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The 1928-1955 Sitcom

  • I Am Not Spock: Defied and averted. Gertrude Berg fully identified with Molly Goldberg, despite being an upper class woman while Molly was at best working class.
  • The Other Darrin:
    • Harold Stone then Robert H. Harris replaced Philip Loeb when the latter was blacklisted.
    • Tom Taylor replaced Larry Robinson as Molly's son, Sammy.
  • Serial Numbers Filed Off: A pseudo-Spinoff, Mrs. G Goes to College, had Berg playing a character Sarah Green, who was a lawyer friendly Expy of Molly Goldberg. The title of the show borders on Mockbuster territory.
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The 2013- Sitcom

  • Actor-Inspired Element:
    • Erica Goldberg is a singer because Hayley Orrantia is a singer. They doubled down on this when they cast AJ Michalka, who is also a singer, as her best friend (and later Barry's girlfriend) Lainey Lewis.
    • In the show's Batman (1989) episode, Murray does a lengthy impersonation of Adam West. Although it's certainly true that the Adam West Batman would have been the most familiar to Murray, it's doubtful that a character as dour and grumpy as him would be inclined to do a killer Adam West impression if Jeff Garlin couldn't.
  • Adored by the Network: Being ABC's biggest comedy hit since Modern Family, they treat it quite well. Ads are put everywhere for it, and they have marathons when new episodes aren't airing, something that's rare for a first-run TV show on a broadcast network in the United States.
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  • Approval of God: The real Beverly Goldberg absolutely loves how she's portrayed on this show and apparently can't stop bragging about it to everyone within earshot.
  • As Himself: Starting in season 5, the real-life inspirations of most of the characters cameo as themselves.
  • Author Existence Failure: Averted with George Segal, who played Pops. He retired a few months before he died, and was absent in a Hannukah episode as a result.
  • California Doubling: Even though the show's filmed in California, it's set in suburban Philadelphia.
  • The Cast Showoff:
    • Hayley Orrantia, who plays Erica, gets to show off her singing voice in multiple episodes. In real life, Orrantia is a recording artist and former The X Factor contestant.
    • And Dixieland fan George Segal got to show off his banjo-playing skills in "Van People."
  • Casting Gag: Adam's love interest for season 7 is played by Sadie Stanley, who starred opposite Sean Giambrone in the Disney Channel Original Movie of Kim Possible.
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  • The Character Died with Him: When George Segal passed away, Pops was also written out of the series with "The Goldbergs' Excellent Adventure" centering around the family's inability to process their loss.
  • Dueling Works: With The Americans, in a way. While obviously, they are so completely different that they don't really "compete" with each other, it is not uncommon for them to cover the same ground about 1980s life (both did an episode on The Day After, for example).
  • Dawson Casting: The 18-year-old Barry and the 20-year-old Erica are played by Troy Gentile and Hayley Orrantia, both of whom are 25.
    • It's also going that way now we're up to season eight, with high-school-aged Adam being played by 22-year-old Sean Giambrone. This was heavily lampshaded by the trailers for the new series on E4, who air the show in the UK.
Continuity Announcer: [singing] Stay in your chairs, this is gonna get naughty. I'm surprised it's still goin', 'cos the kid's about forty!
  • Executive Meddling: Erica is loosely based on the real life's Adam Goldberg's older brother, Eric Goldberg. For the sake of adding an extra female character to the main cast, one of his family member's gender needed to be changed. The real Eric Goldberg (who has been interviewed on the show by Hayley Orrantia who plays "him") takes this in stride, commenting that the change gives him plausible deniability that others (such as his mother Beverly and brother Barry) can't hide behind.
  • In Memoriam: The original airing of "Have a Summer" was dedicated to Michelle McNamara, the wife of Patton Oswalt, who played the voice of Adult Adam/Narrator in the show.
    • The episode "MTV Spring Break" was dedicated to Marlene Bell, the real-life older sister of Beverly Goldberg.
    • "Love Triangle", in addition to the vanity plate referencing Prince Markie Dee's passing, was dedicated to the memory of George Segal just hours after his death on March 25, 2021. "Couple Off" has a lengthier send-off, as it was the final episode Segal appeared in before passing; the vanity plate for this episode is a black and white photo of the real Adam F. Goldberg with Segal.
    • "The Goldbergs' Excellent Adventure" was also dedicated to George Segal and was capped with footage of Segal entertaining the cast and crew with his banjo.
  • Milestone Celebration: The 100th episode, "Jackie Likes Star Trek", which also doubled as the annual Halloween Episode.
  • Missing Episode: "1990-Something" does not appear on the season five DVD set.
  • Name's the Same:
    • Creator Adam F. Goldberg uses his middle initial to distinguish himself from comedian and actor Adam Goldberg. This is referenced and becomes a Running Gag in Season 4, when Adam enters high school and starts using his middle initial because there's a senior also by the name of Adam Goldberg.
  • Older Than They Think: Geoff Schwartz invented the Uber Eats-style food delivery service! Although, he failed because a) he and his friends did all the work instead of it being farmed out to "independent contractors" and b) he conducted his business via phone and pager instead of having an app (though this can be excused by the fact that the show is set before smartphones existed).
  • The Other Darrin:
    • In his first appearance in season 2, Murray's dad "Pop Pop", was played by Paul Sorvino. In all of his subsequent appearances, he's now played by Judd Hirsch.
    • Adam's girlfriend Jackie was played by Rowan Blanchard in seasons 4 and 5. For Season 6, she is instead played by Alexis G. Zall. Lampshaded as they say her summer at NYU "changed her" (which, according to the actual Adam F. Goldberg, actually happened in Real Life).
    • Ren was played by Kelli Berglund in season 7, then Carrie Wampler in season 8.
  • Out of Holiday Episode: The holiday episodes regularly show up in syndication.
  • Real-Life Relative: Geoff Schwartz's father Lou is played by Sam Lerner's actual father Ken Lerner.
  • Reality Subtext:
    • In season four, Adam repeatedly asks people to refer to him as Adam F. Goldberg in order to avoid being confused with another kid at school named Adam Goldberg. While it works as a joke within the context of the show, the real reason for this is to be a light-hearted Take That to Adam Goldberg, who has angrily complained about being confused with the show's similarly named creator.
    • In a later episode in Season 5, Adam's accused of comparing President Skroob to Reagan when in actuality there's no political motivation going on. This reflects a real-life controversy where Adam Goldberg angered Trump supporters who thought his tweets about Skroob were directed at Donald Trump, causing said Trump supporters to boycott the series (and Trump opponents who also didn't get the reference to defend Goldberg).
  • Role-Ending Misdemeanor: Bryan Callen, who played Rick Mellor, was the only actor who hasn't returned to the show following Schooled's cancellation, due to multiple sexual abuse and sexual assault allegations in July 2020.
  • Role Reprise:
  • Uncredited Role: Despite narrating the show as adult Adam, Patton Oswalt is left off the credits for most of the series.
  • Vindicated by Reruns: The show was already a big hit, to begin with, but when Nick @ Nite began airing syndicated reruns of the show, it became so popular that the show's re-runs have beaten new episodes of first-run cable shows like Pardon the Interruption and House Hunters.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • According to the show's creator, Adam F. Goldberg, Thomas F. Wilson was considered for the part of Murray Goldberg before the casting of Jeff Garlin.
    • As seen in this interview, Dana is not the real name of the person she was inspired by; ABC was initially wary that the real-life people might not like how they were depicted and had Goldberg change her name. Goldberg later said the real woman communicated with him and had no problem with her portrayal, which led to ABC being more open about using the real names. However, Goldberg still regrets not being able to call Dana by her real name in the show.
    • "Bill's Wedding" was originally supposed to serve as the season 7 finale, but production was suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was eventually filmed and aired as a regular season 8 episode.
  • The Wiki Rule: The Goldbergs Wiki.
  • Working Title: The show's working title was "How the Hell am I Normal?"
  • Write What You Know:
    • Creator Adam F. Goldberg based the show on his own family, and the stories are based on real events from his childhood.
    • Happens In-Universe on "Stefan King", where Adam, inspired by Stephen King, writes a horror story about a monster based on Beverly.
  • You Look Familiar:
    • Anthony Michael Hall, who played Mr. Perott, previously played Rusty the Security Guard in "Vacation".
    • The real Brea Bee, who appeared as her mother, Vicki Bee, in "Dee-Vorced", previously played an unrelated character, Mrs. Vanica, in the season 4 episode, "The Spencer's Gift".
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