In possibly the funniest episode of the season thus far, THE GOLDBERGS learn valuable lessons about love and future plans in this week’s episode, “Baré.” The episode really plays into its own sense of humor, taking a deep dive into parody and letting Barry and Beverly shine in peak moments. Adding a little heart to the show, we get to see a side of Murray that’s either deeply sweet or deeply disturbing – the jury is still out on that one.
This week’s episode takes its inspiration from Doogie Howser, but the real center of the show is Barry, who comes to the realization that his plans for the future, particularly with his girlfriend Lainey, might not be so set in stone. When Lainey receives an acceptance letter from the fashion college of her dreams with a full scholarship, Barry has a mini life-crisis. Like the sweet boyfriend that he is, he doesn’t want Lainey to give up her dreams – even though the original plan was that Lainey would graduate and a take a year off from school, then follow Barry to whatever college and then medical school he went to once he graduated – so he decides that if Lainey’s art school doesn’t have a pre-med program, then he’ll just become a fashion designer himself. Thus, the creation of Baré (pronounced Bear-ay) is born. It’s a beautiful disaster that combines athletic wear (think hockey jersey, not lululemon) with everyday and formal wear, and it terrifies Beverly. She realizes she has to intervene, and she goes to the only person she thinks can help: Lainey.
Meanwhile, Erica is trying to decide on a college. She’s having a hard time picking between Florida and Georgia. When Murray tells Erica that he’s not helping her pay for either, she takes it upon herself to find definitive proof that Murray cares more for the family dog than he does his three kids. She burns some toast in the toaster oven in order to make sure the fire alarm goes off, and waits to see who Murray’s first instinct is to save. Sure enough, he grabs the dog and runs out of the house. Of course, when Erica and Adam go outside and confront Murray about picking the dog as his favorite, he denies it, saying that the dog doesn’t know what a fire alarm is, but the two of them do. He has a point. They both have perfectly good legs and brains that could carry them out of the house.
Unfortunately, during this confrontation the dog gets loose, forcing the three bickering Goldbergs to work together to catch the pooch again. Murray nearly has an emotional breakdown, and in the sweetest, and also most dysfunctional moment of the character’s time on the show, Murray cry-whispers the real reason why he loves the family dog so much: it’s the only “child” that still runs into his lap everyday when he gets home from work, and the only “child” that will never leave him. Well, until now, of course. And this isn’t really about the dog at all. It’s about Erica leaving for college. Erica realizes this, but she and Adam are so panicked by this strange side of their father that they double down to track the fugitive dog.
While those three Goldbergs are the dog down, Beverly convinces Lainey to try and help her convince Barry not to go to fashion school, and to instead continue to pursue his dreams of becoming a doctor. Lainey decides the only way to do this is if the two of them break up, but she doesn’t want to break up with Barry, so she tries to get him to break up with her by pretending to hate all the things he loves. It backfires though when Barry tells her he’d rather hate all the things he loves, too, if she no longer likes them. With this sweet gesture, Lainey caves and confesses what she was trying to do. This makes Barry very angry at Beverly, but their quarrel is quickly resolved when Erica and Adam come home, having found the dog, but not before Adam has seriously injured himself. Barry quickly jumps into take-charge mode, inspired by what he’d watched on Doogie Howser. Of course, Barry is completely wrong in his assessment of Adam, and Adam winds up having to go to the hospital anyways because he has a broken arm, but it’s clear where Barry’s passion lies. Beverly and Lainey both realize that they have to let Barry choose his future for himself, and Lainey and Barry realize that their days as a couple are numbered, but they want to make the most of it anyways.
In another sweet moment, Erica and Murray come to an understanding. Erica tells Murray that she’ll find a good school in Pennsylvania, but Murray tells her no, that she needs to go to the college she wants to. He doesn’t want to be the reason she held herself back from her dreams. It’s a really sweet moment to round out a hilarious episode.
Season 4, Episode 18 (S04E18)
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