When 11-year-old, Adam P. Goldberg filmed his family on a clunky video cam in the 1980s, no one ever dreamed the content would end up anywhere but in an attic along with his Rubik’s Cube and cassette tapes.
But here we are in 2013, and the Goldberg family’s eccentricities, dysfunctions, and extremely loud voices are now immortalized in ABC’s upcoming, new comedy, “The Goldbergs,” which is based on executive producer Goldberg’s childhood.
“I didn’t really want to do the show for a long time,” Goldberg, now 37, told reporters while promoting the new ABC sitcom. “And then Doug (his producing partner Doug Robinson) saw my videos and he said, ‘You have to do this as a show.’ I said, “My family will kill me.”
Turns out he was wrong. “It’s a nice homage. They’re really excited,” Goldberg says of the show. Even his older brother, who beat him up regularly as a child, approves. “His only issue is he does not run like a tool. He wanted everyone to know that.”
The show is told through the voice and lens of Goldberg’s video camera-toting TV alter ego. Think of it as sort of “Wonder Years” meets the Big ’80s, complete with large hair, bad sweaters and a REO Speedwagon.
Jeff Garlin (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) plays the patriarch, Murray Goldberg, a vociferous hot head who likes to walk around the house in his underwear and call his son a “moron.”
Garlin also spends an inordinate amount of time yelling at his family. “Yelling is good, yelling is funny,” he says. “And if it becomes annoying, I’ll stop and I’ll be the first to notice. Until then, I’m gonna yell!”
And that’s just fine with Goldberg. “That’s how we communicated with each other,” he recalls of his real-life family. “Just screaming at each other. And a minute later my mom would say, ‘Who wants waffles?’”
Check Out the Pilot Episode of “The Goldbergs” Early! The Full Episode Is Below:
His overbearing mom, Beverly, is played to mascara-drenched perfection by comedienne Wendi McLendon-Covey (“Rules of Engagement,” “Bridesmaids”). Growing up in the ’80s, Covey says the character really resonated with her. “I did an open flower-bang and lioness windblown thing,” she recalls of her own tress style. “I really thought I was hot back then.”
She describes going through a few different looks for Beverly before settling on the Jane Fonda workout ensemble. Says Goldberg, “My mom never went to the gym, but she always walked around in workout clothes.”
And hideous sweaters.
At the press conference, Goldberg revealed to Covey for the first time that his mom had recently sent him a huge box of custom-made “Bill Cosby-esque” sweaters for her to wear.
But lest one think the show is just a giant send-up of the ’80s, Garlin begs to differ. “It’s about the family and it just happens to be set in the ’80s,” he says. “The reason I did the show is because it’s real, it’s honest and the writing is great.” Not to mention relatable to his own life.
“Seriously, when I get home, my pants are off within two minutes,” Garlin says.
“The Goldbergs,” which co-stars Patton Oswalt and George Segal, premieres Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 9/8c on ABC.