This owe's a debt to the how believable Bev and Murray's relationship is--more on that later--and how ridiculously real Barry and Erica behave towards their parents. The pair act like appropriately annoying kids. The interplay with them and Murray in the garage, the children tormenting the elder and running away--that's how every kid acts. And every adult must be annoyed with them. It's the unspoken code. What sells it on The Goldbergs is that there's still a noticeable affection, even though you still want to wring the kid's necks just a little. And that's how families are, so kudos for capturing that.
A highlight Erica is coming into focus as a real person. At last! She gets in a good one-liner--"You belong in the large-breasted girl's tent," directed at Barry--and suddenly she's a palpable character. She's just the more calm, sane Goldberg. I can run with that. Barry is also mellowing into a mostly-welcome presence. The fakeness of his Canadian camp girlfriend is a good sub-joke, especially as he slinks around Adam and Gramps's discussion of how to get girls, constantly bragging about his fake girlfriend, getting offended and saying "I'm outta here!," then slinking back for more. It was a nice gag.
As for Adam, he's a little less grating in a subplot about chasing the girl of his dreams. It has a lot to do with looking at him through the lens of John Cusack. Referencing Say Anything is a wise move, Goldbergs. It automatically brings out the pathos in full force, and we are present for your trials. While the object of Adam's desire is way out of his league, the twisted romantic comedy means of obtaining her do lead to some hi-jinks. I love the moment at her house when the heads of her brother, father, and finally the girl herself pop out of windows to comment with raw honesty on Adam's foolishness. But it would have been better if they had left the end with Adam getting rejected. Now they're just propagating the false ideal upheld by romantic comedies, leading people to think that grand gestures and overcoming improbable odds is how love works. Tut tut.
That saccharine story of love is tempered with the sheer horror that is the romantic plot between Murray and Bev. After establishing a relaxed relationship, one that echoes my own motto of "that's what marriage is. Mutual not giving a crap," they segue into Murray's previous engagement, his love poetry and his RING RECYCLING.
Now stop the presses.
Ring recycling is one of those things that is completely unacceptable in my mind. If I was Bev, I would handle it the same way, if not worse. Such horror. The fact that the tag introduces this as a real story, one where the real Bev actually still wears the recycled ring, makes me a little ill. So I'm all aboard with fictional Bev forcing Murray to buy a spite ring. Even if the spite ring itself is one of the ugliest things I've ever seen. It's Kim Kardashian levels of huge, plain, and uggo. Still, the resulting video montage of wordless expressions of love warmed my cold dead heart. Bev and Murray actually have a wonderful marriage. After all, the throes of passion only go so far. In the end, doesn't everyone just want someone who will carry heavy groceries and give them the last of the dessert?
-There are some giggle-worthy glimpses of a pre-Facebook world. It hasn't been that long since the days of microfiche, but WOAH. I suppose we really are living in the future. But I would totally trade the ability to quickly stalk someone for flying cars or hoverboards. Hey, tech companies? Can we spend less time getting super connected and more time flying in the skies? That'd be great.
-Adam's treehouse is rad. Why does everyone in television have an awesome treehouse? Mine was a plank of plywood in a tree, and I loved it, but man. I wonder how people even make these wooden monoliths.