Mar 06 2015

The Goldbergs – “Happy Mom, Happy Life” Retrospective. JTP Out.


Season 2, Episode 15

Air Date: Wednesday, March 4, 2015, 8:30/7:30c on ABC


“If your relationship sucks, a baby will fix it.” – Adam


Spin the wheel.

When Miss Taraborelli (Michaela Watkins) hands out Cabbage Patch™ dolls to her classroom for a lesson in parenting, Adam (Sean Giambrone) sees it as the perfect opportunity to work on his relationship with his girlfriend Dana (Natalie Alyn Lind). Hilariousness ensues as Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey) tries to show Adam she would be the perfect grandmother or, in her case, ‘grand-smother.’

I love how Beverly and Dana butt heads over parenting styles while Adam is forced to take sides. Things go from bad to worse when the doll goes missing on Beverly’s watch, prompting her to shout, “Someone call the police or Toys R Us.” 

Despite his young age, Giambrone does a wonderful job finding a balance between being a kid and showing some maturity; in other words, our little Adam is growing up. The scenes between Adam and Dana are not only entertaining but touching as the two learn what it’s like to be a parent while also learning about themselves. Show creator Adam Goldberg and the writers deserve credit for seamlessly blending humor and stupidity with some very positive and heartfelt moments. Frankly, I don’t think The Goldbergs gets enough credit for the amount of positive messages the show conveys to its viewers.

For reasons I won’t publicly admit out of embarrassment, I find Nick Swardson to be a very entertaining yet perverted comedian/actor. Swardson’s appearance as Rick, a low life selling knockoff toys out of the trunk of his car, had me laughing out loud. I especially enjoyed watching him go up against Beverly.

Beverly: “I came to return this shotty knockoff.”

Rick: “You bought a bootleg toy out of a trunk. All sales are final.” 

Swardson’s performance is entertaining but whoever came up with the heroin/heroine dialogue deserves a raise because that line is hilarious. I hope this isn’t the last we see of Rick.

Erica and the JTP

Erica and the JTP

Meanwhile, Erica (Hayley Orrantia) starts to feel left out as her best friend Lainey (AJ Michalka) continues to spend more time with Barry (Troy Gentile). Trying to even the score, Erica hangs out with Barry’s friends, Andy Cogan (Matt Bush), Geoff Schwartz (Sam Lerner), and Naked Rob (Noah Munch), who refer to themselves as the “JTP,” short for Jenkintown Posse. Erica lets loose by engaging in some of the JTP’s more childish behavior, including smashing various food items using a table leg like a bat. While this is fun to watch, the plan backfires when they slowly realize Erica is more woman than they thought.

As much as it hurts to admit it, I enjoy how the writers haven’t smartened up the members of the JTP. TV shows often portray teenage high school boys as well rounded kids but let’s face it, at that age most of us were idiots. Maybe it’s because they remind me of the people I hung around with, but there’s an authentic boneheadedness I appreciate every time Barry and the JTP make an appearance on The Goldbergs.

“Happy Mom, Happy Life” is a fun episode with a good balance of humor, touching moments, and stupidity. If I were to criticize anything about The Goldbergs, it is that I am usually left wanting more, as is the case with “Happy Mom, Happy Life.” I wish the writers would create more multi-episode story arcs instead of using the standalone episode approach.

Tweet me @Staffaroadtrip or leave a comment below to let me know what you think about “Happy Mom, Happy Life.”

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

For more information on The Goldbergs, visit the official website.

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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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