‘The Goldbergs’ Season 3 Finale: “Have a Summer”!

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On the season finale of “The Goldbergs,” it was the last week of school, which meant it was also “Freshman Fear Week”- aka the period of time in which upperclassmen (and women) haze the incoming Freshmen from middle school, not unlike what went down in the movie “Dazed & Confused,” only less harsh and with no real physical violence. Hey, it is a network TV sitcom, after all.

In “Have a Summer,” it was down to the wire for poor Adam (Sean Giambrone), who had a brother with his name on it, via the over-excitable Barry (Troy Gentile). So, naturally, he did the only thing he could do: he ran home to mommy for protection.

Of course, Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey) was all too happy to oblige, at least until Barry short-circuited her mama bear brain by making her realize her baby boy wasn’t so little anymore. Left a crying mess in the closet, snuggling with Adam’s baby blanket, it was clear that Adam was going to have to go with Plan B.

Shockingly, that turned out to be the decidedly unexpected move of flipping his brother over his body and onto the floor, rendering him speechless, knocked for a loop- literally- and humiliated in front of the whole school. With that, Barry became a laughing stock, while Adam found himself in the unlikely position of being the “cool” one for the first time in his life.

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His social status in jeopardy and his entire world turned upside down, Barry found himself on a quest to get his mojo back, but it was proving to be an uphill battle, as he found himself alarmingly frightened of his own decidedly diminutive and unintimidating little brother.

This, naturally, did not go over well with his posse, the JTP, and even less so with his girlfriend, Lainey (AJ Michalka). Fortunately, out of the good of his heart, and at the request of Pops (George Segal), hating to see his brother suffer, Adam ultimately assisted Barry in reclaiming his cool.

First, Adam told Barry an amusing lie about it being a special day when the gravity was “off,” which was the only reason he was so easily able to flip Barry like he did. Then he cooperated with a prank at the school’s graduation ceremony, in which the two set off the sprinklers on the festivities and used the plastic walkway as a makeshift “Slip ‘n’ Slide,” which Barry proceeded to use to launch Adam and others down, basically throwing the ceremony into complete chaos.

Meanwhile, Beverly was able to rectify her own situation in a way that’s going to spell trouble for her kids big-time next season, as she decided to return to teaching- only this time at their school. That should go over like the discovery of a photo of Naked Rob in the next time capsule ten years later- which is to say, not well.

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Speaking of which, the eternally lovelorn Geoff (Sam Lerner) spent the entire episode trying to keep Erica (Hayley Orrantia) from discovering an embarrassing mixtape he made of his professing his love to her, as well as warbling the songs of the day, including the cheese-tastic Asia hit “Heat of the Moment.”

Geoff had prepared the tape for the aforementioned time capsule, but was desperate to get it back once he realized, courtesy of his friends, that he was indeed the “Ducky” of Erica’s life, as in the character from “Pretty in Pink” so memorably satirized in “Not Another Teen Movie,” as the best friend-type that never gets the girl.

Alas, despite another sprinkler-fueled incident that took out the contents of the original time capsule, his tape was the only thing to survive- and naturally Erica got her hands on it before Geoff could get a hold of it, much to his eternal embarrassment.

Ironically, it was that very tape that finally made Erica realize that she did indeed have feelings for Geoff- but all too late, as a defeated Geoff took up with the more-his-speed Evelyn (Allie Grant), a blonde cutie with Mall Hair and really bad fashion sense that was nonetheless a better match than the more cynical Erica.

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I look forward to seeing if Erica will let this go or if she will actually pursue Geoff- it’s a tough call, as to do so would mean she’d have to humble herself big-time, and she might just be too prideful to go there.

At the same time, it would be nice to see this particular “Ducky” finally vindicated, especially, as “Pink” fans know, “Ducky” was always meant to get the girl, until bad test screenings landed her in the arms of the notorious major appliance- and total tool- Blane. Here’s hoping this show gets it right where John Hughes failed to.

That was about it for this episode. Alas, papa bear Murray (Jeff Garlin) was sort of the odd man out this time around, as he wasn’t given much to do, though Pops didn’t fare much better, TBH. Can’t win ’em all, I guess.

Favorite line, after Adam warned Beverly that Barry would steal his flip-flops in gym, leaving him open to the horrors of foot fungus in the shower: “You’re not athletic enough to get Athlete’s Foot!” I also enjoyed the insult-a-palooza of Adam’s still-squawky voice at the end, with even Beverly chiming in.

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All in all, it was a pretty solid season of the show, I’d have to say. It’s gotten to the point where I kind of enjoy this show even more than “Modern Family,” as of late, if I’m being honest. Having grown up in the 80’s myself, albeit a little younger than the main protagonists here, a lot of this rings true to me, and if the occasional reference goes over my head, enough of it lands for me to really enjoy it.

I particularly enjoy the movie references/homages, with the “Risky Business,” “Ferris Bueller,” “Caddyshack,” “Top Gun” and “Dirty Dancing”-themed episodes being the most fun to me personally.

Although, I’d have to say my favorites of the season overall were the more music-centric ones, especially the ones dedicated to Rush (the aptly-titled “Rush”) and the Beastie Boys (“The Tasty Boys”), among others.

I loved that Erica became a die-hard Rush fan and started a cover band dedicated to them and that the guys used a fish-eyed lens to film their faux B-Boys video, to say nothing of that priceless LL Cool J “I Need Love” parody they did at one point and Barry dressing up like Boy George!

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Hands-down my fave of the season, though, was “Weird Al.” Not only was it a kick to see the Weird Al Yankovic of yore once again- looking exactly the same as he did then, I might add- but the episode itself was a poignant look at the moment in which childhood gives way to adolescence and the time comes to put away childish things and grow up a little.

It was heartbreaking seeing poor Adam forced to choose between his beloved Al and his now-long-distance girlfriend Dana (Natalie Alyn Lind, who, if you saw her on “Gotham,” was WAY out of his league anyway, let’s be honest).

Personally, I don’t see why he doesn’t just go with the much more his-own-speed Emmy (Stephanie Katherine Grant), anyway- she’s a cutie waiting to happen, IMHO. I feel like those two are destined to hook up next season, for sure. After all, Adam will be entering high school, so things are bound to change between them, anyway.

All in all, this show is sort of like my own “Wonder Years”- not quite on the nose, era-wise, but close enough for disco, as they say. Maybe in a few years, there will be a 90’s equivalent and then I’ll know I’m really old, lol.

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Until then, “The Goldbergs” will suffice just fine, thanks to a great cast and plenty of great stuff to draw from, thanks to the wild wonderful world of the 80’s.

You got to love the movies, music, and…well, okay, maybe not the fashion, but everything else is pretty great, I think. It’s no wonder people are still obsessed with it- it was kind of the last “fun” decade, right?

Lord knows, as a teen of the 90’s, there was nothing “fun” about that era. They’re going to have to work overtime to make “The Grunge Years” a barrel of laughs, that’s for sure- and it only gets worse from there, decade-wise.

Thankfully, “The Goldbergs” faces no such problems, with plenty of worthy material to draw from and lots of stuff that hasn’t yet been done as of yet to tackle. I’d love to see, in light of his recent untimely passing, a Prince-themed episode. Perhaps it could revolve around the whole PMRC madness? That could be interesting. A hair metal-themed episode would be great, too.

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What did you think of “The Goldbergs” this season? Did you also enjoy it? What was your favorite episode? Who is your favorite character? What would you like to see in the future for our fave family? Sound off down below and see you next season! Until then, “Have a Summer!” 🙂