Adam Goldberg (Sean Giambrone) might have a new girlfriend in Dana (Natalie Alyn Lind) but that doesn’t mean his old girlfriend is finished with him…his “smother” Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey) won’t allow him to grow up. Erica (Hayley Orranti) finds Barry (Troy Gentile) is in love with her girlfriend Lainey (AJ Michalka). Pops (George Segal) finds his lifestyle is changing, and Murray (Jeff Garlin) simply wants to avoid traffic, get home, drop his pants, and watch some TV.
The Goldbergs—Season 2 aired from September 24, 2014 to May 13, 2015. The series continues to get modest reviews.
I like The Goldbergs but I also kind of hate The Goldbergs. It is a sitcom cliché, but it also has some really great moments that do make you smile (if not laugh). I can watch The Goldbergs but I do wish it was better.
The stories for The Goldbergs really do pick out memorable moments from the ’80s. Things like Tiffany, The Transformers Movie, and even doing made up gym games on rolling platforms really do touch memories of the decade…but the show often just uses them as crutches for cliché sitcom stories. It is there where The Goldbergs become frustrating. You can tell where the story is going to go immediately.
The cast is also somewhat frustrating in their one dimensional nature. You hate to pick on a kid but Sean Giambrone really is challenged to carry the show as a so-so kid actor. Wendi McLendon-Covey is the real star though her character is irritating in her annoying habits. Troy Gentile’s dim Barry is one of the better parts of the show, and Hayley Orranti is good if they can find a decent story for her. Both Jeff Garlin and George Segal are really trapped by their characters that the writers don’t seem to know what to do with.
Visually the show is also fun. I like the set designers who bring in the ’80s props (most of which I owned). The blanket “’80s” works to so you have a ton of material to use…you have to admire an appearance of Crystal Light National Aerobics Championship.
The Goldbergs continues to be a series that is a conundrum. I really like aspects of it, but I also really hate aspects of the show. The show is funny but also frustrating. It preys on nostalgia, but it does a really good job of it. If you grew up in the period where Adam grew up, you remember almost everything he does/likes. For that alone, I continue to watch, but I still wish that the show could get past some of the sitcom clichés.
The Goldbergs—Season 2 Complete Episode Guide:
2.1 Love Is a Mixtape Airdate: 09/24/14
Adam (Sean Giambrone) tries to find a way to express his love for Dana Caldwell (Natalie Alyn Lind) and decides on a mixtape…unfortunately his mother Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey) finds it first.
2.2 Mama Drama Airdate: 10/01/14
The school is putting on Jesus Christ Superstar, and when Adam doesn’t get the lead, Beverly sets up a rival musical: Starlight Express. Murray (Jeff Garlin) causes Barry (Troy Gentile) to miss the historic end of a hockey game because of his fear of traffic, and Barry refuses to go to games with him.
2.3 The Facts of Bleeping Life Airdate: 10/08/14
Murray agrees to renew her wedding vows with Beverly, and Beverly plans to turn it into a big moment. Adam find band invaded by Erica (Hayley Orrantia) and her friend Lainey Lewis (AJ Michalka) when Barry tries to hit on Lainey.
2.4 Shall We Play a Game? Airdate: 10/22/14
Beverly learns that Erica and her friends are hanging out with her friend’s cool mother Louise Rubin (Gillian Vigman)…leading Murray to ordering Erica to spend time with Beverly. Adam tries to get into Barry’s cool group by hacking like in WarGames.
2.5 Family Takes Care of Beverly Airdate: 10/29/14
When Pops (George Segal) is evicted from his apartment due to a fire, Beverly objects to sending him to a home. Barry thinks Erica owes him when he saves her from Pop Rocks and Coke and thinks she owes him to help him date Lainey.
2.6 Big Baby Ball Airdate: 11/12/14
Barry finds his gaming skills challenged by Erica when he is introduced Trivial Pursuit. Dodgeball is replaced by “big baby ball” when Beverly challenges Coach Meller (Bryan Callen)…leading to all-out war and a new employee for Murray.
2.7 A Goldberg Thanksgiving Airdate: 11/19/14
Erica doesn’t want to take part in her mother’s Thanksgiving cooking tradition but Beverly will do anything to keep her in the mix. Uncle Marvin (Dan Fogler) and Adam see The Wizard and Marvin encourages Adam to travel and play video games.
2.8 I Rode a Hoverboard Airdate: 12/03/14
When Adam breaks his arm dancing like George Michaels, Adam tells everyone that he broke his arm on a hoverboard…forcing his friend Emmy “Muscles” Mirsky (Stephanie Katherine Grant) to go along with him. A new Chinese restaurant opens in town and Beverly gets jealous about the family’s love of it which puts her at odds with Dave Kim’s mother (Suzy Nakamura).
2.9 The Most Handsome Boy on the Planet Airdate: 12/10/14
Barry is seen at the mall by a model agent (Rob Huebel) and sends Barry and Beverly on a path to the Paris runways. After run in with his Pop Pop (Paul Sorvino) while seeing E.T., Adam sets out to reunite his father and his father.
2.10 DannyDonnieJoeyJonJordan Airdate: 01/07/15
Adam and Barry learn Erica’s weakness is her former love of New Kids on the Block…but using NKOTB to torture Erica leads to a secret obsession. An attempt to clean up the kids’ past saved by Beverly leads to a problem when Murray has the “save” trunk taken to the dump.
2.11 The Darryl Dawkins Dance Airdate: 01/14/15
Erica learns Barry is secretly seeing Lainey and Erica refuses to let the relationship happen…leading her to get Beverly to find his true soulmate. Adam discovers The Transformers: The Movie has murdered Optimus Prime and realizes that Pops could die like Optimus.
2.12 Cowboy Country Airdate: 02/11/15
Barry and Lainey have problems when Murray learns that Lainey’s father (David Koechner) is a Dallas Cowboy’s fan. Adam worries that Dana is maturing faster than him and tries to keep her.
2.13 Van People Airdate: 02/18/15
Erica and Barry buy a fan when they are tired of dealing with Murray’s rules on the car. Adam vies for “Funniest Guy” in school.
2.14 Barry Goldberg’s Day Off Airdate: 02/25/15
Barry learns Lainey is going to have her ex-boyfriend as the court’s king and decides he needs a day off. Barry, Adam, and Pops set to have an epic day off just like in Ferris Buller’s Day Off…and Erica and Beverly could ruin it.
2.15 Happy Mom, Happy Life Airdate: 03/04/15
Dana and Adam hit a rough spot when they have to raise a Cabbage Patch Kid for a school project. Erica and Barry’s friends in the JTP set out to end Barry’s relationship with Lainey, but Erica finds that she might have admirers.
2.16 The Lost Boy Airdate: 03/25/15
Barry and Erica find they can’t get rid of their mom. Murray finds himself having to take Adam to a Phillies game, but Adam gets lost.
2.17 The Adam Bomb Airdate: 04/01/15
Barry and Adam’s war goes all out. Erica learns Tiffany is coming to the mall and decides it could be the chance she needs to launch her music career…pitting Murray against Beverly.
2.18 I Drank the Mold Airdate: 04/08/15
It’s Adam’s birthday, and Adam finds that one of his friends brings beer to the sleep-over. Barry and Erica set out to make the greatest song ever so they can get a CD player.
2.19 La Biblioteca Es Libros Airdate: 04/15/15
Barry sets out to get his first job and gets hired as pizza driver. Adam is failing Spanish, and Beverly bribes his teacher Senora Taraborelli (Michaela Watkins) into becoming his tutor.
2.20 Just Say No Airdate: 04/15/15
Erica tries to convince her mother to have her own opinion on the Reagan/Dukakis election, and Beverly falls in love with Nancy Reagan. When Barry could lose his hangout at the gas station, Barry decides to become the next American Gladiator.
2.21 As You Wish Airdate: 04/22/15
Adam wants a sword so he can be like The Princess Bride and tricks Murray into getting one. Beverly tries to hook up Coach Mellor and Ms. Cinoman (Ana Gasteyer) against Erica and Barry’s wishes.
2.22 Dance Party USA Airdate: 04/29/15
Erica tries to get on Dance Party USA with Lainey but finds a bad case of pink eye could keep her off the show. Adam thinks he has Pop’s luck and loses all his toys when he tries to gamble.
2.23 Bill/Murray Airdate: 05/06/15
Murray and Lainey’s father Bill find a bonding moment when they are forced to meet with Principal Ball (Stephen Tobolowsky). Beverly decides to get Erica into Julliard.
2.24 Goldbergs Feel Hard Airdate: 05/13/15
Murray is rejected when Beverly forces him to tell Erica he loves her and Erica does not reciprocate it. Barry finds that saying I love you to Lainey is a disaster while Adam debates telling Dana the same thing.