By Gerrad Hall
July 26, 2020 at 04:00 PM EDT
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After paying tribute to Risky Business, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Sixteen Candles, and National Lampoon's Vacation in their past five season premieres, ABC's The Goldbergs is going to new heights for the ABC family comedy's season 8 premiere. EW can exclusively reveal that the series will pay homage to beloved 1980 film parody Airplane!.

"Do you remember our 'Dinner With the Goldbergs' episode? It all took place in a very small area," star Wendi McLendon-Covey explains during the show's Comic-Con@Home Panel on Sunday (video below), referring to the season 5 episode where a surprise birthday dinner for eldest child Erica (Hayley Orrantia) went off the rails and audiences got to see that this loud, unfiltered, eccentric family doesn't tone it down even when at a restaurant. And those antics will escalate when thousands of miles in the air. "Murray's gonna have some strong feelings about sitting in coach." Adds executive producer Doug Robinson, "The only thing crazier than having dinner with the Goldbergs is taking an airplane ride with the Goldbergs."

Fans can also expect another big event in season 8 — something that was supposed to be the season 7 finale, but that episode didn't get filmed as production, like almost all of Hollywood, shut down because of the pandemic.

"There was going to be a wedding," McLendon-Covey teases, while Robinson and her co-stars Orrantia, Sean Giambrone (Adam Goldberg), Troy Gentile (Barry Goldberg), and Sam Lerner (Geoff Schwartz) smile, shrug, and generally refuse to speak more on the topic.

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The cast and Robinson look back on the rest of season 7 — Erica and Barry went are off at college and getting into their own shenanigans; Beverly was grappling with her growing children not needing her so much anymore; and Adam found himself the lone kid at home, where he "started getting just downright mouthy" with Beverly, as McLendon-Covey points out as one of her favorite parts of the seventh season.

Co-star George Segal (who joined later into the panel) tells all about filming those season 7 premiere Vacation homage scenes with Christie Brinkley, and the cast also answers some fan questions, including one about their favorite guest stars (Tommy Lee! John Oates! Dan Fogelman! Charles Barkley! Rick Springfield!), and Orrantia reveals the weird question she's sometimes asked when fans want to take a picture.

And the series has picked up some new fans over the past few months, McLendon-Covey explains, saying she's been getting a lot of DMs from people saying they just discovered the show under quarantine. One of them is a three-year-old named Archie, who now has fake glasses so he can look like Adam, can do Beverly's flashdance from season 6, and draws pictures inspired by the series. "It is the cutest thing in the world, and right there, that just makes my life," McLendon-Covey says, gushing about the young fan, "that a 3-year-old little kitten is quoting lines from our show."

Season 8 of The Goldbergs will — hopefully — premiere this fall on ABC. Check out the Comic-Con@Home panel above moderated by this reporter for more.

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