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'The Goldbergs' recap: Love stinks, yeah, yeah

Season 1 | Episode 21 | “The Age of Darkness” | Aired Apr 29, 2014

The Goldberg household descends into “The Age of Darkness” when Erica’s boyfriend, neighbor-hottie Drew Kremp, dumps her, voiceover Adam explains. His smart, sophisticated sister becomes a hot mess of tears and epic moping.

Bev sashays across the street to interrogate Drew’s mom, Virginia, about the breakup, but she’s in mom-gossip lockdown and won’t say if Drew’s got a new girl. He better figure himself out soon, Bev says, because Erica’s got suitors lining up — a girl, even! The lesbian thing isn’t going to happen, Bev notes, but still, it’s flattering.

Young Adam and Barry indulge in some arcade porn, starring Pac-Man, Centipede, Dragon’s Lair (“How’d they get a cartoon into a video game?” Adam marvels), Zaxxon and, new arrival on the floor, Punch-Out!, which Barry coos at and gently caresses.

A junkie in need of a fix, Barry tears up the living room in his search for quarters to beat Punch-Out! He hits up Pops and wee Adam for cash to change into quarters for the arcade, and finally resorts to cashing in a $100 bond for $6.

Erica’s in a bad way. And her pain is Bev’s pain. When stupid Drew Kremp pulls up across the street with stupid Tracy Sullivan, the Goldberg women go nuclear. “Shame on you, Virgina Kremp! You told me there was nobody else,” Bev cries. That’s it. Bev has a mission and Operation: Find a Better Man is underway. Murray’s helpful “other fish in the sea” interjection is met with a disgruntled-teen hiss and tissue-box projectile.

Later, as Erica drowns her sorrows in her sixth pan of brownies, Murray tries again — this time invoking sage Sting: “If you love somebody, set them free.” He throws out that his record-store buddy Randy is getting over someone and … and … “Don’t help! Get!” Bev says as she bustles him from the room. “Look at me. I’m an animal!” Erica pleads. She will be attending Lainey’s birthday party, Bev informs her, with her podiatrist’s college-age son, Bruce, which worked out better than such things EVER do in real life (and yes, I screamed that). No one gets set up with a Patrick Swayze-Patrick Dempsey hybrid. NO ONE! I’m sorry, but I can’t suspend disbelief on this one.

Pops stages an intervention to confront Barry’s Punch-Out! habit. Barry puts on a good face and promises to work on his problem, but promptly absconds with Adam’s model Millennium Falcon — a generally grievous sin. (Heh.) Pawnshop guy does not appreciate the condition of this particular specimen, and details its various deficiencies in nerd-speak.

Erica’s date goes south when college guy serves alcohol to the underage dinner-party attendees next to a table of police officers. Bruce then blurts out the setup arrangements, much to Erica’s teen mortification, which is way more acute than regular ol’ mortification.

Barry is at the arcade. He’s finally on a streak: 20 minutes of Punch-Out! glory. And Adam pulls the plug. How could Barry? Steal the Millennium Falcon? Really? Who does that?

Erica calls Dad for a ride. Murray finally breaks through her icy, disconsolate shell with a story of his own teen heartbreak. It’ll take time, he says, and one day, you’ll wake up and it’ll hurt a little less. Truth!

Barry admits his problem. Pops gives him a punching bag and some boxing gloves to redirect his obsessive behavior.

When Erica and Murray get home, she sates her need for revenge with a little destruction of Drew Kemp’s property, throwing a garbage can through his Mustang’s windshield — much to Bev’s glee. (Do not try this at home, unless you’d like your very own rap sheet.)

Barry retrieves Adam’s Millennium Falcon and recruits his little brother as a training partner.

’80s music watch (in which I note the show’s aural indulgences): Huey Lewis and the News, “The Power of Love”

The Goldbergs airs Tuesdays on ABC at 9/8 C.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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