Spoiler Alert: This blog post contains details from the February 25, 2015 episode of The Goldbergs
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
In a single word: Epic!
Adam F. Goldberg, sitcom’s connoisseur of the 1980s and leader of The Goldbergs, revived a treasured classic and booked the cameo of the year (plus Ben Stein…Ben Stein in the promo) in last night’s episode, “Barry Goldberg’s Day Off.” Expected a week earlier in the Two and a Half Men series finale, Charlie Sheen continued to fuel his feud with that show’s leader Chuck Lorre with tiger’s blood. Charlie declined a highly-anticipated return to his old show. Instead, Goldberg had the perfect timing and script for Sheen to make his prime time television return as the drug-addled addict character he played in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (you almost can’t write this) and it was great. As a matter of fact, Goldberg revealed that Sheen pitched his final line and, for those who saw it, it was hilarious.
“It’s about time, I feel like I’ve been sittin’ here for 30 f”in years!”
This episode was a perfect homage to the ’80s masterpiece with countless shot-for-shot remakes, the iconic wardrobe, unforgettable quotes and original twists (and shouting) custom-fit for The Goldbergs. Every single character nailed their part. They were all so choice. The story was ultimately about Barry discovering his inner-Ferris Bueller, despite the reality of being a Cameron Frye. Truthfully, it’s the dilemma most of us face, especially in high school. This tribute episode was special because of the movie, its place in our hearts and minds and it was a nostalgic time travel (without a Ferrari, flying car or phone booth) back to a time when John Hughes was king.
Some would argue he still is.
Hughes’ storytelling and all too-real portrayals of teen life was impeccable. His films and characters continue to stand the test of time. Sitting on the edge of my seat with a smile a mile wide during the entire show, Goldberg wonderfully reminded us that the past is never too far away and that it really feels good to win (had to) with a rockin’ song in front of a raucous crowd.
Life, in so many ways, is about moments. And each of us should have our own Ferris-inspired day off.
Adam F. Goldberg revealed at the end of the episode that he wanted to be the next John Hughes as a kid (note his childhood obsession with filming his uncensored family). In the modern television world, he’s as close as anybody. It’s always amazing to learn who or what motivates us at our most impressionable ages.
It’s clear that we will never forget the brilliant mind and vision of John Hughes.
P.S. I sent a tweet last night that read:
@TheGoldbergsABC is literally Epic!!! To quote myself, “I just believe in The Goldbergs” #FerrisBuellersDayOff
The second part of the message was an homage to a quote from the movie. It was commented on and re-tweeted. It even got “favorited” by a few people…including Adam F. Goldberg!
Oh yeah (chicka chicka)
Last night’s episode of The Big Bang Theory was the show’s first in 2014. It had its funny moments (not counting Sheldon’s definition wordplay) and its not so funny moments (Leonard and Penny). The writers and producers made certain not to debut 2014 lightly, but instead with a substantive episode interwoven with real life discussions and heartbreaks.
Will Penny make it as an actress after a decade of pursuing her dream?
Does Leonard honestly think Penny will make it as a successful actress?
One important distinction made last night was the primary difference between a drama and a comedy. Specifically, consider when someone says there is a “one in a million” chance something will happen. In a comedy, like Dumb and Dumber, that’s a punchline filled with hilarious delusion. In a dramatic situation (even within a situation comedy), the “one in a million” response is a metaphorical, and partly literal, punch to the gut to the recipient.
The only delusion of the latter is the harsh reality of contemplating just how large the number one million is and how small the number one is in comparison. And then understanding who represents the number one.
The event that led to the “one in a million” talk between Leonard and Penny was when her small diner part in NCIS with star Mark Harmon was edited out from the show. It didn’t make the final cut. Leonard and Penny discussed the realistic prospects of her future as an actress and the results were nowhere nearly as pretty as Penny herself.
The show ended with Leonard and Penny’s argument (and future) unresolved. But here is where the show got really interesting.
While reading Chuck Lorre’s weekly Vanity Card at the end of the episode, which can range from funny to thought-provoking to inappropriate, there was an instant realization that his message was as substantive as the episode itself. It was simultaneously real and surreal.
That’s truly rare and it deserves to be expanded upon.
Without a word-for-word recap, the message detailed how Penny’s part in a major CBS show (NCIS) was cut in the final edit and, therefore, did not air. Her excited friends and family, sadly, did not see her “big break” that she had worked ten years for in Los Angeles. Ironically (and unbelievably) the exact same thing happened in last night’s Big Bang Theory episode! An actress who had a small part with Raj and Stewart in the mall was cut in the final edit. It was going to be her big break, very likely with her family and friends gathered together to watch her act in one of the biggest shows on television.
Unfortunately, her part (like Penny’s) was cut in the final edit. However, Big Bang co-creator and executive producer Chuck Lorre made sure to let America (and the world) know in his Vanity Card that he wanted to apologize to the actress and that it was only because of time that her part was not included in the show’s final version. He made certain to note to her and her family and friends that she absolutely nailed the part. He then added that he will work hard to get her back on the show sometime in the future.
It’s a case of life imitating art or art imitating life or art and life getting an apartment together in downtown Pasadena to enjoy a glass (or bottle) or white wine before their next audition.
Either way, it was real, surreal, heart-breaking, inspiring and unbelievably amazing all at the same time.
In the episode, Sheldon, in his quest for comedic dominance, stated that “comedy is tragedy plus time” after Penny left the room following her realization that her part was taken out of the show.
It seems Chuck Lorre waited the exact right amount of time to say something that turned a tragedy into something not necessarily funny, but still something that likely brought joy and a smile to a dedicated and disappointed actress’s face.
Funny how life turns out from time to time.