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The Best Beverly Goldberg Moments On The Goldbergs

Most sitcoms take actual scenarios and crank them up into exaggerated versions of reality. And given that ABC's family sitcom The Goldbergs is based on the exploits of writer and creator Adam F. Goldberg's real family life in Philadelphia in the 1980s, you might think that he's exaggerated what really happened. That seems especially true in the case of Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey), the show's big-haired, big-hearted, rhinestone sweater-wearing, unrepentantly prying mother. But apparently not. In fact, when talking with the Jewish Community Voice about the character who's supposedly based on her, the real Beverly Goldberg said, "I think I was a lot worse. I am willing to admit that."

As intense as ABC's Beverly is, the show wouldn't be the same without her. After all, while the series is based on the real-life Adam's memories (played by Sean Giambrone on the screen), McLendon-Covey as Beverly is the most exciting and unpredictable character because you never know how far she'll go in the name of loving, protecting, and smothering her children. In honor of TV's most dominant mother, dig out your bedazzler, backcomb your hair, and prepare to relive the best Beverly Goldberg moments on The Goldbergs.

When Beverly Goldberg rescues her kids from a Haunted House

After years of being forced to do Halloween couples costumes with Beverly, Adam rebels, choosing Dana (Natalie Alyn Lind) to be the Ripley to his Xenomorph. He also gives her his Green Lantern ring. Beverly, of course, is devastated. Meanwhile, Erica (Hayley Orrantia) and Barry (Troy Gentile) convince Adam that he and Dana should ditch "childish" Halloween traditions and go to a haunted house.

However, the haunted house proves too much for any of the Goldberg kids. In fact, Adam uses Dana as a human shield and then abandons her, shouting, "Kill her, not me!" And in all this madness, she drops the ring he gave her. Adam is too scared to go back for it, and he asks Barry and Erica to get it for him. Unfortunately, Barry falls and twists his ankle, and Erica gets distracted by a college guy she's previously hooked up with.

At this point, Adam turns to Beverly for help. Dressed as the Predator — or Preda-Mom — she swoops in, sweeps up Barry, dispatches Erica's would-be disappointing boyfriend, and recovers the ring. Sure, this episode showcases Beverly's smothering tendencies at their height, but it also shows her creativity, commitment to celebrating Adam's geeky passions (unlike the other Goldbergs), and readiness to forgive her kids for being brats when they really need her.

That time she staged a musical

Beverly Goldberg knows that her Squishy is the brightest star to ever grace the stage of William Penn Academy. Unfortunately, Miss Cinoman (Ana Gasteyer) disagrees — and she's the one casting the school's production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Instead of landing the coveted titular role, Adam is cast as the suspiciously unfamiliar Todd the Apostle. When Beverly finds out, she takes matters into her own hands and launches a production of "disco pop masterpiece" Starlight Express (as director and leading man Adam describes it to his cast, anyway). Beverly also draws on her preferred method of coercion — blackmail — to convince Erica to be the leading lady.

Predictably, putting a bunch of middle schoolers on roller skates and adding spray-painted football pads doesn't lead to a musical masterpiece. Instead, Adam becomes a tyrant, alienating Erica, Dana (whom he suspects of being a spy for Superstar), and even Beverly. Of course, watching Beverly go to frankly insane lengths for the sake of her children's egos is hilarious. But in this episode, she also manages to steer Adam out of humiliating himself and losing all his friends, with some tough love from Erica, while also reminding him that no matter what anyone else says, she'll always believe in his abilities.

When she loses Adam's pretend baby

Interjecting herself into her children's relationships is one of Beverly's skills, but even Pennsylvania's greatest smother goes too far when Adam and Dana become fake parents for health class.

Beverly forces Adam to take sides between her and Dana over the best name to give their school-assigned Cabbage Patch Kid, and she even tries to meddle with its care. When Adam recruits irresponsible babysitter Murray (Jeff Garlin) — who takes his assignment literally — Beverly finds out and takes it upon herself to show Dana and Adam that she's the most responsible grandmother a fake baby could wish for.

Unfortunately, during a stroll in the park, a dog steals baby Leia/Myrna, and Beverly is forced to turn to the black market to find a replacement. If you always thought Cabbage Patch Kids were terrifying, the Lettuce Crop Child she finds makes them and every Chucky movie look positively cute. However, even this unfortunate mishap isn't enough to get Beverly to butt out of Adam and Dana's project and relationship. But when Adam finally stands up to her, in front of Dana and his teacher, not only does he lands them an A, he convinces Beverly to back off ... just a bit.

When she and Murray renew their vows

Beverly's primary identity as a smother means that, unusually for a sitcom, there aren't that many Goldbergs plots that focus on the dynamic between her and her husband, Murray. So, watching Beverly transfer her overbearing attitude onto someone who also wears the pants in their relationship (even if he takes them off the moment he gets home) is a refreshing change from seeing her affectionately manipulate their defenseless kids.

During the episode "The Facts of Bleeping Life," Beverly is looking at photos of the '80s most famous lovebirds — Prince Charles and Princess Diana — and decides that she wants to redo her own wedding. (This was before their divorce and her death became the craziest scandals in British Royal Family history.) Murray reluctantly goes along with it, and Beverly starts planning an event that will include ice sculptures, a horse-drawn carriage, a meat buffet, flower arrangements made up of no more than ten percent baby's-breath, and personalized vows. Unfortunately, Murray lifts his vows from the intro to Family Ties, and when Beverly finds out, she calls off the vow renewal. After all, she only wanted to hear Murray tell her he loves her and appreciates what she does for the family.

Murray finally gets the message and throws her a surprise family-only vow renewal, complete with a uniquely Murray declaration of love. Beverly rarely asks for anything — unless you count needing her children to never leave her — and it's about time she got some unironic recognition.

Every time Beverly Goldberg scrapbooks or bedazzles

Beverly doesn't just express her creative, colorful side through her impressive Halloween costumes and enthusiastic Jazzercise classes. After all, she's never met a family occasion that didn't necessitate a scrapbook, and the only thing better than buying an off-the-rack sweater covered in a thematic rhinestone design is making one yourself. (For those who missed out on this supremely '80s hobby, it's known as bedazzling, and it's harder than it looks.)

Of course, she encourages other members of the family to get involved. Barry and Erica find themselves attaching rhinestones to various items of clothing when Beverly guilts them over leaving her to walk home. Erica suggests Murray learn scrapbooking as a way to spend time with Beverly, and his solo efforts have terrifying results and give him an appreciation for her particular set of skills. And Erica even tries to use scrapbooking to distract Beverly from chaperoning Adam's school dance. Because if there's anything that can keep Beverly Goldberg from intervening in her children's lives, it's documenting them through the medium of paper lace and glitter glue.

When she becomes Wingmom

As someone who refuses to let her children play contact sports and has a list of dangerous jobs they're prohibited from doing, Beverly was never going to approve Barry's decision to join Junior ROTC in pursuit of his Top Gun-inspired dreams. 

So naturally, Murray secretly signs the permission slip, thinking his son could use the kind of toughening up that comes with joining the armed forces as a minor. But when Barry finds that the training is more about push-ups than call signs, he enlists Beverly's help to get him out of it. Wingmom starts attending his training so she can protect him from overexertion, complete with bedazzled camo sweater, of course.

We know Beverly will always go above and beyond to save her kids, including taking on the military. But as Murray points out, sometimes she isn't doing them any favors in the long term. In this case, she relents and sends Barry to finish the course. She also tears up her list of previously forbidden dangerous jobs. It's another instance of Beverly slowly learning to let go while also delivering some solid scenes of Barry's ambition-without-execution along the way.

That time she rescued Adam's magic act

Beverly is the queen of guilting her children when they try to set healthy mother-child boundaries or escape her smothering. But she's also good at forgiving them for pushing her away when they need her most.

While trying to get over his breakup with Dana, Adam takes up magic in the hopes of impressing another girl. But first, he has to convince the woman in his life — Beverly — to splash out on expensive magician equipment. So naturally, he tells her that she can be his assistant.

The prospect of mom time with Schmoo successfully lands Adam the stuff he needs, but Beverly's presence in the act distracts from all the tricks. Adam fires her before appearing at his would-be love interest's little brother's birthday party, and Beverly retaliates by threatening to return all the equipment. However, she can't bear to let Adam humiliate himself at the party, and she swoops back in and saves the performance. He still gets snubbed when he asks out his crush, but at least one woman will always jump through hoops and get sawed in half to spend time with him.

When she apology sings to Erica

Where Beverly smothers her sons with love and snoogies, her relationship with her daughter, Erica, comes with more fireworks. Things come to a head when Beverly blames Erica for running up a huge bill mail-ordering cassette tapes under false names, even though it was actually Adam, and Erica warned him not to do it. 

Tired of being unjustly labeled the family's rebel, Erica plans to shoplift with her unhinged friend, Carla (Alex Jennings), to get back at her mom, but she changes her mind at the last minute. Not knowing this crucial piece of information, Beverly storms into mall jail and rants at Erica, only to learn that she tried to stop Carla stealing. Erica tells Beverly how hard it is to have a mom who constantly expects her to screw up.

With her mother-daughter relationship on the line, a truly unique apology is in order. Using one of Adam's ill-gotten cassettes, Beverly adapts the lyrics to Chicago's classic '80s ballad "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" for her daughter. It's a much deeper rift than the casual bickering that usually divides the Goldbergs, and Wendi McLendon-Covey nails the apology, complete with real tears. It's one of the show's most sincere moments and a reminder of the heart that beats beneath the series' goofiness and sequined sweaters.

Every time Beverly Goldberg cooks, it's memorable

Beverly's family doesn't appreciate some of her passions, like storming into the school principal's office, her public displays of motherly affection, and interfering in their personal lives. But they do appreciate her efforts in the kitchen, even if they could happily trade the shrimp parm for Mrs. Kim's (Suzy Nakamura) big tasty pork every now and then.

Beverly never met a substance she couldn't parm or a recipe that didn't call for more cheese. Her pride in her cooking is also the cause of many of The Goldbergs' best feuds, including the aforementioned standoff with Mrs. Kim, a Thanksgiving competition with Bill (David Koechner) that ends in a turkey explosion, and the temptations of the food court that threaten to lure Adam away. Food is also the catalyst for a genuinely moving moment between Erica and her mom. Having resisted Beverly's attempts to convince her to help cook Thanksgiving dinner, Erica relents when she realizes it's Beverly's way of honoring her mother, who died when Beverly was a teenager.

Beverly is so confident in her cooking skills that she produces a cookbook. But while that doesn't go so well, there is indeed an official Goldbergs cookbook, full of recipes from the show, which are based on those cooked up by the real Beverly Goldberg (mother of the show's creator, Adam F. Goldberg). And yes, it includes shrimp parm.

When she helps Erica resurrect disco for one night

The Beverly-Erica smothering/critical dynamic hits its peak when Beverly introduces her unlucky-in-love daughter to disco. During her phase of pining over Geoff (Sam Lerner), Valentine's Day pushes Erica to her ranch dressing-binging, Smiths T-shirt-wearing breaking point. 

Realizing even Geoff's girlfriend, Evy (Allie Grant), feels sorry for her, Erica decides to throw a "Disco Is Dead" dance. Suddenly, she's popular again — until her mom intervenes ... and this time not on her behalf. Far from being happy, Beverly refuses to support her daughter's anti-disco, booze-fueled party, especially since Erica stole her credit card to fund it.

However, after seeing how sad Erica is, Beverly's motherly instincts win out. She helps Erica sneak into the school gym, decked out in fairy lights and a disco ball, for a night of ABBA and embarrassing dancing. This episode showcases all of Beverly's most enjoyable traits — her desire to control her kids (especially Erica), her concern when they're unhappy, and her willingness to go the extra (illegal) step to make them feel better. Not to mention her love for exuberant dance moves and sparkles.

When she convinces Erica to fly the nest

The prospect of watching her oldest child leave home is Beverly's worst nightmare. So she plans out every moment of Erica's post-high school, pre-college summer on her personal cuddle calendar, optimizing every last second of mommy/daughter time.

Naturally, Erica is disgusted ... until she discovers the collection of notes that Beverly put in her lunch every day, stuffed unread in her locker. Suddenly, Erica appreciates Beverly's constant, suffocating love, and she can't bring herself to accept her diploma during the graduation ceremony. Now on the same page, Beverly and Erica are overjoyed when they learn that Coach Mellor (Bryan Callen) is trying to stop her from graduating thanks to all her missed gym classes.

But all good, dysfunctional things must come to an end. With some help from Murray, Beverly realizes that she doesn't want to hold Erica back. She works her Beverly magic to get her daughter's diploma, and in one of the series' most moving scenes, tells Erica that as much as she'll miss her, she should go to college. "You should know, no matter where you are and what you're doing, I will always fight for you in an embarrassing and inappropriate way," Beverly says to her daughter, summing up her character in one sweet declaration of overbearing love.

That episode when Beverly Goldberg forces her family to go on a road trip

Inspired by National Lampoon's Vacation, Beverly forces the whole family to go on a vacation by dangling the prospect of Disneyland (and threatening to withdraw funding for college) at the end of what promises to be a disastrous road trip. Barry and Erica are a week from leaving for college (which is just ten minutes away but still), Adam is finally at the top of the high school hierarchy, and Beverly wants this to be the start of an annual family tradition, so they all have to come back to her.

It goes wrong before they've even left the driveway, when it seems like Geoff is about to break up with Erica. From there, Barry and Adam start fighting, Barry gets the family kicked out of their motel, Pops abandons them for a hot date, and Murray is no help with Beverly's minor breakdown over losing her kids to their adult lives.

The jarring effect of seeing the Goldbergs out of Pennsylvania reflects the big changes that are coming to the family. And you really feel for Beverly, the only one who appreciates the significance of the moment. But it's not all sad. Once the family members have sorted their differences, Beverly gets to work her magic on the gate attendant at Disneyland, getting them into the closed park ... 15 minutes early.

Kicking off the Bevolution

Beverly Goldberg has always been fabulous, but she spent the first four seasons of the show fixating so hard on running her children's lives that she had no time to turn that intense attention to detail on herself. But with Erica at college and Barry and Adam old enough to mostly look after themselves, in season five, Beverly launches the Bevolution, a self-makeover that will kick off the next chapter of her life. And for once, Murray is doing his best to offer unwavering support (mostly.)

It's thanks to the Bevolution that we get such business ideas as Beverly's less-than-hot cookbook and BevWear, her line of lace-, applique- and rhinestone-bedazzled denim jackets that are even more horrifyingly of their time than they sound. We also get to see her take her ability to create drama to the Frentas, her version of the Golden Girls, and get that most crucial element of all '80s makeovers — the perm.

Beverly is the Goldbergs character who most hates change within her family. But while many of her Bevolution efforts end in hilarious disaster, it's rewarding to watch the woman who put her family first to an almost terrifying degree finally focus on showing herself that same kind of intense unconditional love.