I will have that infamously recognizable theme song stuck in my head after this week’s episode of THE GOLDBERGS, “Globetrotters.” Remember that time, when the Globetrotters were a huge deal? I do. I was pretty young yet when their popularity was dwindling, but I still felt a tinge of sadness watching this episode, knowing how popular the show was and knowing that by the 2000’s, when I was in high school, they were a touring group that came through my small town in Kansas every year to half-filled, hardly-enthused crowds.
In a way, though, that’s really what makes this episode so funny. The Globetrotters are such a silly concept to begin with – it’s not really basketball. It’s all show. But it’s put on as if it is truly a sport. It’s theater sport. Kind of like WWE or watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
This episode really plays into that idea, after Murray, who is supposed to take Barry to a Globetrotters game, has to take Adam instead because Barry is sick, a brotherly rivalry breaks out between Barry and Adam as to who can like the Globetrotters. Barry feels threatened by Adam’s sudden interest in sports, because sports are his thing. But Adam doesn’t want to stop liking the Globetrotters just because Barry told him to – also, how do you stop liking something on command anyways? This fight goes back and forth for the entire episode, centering always on the never-wavering fact that the Globetrotters are too awesome not to like. Ultimately, they battle it out on the court, Globetrotters-style under the scrutinizing eyes of the three most popular basketball jocks in the high school, who are of course the voice of reason in this whole thing. Because trying to win a basketball game through Globetrotter antics is ridiculous. In the end, though, Barry makes amends with Adam, admitting that his obsession with “claiming” the Globetrotters as his thing stemmed from his insecurities about his own identity and place in the family.
Also having to make amends is Murray, after Beverly tries to through his a surprise party for his 50th birthday that he’s a no-show at. He laid down to take a nap and fell asleep for two hours while Erica accidently piled all the party coats on top of him without realizing it, hiding him from view and preventing Beverly from finding him. After successfully ruining his party with his absence, Murray must prove to Beverly that he does care about making memories with his family. After a failed attempt at convincing Beverly that he does keep memories through the tax files that he keeps in the garage, Murray realizes that he needs to do better to show that he really cares about their family. So he plans his own surprise party to surprise Beverly for his birthday. Yes, I know, it’s very confusing, but it seems to work. Beverly forgives him and everyone is very happy.
This episode was interesting in the ways that it was sort of meta with the ridiculousness of the Globetrotters. It had a very strong sense of The Goldbergs style of humor – not laugh-out-loud funny, but silly and fun in its parody of family life and all-things-80’s. One thing that’s bothered me is that we’ve had Barry vs. Adam storylines for a few episodes now, but we haven’t seen that much of Erica. And even less than Erica is storylines with Pops. The show style is pretty strongly and typically an A and B story, sometimes with a runner stuck in there. This episode didn’t have a runner, and it was pretty noticeable. Without that runner, I think Erica shows up in all of two scenes, and Pops is in possible four? Besides, Erica has a more serialized story to address with her friends and rivalries at school, and I’d like to see more of that. Perhaps we’ll get lucky and she’ll have a featured storyline in the next episode. I’ll still be watching next week to find out.
Season 4, Episode 9 (S04E09)
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