Adam learns what it means to become a “real man” in this week’s episode of THE GOLDBERGS, “The Spencer’s Gift.” Erica, Barry and Adam find employment in the mecca of 80’s teenage life: the mall. But things don’t go quite as smoothly or as expected in the sibling’s first ventures into employment, and from the unexpected blooms that self-deprecating, parody humor that only The Goldbergs can do so well. This week’s episode was one of the stronger of the season, with some true laugh-out-loud funny moments.
After realizing that neither of them have money to buy the things they want, and neither of them is going to get money from Murray and Beverly, Barry and Erica decide they need to get jobs. And to their good fortune, Spencer’s Gifts, the quintessential gag gift store that every mall requires, is hiring. Murray is absolutely elated to find out that Barry and Erica are both getting jobs. So elated that he tells Adam to get a job as well. Of course, Beverly and Adam both have their objections to this, and there’s an entire scene involving Mr. Glascott, the school guidance counselor, retelling his own awkward attempt at making it in Hollywood well he vehemently tells Adam he’ll never make it in the industry. The scene is a little overly meta and ironic, and probably the weakest bit in the whole episode, feeling like it’s trying just a little too hard.
The show quickly recovers, though, when Murray – having his point supported by Mr. Glascott – insists Adam get a job, and much to Beverly’s displeasure, Adam agrees. Adam quickly picks up a job at the arcade. But the job isn’t quite as much fun as he thought it would be, with customers yelling at him and bullying him into handing out free quarters. The situation quickly escalates, and pretty soon he’s out over a hundred dollars from kids in the mall taking advantage of his inability to say no and stand up for himself. Naturally, he’s quickly fired from his job.
Things aren’t all sugar and rainbows over at Spencer’s Gifts, either. Much to Erica’s shock and surprise, Barry is a surprisingly good salesman. Their manager even tells Barry he has ‘the Spencer’s Gift,’ and quickly promotes Barry to assistant manager. Despite Erica’s best efforts to compete with her brother’s sales talents, she just can’t compete with Barry. The jealousy overtakes her and when Barry is given responsibility over keys to the store, Erica sends Barry on a wildgoose chase for Chuck Norris while she hides the canned farts and pages their manager, framing Barry for the loss. The little trick costs Barry his job and a serious blow to his ego. Erica quickly apologizes, not realizing her little stunt would get Barry fired, or how much working and succeeding at Spencer’s Gifts meant to him. With her confession she helps Barry get his job back at the store and the two make up.
Meanwhile, Adam is trying to figure out how to repay the hundred-plus dollars he owes the arcade. Murray insists Adam figure out how to fix it on his own, and refuses to let Beverly give Adam the money to fix it. Adam is up to the challenge, though, when gets the idea to shoot a commercial for the arcade, and it’s actually pretty good. Good enough that the manager of the arcade gives Adam his job back and even buys airtime for the commercial. Spencer’s Gifts even wants Adam to shoot a commercial for them as well, which Adam more than willingly does. But even though he’s stumbled upon this new type of job he’s created for himself, he decides to also keep his job at the arcade, because without that job, he would have never had his chance at filming gigs.
And thus, the Goldbergs learn the value of a dollar. Murray is happy, and so am I. The jokes were rampant in this episode, with several punches that were so spot on that I actually did laugh out loud. A very strong episode indeed.
Season 4, Episode 14 (S04E14)
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