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The Goldbergs - Mister Knifey-Hands - Review: "Say Hi to Freddy!"

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Last week in my review I spoke about the fact I’m not a huge fan of horror. In fact, I can count on one hand the amount of scary/horror films I’ve watched. I’m THAT person who massively regretted seeing Men in Black at the cinema because the alien wearing Edgar’s skin freaked me out. I’m THAT person who had to close my eyes if an advert for Texas Chainsaw Massacre came on the TV and had nightmares for a month after watching Jeepers Creepers. Nightmare on Elm Street is an extremely popular horror franchise and as a kid, ‘Freddy’s gonna get you’ is a song that plagued the playground and frightened the heck out of people like me.

Finding out Robert Englund was guesting on The Goldbergs as Freddie Kreuger did not at all warm my soul, but this week’s Halloween episode? Extremely entertaining from start to finish, and especially Beverly’s nightmare with Freddie.

Because she knows the film will be too scary, Beverly forbids Adam from watching Nightmare on Elm Street with Jackie. Because her parents have a more relaxed way of parenting, they rent the film for Jackie and Adam to watch at her house. He does of course find the film too scary and struggles to get to sleep as a result, with not even Beverly’s soothing techniques working for him.

Adam goes to Jackie’s house all wired up and her parents immediately realize he’s not been sleeping. Where Beverly wanted to smother Adam’s nightmares away with cuddles and love, Vinny instead hands Adam a horror magazine which shows the process in turning Robert Englund into Freddy Krueger. Facing your fears head on by stripping away what makes them so fearful is a technique that does work in most cases, and Adam is another success story. The only problem is Beverly thinks that she’s the one whose cured Adam’s nightmares, and isn’t very happy to discover it’s actually Jackie’s parents.

Beverly isn’t thrilled that someone else’s parents are successfully parenting her son and is soon summoning Murray to hate on the hippies. Despite the fact Adam and Jackie have been dating for a while now, this is seemingly the first episode where Murray’s realized that her free spirited, easy going parents are hippies, and he’s not pleased with it. Murray bemoans the fact he was working away in college whilst the hippies were enjoying the good life, which isn’t at all fair, and now all hippies are bad and he doesn’t want his kid mixing with them. This is usually the part where I’d point out that Beverly is once again being an overzealous smother, and the dialogue even points to that by having her air her annoyance over someone else successful soothing her child’s nightmares, but this isn’t behaviour solely limited to smothers. Generally speaking parents are extremely possessive over their kids. Other people are not allowed to brush their kids hair, make them a nice home-cooked meal or even take them shopping, because those are activities solely limited to parents.

The Geary’s and the Goldbergs do collide in a heavyweight battle and it doesn’t at all go well. Mud is well and truly slung in both directions, with both sets of parents taking cheap shots at each other, whilst Jackie and Adam can only look on in horror, completely powerless to stop it all. The funniest thing out of all this was probably Vinny mocking the fact that Beverly always knows someone who has had something terrible happen to them as a result of a horrific incident. I always find myself laughing at her horror stories, so it’s again nice to have the show make a jab at it. The end result of all this is the Geary’s and the Goldbergs deciding that their parenting styles are so different that they don’t want their children mixing. That’s obviously bad news for Adam and Jackie, as they’re essentially banned from seeing each other and Adam doesn’t take that well at all. He lambasts his parents for tearing a strip off Jackie’s parents, pointing out their help did indeed work and cure his nightmares and angrily proclaims that he wishes they were his parents instead.

As someone who has said that to my own parents on quite a few occasions in my childhood, there’s truly no sentence that hurts any parent more. All of this leads Beverly to watch Nightmare on Elm Street in an attempt to bond with Adam, and that of course leads her to have a nightmare involving Freddie Krueger. At first it’s all scary, Beverly’s running, Freddie’s coming for her, but it soon takes a comical turn as Beverly couldn’t give less of a damn about Freddie if she tried. She’s extremely hurt over Adam’s proclamations, and even Freddie concedes saying such a thing to your parents is awful. To try and be helpful, Freddie declares he’ll kill them but Beverly’s forced to admit Adam was right. And because this show truly loves to poke fun at everything, Freddie’s then questioning who needs parents because he turned out just fine without his fathers. Beverly correctly points out that doesn’t really apply to her, but also admits she couldn’t stand Jackie’s parents because they were able to help Adam when she wasn’t and that right there is a parents true nightmare. Freddie then decides it’s time for Beverly to die, but she instead decides it’s time to peace the f out of there and get her boy back, and Freddie’s not happy that she’s the one doing the cursing here because that’s his job.

Beverly is then up and out of that dream and paying Adam a visit where she apologizes for her earlier behaviour. Of course he’s snuck Jackie into his room, of course Beverly catches her, of course she rings Jackie’s parents, of course they come to collect her, of course Murray then admits he only really hates hippies because they were living the life he wanted to be living, of course Jackie’s parents can see his point of view and of course alls well that ends well.

The other storyline of this episode involved Geoff trying to persuade Erica to do a couples costume with him for the high school party, and Erica being reluctant because she doesn’t want to go back to high school. As far as she’s concerned she’s left that all behind and graduated to the world of adults, but when Mr. Glascott comes hollering, Erica reports for duty. He’s expecting her to tell the students how wonderful education is and how great her life is because of her education. Instead she tells them she quit college and education is pointless. That goes down a storm with them, not so much Mr. Glascott but Erica doesn’t care about that as she soon decides to make the school her stomping ground.

One thing I do have to point out here because these things always bug me when multiple storylines are happening; how is it seemingly night time or at the very least evening in Adam’s storyline, yet for Erica’s part at the school it’s constantly day time? Heck for most of Erica and Geoff’s storyline this week it was constantly day time, and that’s despite us clearly seeing Adam go to bed, have breakfast, have a bath, go to Jackie’s house, go to his house, then to the haunted house and back to his house for him and Jackie to be caught. Small thing to get annoyed over I know, and it could easily be explained by the two storylines happening around the same time as each other but not necessarily in the same moment, but it still really annoys me.

Anyway Erica is soon turning into THAT high school loser who refuses to leave her old stomping ground because it’s the only place she can get respect, Geoff is soon for the first time in their relationship the one embarrassed of her, and everyone else is silently judging Erica whilst enjoying the idea of a booze up. Geoff is eventually forced to be truthful with Erica, but in a massive state of denial, Erica refuses to hear any of it and instead cruelly turns on Geoff by insulting him and their relationship.

Last week’s episode saw Geoff decide to stand up for himself by turning his back on the career his father had laid out for him, and basically rebelling against everything everyone was telling and expecting him to do. This week when Erica turns on him, instead of taking it, he simply walks away from her. This situation could’ve easily been played for the heavy dialogue and emotional music, but Geoff looking at Erica so disappointed and hurt, before he turns his back on her? It perfectly delivers that gut punch and makes Erica realize she’s being a cow who has massively messed up.

She later shows up at Geoff’s house in one half of his couple costume, and Geoff rightly points out it takes more than a costume to make up for what she’s said. In another extremely touching scene, Erica admits that she is embarrassed of herself and what she is. Continuing to stand his ground Geoff again points out that saying this does not fix what she’s done because it honestly doesn’t. As a viewer watching Erica’s attitude towards Geoff does sometimes come across as mean, and this is the first time Geoff’s really had a chance to confront that behaviour head on. They do of course go to the dance together and again, alls well that ends well. Sure it would’ve probably been better to have Geoff’s anger with Erica last for more than a few minutes, but this is a comedy and relationship strife does tend to get wrapped up pretty quickly.

With both of these storylines going on, I barely even registered Barry’s absence. He probably could’ve been used for the school scenes, since there’s no way he would’ve let Erica’s lounging around go on for as long as it did and it was slightly weird to see the JTP without him, but I like that The Goldbergs doesn’t attempt to shoe-horn characters into plots just because they’re regulars, when they’re not needed. This is also now the second episode in a row we’ve had Mr. Glascott and Coach Meadows make cameo appearances. Can’t help wondering if that’s the shows subtle way of keeping them fresh in our memory for when the spin-off does arrive on our screens, or if the writers just love the characters as much as me. Either way, you’re not going to find me complaining because even in minimal screen time they’re hilarious.

Mister Knifey-Hands was a really fun Halloween and up next we have Murray becoming an overzealous stage parent as he gets involved with Adam’s school production, which you can watch on Wednesday at 8pm on ABC!

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