Recap of Sixteen Candles/You Got Zuko’d as explained by the Flashpoint Paradox
Hear me out: The Goldbergs now exist in DC’s Arrowverse Flashpoint.
Look, I think we can all agree that the Goldbergs is a superhero show. You’ve got a superhuman mom that can do and be anywhere and everywhere all at once. An older son who has Hulk like rage outbursts and strength (who also weirdly seems to appear out of thin air whenever Adam looks to Pops for advice). A dad who has super speed at taking off his pants, and of course, a little brother who is the smart, nerdy sidekick who explains all the science/geeky stuff to the others. I think you get the point…
Of course, the main superhero of the show, and reason for my argument that the Goldbergs and Arrowverse share the same universe, is Johnny “Ponytail Johnson” Atkins. Johnny A. has the greatest superpower of them all, not only can he shred hardcore to the tunes of Rush, his luscious ponytail is the source of all the universe’s power. It is my belief that when Carla cut Johnny’s ponytail at Adam’s 16th birthday party in the season premiere, “Sixteen Candles”, it formed a wormhole through which Johnny went back in time to prevent his ponytail from being cut off in the first place. In doing so, Johnny A. created Flashpoint, a new timeline in which the Goldbergs now exist, wherein episode two, “You Got Zuko’d”, takes place. This is how we come to find a “new” Jackie. In our (the audience’s) timeline, pre-Johnny ponytail massacre, the innocent Rowan Blanchard played Jackie. However, in Flashpoint Goldbergs, Flashpoint Jackie is, and has always been (to the Goldbergs) portrayed by the punk Alexis Zall. So how did we even get to this point in the first place? Let’s review:
If you remember from the season five finale, “Lets Val Kilmer This Car”, Blainey got engaged in a sweet moment on the football field. Which was a nice callback to the season two ep, “The Daryl Dawkins Dance”, when Barry and Lainey first *officially* got together/DTR’ed. Also in the finale, Erica dropped out of college and is dead set on pursuing the singing career with Valley Erica by forming my new favorite girl punk glam-rock band, The Dropouts. Look out, The Bangles, there’s a new all-female band taking the world by storm! Anyways, that brings us to season six premiere, “Sixteen Candles”.
We start off with it being Adam’s 16th birthday (which according to creator Adam F. Goldberg, is the day AFTER the season 5 ep, “Circle of Driving Again”). He’s watching Hughes’s Sixteen Candles, natch, and pities Molly Ringwald’s character as her parents forgot her 16th birthday. However, as Adam goes downstairs to be embraced with birthday love, he comes to find Barry and Erica getting slammed by their parents, Barry for getting engaged to a “child bride” (Bev’s words, not mine) and Erica for running up the electricity bill like some Norwegian Royalty”, with no one remembering his [Bev Bomb] 16th birthday. As one does when his family forgets his birthday, Adam decides to throw himself, with the help of my main man, Dave Kim, Muscles Mirsky, Pops, and ultimately, Erica, a classic John Hughes-ian birthday RAGER. With Bev, Mur-man, Barry, Lainey, and Bill all in Atlantic City “celebrating” Blainey’s engagement and Bev’s “one day” (which could be 10 to three to two years) “Bubbylution”, Adam has free reign to destroy the house. Hijinks ensue, holes are made, wine is destroyed. However, the main disaster of the party is that our precious Johnny A’s powerful ponytail get s caught in a door wedge and Carla must *shudders* cut his ponytail off. Thus, unleashing Flashpoint into the Goldbergs’ world and setting up the new timeline in episode 2, “You Got Zuko’d”.
Now in Flashpoint Goldbergs universe*, Adam is at school when he sees Jackie has “changed” from her summer in NYC. Again, to the audience we see Jackie has a literal whole new person (played by a new actress), but to Adam Flashpoint Jackie isn’t a new person, she’s just changed her style from geek to punk. To try and keep up with edgy Flashpoint Jackie, Adam and Dave Kim head to Zipperheads to look as cool as Eric Idol. Walking into the lunchroom the next day, Adam catches the eye of resident bad girl, Carla, which gets our boy Johnny A (with fully grown Ponytail! Thanks for messing up the timeline, bro) all hot and bothered. A drag race between Adam and Johnny is proposed where the winner gets a pink slip and Carla’ love.
*As an aside, the characters in Flashpoint Goldbergs don’t know they are in Flashpoint and currently living in a new timeline or that anything in their universe has changed, unlike the audience, because to them this has always been the timeline.
Over on the B-story, Bev bequeaths her sacred Yenta recipe box to schmoopala in-law, Lainey, after seeing that Lainey can only “cook” Barry Hungry Man frozen dinners. Lainey is understandably resistant as she doesn’t want to have mother Barry for the rest of time, including making the “make” signal. This does lead to an entertaining exchange between Geoff and Barry wherein Geoff wants to be his girlfriend’s mother, as well as, Barry’s mom/brother in-law. Its hard to tell right off the bat the effects of Flashpoint on Barry/Lainey and Geoff/Erica but im glad Flashpoint didn’t mess with the couplings themselves (well I guess still TBD). One obvious Flashpoint ripple is that Mur was in pants this whole episode with little to do! Flashpoint Barry is also a little more mature as he realizes Lainey shouldn’t be the one to take care of him, but that he should be the one taking care of Lainey *swoon*. He does so by accepting the sacred recipe box and cooking a Pork Parm Wellington for Lainey and Blainey lasts another day #blessed.
Adam and Flashpoint Jackie also make it through the punk phase hurdle in their relationship after the debacle that was surely the slowest drag race in history. I mean for having an all-powerful singularity ponytail, Johnny A sure can’t push his car that fast. In the end though, it wasn’t what Adam looked like or how much Flashpoint Jackie had changed, true love will always prevail *cue the emotional music*.
It remains what will come of Flashpoint Goldbergs but I am excited for this new timeline and the journey we are all about to embark on together this season. Join me next time as I use another CW show to wrap my head around the Goldberg’s 1980-something singularity timeline.