The Goldbergs are back this week with “Hail Barry,” an episode that pays tribute to Barry, the Philadelphia Eagles, and Beverly’s terrible fashion sense.
What can I say about it that I haven’t already said about this show? It’s fun, if not the rioting hoot that certain other episodes have been. It’s endearing and really plays up the nostalgia in this episode, if for no other reason than because it’s truly an episode purely to celebrate the fact that Adam F. Goldberg’s actual, living brother agreed to appear in an episode. It shows a softer side of Murray that we’ve had the pleasure of getting a lot of this season, but never really directed at Beverly before, which is nice. It has exactly one scene with Erica.
There’s not really much to dissect here, either – Barry wants to play on the football team, but Beverly has never let him, so when Beverly’s “Bevolution” distracts her from always being in the boy’s business, he sees his chance and takes it. Meanwhile, Beverly’s “Bevolution” has also led her to create a series of hideous jackets that literally no one would ever want to buy. Ever. Murray is of course supportive of this idea beyond a doubt, to an absolute fault – a character trait he normally doesn’t harbor, but I’ll allow it. The show explains it, it’s fine.
And Erica is in one scene.
Of course, the crown jewel of the entire episode is it’s last five minutes, after we’ve wrapped up Beverly’s jacket fiasco and cut back to Barry fulfilling his dream of being on the football team at a football game that is obviously a thinly veiled parallel to the Superbowl win the Eagles just had. In fact, I’d be curious to know if this episode was planned and shot before the Superbowl win. Obviously adding the congratulatory title cards at the end is a simple edit in post, but was there another version of this episode on the off chance (or let’s be honest, very real chance) the Eagles hadn’t won the Superbowl? Like the licks to the center of a tootsie pop, we may never know.
But Barry’s fake participation in his high school football game is nothing in comparison to the real game the JTP plays at the end of the episode against the real JTP. We finally get to see real-life Barry Goldberg, though we don’t really get to see any of the JTP up close when they aren’t moving around. So no telling how accurate or inaccurate casting of the JTP was. And then, as icing on the cake, we get a clip with the real Beverly Goldberg showing our Beverly Goldberg (Wendi McLendon-Covey) one of the very real hideous jackets she created and tried to sell in 1980-something.
And Erica was in one scene.
I suppose, if I had to make one critical note about this episode it would be that the jacket storyline seemed to overpower the Barry football storyline, in my personal opinion. The jacket storyline was funnier and had a more well-developed arc and emotional stakes. But, I probably shouldn’t be too surprised, as the Barry football storyline seemed less like its own fulfilling arc and more like an introduction into the real purpose behind the episode: to get the real Barry Goldberg to make an appearance on the show. And in that sense, the storyline did fulfill its purpose, much like how Barry in the show fulfills his purpose on the football team as someone forever stuck cheering on the team from the bench.
That’s it for me, I have no more thoughts about this episode. Go watch it. It’s a good show.
Season 5, Episode 14 (S05E14)
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.
Keep up with all of Tasha’s reviews here.
Tasha Cerny | Contributor