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The Goldbergs - Sixteen Candles - Review: "Happy Birthday"

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This week has seen the beginning of another season of fall TV, and where fall TV arrives The Goldbergs follows.

For us viewers, time has well and truly flown by since the end of May. For the Goldbergs? Not so much. The season 5 finale saw Barry and Lainey announce that they plan to get married, and the premiere picked up with Murray, Beverly and Bill struggling to digest that news.

Given Barry and Lainey are so young, getting married probably isn’t the wisest idea. Sure they’re completely in love with each other and that’s great, but love doesn’t pay bills or make the world go round. Bill offers a few slightly humorous ways for working out his issues with Barry which included a fist fight, whilst Beverly was convinced showing them around the house and the realities of being married would be enough to scare them straight.

Whilst Barry and Lainey were at first wowed by the house, they weren’t wowed by the price of it, but Barry was soon proclaiming he didn’t care where he and Lainey lived as long as they were together. Beverly’s weak spot is obviously kids, so as soon as Lainey mentioned having kids with Barry and giving Beverly grandkids? She was completely gone. At first Lainey and Barry took advantage of Beverly’s enthusiasm (even if they were slightly worried she wanted to eat their hypothetical kids), because it meant she was on side even if Bill and Murray weren’t.

But Murray knows his wife and we know Beverly Goldberg. She’s a loveable smother for a reason. Barry and Lainey were still talking about hypothetical plans for the future, Beverly was already thinking of all the clothes she’d be getting the little ones, sleeping in a cot beside them, and being there for their every waking and sleeping moment, counting down the days until Lainey started to sprout the kids out. Murray knew she was taking things too far, Lainey was getting slightly freaked out by how enthusiastic she was being, Bill was at a loss, and it was decided the whole thing called for a celebratory trip to Atlanta.

There Bill was still proclaiming his world was at an end losing his baby girl to Barry Goldberg of all people, Beverly was still well on the baby train, with Lainey and Barry trying to escape her. Whilst they managed to get a temporary reprieve from her, it didn’t last long and soon Lainey had reached her breaking point and decided to ditch Barry who angrily lashed out at Beverly who still wasn’t computing.

Murray may have been completely against the engagement and think Barry and Lainey are being morons, and he may have been conspiring just as hard as Bill to find a chink in the armour, but he wasn’t going to let that chink be Beverly. He knows his wife, he knows his son, and he’s confident enough in Barry’s idiocy to know he can screw his relationship with Lainey up all by himself. Much to Bill’s horror, Murray went off with Barry to talk Lainey round.

Beverly is a loveable smother who can be A LOT at times, but she’s A LOT in the best way. Extremely caring and devoted to those that she loves, even if it is suffocating at times, but she always means well. If Barry and Lainey intend to try and make their relationship work and start a family down the line? Beverly is the perfect person to have around.

Of course Beverly was lurking on the conversation, and of course she knew that she’d gone too far. I’ve said it quite often because it is true, but one of the things I love about this show in comparison to other comedies is the fact there’s continuity in storylines and character progression. It’s not like some other comedies where 99% of the episodes are self contained stories constantly pressing a reset button on themselves. Beverly is more than aware she can be too much at times and get carried away with her ideas. In the case of Barry and Lainey having children, it was about the fact her children are fast growing up and no longer need her as much. Beverly’s had a struggle for quite a while in trying to find her place in the world with the kids not depending on her as much, and trying to focus a little more on herself. Sometimes she’s successful in that, sometimes she’s not, and when she’s not, she needs something to take up her focus and with Barry and Lainey that something was the idea of more babies depending on her. That’s obviously not going to happen anytime soon, but Beverly was acceptive of the fact she’s moving onto a new stage of her life with her family.

With Murray and Beverly pre-occupied with Barry and Lainey’s situation and Erica struggling with being a high school drop-out with an expensive electric bill, the family completely forgot it was Adam’s birthday.

The title of the episode obviously comes from the 80’s movie ‘Sixteen Candles’. Shockingly enough it is among the list of 80’s films that I have never watched, which I completely blame on being a 90’s kid. Adam was slightly taken aback at first that everyone had forgotten his birthday, especially Beverly which I have to admit even shocked me. Getting the chance to live out sixteen candles wasn’t an opportunity Adam was going to pass up though, and turning to Erica for help, he did throw a massive birthday party.

There was structural damage to the house. There was booze, there was fun, there was everyone forgetting Adam’s name and Adam having a pretty lousy time. Erica of course went along with the party, needing Adam to screw up badly enough that Beverly and Murray would be distracted from the massive electric bill. He did of course screw up with the party getting out of control, and Adam was presented with a birthday cake from the crowd who still didn’t know his name. At that point the ball dropped for Erica that it was indeed his birthday, and she confessed to Adam she’d gone ahead with the party for the distraction and not because she actually cares about him. Completely fed up Adam called Erica out on her actions which massively hurt her, because of how truthful his words were.

She worked so hard to get into college only to drop out because it didn’t really suit her, and now she’s back at home living off her parents, without any real solid plan for the future outside her band with her friends. Discovering you have a high electric bill would usually make a person look at their choices, and consider whether they really need to be using THAT much electric, but instead Erica’s plan was to just distract. It wasn’t very mature, she knows it wasn’t and did in the end apologize to Adam who also apologized for his words. I do absolutely love Goldberg sibling scenes just because the dynamics between them are all so different. Sure it’s nice to see them in their own storylines among the supportive cast, but I’m just a sucker for family dynamics especially when done so well.

Beverly did of course arrive back from Atlantic City and Beverly was full of apologies to Adam for forgetting his birthday. As she joined him to sit on the table, it of course collapsed due to the damage done at the party. Whilst we didn’t get to see Beverly or Murray rip Adam a new one for the party, or Murray blow a fuse over the electric bill, we were at the end of the episode treated to Barry waking Adam up to give him a wedgie and getting stuck in the hole in the ceiling. Video footage this week also came from Adam’s actual birthday.

Sixteen candles was an excellent premiere. It didn’t miss a beat at all and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the season fares. Given Lainey is going to be on the spin-off, at some point you would think she does have to depart from the show which will obviously affect her relationship with Barry. For now though we can just enjoy the hijinks.

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