The ’80s were all about excess, so it seems appropriate that the second season of The Goldbergs is overflowing with Reagan-era references: Midseason tributes to director John Hughes and Back to the Future are planned, and “smother” Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey) plans to renew her vows with Murray (Jeff Garlin) in an over-the-top approximation of Diana and Charles’ royal wedding.
“She wants to have a big blowout since their first wedding was kind of paltry because Murray paid for it himself,” McLendon-Covey says. “But nothing is going to happen the way she wants it to.” Also this season, Adam (Sam Giambrone) eyes his neighbor Dana as his very own Winnie Cooper-style crush, while Barry (Troy Gentile) scores a love interest and, in the first episode, a fake I.D., thanks to guest star David Spade, who plays a clerk at an old-school photo development shop. (Can we take a second to appreciate Barry’s mouthy, all-too-excited grin as he prepares for his fake ID snapshot in the photo above?)
Plus, creator Adam F. Goldberg’s personal love of high school theater will become a plotline, with guest star Ana Gasteyer (Suburgatory, Mean Girls) as a drama coach. “I’m obsessed with musicals,” Goldberg says. “So I’m doing a full episode of what that experience was like, being a theater kid.”
And in keeping with last season—which featured hits like Jon Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer”— music will continue to play a big part on the ABC sitcom. A tune from band Chicago will be featured on the first episode (“I picked my favorite,” teases Goldberg) and Adam and Barry will form their own garage metal band, featuring tunes by Twisted Sister.
“I was obsessed with them as a kid. I remember running down the hallway screaming ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It.’ It was really one of those childhood anthems that really stirred you up and made you want to rebel,” Goldberg reminisces, laughing. “They’re [Twisted Sister] really excited that I was such a big fan.”
Twisted Sister aren’t alone in counting themselves as Goldnerds, as fans of the show have affectionately nicknamed themselves.
“Tiffany tweets me all the time, Scott Baio is the coolest guy ever,” Goldberg says. But his high-profile fans—who are angling for a guest role on The Goldbergs—present a dilemma for the show, which is permanently set in 1980-something.
“I can’t have Scott Baio be anyone other than Scott Baio because [on the show] they’re going to watch Happy Days and Charles in Charge. It’ll be weird,” says Goldberg. “So unless Tiffany is going to play Tiffany, then I don’t know how I can get these people on there that have reached out that watch and love the show. Scott Baio will like, quote lines for me and stuff. Which is crazy.”
And how do the real-life Goldbergs feel about seeing themselves on primetime TV for a second season? “They recognize that it’s the best version of our family that there will ever be,” Goldberg says, laughing. Though, he notes, the family submitted suggestions for season 2.
“Barry has requested that he has friends this year and that he’s better at sports,” he says.. “And I’m like, ‘You’re a grown man. Why does it matter that the TV version of you isn’t great at all sports?’”
The Goldbergs premieres on Sept. 24 at 8:30 p.m. on ABC.