Here comes Hanukkah, right down Christmas lane in this week’s episode of THE GOLDBERGS, “Han Ukkah Solo.” This week’s episode was particularly strong, pulling in every member of the family into a storyline. This episode highlighted the prime of what The Goldbergs is when done right: a chaotic web of crazy character antics that mesh together in a blur of familial love and rivalry. Basically, the essence of an American family, just set back in the 80’s.
Surprisingly, the lead story this week doesn’t involve Adam, but instead centers around Beverly and Erica, with Barry moonlighting in his typical “I’m the best sibling” fashion. With the holiday season rolling around, the school is getting ready for the annual holiday Christmas concert. Every year, Erica winds up singing the solo in the Dreidel song, but this year, she doesn’t sign up, so Beverly signs her up for it instead. When Erica refuses to sing it, Beverly tries to befriend the music teacher and make her force Erica to sing the solo, but she refuses.
Meanwhile, Adam gets his hands on a pirated copy of the Star Wars Christmas special. He’s super excited to finally watch it, but when he does, he discovers that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. He begins to question his love for Star Wars, and subsequently re-examines all of his favorite movies from his childhood, recognizing the plot and logic holes in every film.
With the music teacher against her and threatening to cut the Dreidel song altogether, Beverly manipulates Erica and Barry into writing their own Hanukkah songs. No surprise to anyone, though, the songs are terrible. It seems that Mrs. Cinnamon would rather cut out Hanukkah songs altogether than either sing Erica’s – a rip off on ‘Happy Birthday’ – or Barry’s – a weird, historically inaccurate rap about the origin of Hanukkah.
While this is happening, in an effort to restore Adam’s childlike wonder, Pops takes him and Murray to go so Howard the Duck – a movie directed by George Lucas. Adam is very excited to see the movie – one he is sure is going to be a hit. Unfortunately, the movie is a giant flop, and with Murray’s encouragement, the three leave before the movie is even over.
At the risk of Erica not having any solo, Beverly pulls some strings to try and force Mrs. Cinnamon into incorporating a Hanukkah song. Unfortunately for them both, however, it backfires with the principle tells Mrs. Cinnamon that if she doesn’t sing about Hanukkah, she also can’t have Christmas songs in her winter recital. With the kids left to sing lame songs about the whether to the tune of actual Christmas songs, Erica is furious to find out that the mandatory change in holiday lyrics is all Beverly’s doing. She confronts Beverly, who admits that the only reason she’s been trying to trick Erica into singing a solo for so many years is because she loves to hear her daughter sing, and she knows if she asks for it, Erica will immediately say no. But, since Beverly admits to this and does ask to hear her daughter sing, Erica decides she does want to sing a solo.
Meanwhile, Adam is beyond discouraged about losing his childlike sense of wonder. But Pops points out that the Star Wars Holiday Special in a way brought about the creation of the character Boba Fett, who happens to be one of Adam’s favorite characters in the Star Wars canon. With this renewed sense of hope and wonder in his childhood favorites, Adam returns to the movie theater to finish the Howard the Duck movie with Pops, and all is happy and well.
While both endings are probably solved a little too easily and simply, this week’s punches and character humor were very strong. And, I can’t complain too much about the quick resolutions, given that’s pretty much the nature of sitcoms. Happy Hanukkah, everyone!
Season 4, Episode 10 (S04E10)
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