It’s happy days for THE GOLDBERGS – or is it? – in this week’s episode, “Fonzie Scheme.” I feel as though I should warn you all that this episode has nothing to do with the Fonz, except for one passing reference amidst a joke. I was a bit sad we didn’t get to see any leather jackets or combs and slicked-back hair, but the episode itself more than made up for the empty echo of “Ayyyyyyy” ringing in my head.
This episode was, without a doubt, the funniest episode of the season thus far. From beginning to end the show was packed with witty quips, funny anecdotes, and of course, the typical Goldberg character behavior. The highlight of the episode was a particularly punchy piece of alliteration involving a pair of bongos that was just casually dropped into the conversation. As a word nerd, it was quite the delight.
Also fun about this episode was the focus on (essentially) Murray’s way of being. In the last few episodes we’ve been given glimpses at the softer side of Murray – his love for his kids, his appreciation for Beverly – but this episode went a step even further, pushing Murray out of his easy chair and into action to prove to Beverly that he’s not just a lazy bum. What’s fun about it is that Murray’s role in The Goldbergs usually tends to be the equivalent of what Statler and Waldorf are to the Muppets. He has a supportive and loving layer underneath a layer of criticism and disinterest that he happily dishes out from the comfort of the living room. He isn’t immune to criticism himself, though, and when Beverly decides it’s embarrassing that Murray doesn’t have a hobby, he takes his grumpiness on the move to find one.
The episode starts here, with Murray’s dilemma. Murray is business person of the year and is giving a speech at the ceremony where he is being celebrated. His speech is incredible in its total lack of saying anything at all, and Beverly is so proud – until she see’s the plaque. They’ve hung Murray’s picture with a little bit about himself beneath it. His bio is two lines long, whereas the plaques of previous winners all include nice-sized paragraphs about their hobbies and who they are. Beverly realizes that Murray has no hobbies, and decides no one is allowed to see Murray’s plaque until he picks a hobby and they can fix his bio.
Realizing that Beverly isn’t going to leave her post blocking the view of Murray’s plaque until the country club hosting the ceremony closes, the kids go outside to figure out how they’re going to pass the time. Barry gets immediately mistaken for an employee, and is given the keys to a member’s golf cart. Delighted, he takes Adam on a joy ride around the course until disaster strikes in the form of Barry’s idiotic ideas about physics, and they accidentally sink the cart into a pond. Terrified that they’ve committed a serious crime, they do the only thing they can think of to solve the problem: run.
Back at home, Beverly has guilted Murray into finding a hobby. She starts by trying to get him interested in music, but Murray banging bongos really makes no sense. It’s quite the funny visual though. However, when Beverly begins listing out different hobbies that Murray could take up, his interest is peaked with coupons. A hobby about saving money? That’s the one. That’s the hobby that will be Murray’s hobby. Beverly is happy to take Murray along to the store and show him the ropes.
At school, Barry sees the janitor with his golf cart and decides they can fix their problem by stealing this cart to replace the one they sunk. Then, in a Ponzi-like scheme (not a Fonzie scheme) they’ll keep stealing carts to replace the ones they previously stole. No one else thinks this is a good idea, but Erica has decided to sit back and let Adam fix his own problems, and Adam doesn’t know what to do, so he leaves Barry up to his own devices.
Murray, meanwhile, is loving this couponing thing. He’s saving money all over the place! Except, not actually because he’s buying tons of things the family doesn’t actually need or want. Beverly is not having it. Murray has gone wild. She realizes that it’s okay if Murray doesn’t have hobbies outside of the house like most other people do. She gets his plaque fixed to reflect that, and Murray agrees to stop couponing, because he was only doing it to prove to Beverly that he isn’t a lazy bum, anyways.
When Barry gets himself run over by the janitor’s cart after stealing it, Erica realizes that her brothers need her and that just because she’s going off to college soon doesn’t mean she’ll want to completely sever ties with them. She swoops in to save the day like the superhero of a sister that she is. With help from the JTP (JTP!), Barry escapes the heavy grasp of the golf cart, and the boys retrieve the other golf cart from the pond so that everything is right in the world once again.
This week’s episode was incredibly balanced with humor and heart – a perfect combination for the show. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the show next week.
Season 4, Episode 21 (S04E21)
The Goldbergs airs Wednesdays at 8PM on ABC
Tasha is a freelance writer currently based in Los Angeles. Originally from Kansas, when she’s not writing about or watching TV, Tasha is searching for the best BBQ place in LA to fill the KC BBQ hole in her stomach.
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Tasha Cerny | Contributor