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The Goldbergs - You Got Zuko'd - Review: "Changes"



This weeks episode of The Goldbergs carried with it the theme of change.

One change that was certainly prevalent to viewers was Jackie. Gone is Rowan Blanchard, and in steps Alexis G. Zall. Obviously having seen the press release and promotional photos this change wasn’t a massive surprise to me. I know some fans are upset by it, but this isn’t the first or last time any show is going to go through with a recasting. In terms of the story, it fits quite well that new interests aren’t the only thing Jackie picked up during her time away. Having watched Girl Meets World, I can safely say Rowan Blanchard is a talented actress and I did enjoy her time on the show, but thankfully based on her first appearance Alexis fits in seamlessly. The character still feels very much like the Jackie we loved, just with a few changes that happen organically as you grow up.

Coming back from her summer away, Jackie has a whole new set of interests, style choices and friends than what she had when we last saw her. She’s very much going through a punk rock phase, liking bands Adam’s never really heard of, going to drag races and walking around like a goth Queen.

Being our loveable nerd, Adam’s a little taken aback by her new appearance. Dave Kim likens the situation to that of Grease, and it’s a fair enough comparison. Adam’s worried that with her new interests, new clothes and new friends, Jackie will view him as being a boring geek and they’ll grow apart.


We’ve all probably been in this situation at some point in our lives. Adam turns to Pops and Murray hiding behind a newspaper for advice, and whilst Pops encourages him to just be himself, Murray’s on the opposite end of the argument. He believes Adam needs to change himself to keep up with Jackie, which Pops thinks is terrible advice. Given Murray’s hiding behind a paper and therefore coming across as a mysterious entity, Adam feels extremely inclined to take in his not so wise words of advice.

So Adam dyes his hair, gives himself a style makeover that doesn’t go too well for him and finds himself agreeing to take part in a drag race involved Murray’s car, where if he loses, he loses the car. Pops is dragged along for the ride and it’s clear being a bad boy doesn’t suit Adam, and it’s also not what Jackie wants from him. Still though Adam goes through with the worst drag race in history.


Due to revving the engine so much, Johnny is all out of gas whilst Adam can barely drive his car. So what we’re left with is Johnny pushing his car and Adam still going at a snails pace. Obviously Adam wins though mostly by default. He’s still eager to take the victory and the car, which results in a rather amusing exchange as Johnny’s cool front is exposed as just being a front and he reveals Adam can’t take the car because he needs it to help his sick relative. Adam though is insistent he’s still taking the car regardless, which Carla isn’t really impressed with and neither is Jackie.

She loves Adam for being her cute nerdy boyfriend. She does not love him for attempting to change himself into something that he’s not, because he’s afraid of losing her. I’m sure the irony isn’t lost on anyone that attempting to change himself is the actual action that causes Adam to land himself in the doghouse, and almost lose Jackie. The two of them bond at the festival being the wonderful dorks that they are at heart, and it’s a valuable lesson learnt for Adam.

He wasn’t the only one learning this week. Cooking has long been a staple of The Goldbergs, or more specifically, Beverly’s cooking has always been a staple of The Goldbergs. She knows how to take care of her family and to feed them up well. That’s not a skill that Lainey has acquired though, since she’s more than happy to eat microwavable meals with Barry in front of the TV.

That obviously isn’t good enough for Beverly, and she decides that since they intend to get married which will no longer make Barry her special boy, Lainey needs to start learning the Goldberg ways. Those said ways come in the form of Beverly’s recipes which are fit for an army. The rest of the family isn’t interested in this sacred honour being passed down, as evidenced by none of them coming down to the kitchen except for Pops, and Lainey isn’t really interested in learning how to cook.

Barry being Barry he of course wants the easy life and to please his lady, so he goes along with Lainey’s ways at first but he loves his momma’s cooking. In another rather amusing exchange this time between Barry and Geoff, we were treated to a baffling conversation over how much Barry wants Lainey to be like his mum and Geoff wants to be like Beverly for Erica. It’s an extremely bizarre exchange, but thankfully bizarre works rather well on this show. Whilst Barry is soon tricking Lainey into being excited over the recipe and getting her in the kitchen with Beverly, where they tried and failed to achieve perfection, Geoff was happily cooking away in his kitchen and making lots of delights.


Obviously Barry’s plan was eventually foiled as Lainey realized he’d stolen the recipe book to trick her into being excited. Obviously that did not go down too well with her. Obviously Barry regretted his actions and was once again lamenting himself, and the fact he wants a relationship just like his mum and dad. That’s where Murray came in with some actual wise words, and pointed out not every relationship is the same. Sure for Beverly and Murray her cooking and looking after him whilst he goes along with 95% of her ideas and plans works, but that’s a dynamic they’ve worked to achieve. For Barry and Lainey, he wants to be the one to show her just how much he loves and appreciates her, and the best way for a Goldberg to do that is with food. So Barry is soon hitting the kitchen with Beverly, and making a wonderful meal that he runs to Lainey’s house with and all is well for another day.

Usually I’d complain about the brief usage of Erica given she is one of my favourites, and I tend to find that she keeps the balance among the more outlandish events, but I didn’t really notice her lack of involvement this week. Adam/Jackie being the main story to the Barry/Lainey/Beverly B plot worked extremely well. There wasn’t a beat missed and Murray/Pops/Geoff were all used wisely in support of the plots. Considering Johnny is only really a background character, getting some information on his home life was a nice little surprise and proves you really can’t judge a book by its cover.

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