ABC’s ‘The Goldbergs’ is in happy place

Sitcom set in 1980s begins 5th season, is in syndication




LOS ANGELES — There’s a huge sense of joy filling every room of the Goldbergs’ residence. Of course, those rooms are a series of sets in various soundstages on the Sony Pictures Studios lot — but the excitement is absolutely real.

The cast of the ABC comedy “The Goldbergs” are happy not only because they returned for a fifth season Wednesday, but also because all 95 episodes from the previous four seasons are playing in syndication. That means the antics based on the life of series creator Adam F. Goldberg — captured by him with his video camera when he was young — can be seen on a daily basis.

Not bad for a show that Goldberg — the real one and not one of the characters on the show — had balked at making for years. He had shown his home videos to Doug Robinson (who would eventually become an executive producer on “The Goldbergs”) and he immediately saw them as fodder for a TV comedy. During an interview before the series launched, Goldberg said that when Robinson had told him his TV idea, he rejected it.

Goldberg said: ” ‘I can’t. There’s no way. My family will kill me.’ ”

So what changed? “I think what really changed was I became a dad and just kind of had perspective on we’re raising our kids so differently. And that was really the thing that changed. It gave me kind of a new perspective on how to do the show. And then, as a sales tool, to have those videos like that was kind of the final puzzle piece to show those in the room to everybody and get people excited.”

Viewers got excited enough to keep “The Goldbergs” on the air. What they have mainly seen is how the world of the ’80s looked through the eyes of a young Adam Goldberg as played by Sean Giambrone.

Many of the episodes have been built around big events or movies from the ’80s and the season opener continues that trend as Adam tries to give his older brother, Barry (Troy Gentile), the perfect girlfriend, even if it means building one like they did in the movie “Weird Science.”

Although Giambrone wasn’t even born until 1999, he’s had no trouble understanding all of the ’80s references.

“For some reason, I had already watched a lot of the movies we have used,” Giambrone says, standing in the kitchen set for the show. “I do like them. I did go back and watch ‘Weird Science’ two weeks before we started filming. It helps to know the movies because we do a lot of re-creation scenes where we just change certain things and bring in other characters you wouldn’t expect.”