‘The Goldbergs’ is a popular period piece family sitcom that entices the audiences with endearing characters and a quirky familial ambiance. Created by Adam F. Goldberg and set in the 1980s in an alternate version of the Philly suburb of Jenkintown, the series revolves around the titular family. The story unfolds through the eyes of Adam, whose transition from preadolescence to teen years mirrors the growth of his surroundings.
The family includes asocial patriarch Murray, smothering matriarch Beverly, and children Erica, Barry, and Adam. Adam, the youngest in the family, is also a budding filmmaker. As he videotapes events in the family, a new stylistic feature is added to the series. The present-day Adam narrates the story with a deep understanding of the characters, and the ’80s pop culture references are worth devouring. However, you may wonder how much of the story has a basis in reality, and in that case, let us help you out!
Is The Goldbergs Based on A True Story?
Yes, ‘The Goldbergs’ is based on a true story. The middle-class ambiance of the tale comes off as believable, and you may be astonished to know that the specific episodes also have a palpable basis. However, the series has no relation to the 1949 series of the same name, apart from the fact that they are both sitcoms centering on a Jewish American family. Creator Adam F. Goldberg based the series on his childhood, and thus, he draws much of the familial ambiance of the story from memory.
Like the character in the series, the real-life Adam also videotaped events. These videos proved to be the building blocks for the series. Much of these videos are dramatized in the series, while the actual videotapes are shown at the end of episodes. The show is rooted in the 80s culture, and the creator also recreated his home-state with detailed realism. Like the family from the series, the creator’s family hails from Pennsylvania. And in context, the series makes a lot of references to actual sites and businesses from the state, such as the Wawa convenience store chain, Willow Grove Park Mall, Gimbel’s department store, and Kremp’s Florist in Willow Grove.
To keep the 1980s ambiance plausible, the series showcases cultural icons from the decade as guest stars. Among the noted guest stars of the series are Charlie Sheen, Chuck Norris, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Rick Springfield, Hulk Hogan, and Tommy Lee. Moreover, several relatives and family members of Adam Goldberg also take up various fictional roles. The real-life Beverly Goldberg also appears in the series in the eleventh episode of the fifth season. She leads a group of elders that the on-screen Beverly longs to be like. The fictional Beverly also wears sweaters worn by the real-life Beverly.
However, some aspects were changed to make the family dynamic more endearing. Adam has two siblings in the series: Barry and Erica. Although his real-life siblings are both males, Eric was changed to be Erica following a suggestion made by ABC execs. The original Eric Goldberg also makes several appearances, particularly in ‘Eight-Bit Goldbergs’ and ‘MTV Spring Break.’ Adam’s real-life high-school girlfriend Jackie Geary stars in her mother’s character in several episodes. George Segal’s character Albert “Pops” Solomon also plays the banjo in the series, and in the episodes, Segal played the instrument himself.
However, the real-life Adam Goldberg, the creator of the series, started high school in 1990 and graduated in 1994. Murray Goldberg was also not a furniture store owner as shown in the series – he was a doctor instead. In a show packed in pop-culture references, both the 80s ambiance and the modest furniture-supplier background of the family are perhaps taken from the classic coming-of-age sitcom ‘The Wonder Years.’ Therefore, although the series mingles reality and fiction, the show creates its enticing ambiance by staying close to the creator’s roots.