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'The Goldbergs' fan recap: Heartthrobs, Copperfield, and the PSAT

Season 3 | Episode 16 | “Magic is Real” Aired March 23, 2016

When the Goldbergs suffer, it’s a family event. Poor Adam is still reeling over his breakup with Dana. And no amount of Dep styling gel can help when Handsome Ben walks the same junior high halls. It’s time to consult the big guns—Erica’s celebrity crushes.

Teen Beat Heartthrobs
Adam decides to study all the hunky posters hanging on the four walls of Erica’s bedroom. For those of you who weren’t around in the ’80s, I’ve made you a handy list detailing why these beaus were totally awesome.

Christian Slater
You may know him from: Mr. Robot, Archer, or dozens of other TV shows
’80s reference: Heathers

Rick Springfield
You may know him from: True Detective or that rocker movie no one saw with Meryl Streep
’80s reference: The vocalist of “Jesse’s Girl” and Dr. Noah Drake on General Hospital

Andrew McCarthy
You may know him from: The new show on ABC called The Family
’80s reference: Kevin from St. Elmo’s Fire and Blane from Pretty in Pink

Johnny Depp
You may know him as: Captain Jack Sparrow or Tim Burton’s muse
’80s reference: Officer Tom Hanson on 21 Jump Street

Ralph Macchio
Do you know Ralph Macchio?
’80s reference: The Karate Kidd and Johnny from The Outsiders

Donnie Wahlberg
You may know him as: Danny Reagan from Blue Bloods
80s reference: The “bad boy” one from New Kids on the Block

Other Posters The Goldbergs Writers Forgot:
Tom Cruise (Top Gun, Cocktail), Rob Lowe (St. Elmos’ Fire, The Outsiders), Kirk Cameron (Growing Pains), Jon Bon Jovi (no duh), and Michael Jackson (double no duh).

Adam is determined to learn their secrets in order to find a new Dana. Since he’s not a celebrity with his own poster neatly tucked into a girly magazine, Dave Kim suggests he revisit the drawing board. Adam’s solution? He’ll win the girls over with M-A-G-I-C!

He’s an Illusionist
All Adam needs is David Copperfield to walk through the Great Wall of China and he is inspired. Copperfield oozes cool. Ladies will easily fall under Adam’s spell. In fact, one actually does! After seeing his magician illusionist ad in the paper, a young lady hires Adam to perform for her kid brother’s birthday party. Not only is she pretty, but she understands Adam’s Star Wars references. Hello, New Dana!

There’s one problem. Real magic tricks are extremely expensive. The only way Adam can get his mother to pay for his equipment is to invite her to be his assistant. Consider Beverly Goldberg thrilled. Hooray for extra mommy time! Unfortunately, her smother mode kicks into high gear and she pulls focus. Adam fires her during rehearsals, and she punishes him by taking all of his magic tricks away.

Adam is forced to come up with his own tricks. When he attempts to transverse through walls on more than one occasion, Pop Pop steps in to be the voice of reason: Magic isn’t real. He also chastises his daughter for not seeing the bigger picture. If she lets Adam do this magic show without his tricks, he’ll be embarrassed in front of New Dana.

At first, The Amazing Adam is great, but then his tricks literally fall apart around him. Beverly appears as if from nowhere with a cart full of equipment. Adam invites her to join him. Luckily, she has her costume on under her trench coat. Who needs New Dana when you have Mama? Let’s saw her in half!

The next day, New Dana gives Adam 10 bucks for his services. Adam invites her to a movie, and she lets him down because she’s older. New Dana is clearly EVIL. Beverly performs her own trick when she finds out that Adam’s heart has been crushed again. She consoles her son … in silence.

Standardized Test Anxiety
No matter how great Robin Leach makes the lifestyles of the rich and famous look, it’s still important to plan for your future. When Beverly discovers that Barry sketched a Van Halen logo into his PSAT Scantron, it’s Murray who goes berserk.

Barry isn’t worried. He’s either going to be an NBA star, a professional ninja, a successful Eskimo (Successkimo), or a billionaire entrepreneur. When he can’t spell “entrepreneur,” Murray deposits him in front of the SAT prep course building. Barry ditches the class to hang with the JPT. He is mortified when he learns that they have been studying for the test and have big plans to go to college so they can get real jobs.

After an emergency meeting with his friends and family about the importance of dreams, the truth finally comes out. Barry is scared he is going to be left behind. He figures he will blow the PSAT. His dreams are important because he sucks at real life. Murray steps in to confirm his own feelings about college, but what he really cares about is whether Barry is happy. Who knows? He may pass the test with flying colors!

Or he could be a moron and try to learn by listening to cassette tapes in his sleep. Either way, he knows how to spell “entrepreneur” now.

Totally Rad Quotables

Adam: They get all the girls. I have to learn their secrets!
Erica: They don’t have wonky voices and they don’t cry at The Muppet Movie.
Adam: If “Rainbow Connection” doesn’t move you to tears, then you’re not alive.

“You’re still going to be a background dancer on Club MTV, right?” —Barry when he finds out Lainey made a 1280 on her test.

The Goldbergs airs Wednesdays at 8:30/7:30C on ABC.

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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