This episode of THE GOLDBERGS finally addressed one of my biggest issues with this season—Erica’s transformation from a fearless and funny young woman to a depressed sad sack all because Geoff Schwartz, a boy she could barely stand before he moved on and started dating Evie. It’s still frustrating that the show took this turn with her character in the first place, but at least it seems like the old Erica is back. All it took was an intervention, a disco, some noodles covered in ranch dressing, and little help from Beverly.
It’s Valentine’s Day and Erica has taken to roaming the halls of the school in sweatpants, stuffing chips in her mouth and yelling at her fellow students— obviously they’re “stupid sheep” and “slaves to this corporate holiday.” It doesn’t help that Barry and Lainey are absolutely adorable. He wheels in a wagon full of puppies, declaring that it’s “more than puppy love. I doggone adore you.” Guidance counselor Mr. Glascott overhears Lainey and Barry worrying and decides to take matters into his own hands, throwing an intervention—apparently they’re the hot new craze sweeping the nation.
The intervention doesn’t go well. Murray doesn’t know what they’re doing and Erica bristles at the presence of Naked Rob and Andy, calling them “Barry’s interchangeable friends”. Beverly gives it her all, telling her that she misses the old Erica, the one who fought with her and stole her to credit to buy wine coolers, blaming the hobo that lived in their walls. Gotta give Erica points for creativity with that excuse. Erica storms out, so Beverly comes up with a new plan: take Erica to a disco and let her dance the blues away. The disco’s abandoned, but Erica begins to have fun, at least until Johnny Atkins and his girlfriend show up. They’re there because the lonely bartender serves beer to minors—or at least is really bad at telling if an ID is fake, as Johnny is apparently using an older Asian man’s commercial trucking license as identification.
Humiliated to be caught dancing with her mom on Valentine’s Day, she goes to the movies, seeing Kevin Bacon’s Quicksilver alone for the second time that day. Geoff and Evie show up for a date. It’s Evie who finally convinces Erica to get out of her funk, as Erica can’t stand her pity. A freshly showered Erica decides to throw a party at the disco, putting it on her mom’s credit card. Beverly quickly shuts down that idea, but slips her the keys to the school, allowing her to throw an illicit disco dance party afterhours. Erica still doesn’t have Geoff, but at least she seems to finally have her old self back.
Adam is dealing with his own relationship problems. His best friend Chad no longer wants to make home movies with him, as he’s too busy with tennis and girls. Determined to not lose him, Adam decides to join the tennis team, despite the fact that he’s never played the sport before. Actually, he’s never played any sports before. He insists on being Chad’s doubles partner, until Chad can’t take it anymore and tells him he wants to take time to concentrate on singles. It’s a cute parody of a classic breakup scene, but Adam’s storyline this episode isn’t as compelling as Erica’s. People change when they grow up, it’s a dynamic that’s been explored many times before.
Chad betrays Adam by taking on David Kim as his new partner, so Adam vows revenge and recruits the best athlete he knows, Barry, to destroy him. Barry readily agrees, as he’s a great admirer of Andre Agassi—he even has his own mullet wig. Despite looking the part, on the court Barry’s no Agassi. He’s more of McEnroe, as evidence by his epic meltdown once he realizes how hard the sport really is. Luckily, Coach is a fan of McEnroe and keeps awarding the Goldberg brothers points. Chad eventually blows up, telling Adam that he doesn’t want to make movies or go to NYU film school like they planned. He just wants to run his family’s flower business like a normal person.
Adam’s hurt, but the friends quickly make up. Just because they have different interests doesn’t mean that they can’t hang out. It’s a sweet conclusion, but rather forgettable episode. At least we’re done with Erica’s horrible storyline this season. I only wish that it had never happened in the first place.
Season 4, Episode 13 (S04E13)
The Goldbergs airs Wednesdays at 8PM on ABC
Jennifer Trofa | Contributor