Not in real life, mind you. In real life Adam Goldberg TV Creator might still very well be feuding with Adam Goldberg the Actor. But within the confines of The Goldbergs all Adams Goldberg are at peace. But let me back up.
You might have noticed that Pajiba has a bit of a love affair with The Goldbergs (it’s the most solid show on TV, and elicits at least one laugh per episode, people! I don’t know why you’re not watching it!) going all the way back to Seth’s confusion as to which Adam Goldberg he disliked. Then, as Vivian wrote about a couple years back, both Adams decided to take this ‘Seth can’t figure out which one of us he hates because our names are the same” thing, and run with it. Straight to the Twitter boards. And as I noted The Goldberg writers this season were all, “Oh, you thought that feud was over just because it was something as stupid as fighting about our names? NEVER.” Which brings us to this week’s episode.
If someone you know and care about refers to this as “the Karate Kid episode,” you must leave that person immediately. They don’t know what joy is. This was the Namesis episode, and it was glory. After an entire season of teasing us with “the Other Adam Goldberg,” we finally get to meet him, and he is properly menacing in a high school kind of way.
The individual details of the plot don’t really matter that much. There’s another confusion over their shared names, which leads to a karate tournament because sure. Barry over-estimates his physical abilities, Beverly meddles in a way that ultimately backfires, and Murray offers some sage advice that helps his son and allows them to connect. It all unfolds in a way that’s predictable, but fun. The real magic is how the show treats the Other Adam Goldberg.
Now keep in mind, this is an approximation of a very real person with a very similar backstory, and this real person is someone who has gone after a person the writers presumably care about. Without trying to sound too much like the Smother, if you hurt a person I care about, I will inside-out-you, and no, I don’t mean that fucking kids’ movie (although I am also a master of emotional insults, so I can pain you like Bing Bong with only my words). But The Goldbergs’ staff is better than I am. So instead of make the Other Adam Goldberg a joke, they describe him like this:
The Other Adam Goldberg. Indie, artsy, and my nemesis who had been on my mind lately.
There’s another Adam Goldberg. There’s another Adam Goldberg in school. He’s in eleventh grade. He’s an actor, too. He’s got more of a Jim Jarmusch vibe. He’s more of a multi-hyphenate. He’s a loose cannon. He’s way more likely to win an award than me. And he’s very mad about the same name situation.
God knows when I want to insult someone, I compare them to the ultra-hip, practically-underground-he’s-so-cool, film auteur Jim Jarmusch because I really know how to get at people. Character Adam Goldberg and, I suspect TV Creator Adam Goldberg, doesn’t hate Other Adam Goldberg. He actually thinks Other Adam Goldberg is too cool for him. And, on the show at least, their feud is resolved by their shared love of movies, and willingness to throw themselves into a scene. It’s sweet in its belief that arts and passion can triumph over petty squabbles, which brings up a sort of weird issue: The Goldberg staff continued, through their art, a real life petty squabble for months in order to properly build to that feud’s resolution. Plenty of people will argue that that’s the least effective way to resolve an argument, and couldn’t possibly be worth the time and effort needed. People who appreciate good story-telling, on the other hand, will be in on the joke.