Season 2 of The Goldbergs has been incredibly strong, and the show is coming off three of possibly the best episodes of the series to date. Because of this, “The Adam Bomb” had a lot to live up to in the expectations department. Luckily, it pretty much did just that.
The episode opens with a typical fight between Adam and Barry in the backseat of the family car. The opening does a really good job of highlighting some of the inherent differences between the two brothers, and this is an area in which the show has always excelled. The big point during this showcase is Barry’s obsessiveness over a Charles Barkley sneaker, and Adam decides to pull the biggest April Fool’s prank that he ever has on his brother by fake-destroying the shoe. Obviously, this doesn’t go as planned, as Barry doesn’t realize that it is just a prank and retaliates by demolishing Adam’s Castle Grayskull toy set. This unfortunate retaliation leads to a massive April Fool’s war between the brothers.
This prank war progressively gets worse as Adam ruins Barry’s baseball card collection, and Barry destroys Adam’s video camera. Adam tries to convince Lainey that Barry sent him to break up with her, but she obviously doesn’t believe it. When Adam tells her about the war, though, she goes along with the plan. For his final act, Barry decides to bring out an embarrassing photo of Adam that he had been saving for the perfect time in order to destroy Adam’s dignity (the titular “Adam Bomb”). Barry decides to post this picture all over the school, but he is interrupted by, what else, the fall of the Berlin Wall. This causes Barry to decide to end the war by selling his Charles Barkley shoe to have Adam’s camera repaired. Adam uses this opportunity to convince Lainey to get back together with his brother.
Erica’s storyline in this episode is also extremely solid, as teen pop star Tiffany is making a trip to the local mall, and Erica wants to take advantage of this by making a demo tape to give to Tiffany. Unfortunately, she needs $200 to get this demo tape made (she wants to become a singer instead of going to college, a plan that Murray doesn’t at all approve of), so she has to convince her parents to pay for it. Murray is against the idea, but Beverly goes along with it completely…until Erica leaves the room, at least. Bev was relying on Murray to squash the idea completely, so she leaves it up to him to finish that task. Murray decides to make Beverly ruin their daughter’s dream, though, and gives Erica his full support. Beverly finally tells Erica that she has to go to college, and, as expected, it creates a huge argument between mother and daughter.
To figure out what to do, Bev and Murray go to see Erica’s music teacher (played by guest star Ana Gasteyer!!). Unfortunately, Miss Cinoman fully supports Erica’s passion, and she refuses to agree to the Goldbergs’ request to silence Erica’s dream. Instead, she convinces Beverly to support Erica’s career by giving her the idea to be Erica’s manager. Erica makes her demo tape, but she realizes that she wasn’t the only teenage girl with that idea when she tries to give it to Tiffany. She refuses to give up, though, and decides to try to sing to Tiffany in person. Unfortunately, she wasn’t the only person with that idea, either (shoutout to Lainey and Miss Cinoman).
Back at home, Beverly, as Erica’s manager, books Erica her first singing gig (at the bowling alley on a Tuesday, obviously). Beverly commits to being with Erica every step of the way, which causes Erica to tell Murray that he has to smush her dream. Erica decides to give up on her dream, but Murray surprises her with the $200 that she needs to get a professional tape made, telling her that he supports her because there is no one like her.
The final interaction between Murray and Erica is fantastic, and it really pairs well with the development from last week’s episode between Murray and Adam. The prank war story in “The Adam Bomb” was also extremely well done, and it continued The Goldbergs‘ tradition of expressing the love and respect that Adam and Barry have for each other in spite of their many, many differences.
– Wendi McLendon-Covey continues to absolutely dominate all competition in the TV mom department. Who didn’t love her just wagging her arm at the kids while they fought in the backseat?
– I’m really enjoying the character development this season for Lainey, and AJ Michalka is doing a really good job of of showing that Lainey recognizes Barry’s craziness while still being (usually) completely okay with who he is.
– Adam’s Howard the Duck shirt is the greatest thing that I’ve ever seen, and now I’ll be hunting for one for the rest of my life.
– “Everyone knows they triple in value everyday!” – Barry, talking about his baseball cards
– “Literally couldn’t be more offended.” – Miss Cinoman after a typical interaction with Beverly Goldberg
– Of course Erica would choose “Ricky Gold” for her stage name.
– I really like the way the show used the fall of the Berlin Wall. This dates the episode, of course, which is a departure from the usual “1980-something” ambiguity, but it’s refreshing.
– Barry’s music video is my everything.
– I do wish Pops had had a larger role in the episode, but I’ll let it pass since both of the storylines presented were so well done.
[Photo via ABC]