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The Goldbergs - Fiddler & Bohemian Rap City - Double Review

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Owing to a rather unfortunate injury to my shoulder blade last week, this review serves as a double covering ‘Fiddler’ and ‘Bohemian Rap City’. I don’t think it’s any surprise that I found ‘Fiddler’ to be the better episode out the two.

‘Fiddler’ saw Erica end up being quite surprised by how smart Geoff is, and the fact he can go to a college in Los Angeles. She started to worry she’d be left behind which led her to ignore Beverly’s advice and try to sabotage his dream. That’s something Beverly couldn’t stand by and just let happen, so she told Geoff exactly what Erica was trying to do. The situation was soon turned on its head though when Pops revealed they had a relative in Los Angeles who may be able to help Erica with her singing career.

Despite trying to progress with her life, not smother her children or interfere in their lives as much, Beverly just couldn’t stand by and let Erica potentially go off to Los Angeles with Geoff. Even though she knew it was wrong, Beverly once again tried to sabotage her daughter by setting her up with the worst jingles known to mankind.

There shouldn’t have been any possible way that Erica could not only make those jingles work, but make them catch enough that you’d actually be interested in the products yet she did. Geoff and Beverly were extremely shocked and surprised, albeit for two different reasons, and Erica was soon sending the jingles off to said relative. At that point Beverly was forced to own up to her actions, and Erica rightfully teared a strip off her and the episode gave us yet another wonderfully heartfelt moment as Beverly apologized to Erica using her fake cue cards.

She knows that her behaviour is wrong, she always does, but she can’t help it because that’s what smothers are like. No matter where Erica or any of the Goldberg kids go though, Beverly is never going to stop loving them and whilst Beverly’s smothering getting out of control is a storyline the show has done numerous times before, they always go about it with a new angle. Beverly isn’t the completely insane smother she was when the show began. She’s gained enough awareness to know that sometimes her smothering is a bit much, her kids are right to get angry with her for it and Beverly is trying to work on her actions.

The other storyline for this episode revolved around Adam participating in a school play. It’s not something he wanted to do due to not liking the play, it’s not something Ms. Cinoman wanted him to do, and Adam thought with Beverly occupied elsewhere he would for once be able to get out of it. Unfortunately Murray had other plans, demanding Adam be given a good role, keeping a careful eye over rehearsals and being an overzealous stage parent. I’ll be honest I’ve never heard of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ though I do have experience with stage parents, and it was nice to see Adam and Murray interacting in a story even if it was slightly predictable. The play meant a lot to Murray because he’d once starred in it and whilst Adam still wasn’t the leading man, the two of them did at least in the end get to bond over watching the play.

There was once again a small appearance from Barry who wanted to get in on Murray being an overzealous parent, but he was a little late on proceedings.

‘Bohemian Rap City’ saw Beverly confronted over Adam’s obsession with his toys. For a boy of his age to still play and be into them as much as he is? It drew a bit of concern from Beverly’s Yentas. She tried not to be too bothered by their comments at first, but was soon facing up to reality and demanding that Murray take action by introducing Adam to his stamp collection.

Probably the funniest thing about that was Beverly having to remind Murray of how old his son is. The show might be 6 seasons in, but even I sometimes struggle to grasp onto just how much these kids have grown since the show began. Murray refused to label his stamp collection as a hobby, choosing to instead call them a necessity.

In a rare case of bad judgement, Adam decided to use Murray’s precious stamps to send off letters to Toys-R-Us as part of their yearly competition that allows one kid to take as many toys as they want from the store within a fixed time period (I never won at this either). As Murray didn’t want to pay for the stamps, Adam views his collection as free money and is sure from the amount of entries he’s submitted he will be successful, and as a result be able to buy Murray back his collection.

It’s a solid plan in theory. It’s just unfortunate that Adam didn’t actually win.

Knowing he was in a world of trouble he turned to Beverly for help, but she was just busy telling her Yentas of how Adam has a new adult hobby with Murray’s stamps. Adam was forced to tell her just how badly he’d screwed up, and Beverly was soon swinging into action to replace all the stamps so Murray wouldn’t lose his head with Adam. That was another solid plan in theory.

Unfortunately Murray is such an expert with stamps that he could immediately tell that the stamps in his book had been replaced, and then made Adam feel a billion times worse by revealing why exactly the stamps meant so much to him. Trying to get his own back, Murray tried breaking Adam’s toys, but just ended up actually playing with them, and Adam was treated to what is a rarity; Murray genuinely upset and disappointed with him.

To all those around them, Adam still playing with his toys is rather childish. No-one stops to think that sometimes we hang onto things because they remind us of simpler times, and sometimes we want to live in those memories instead of the realities of growing up. Adam realized he was wrong for using Murray’s stamps and came up with a new plan to get them back, which involved visiting a postal show.

Murray isn’t a character that really gets a lot of focus on the show. He tends to be the grunting dad, saddled in his chair, wondering what moronic thing his kids done this time and Beverly tends to be the more proactive out the two parents. When Murray does get a bit of screen time in a storyline, Jeff Garlin always does well with it.

The other storyline and perhaps the main one for this week revolved around Erica and her band ‘The Dropouts’. They want to apply to a music show hoping to get some exposure, and Lainey writes a great song for them to perform. Only problem is the song revolves around how much she likes Barry’s body. Understandably, considering Barry is her annoying brother, that’s not a song that Erica really wants to be singing. Other Erica and Lainey are soon outvoting her though and Barry doesn’t at all help by thoroughly enjoying the moment of having a song about him, and Erica’s discomfort.

I get this moment is played for laughs and parts of it were funny, but given Lainey deliberately didn’t tell Erica the song was about Barry? On some level she knew her best friend wasn’t going to be comfortable with it, so ganging up with other Erica to decide that they were still going to sing the song? Not exactly the best choice Lainey could’ve made and I was siding with Erica whilst watching.

Feeling thoroughly annoyed Erica took a trip to the mall with Geoff, where a talent scout noticed Erica and offered to record a demo for her and sign on as Erica’s manager. The guy’s appeared on the show before and is basically a scam artist who haunts the mall for potential victims he can make money out of, only this time he was left stunned that Erica actually had talent. Erica was soon forced to admit what she’d done to Lainey and other Erica who weren’t exactly happy with her actions, and soon the band was disbanding whilst Erica had a gig to play.

That gig didn’t go at all well as for some unknown reason, Erica tried to sing all the parts of Bohemian Rhapsody by herself. It’s an embarrassing, cringy, flop of a mess that was hard to watch and her talent manager is soon dumping Erica due to how badly it went. As if that wasn’t bad enough Erica returns home to find that other Erica saw her performances, Lainey knows she flopped hard and they’re reluctant to just let Erica waltz back into the band. Trying to save face Lainey claims that they’re also going to be performing their own version of Bohemian Rhapsody with Barry helping them.

Of course that’s an absolute disaster. For more reasons unknown, Barry thinks the song is pronounced Bohemian RAP City, and we’re ‘treated’ to a rather interesting wrap from him as Lainey sings the song. Erica and Geoff don’t know what to make of it, Lainey is looking a little dubious herself, and Barry’s of course thoroughly in the moment and thinking he’s doing well. After a minute of Queen being murdered, Lainey finally gives in and tells Erica to take her rightful place in the band and Barry’s going. Both of the girls view each other as the Freddie Mercury of the band, and agree that as long as the band is together that’s what’s most important.

Both of the episodes had storylines that I didn’t really care for, but I’m a sucker for Beverly/Erica moments which is why ‘Fiddler’ just about edges it over ‘Bohemian Rap City’. Given how minimally she featured in the beginning episodes, it’s nice to see Erica get a bit more focus and the show move past the weekly dalliances of Erica & Barry’s engagement.

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