The Goldbergs is a family sitcom set in the 80’s whose premise ran its course about two seasons in. And if you’re thinking a show called The Goldbergs should’ve had an episode that features Bill Goldberg, they did do that already, and about 10 other times. Like Goldberg himself, it didn’t seem to concern itself much with actual professional wrestling. But this particular episode is dedicated to professional wrestlers. Especially those who have wrestled at WrestleMania.
What the World is Watching highlights a wrestling episode from a non-wrestling show and explores that particular episode’s use of the tropes most commonly associated with wrestling episodes. Does that make sense? You can watch this episode on Hulu.
The Wrestling Episode
Murray, here played by a non-CGI version of Jeff Garlin, is the head of the household and has never cared much for his children’s interests. However, in this episode he decides to inject himself into his kids’ lives because he’s getting old and wants to make an effort. So when his two sons, Barry and Adam, ask him if they can order WrestleMania IV he not only agrees to fork over the $24.95, but he then takes it a step further and decides to surprise them with actual tickets to the event. However, tickets sell out and Murray’s forced to buy them from a scalper for $400. In 1980’s money. The boys are excited about going to Mania, but not so much with their dad as that would be embarrassing.
The boys devise an elaborate plot to ditch their dad at WrestleMania which involves a wrestling ring/arena set up that would make Matt Cardona envious. They then second guess it and seriously consider spending time with him. Until Murray shows up in their sister’s black bathing suit cosplaying as “Ding Dong Randy.”
Moments after taking their seats, they’re asked to move because they’re in the wrong seats. They then realize that Murray bought WhistleMania tickets instead. How they were able to still get into the venue with those bogus tickets, I’ll never know. Simpler times? Pre 9/11 lax ticket-taking and security? Despite Murray going through the effort and spending $400 in 1980’s money, the ungrateful jerks go off on their dumb dad for getting fake tickets. They also decide to let him in on their original plan to ditch them, which leads to Murry ditching them instead.
Mind you, all this is taking place during Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant – the 9th match of the 16-match card. Yes, the Murrays and the dudes whose seats they took all happened to arrive in the middle of WrestleMania IV. Who the hell does that?
As the boys get escorted off the premises through the backstage area, for unexplained reasons, Hulk Hogan appears. Yes, despite having been wrestling in the match they had just left in the middle of. Hogan tells them they only have one father and if he’s willing to make an effort to spend time with them, they should too. And if their dad is in any position to spin a dark moment in their life in which they recklessly cause a car accident that almost kills one of their friends into potentially getting another reality show, then they should reciprocate that same kind of love. Hogan does know best after all.
Does one of the show’s main characters have to wrestle?
No, but as brothers do they wrestle each other over dumb stuff, like a Rowdy Roddy Piper stretch wrestler action figure.
Are they filling in for another wrestler?
No, but they jacked Carlito’s seats. And that’s not cool.
Did they enter a contest to wrestle for prize money?
No, but a father is out $400 for bootleg Mania tickets.
Is the wrestler an actual professional wrestler making a cameo appearance?
Hulk Hogan shows up as Hulk Hogan. It is an episode about professional wrestling in the 80’s and since Hulk Hogan’s contract with the devil is still intact, there’s nobody else who’s still alive from that era that would make sense casting here. Also, while not necessarily appearing as a professional wrestler or wrestling, Carlito aka Carlito Caribbean Cool aka Carlito Colon, makes an appearance as a bothered fan whose seats are occupied by the Goldbergs. Sadly, he doesn’t spit a chewed up piece of apple at Murray’s face.
Is there a masked wrestler present?
None. Unless you count two-faced Hulk Hogan. Zing!
Is the wrestling predetermined or legitimate?
As dumb as Barry is, even he’s aware it’s all a work when he clarifies to his dad that he is real fighting with his brother over their fake wrestling toys.
Was an airplane spin performed?
No, but the boys did figuratively body slam Murray’s heart.
- Hogan cutting a promo as Hall & Oates’ “Private Eyes” plays in the background was not lost on me.
- The cold open was basically a commercial for all of WWF’s 80’s merchandise, including the never-released British Bulldogs tea cups.
- Barry calling the Hulkster an idiot for the way he throws around the word brother is probably the highlight of the show. It’s a decent gag that they then run into the ground during the show’s tag.
- I get this was 2017 Hulk Hogan pretending to be 1988 Hulk Hogan, and there’s nothing you can do about his old leathery face. But maybe dress him up as an era appropriate Hogan. Like, maybe lose the yellow sunglasses that he didn’t start wearing until his 2002 WWE return.
- Adam keeps insisting that there’s going to be a cage at this WrestleMania. There wasn’t.
- He then insists that Hogan and Andre are going to be in arguably the most famous match in wrestling history. That actually happened at the previous year’s Mania.
- I don’t know why Pro Wrestling Tees isn’t already making “Ander the Gaint” t-shirts.
- WrestleTown, Hunk Hoggins, Andy Macho Dan Rather, Ding Dong Randy, and all the greats.