There have been many sitcoms that take place a couple of decades in the past, but few feel as honest and authentic as The Goldbergs, which ran from 2013 to 2023. Plots nicely balanced the adult and child characters as important parts of the plots, a difficult trick to pull off for many shows. The Goldbergs combined sweet memories, a little bit of tension, and lots of laughs about a family in early to mid 1908s America. For creating this nostalgic slice of entertainment, Adam F. Goldberg is inducted into the Pop Culture Hall of Fame as a Writer for 2023.
Similar to how The Wonder Years tapped into a late ’60s/early ’70s vibe in the mid-90s, The Goldbergs mined the early ’80s for inspiration. And like that earlier show, it paid attention to detail in, well everything. The architecture, interior design, cars on the streets, fashion, and haircuts were impeccable. But The Goldbergs leaned really hard into the toys, television, and other pop culture surroundings of the characters.
If the show felt honest and real to fans, it’s because Adam likely didn’t have to do a lot of research to create much of it. Born in 1976, Goldberg was a kid square in the middle of the rise of Masters of the Universe, the second coming of G.I.Joe, the heyday of the Atari 2600, and the peak of Transformers. What a time to be a kid!
Goldberg wasn’t content to just mention a toy to get cheap retro points. The show might have characters express genuine thrill about getting a toy or agonizing over losing one the way any child of that era might have. The way those children grew up and felt the same emotions again seeing them on TV. And of course, they would have the real toy on the show when possible.
His love of these toys is reflected in his passion for sharing that love. In addition to his hit TV show, he has produced documentaries about Garbage Pail Kids, MOTU (another Inductee), and David Lynch. He even helped bring Community to life as a Consulting Producer. Naming the main character of his sitcom after himself lends even geek culture credibility is unimpeachable, because it feels so real.
The original working title for The Goldbergs was How the F— Am I Normal?, which would have been a pretty bold move, and certainly would have been memorable. Actually, that title is kind of perfect for a show about reliving a geeky childhood, with all the good and bad. Under the changed name, the show aired for ten seasons, so that was probably a great move. In the end, viewers got a chance to remember a lot more from the show. For all that reminiscing, Adam F. Goldberg is inducted into the Pop Culture Hall of Fame.