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The Goldbergs - Colors - Review

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This weeks episode of The Goldbergs was the definition of a mixed bag. There were some parts I thought were really good, but other parts that were awful.
Of all the shows I watch, Barry Goldberg has to be the most polarizing character. Some weeks he’s absolutely fabulous, and other weeks he’s extremely annoying. An issue I think stems from the fact Erica is away at college and as a consequence, hardly in some episodes. Most of the episodes this season have had 2 storylines and led between a combination of Beverly/Barry/Adam/Murray. Erica is to an extent the more grounded, sensible of the Goldbergs and without her featuring so heavilg and Pops missing for multiple episodes, it means we’re getting more of Barry.

It was only 3 episodes I was praising ‘Hail Barry’ which was led by Barry Goldberg as one of the best episodes the show has come up with, and I do stand by that praise, but he really needs to be written better. This week he was absolutely atrocious and unfortunately his ‘turf war’ with Beverly was the episodes main storyline.

The episode description claimed Barry enlists the help of the JTP to break up Beverly’s friend group so he can have all the attention, and that’s very much NOT what happened. Barry was annoyed that Beverly and her friends were ‘in his space’. When Beverly invited her friends over for lunch, they were horrified to walk into the kitchen and find Barry and the JTP eating their food. Barry’s confronted over his action and claims he just thought the food was lying around. Beverly and her friends are angry and the whole situation is played for laughs, but it’s really not that funny.

I don’t know how on earth you can mistake the type of food Beverly and her friends were eating for every day food. Barry didn’t offer up one semblance of an apology, they just kept on eating.

Next Barry and the JTP get emotional watching ‘Colors’ and decide to go to the backyard to play football. Beverly and her friends are enjoying lunch outside, and Beverly very politely asks Barry to go and play somewhere else. Instead of accepting the decision, apologizing and going somewhere else, Barry emotionally manipulate his mother by playing the ‘You’re not the best mother card’. Beverly falls for it hook, line and sinker and hands the backyard over to an extremely smug Barry. The JTP know she’s been manipulated. Beverly’s friends know she’s been manipulated. Beverly is oblivious to it, proclaiming that she’s the master of emotional manipulation, and her friends point out that’s probably where Barry learnt it from.

So the next time Barry finds them all hanging somewhere he wants to be, he plays the emotional manipulation card again. When Beverly walks into the kitchen, Barry has the audacity to claim Beverly was cutting it fine there. To his horror and my honest delight, Beverly tells Barry she knows what he’s been doing, and if he wants to go to another house where someone else’s mother will have the food etc, then he’s free to do so.

Again, normally in a situation like this, you admit your faults and just get on with your day. Not Barry Goldberg though. First he claims Beverly's friends are a bad influence, and when Beverly again refuses to back down, it's left for Barry and the JTP to fix them drinks. Barry questions what on earth is going on, Matt calmly explains his mum has turned the tables on him because her friends have helped her learn and grow. Barry decides it's time to call in the big guns and calls Erica for her one scene cameo of the week, but she's not interested. Geoff's dissapointed as he'd wanted to see her, and Barry has a rare moment of clarity noting that given Erica is off at college it makes no sense for her to be involved in any of this.

Barry then has the greatest audacity ever seen to proclaim they’re stuck in a turf war just like in ‘Colors’. I again get this is all supposed to be played for jokes considering ‘Colors’ was playing in an earlier scene, but it just falls flat. Matt Bradley is the voice of reason pointing out that comparing Barry’s disagreement with his mother to an actual gang turf war is not in any way similar, and the comparison is quite offensive. Barry shuts him down and claims that Matt’s just being a dampener (as well as continually comparing the situations) and Geoff advises Matt that since Barry isn’t dropping this, it’s better to just go along than try to argue.

Going along with Barry’s more out there ideas is something that never ends well. Speaking of television more generally here, characters basically enforcing their opinions and ideologies onto others, and refusing to listen to all reason really annoys me. It’s just not fun to watch a character be a douche and others go along with it for the sake of it. Sure, I’ll give a show props for having other characters point out it’s wrong because they’re basically speaking for the audience, but it doesn’t make it any easier to watch.

Barry's idea of hitting back involves visiting the DIY store. There he and the JTP pick up supplies to turn the Goldbergs backyard into a football pitch. Fighting back against this Beverly and her friends build a gazebo, and that is some gamesmanship you just can't beat.

So as if Barry’s part of the episode couldn’t get more annoying, his plans for breaking up Beverly and her friend all revolve around making them fight out to do chores. Because yes! There’s nothing that gets mothers blood pressure rising than fighting over who gets to fold laundry and cook food. Matt again questions whether Barry’s ever actually thought they don’t like doing chores, and this whole thing is grossly offensive and Barry again shuts him down.

Downstairs Beverly’s friends are glad she’s seen Barry’s true colours, but take it a step too far by rightly calling out his faults. I say rightly because someone really needed to, but no mother ever likes to hear criticism about their kids, and especially not from their friends. It’s like the unwritten code of mothers; NEVER diss each others sons. So the former friends are all arguing and pointing out their children’s faults, and Barry comes downstairs with the JTP in tow and laundry. There’s no need for it though because Beverly’s kicking her former friends out of the house herself. When Barry questions what’s going on, she explains she can’t have anyone disrespecting her kids so the yards all his.

Beverly’s pain is something that I sympathize with. She’s basically the MVP of the whole show, with her smothering like nothing else ever seen.

Surprisingly enough Barry also feels bad. He may have won the ‘war’ but it doesn’t feel good at all. The fact that all this could’ve been avoided if he hadn’t been such a douche is something I don’t think is lost on him, considering he does bring Beverly’s friends back to the house. Beverly doesn’t understand why since Barry proclaimed them to be a bad influence, and Barry explains that’s why she needs them.

This was probably the only scene of this storyline I could stand & it was a somewhat sweet moment. Judging from previous episodes, I think Barry has enough self awareness to know he does sometimes act like an irrational idiot, getting so stuck into his outlandish plans that he refuses to listen to any logic. That refusal obviously isn’t helped by characters pacifying him, and sure it is annoying watching this type of storyline play out repeatedly just in different scenarios, but Barry does tend to eventually see the error of his ways.

The other storyline of this episode and by far the more enjoyable one involved Adam and Murray. The school choir/Adam’s theatre class has been chosen to sing as backup singers in a local theater production.

Adam and his classmates are all overjoyed and dreaming of making it big. Unfortunately going to the theater for rehearsals involves Murray having to drive Adam, and he really doesn’t want to. Adam points out Murray has no problem taking Barry for hockey training, and Murray admits he doesn’t because he likes it.

So Adam thinks the way to solve his issue is by making Murray love theater. He turns to Coach Mellor for advice, since Mellor has recently been turned into theatre thanks to dating the school’s musical teacher.

Funny little bit of trivia I just have to point out here; Allie Grant and Ana Gasteyer guest in this episode as Evy Silver and Ms. Cinoman. They also once upon a time starred in ABC’s ‘Surburgatory’ as mother and daughter (that show was cancelled too soon). Ana tends to guest on The Golbergs more than Evy does (she used to be Geoff’s girlfriend) and even though the scene shared between them was brief and they weren’t the focus, I still found this quite amusing.

Anyway following Mellor’s advice, Adam decides to trick Murray into going to see Joseph with him by claiming they’ll be going to a hockey game. This unfortunately backfires because Murray gets so excited over them going to a game together, and Adam being interested in something he loves, that Adam has to go back to Coach Mellor and actually get tickets for the game.

He does and Adam hopes that by him and Murray attending hockey, something Adam doesn’t really like, it’ll persuade Murray to give theatre a go. Adam surprises himself by thoroughly enjoying the game and when they get back home, he admits he was trying to trick Murray into liking theatre. After the two come to a type of understanding, Murray agrees to give Joseph a go.

It does not go well. Murray’s fidgeting, falling asleep, complaining and ruining Adam’s excitement. When they arrive home, Adam questions why Murray couldn’t make an effort like he did with hockey. Seeing his son so upset, Murray persuades Ms. Cinoman to have the kids sing a song from Joseph during class. He knows Adam was upset about missing out on being in the theatre production, and Adam is bowled over by his father’s gesture. Murray explains even though he doesn’t care about theatre, he knows it’s important to Adam and that makes it important to him. It’s the type of sweet family moment this show does so well, and when Adam and the rest of the class do in fact take to stage, Murray is there in the front row cheering proudly and it is beautiful.

Up next for The Goldbergs is ‘MTV Spring Break’ and I am beyond looking forward to this episode. From the description + photos, it looks like it’ll be one heck of a cracker and make ‘Colors’ a soon distant memory.

What did you think of ‘Colors’? Does Barry Goldberg annoy you as much as me? Sound off in the comments!

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