May 01 2015

The Goldbergs – “Dance Party USA” Retrospective. The Lucky Watch.


Season 2, Episode 22

Air Date: Wednesday, April 29, 2015, 9:30/8:30c on ABC


“I’m a butterfly.” – Erica

Ugly duckling or butterfly?

Ugly duckling or butterfly?

Erica’s (Hayley Orrantia) dream of dancing on Dance Party USA, a popular 80s dance show turns into her worst nightmare when she catches pink eye from her brother Barry (Troy Gentile) in “Dance Party USA.” Will this be the end of her rise from awkward to awesome?

I couldn’t help feeling sorry for Erica when her pink eye has a cascading effect on her looks, not to mention her popularity. Erica’s demise is topped off by her epic meltdown in the school cafeteria that even Barry would be proud of. Who would have thought we would see the day when Barry behaves like the more normal of the two? While Erica and Barry have had their ups and downs in the past, this is the first time we’ve seen a role reversal of this magnitude on The Goldbergs. Orrantia’s performance is entertaining as she seems to embrace Erica’s new look.

Growing up in a household without cable, I never saw Dance Party USA. Watching this episode of The Goldbergs and researching the television dance show, I now realize I should be thankful. I cringed watching the clips of the popular show that ran from 1986 to 1992. Surely, I never dressed like that in the 80s!

Convinced that appearing on Dance Party USA will elevate his social status, Barry enlists the help of Coach Meller (Bryan Callen). I couldn’t stop laughing when Meller teaches Barry how to dance. On paper, Callen’s character comes across as silly but he takes it a step further with the sincerity he brings to the role, making him one of my favorite secondary characters on the show. Frankly, I could watch an entire episode of just him and Barry dancing. Given the affection show creator Adam Goldberg has for the Transformers movies, the director makes a great choice by using Stan Bush’s song “The Touch” from the 1986 movie The Transformers:The Movie as their dance number.

I enjoy their scenes together.

I enjoy their scenes together.

In the other story line in “Dance Party USA,” after spending the day together, Pops (George Segal) convinces Adam (Sean Giambrone) he has it in him to be as lucky in life as he is. Adam takes Pops’ advice to heart and tries his luck at school in a game of “finger football” which gives him a huge wake-up call.

One of my favorite things about The Goldbergs is the relationship young Adam has with his Pops. The way the scenes are written for the two shows the level of respect and love Goldberg has for his grandfather in real life. That admiration carries over on screen thanks to the wonderful chemistry between Giambrone and Segal.

Seeing the lengths Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey) goes to in order to preserve Adam’s belief that Pops does everything with grace and charm is very touching. Giambrone gives a great performance when he discovers Pops often exaggerates and sometimes even lies when it comes to the stories he tells Adam. This discovery is a crushing blow to Adam and the way he sees Pops.

Double or nothing?

Double or nothing?

It would have been nice if the writers had let the divide between Adam and Pops play out a little longer. Instead, Murray (Jeff Garlin) provides some heartfelt insight about the unique kind of love grandparents have for their grandkids. Given Adam and Pops’ relationship, it’s no surprise Adam’s resentment doesn’t last long. While the story line wraps up quicker than I would have liked, watching the two reconnect is one of the more touching moments of “Dance Party USA,” if not season two as a whole.

Were you ever on Dance Party USA? Tweet me @Staffaroadtrip or leave a comment below to let me know what you think about “Dance Party USA.”

Tune in to The Goldbergs Wednesdays at 8:30/7:30c, only on ABC.

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All photos © 2015 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


© 2015, Greg Staffa. All rights reserved.

Greg Staffa

I provide testosterone to the site. You won’t be reading about how nice a actress looks in a dress or how much of a hunk Matt Bomer is in my reviews. I describe colors using words like brown, not taupe. My twitter name is @staffaroadtrip because I love road trips and have done two different 48-state road trips since 2008. My favorite show is White Collar.

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