The Goldbergs Season 5 Episode 8 Review

This week, the Goldbergs revisits the episode that started it all: The Circle of Driving. That episode introduced us to all of these crazy nutjobs, and is a true Goldbergs classic. This time around, however,  it's Adam's birthday, but driving is something he just is not ready for. With this crazy family, this is bound to be interesting.

It's Adam's 16th birthday, and he reveals to his family that he has no interest in driving, which shocks the whole family. Beverly's the only one that's okay with this, but it ultimately appears as if Adam will get his way. Erica is at a college when she declines an invitation to RA Srini's Karaoke/Toga party. When she gets to her dorm, she finds Barry, who is there for his college tour. He wants to go to a party while he's there, so Erica goes to convince Srini to let her some after her decline. Back home, Murray forces Adam to drive, despite Adam's protesting. They argue for a bit, and then a car drives into their car door. So, a great start to Adam's driving lessons. Barry is getting ready for his first college party, and he puts on an insane costume, complete with an invisible dog, in order to get some attention. Some college girls are actually not completely disgusted by this. Back at home, Murray reveals to Beverly that he went to take Adam out for driving lessons, and that he ruined the car. After Adam leaves, Beverly tells Murray that she really does want Adam to drive, and that she's just putting up an act so he'll be a cautious driver. Later, Pops tells Beverly and Murray that he's going to help Adam learn to drive. One small problem: he doesn't have a license. Beverly and Murray let him teach Adam to drive, but they have to go with, too. Uh oh.

Barry is attracting a ton of attention at college and is invited to a bunch of parties. He even gets Erica an invitation to Srini's party, which she declines. She does, however, feel betrayed by Brry for abandoning her. Elsewhere, Adam's first driving lesson with the Crazy Family isn't going great. Everyone is arguing and distracting him, and he's clearly struggling with his slightly idiotic parents. At college, Erica is annoyed by how well Barry is liked by the college students, so she crashes the party, where she sings Amazing Grace and totally bombs. She storms out, but Barry chases her. He tries to convince her to just put herself out there, and he promises her that everyone will love the real her. Back at the driving lesson from hell, Adam successfully crosses a train track, but then he immediately crashed into a cop. Maybe he wasn't ready to drive after all?

After some paperwork, the Goldbergs return home. Murray forces Pops to give up his keys. Adam tries to stop this, but then Beverly apologizes for her scary stories of driving. Murray also encourages him to drive, and Adam finally gains some confidence in his driving skills. At college, Erica returns to the party and tries to win everyone over by not sucking at karaoke this time. Adam tells Pops it's time for him to stop driving, and that in order to keep going on their adventures, he'll learn to drive. Erica wins over the college kids, and Adam takes Pops to Hooters to cheer him up. Beverly doesn't allow this, so they go to the Spaghetti Warehouse across the street, but it's the thought that counts.

This was a very enjoyable episode, and a nice follow-up to its classic predecessor. I also enjoyed how this episode gave us another look at the Adam and Pops relationship, which is always so nice because the relationship is so sweet. This helped provide for the perfect ending for the episode, with both Pops and Adam growing and realizing that they need to change their ways. Hopefully this actually keeps up, as it'll definitely be interesting to witness Adam's driving journey progress

The episode was certainly at its best when it focused on Adam's story, because Erica and Barry's really wasn't all that good. While it had a nice ending, it took awhile to get going and it just wasn't really that funny. It was easily outshone by the episode's main plot. While it's obviously nice that Erica has developed as a character, meaning that she's finally at college, I can't say that this hasn't affected my enjoyment of her stories. She works best when she's playing off of her crazy mother or her father, and there aren't as many opportunities for this anymore. The new college characters haven't really added anything new to the show and it's a bit disappointing.

While I gave most of the attention and acclaim to the Adam/Pops portion of the episode, Beverly and Murray were also thoroughly enjoyable. Their arguing, particularly during Adam's driving lesson, was very true to form for this family. Of course they would make this event all about themselves, because that's just what they do. But at the end of the day, despite all of their arguing, the family truly loves each other, which is why I love this show so much.

This isn't related to anything else I have to say here, but the "cookie" scene between Adam and Beverly was hilarious.
My Score: 8.5/10
My Grade: B+

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