebellious for once in his life. So, Adam decides to run away from home and fly to Seattle to see his girlfriend. Luckily for Adam, this is pre-9/11, so he can fly alone as a minor while the security doesn’t mind. In fact, he can even go into the cockpit to meet the pilot and fly the plane if he wants to! Unfortunately, when the pilot announces that the flight will take six hours and will include turbulence (initially announced as mild, but changed to severe seconds after), Adam’s fear of flying kicks in; leaving him with two choices: either go on the flight, or get off. Cutting back to the family’s house, Murray gets a call from Adam (which he ignores at first due to a football game going on), saying that he’s at the airport and needs Murray to pick him up. Murray is not happy with Adam’s attempt to be rebellious, saying he was a moron for trying to fly to Seattle. However, Adam doesn’t understand that his dad isn’t putting on an act in front of Beverly, even winking at Murray when he calls him a moron (in case you don’t understand this, Murray uses “moron” as an affectionate term for his children). Beverly and Murray get into an argument about Adam’s attempt to be rebellious, but once they realize the motive for Adam’s actions, he really IS becoming a man. Adam shouldn’t be held back his entire life and not mature. He needs to grow up and experience manhood, and Porky’s is one of the ways to do it. Beverly learns to not refuse to let her child grow up, and Adam learns to take risks every once in awhile.
The second plot for this episode features Barry, the Jenkintown Posse (in this episode, we get Geoff), Erica, Lainey; and is the Valentine’s day story. Valentine’s day is coming up soon, and to celebrate it, William Penn Academy (partially based off of Penn Charter in Philadelphia, where the show’s characters attended in real life) is selling Love-A-Grams: making the cool kids feel cooler, and the lonely goobers feel lonelier. Erica has been getting several Love-A-Grams sent to her by a “secret admirer”, which is clearly Barry’s friend Geoff trying to woo Erica over for the 986th time in the series. Erica is very aware of this, and keeps trying to tell Geoff she’s not interested in him. But, Geoff keeps persisting. He sends Erica one hundred roses via Love-A-Gram and puts doves-no, not doves, albino pigeons- in her locker. When Erica finally tries telling Geoff that she doesn’t like him, Geoff brushes it off, and assumes that Erica will realize that she’s made a mistake, and will come running back to his arms. Unsurprisingly, this doesn’t happen. Meanwhile, Barry is trying to impress his girlfriend Lainey for Valentine’s day. To do this, he decides to mold sculptures of her face, ala “Hello” by Lionel Richie. Obviously, sculpting will be a piece of cake, considering that a blind girl did it in the music video for “Hello”. But, clearly, sculpting is much harder than it looks, and Barry learns this the hard way. Each sculpture he tries to make of Lainey becomes progressively worse, seeming to resemble Sloth from The Goonies rather than his girlfriend. After getting some harsh criticism from Erica, Barry is convinced that he failed at being a good boyfriend. That is, until Lainey finds out about the sculptures. Although she does think that they are creepy, she loves Barry for doing them because of what he’s willing to do to show how much he loves Lainey. After watching the couple’s interactions with each other, Erica catches herself glancing towards Geoff. Although she denies doing this, it seems that we might see a budding romance between the two in future episodes.
- Adam’s desperation in seeing Porky’s reminds me of a story my dad told me about. When he was younger, every kid in school saw the movie Porky’s, and he wanted to see it, too. But, no matter how much he tried, his dad (my grandfather) refused to let him see it. Then, one day a few years later, his mother and sisters left the house. Out of nowhere, his dad came up to him and asked my dad if he wanted to see Porky’s on HBO. My dad said yes, and, while watching it, he laughed until tears came out of his eyes, and had a great time with my grandfather.
- “It looks like a bottle of Elmer’s Glue exploded in there!”-Erica, referring to the pigeons pooping in her locker.
- Post-credits sequence: Beverly discovers Barry’s molds, and begins to praise Barry for making something for her. When Barry says that he made the sculptures for Lainey, Beverly responds by telling Barry to throw out the molds.
- According to Adam Goldberg, the post-credits scene was to have Beverly force Barry to kiss the statue, only to find out it wasn’t her. Adam loved it, but the network thought it was too creepy, so they scrapped it and went with this instead. I’m kind of glad, because that definitely would have made me uncomfortable.
- Adam’s real life video: Adam videos Barry attempting to talk to Lainey on the phone, in which Barry flips him off for doing so.
- Murray: “You’re a moron!” Adam: “Yeah, I know. *winks*” That scene made my family laugh so hard that my mother started crying.
- A bit surprised that Pops barely had any screen time. As I write this review, another episode has passed, and a new one will air on Wednesday. The last one didn’t feature Pops very much. I hope he has a more important scene this week.
- Fantastic episode all around. I can’t wait for this week’s episode!