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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

"The Goldbergs" Organize a "Dirty Dancing" Dance

The movie Dirty Dancing was the theme of a recent episode of ABC's television series The Goldbergs. This series, now in its third season, portrays a secular Jewish suburban family living in Pennsylvania in the early 1980s. I had never watched this series, but I saw advertisements about this episode, and so I recorded and watched it (Season 3, Episode 17, "The Dirty Dancing" Dance).

The ABC Series "The Goldbergs"
This episode is anachronistic because the series takes place in the early 1980s, but the movie Dirty Dancing premiered in August 1987.

Anyway, the episode's premise is that the Goldberg family's mother, Beverly Goldberg (played by Wendi McLendon-Covey), and oldest daughter, Erica Goldberg (played by Hayley Orrantia), love watching a family-owned videotape of the movie Dirty Dancing. Because Erica is helping to organize a school dance for her high school, they decide that the movie should be the theme of the school dance.

The high-school principal objects to the theme, because he never has seen the movie and thinks that it is a "dirty" movie. The principal wants the dance theme to be "Soda Pop Hop". Beverley and Erica go to the principal's office to argue with him about the theme and eventually convince him to allow the Dirty Dancing theme.

Meanwhile, the family's oldest son, Barry Goldberg (played by Troy Gentile), prefers the movie Footloose and tries to interject that movie instead into the dance's theme. (Footloose premiered in 1984.)

The TV episode makes frequent references to the movie's moment where Baby Houseman jumps up into Johnny Castle's hands.

The most famous moment in "Dirty Dancing"

The Goldberg's father, Murray Goldberg (played by Jeff Garlin), hates trying to dance, but briefly practices to catch his wife Beverly in such a jump. He practices with his youngest son, Adam Goldberg (played by Sean Giambrone), in a swimming pool.

In the episode's funniest moment, Erica is at the school dance and tries to jump into her hands of her date, Jeff Schwartz (played by Sam Lerner), but he ducks and she falls face-down into a snack table. (Later, however, Jeff does catch Erica correctly.)

On the Internet, I found the following images from that episode of The Goldbergs.

Murray Goldberg dancing in his bedroom
Erica Goldberg at her "Dirty Dancing" high-school dance.

Erica Goldberg dancing with her date Jeff Schwartz at her "Dirty Dancing" high-school dance.

Erica Goldberg dancing with her date Jeff Schwartz at her "Dirty Dancing" high-school dance.

Erica Goldberg dancing with her date Jeff Schwartz  at her "Dirty Dancing" high-school dance.

Barry Goldberg practicing "Footloose" moves for the school dance.

TV Guide Magazine published an article about this episode. The article revealed that the television show's producers had to obtain the approval of the movie's star, Jennifer Grey.
... all the nostalgia for the decade [the 1980s] ... doesn't come cheap. In fact, Sony, the studio behind The Goldbergs, has one person on their payroll whose entire job is just securing rights clearances for the series.  
"They had never dealt with this kind of volume," [the show's creator Adam] Goldberg explains. "Music clips, music, toys, posters -- every piece has to be cleared." In the case of the big [movie] tribute episodes, Goldberg has to write letters to the movie's lead actors and also explain the story to the studio behind the film. 
That's why, before they could begin shooting the Dirty Dancing" episode, Jennifer grey had to sign off on the concept.  
"It's both time-consuming and stressful, but it's also why I love this job," Goldberg saiys. "I am getting in touch with these people."

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