When I was a kid back in Arkansas, my mom was a cocktail waitress for BJ’s Star-Studded Honky Tonk. It’s where she’d meet the man for whom she’d leave my father (it’s OK. My dad was gay anyway). The place was a large dance floor with the cabin of an 18-wheeler parked across it. The guy who played the country-music records worked in the cab, and my mother came home every night after serving drinks until 2 a.m. with wads of $1 bills and bruises on her ass from all the pinching.
All of which is to say: I know a little about the heyday of country-music line dancing. I didn’t think it was possible to make the real thing even more embarrassing than it is, but after ten seasons, The Goldbergs finally decided to tackle that very pop-culture phenomenon.
In this week’s episode, Beverly decides to cut a rug with her friends after her nemesis, Jane (Erinn Hayes), doesn’t invite her because Beverly is too preoccupied with being a grandmother. Jane age-shames Beverly, and matters do not improve when Beverly illustrates that she cannot actually line dance. Beverly sprains her ankle on the dance floor after tripping from line dancing and has to use a cane, and then she gets a bad pair of bifocals, and a bad dye job at the hairdresser (how she affords this with no job is anyone’s guess). This is what Beverly looks like after all that, and yes: She does say, “Where’s the beef?” at least three times.
Jane feels so much pity and sadness for Beverly — because she looks like an actual grandmother (gasp!) — that she can’t even look at her, much less hurl insults. “You just look so old, and so sad, and I just feel awful for everything I’ve ever said to you,” Jane says, because aging wasn’t allowed back in the ’80s.
However, Barry and the JTP — who make up stupid nicknames for themselves (like Tex, Colt, and Half Pipe) — convince Beverly to take her grandbaby to the honky tonk and get back on the dance floor (were baby backpacks a thing in the ’80s?), where Beverly dedicates the “hoedown” to her son, Bronco Barry. “And with that, my mom was back in the saddle,” Patton Oswalt narrates.
Oswalt’s continued association with this series will certainly be the subject of a future recap.
In the B-plot, Adam — who decided to take a gap year this season and was quickly fired from his first job — is in a funk and hanging out all day with Pop Pops. He pulls himself out of it by getting a job at a ’50s diner, but Pop Pops gets him fired because Adam’s grandfather missed hanging out with him. Don’t worry: Pop Pops got him his job back. “Getting older can be hard, no matter what age we are,” Oswalt narrates. I hope they pay him well.
How’s that gap year working out for you, Adam? Yee Haw.