Normal People is the critically acclaimed miniseries based on the bestselling novel by Irish author Sally Rooney. Set in Ireland, the story revolves a...
The Goldbergs is the long-running US sitcom that is a love letter to the 1980s and was created by Adam F. Goldberg. Beginning on the 24th September 2013, Goldberg, Seth Gordon and Doug Robinson, adapted his memories and home videos into over 200 episodes. Wendi McLendon-Covey plays Adam’s overbearing Mother, Beverly and Curb Your Enthusiasm alumni Jeff Garlin plays his Father, Murray. His older siblings Barry and Erica are played by Troy Gentile and Hayley Orrantia.
Set in Jenkintown Pennsylvania, each episode of The Goldbergs focusses on Adam’s adventures, his love of movies and the incredibly close relationship he has with his family.
The show is all about seeing the decade through Adam’s eyes - his adult self is voiced by Patton Oswalt who narrates each episode stating it takes place in “1980-something”.
1. The Goldberg’s Recreates Adam’s Home Videos
Many of The Goldberg’s storylines and scenes are actually taken (essentially frame by frame!) from Adam F. Goldberg’s home videos made in the 1980s.
Despite this Adam F Goldberg actually left the series in 2019 but he’s still credited as creator and executive producer.
2. Real Pennsylvania Businesses Feature In The Goldbergs
Many references to the real borough of Jenkintown in Montgomery County Pennsylvania are littered throughout the script namely local businesses. These include Kremp’s Florist of Willow Grove, Gimbels Department Store, Wawa Convenience Stores and Willow Grove Park Mall.
3. Many 80s Icons Star In The Goldbergs
Many icons from 1980s popular culture guest star on The Goldbergs including Martin Kove as Sensei John, Rick Springfield (Noah Drake on General Hospital) is Gary in Season 6, and Anthony Michael Hall (Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club) stars in Season 7 as Mr. Perott, a Guidance Counsellor at William Penn Academy.
4. Adam F. Goldberg’s Family Star In The Goldbergs
Several members of Adam F. Goldberg’s real life and own family star as fictional characters or their own parents in the show. The real Beverly Goldberg starred in the Season 5 episode “The Goldberg Girls” alongside her real-life Yenta friends!
Other pivotal people in Adam F Goldberg’s real life play characters on screen in the Goldbergs. This includes the real life Jackie Gary, Adam’s high school girlfriend, stars in several episodes has her own Mother.
In the episode “For Your Own Good“ in Season One, Adam is bullied on the school bus by JC Spink. The real life JC Spink from Adam F. Goldberg’s childhood plays the bus driver!
5. George Segal Passed Away Unexpectedly During Season 8
George Segal played Albert Solomon aka Pops throughout The Goldbergs; he was Adam’s best friend and beloved Grandad. Segal sadly passed away due to complications with bypass surgery on the 23rd March 2021 at the age of 87. He remained part of the cast until his death and had previously starred in most episodes of The Goldbergs.
The episode “Couple Off”, which aired on 7th April 2021, was Segal’s last episode and it ended with a 48 second tribute to the actor. He passed away 15 days prior.
6. The Goldbergs Was Originally Called “How The F— Am I Normal?”
The Goldbergs was originally aligned with Fox in 2011 who had asked to review a script. However, Adam F. Goldberg was concerned that the show may just be given a Pilot season and chose to move production and work with ABC instead. ABC chose to produce it immediately.
When The Goldbergs script was taken to ABC, it was originally named “How the F—- Am I Normal?” and was then revised to “How The Hell Am I Normal?” in early 2013. By April 2013, it was announced that the show was to be titled The Goldbergs.
ABC picked up The Goldbergs to air in the 2013/14 American Television season with a full season order in November 2013. It was filmed mostly at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, California.
7. Jeff Garlin Left Production After Season 9 Due To HR Investigations
During Season 9 of The Goldbergs, it was announced that Jeff Garlin who plays Murray Goldberg would be leaving the show due to several misconduct allegations and HR investigations. Despite this it was announced that his departure was a mutual decision between him and the production team.
For the rest of the season Garlin appeared in outtakes, CGI and with a stand in but was eventually killed off on screen prior to the events of Season 10!
8. Adam F. Goldberg Asked His Favourite Band To Write The Theme Tune
Adam F. Goldberg requested the band “I Fight Dragons”, his favourite band, to write the song ‘Rewind’ which would act as The Goldberg’s theme tune. A soundtrack for The Goldbergs was released in December 2017 and included songs performed by cast members on the show.
The Goldbergs had mixed reviews when Season 1 aired. It was described as having outstanding writing and a strong cast but also as “obnoxious” and “awful”. One critic based at E! News likened The Goldbergs to “Modern Family mixed with A Christmas Story”. Despite its early negative press, The Goldbergs has gone on to cement itself as a popular and well known comedy across North America and the UK.
The Goldbergs is played regularly across the world, including in the UK, Ireland, Turkey, France, Germany and even Israel and Ukraine.
9. The Goldbergs Had A Coach Mellor Spin Off
In November 2016 it was reported that The Goldbergs was set to get a spin off centred around the character Coach Rick Mellor. On the 10th January 2017, it was also reported that Wendi McClendon-Covey would regularly star as Beverly Goldberg in the spin off. Nia Long was cast as the female lead Lucy Winston and Tim Meadows would also join as Andrew Glascott.
In May 2017, ABC ended up passing on the spin off despite its positive testing. It was also at this time that Adam F. Goldberg revealed its title was “Schooled”.
It was announced in 2018 that the pilot would air as a special episode under the title “The Goldbergs: 1990-Something”. Goldberg had hoped that the airing of the special episode would lead to ABC reconsidering the spin off again.
Three months later, ABC officially picked up the Schooled for a 13 episode season. It was announced that AJ Michalka would reprise her role as Lainey Lewis but Nia Long would not return due to prior commitments on NCIS: Los Angeles. In May 2020, the series was finally cancelled after two seasons.
10. Beverly’s Jumpers Are 100% Authentic
The jumpers worn by Wendi McLendon-Covey throughout The Goldbergs actually belong to the real Beverly Goldberg, creator Adam F. Goldberg’s mother. This is similar to the fact that most of the posters that we can see in Adam’s bedroom were actually the real posters that Adam F. Goldberg had in his own childhood bedroom.
11. There Isn’t A Real Goldberg Sister!
One of the surprising differences between Adam F. Goldberg’s real life and the show The Goldbergs is that he actually had two brothers. Adam, Barry and Eric are the real Goldberg trio but ABC executives ask the creators to make one of the siblings a girl to make the show funnier and more relatable so Eric became Erica!
Hayley Orrantia plays Erica Goldberg, the older sister, but she is actually four months younger than Troy Gentile who plays her younger brother Barry.
12. Charlie Sheen Reprises His Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Role
This may be one that movie fans already know but in season two of The Goldbergs during the episode “Barry Goldberg’s Day Off”, actor Charlie Sheen reprises his role of arrested drug addict from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. After he talks to Erica, who is sat in the same seat as Jennifer Grey’s Jeannie Bueller, he’s told that he is free to go. He responds by saying, “Finally! Feels like I’ve been sitting here for 30 fucking years!“ The Goldbergs episode did roughly 29 years after the release of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off so it really had been around 30 years!
13. Lou and Geoff Schwartz Are Actually Related
The actors playing father and son Lou and Geoff Schwartz are actually played by real life father and son Ken and Sam Lerner.
14. Dana and Mrs Caldwell Are Actually Related
Dana Caldwell’s Mother is played by Barbara Alyn Woods. Dana is played by her daughter Natalie Alyn Lind in The Goldbergs!
15. Did You Spot The Revenge Of The Jedi Poster?
One really nerdy fact is that in Adam’s bedroom there is a poster showing the Star Wars film titled “Revenge of the Jedi”. For a brief time the film was released with this title and thousands of teaser posters had been distributed however before the official release George Lucas felt that Jedi knights really wouldn’t seek revenge and instead change the title quickly to “Return of the Jedi”.
These posters are actually now worth a lot of money to collectors and, at one point in The Goldbergs, Adam rips the poster off the wall in anger and yells that it was a collectors item after realising what he had done!
16. There Are Many Real Life Similarities Between The Characters
Many of the characteristics and storylines in The Goldbergs mimic their real life counterparts based on Adam F. Goldberg‘s family.
Adam F. Goldberg’s real life father Murray Goldberg was a doctor not, as they show in the TV series The Goldbergs, the owner of a furniture store.
Beverly Goldberg has actually written a cookbook like she did on the show.
Eric Goldberg, who is Erica Goldberg on the show, dropped briefly out of college to pursue a music career before returning to get a law degree like Erica does.
Barry Goldberg became a doctor, like he’s studying to become on the show and Adam F. Goldberg obviously pursued a career in Hollywood.
17. How Many Adam Goldbergs?
There is a running joke throughout the series The Goldbergs that Adam goes by the name Adam F. Goldberg as there is another Adam Goldberg at the same school. This is a clever reference to the fact that there is another Adam Goldberg in the Screen Actors Guild who is known for films such as A Beautiful Mind (2001) and Saving Private Ryan (1998).
18. There Is Already A Sitcom Called The Goldbergs
Talking of things with the same name, The Goldbergs actually shares its name with an early sitcom from 1949. It was a comedy drama about a Jewish American family living in New York City was created by Gertrude Berg. There were a total of 91 episodes and the show ended on the 19th of October 1954 before going into syndication.
19. Why Are The Episodes Not Really Dated?
As mentioned above, each episode of The Goldbergs begins with the phrase “it was 1980 something “. This was primarily done to avoid continuity areas allowing producers to include 80s references from across the decade regardless of which year was actually being represented on the screen.
20. Wendi McLendon-Covey Is The Most Prolific Goldberg
Wendi McLendon-Covey is the only cast member of The Goldbergs to have appeared in every single episode so far.
21. Adam F. Goldberg Made The Goldbergs After A 2006 Conversation With A Friend
Adam F. Goldberg created a series named “Breaking_in” that ran on fox from April 2011 to August 2012 as a mid-season replacement following American idol. It focuses on the staff members of contra security who test security systems by breaking in before the bad guys do. The story is told from Cameron Prince’s point of view who is the company‘s newest hire and a world-class hacker. This series was cancelled in May 2011 but was allowed to run on for a second series and a total of 20 episodes were made. Bret Harrison, Odette Annabelle and Megan Mullally starred as well as Adam Sandler being Executive Producer. When Breaking_in ended, Adam F. Goldberg remembered that one of his friends saw some of his home videos from childhood in 2006 and said he should make a show all about his family. The rest is history!
22. Some Goldbergs Storylines Were Cut Due To Budget
Some of the more ambitious storylines and 80s references that Adam F. Goldberg wanted to create for The Goldbergs had to be scrapped due to the cost of obtaining the rights. This included any references to Michael Jackson.
23. Each Goldbeg Gets Their Language Censored!
One long run and gagged in The Goldbergs is that in nearly every episode one of the characters language is censored. Each of The Goldbergs have had their language censored at least once!
24. There Is One Repeated Scene Used Regularly In the Goldbergs
One bit of amusing camera trickery in The Goldbergs is that the same scene is used every time the family car is driven through the intersection down the street.
25. Sometimes George Segal Filmed Without The Other Cast
On occasion George Segal was unable to make it to set so some of his scenes were later added in. Eagle eyed viewers may sometimes be able to spot certain episodes in which Segal doesn’t have direct interactions with the main cast.
26. Adam F. Goldberg Went To School With The Manager Of The Philadelphia Phillies
In episodes across multiple seasons, we see a classmate named Ruben Amaro Junior. Interestingly the real Ruben Amaro Junior grew up and played professional baseball and later transitioned into the front office, ost famously as the former general manager of the Philadelphia Phillies from 2008 to 2015. The Philadelphia Phillies are the Goldberg’s favourite team.
27. Adam F. Goldberg Went To High School In The 1990s!
The real life Adam F. Goldberg never went to high school in the 1980s. Instead he started high school in 1990 and graduated in 1994.
28. Adam Always Has His Eyes Shut On Promotional Posters
For every promotional poster made for The Goldbergs, the character of Adam has his eyes closed. This is obviously a conscious decision and could symbolise the fact that everything is being told from Adam’s imagination and he is closing his eyes to remember what went on back in the 1980s days.
29. It Took Forever To Mention The Family Is Jewish
It might seem obvious to many that The Goldbergs are a Jewish family however it was not acknowledged until season three where the family celebrate Hanukkah. They never mentioned Judaism directly but instead use phrases like being “of the tribe” and “upholding tradition”.
In terms of other holiday seasons, Season 6, which broadcast in 2018, is the only season to not have a Thanksgiving episode. Season Eight, which was broadcast in 2020, is the only season to not have a Valentine’s Day episode.
30. The Goldbergs Never Date The Same Age
Interestingly each time one of the Goldberg boys is in a relationship, the girl is at least one year older 1 grade higher in school than the boy. This is also the case with Erica Goldberg and Geoff Schwartz.
Jackie Geary is two years older than Adam Goldberg however in real life, Rowan Blanchard who plays her, is two years younger than Sean Giambrone.
31. Some Roles Have Two Actors
Jackie Geary is played by two actors - Rowan Blanchard in seasons four and five and later Alexis G. Zall in season six. Lauren/Ren is played by two different actors – in season seven and nine they are played by Kelly Bergland but in season eight they are played by Carrie Wampler.
32. The Goldbergs Is Similar To The Wonder Years
There are many similarities between The Goldbergs and the show The Wonder Years from 1988. The narrator himself talks about his childhood. Adam and Dana’s relationship is very similar to Kevin’s with Winnie Cooper. Barry bullies Adam much like Wayne bullied Kevin. Both shows incidentally aired on ABC.
33. The Actors Wear Lapel Microphones
Unlike many other sitcoms and television shows, The Goldbergs does not use boom overhead microphones. Instead the actors wear hidden microphones on themselves.
34. The Two Kens Share A Birthday!
Actors Ken Lerner, who plays Lou Schwartz, and Kenny Ridwan, who plays Dave Kim, actually share the same birthday.
Thanks for reading "34 Little Known Facts About The Goldbergs That You Haven’t Read Before" on January Media.