Anyone who’s ever lived through the battlefield of middle school and high school knows that the idea of a parent chaperoning a dance is akin to social suicide. When said parent is Beverly Goldberg, however, the capacity for embarrassment suddenly becomes downright catastrophic.
The episode begins with Adam garnering enough courage to ask Dana for a dance at the upcoming school dance. The problem comes when Adam realizes he has no idea how to actually dance with a girl. After failing to get advice from Erica or proper lessons from Barry, who only subscribes to the art of break-dancing, Adam turns to his mother, despite knowing that asking her help will be “opening the door” for her to further invade his life. To Adam’s delight, Beverly actually teaches him decent dance moves. (I assume they’re decent; by the time I started going to dances, everyone was just grinding all the time.) His worst fears come to pass, however, when he hears that she’s volunteered to chaperone the event to witness her son’s first slow-dance.
Reading the premise of “You Opened the Door,” I thought I knew what kind of episode to expect. And while select portions of the main story met my expectations, others surprisingly threw me a curve. Certainly the scene where Adam must practice slow dancing with his mother is as awkward and as painful as you’d expect (not to mention the fact that she goes to the dance dressed in “hip” parachute pants). Yet, the writers appear to presuppose that their audiences know Beverly’s character and, with that knowledge, expect her to do and say certain things.
In other words, when Beverly eventually shows up at the dance, despite Adam’s desperate attempts to keep her away, we expect an avalanche of humiliation to follow suit. Instead, he …