By: Judy Shields
Beverly Hills, California (The Hollywood Times) – “I knew in my heart if it didn’t happen, there would be no show. I’m glad I had clips of my Mom yelling at me and my Dad saying I was a Moron. A lot of the clips, my family won’t allow me to put it on television, there is a scene where my family is yelling in the background and I am eating wheat thins off the floor and my Mom said ‘Adam is going to be a filmmaker’ and my Dad says ‘Oh please!’ That is the end of it.” Adam Goldberg told the sold out theatre at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills this past Tuesday night.
The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills presented The Goldbergs 100th Episode Celebration as part of its PaleyLive Fall Season. The program featured a screening, panel conversation, and audience Q&A with the cast and creative team.
The 100th episode will be airing next Wednesday, October 25 on ABC at 8 p.m. and it will be a Halloween themed episode. Don’t miss it and if you having seen the show yet, you need to catch up on the ABC app.
Wendi McLendon-Covey, “Beverly Goldberg”
Hayley Orrantia, “Erica Goldberg”
Sam Lerner, “Geoff Schwartz”
Adam F. Goldberg, Creator and Executive Producer
Doug Robinson, Executive Producer
Lea Thompson, Director
Moderator: Jim Halterman, West Coast Bureau Chief, TV Guide Magazine
The Hollywood Times was on the purple carpet and caught up with Lea Thompson, Hayley Orrantia and Sam Lerner.
THT: How did you get to direct the 100th Episode?
Lea Thompson: I don’t know, it was the luck of the draw. I’m not sure, but I was happy to take it. I had a meeting with Adam a year ago, and he was like ‘great do you want to direct one?’ and I was like, yep and they me this one and said by the way, it’s the 100th episode, and I said I am not worthy of this great honor, but I was super, super happy to do it. I love the show.
THT: What do you miss about the 80s?
LT: Big hair, funny clothes, price of real estate
THT: What were you doing in 1980s?
LT: I was a movie star, just becoming a movie star, I have been a very lucky girl. I grew up in the 70s and I definitely torn up the 80s and when I started to do research for this show and YouTube some stuff, the space camp episode and the some kind of wonderful episode and Howard the Duck episode, I was a big part of that pop culture and I think Adam’s favorite movie is Back to The Future. I’m not sure. After they figured this was the Halloween episode, they had to make a decision about some costumes and you will see the costumes they came up with.
THT: What did you do as the director on this episode?
LT: Basically the shot of the scenes, the feeling of the scene, sometimes we get to pick the set and help cast. The gatekeeper for the show, the schedule and directions. To reenergize the crew and actors especially after 100 episodes. Remind them how great they are and it’s easy to lose sight of that.
THT: Will you be directing more of The Goldbergs?
LT: Yes, I will be directing the next show, which starts next week and I am very honored.
THT: What else have you been working on?
LT: I have a movie I just did, call “The Year of Spectacular Men” at it will be shown at the LA Femme International Film Festival this Saturday night.”
Lea Thompson directed the movie and her Daughter Madelyn Deutch authored the screenplay and Lea’s other Daughter Zoey Deutch is in the film as well. How cool is that!
THT: What’s happening?
SL: A hundred episodes, that it so cool and I am so happy to be here. I am happy to be part of the show and I feel really lucky.
THT: Aren’t you a regular now?
SL: I am and it only took four years. So I’m really excited that it is official now. Watching my role grow as the seasons have gone on has been awesome. Started as Barry’s friend, and then slowly dropping hints of how his sister is attractive and then the whole full Jim and Pam things going on for a few years and finally it was official.
THT: I understand that this episode is a Halloween one, what was your costume?
SL: I got to dress as Marty McFly in this episode and it was directed by Lea Thompson, which is really cool, like a dream come true. She is the sweetest person ever. I had the orange vest and the Nike’s too.
THT: Have you been working on anything else besides The Goldbergs?
SL: I did a movie a couple of months ago called “True or Dare”, Lucy Hale and Tyler Posey are the two leads of the movie and I got to play a different character than I am used to playing. He is like a frat guy, who is not nice, and it was cool to play that type of character.
THT: What is like to have done episode one and now you have done episode 100, has it been easier or harder with your character?
WMC: I just love playing her so much and I have to say in some ways it is easier, but in some ways it is a little harder and more draining emotionally on me because now that I love these kids so much, I know that sounds dumb, but I get in my zone with them and I say is this what your parents are going through with you. Its genuine, I can’t hardly stand it when I look at old shows and see how little Sean was, and I’m like what is he supposed to do, of course he has to grow up.
THT: How has it been from episode one to episode 100, has it been easy or harder?
HO: You know what the answer should be easier, but the answer would be no. It’s not easier. I think it is the challenge of working with 200 people on one set. There are a lot of things that come up and it’s been a lot of hard work but I am thankful that I get to do it. There is nothing that I can complain about, I feel like I blinked and we got to a hundred episodes. It happened so fast.
THT: In the Halloween episode, what is your costume?
HO: I am dressed as Lea Thompson in Back to the Future, and it was great that she was there to direct it and say that’s not right, so let’s do this. Really cool for her to have been there.
THT: Do you have a favorite episode?
HO: My favorite one was Dirty Dancing, because one, it is a fun one to pay tribute too, but also, my main thing was that the Friday night that we filmed the dance scene in an actual gymnasium, we filmed there until 2 a.m. Saturday, which normally people would be like get me out of here, it’s so late, but I got to work with every single main cast member, A.J. just my best friends outside set and got to hang out until 2 a.m. film a really fun episode for a TV show. I think by far that one was my favorite one.
Panel moderator Jim Halterman West Coast Bureau Chief TV Guide
Adam Goldberg, Creator & Executive Producer, spoke about how he and Doug Robinson, Executive Producer worked on a formula for making the show feel like you could watch any episode at any time and don’t feel like you can’t relate.
Doug Robinson said that they never planned on using the home video footage for the pilot. Adam said in the second episode it wasn’t there because he didn’t know it was a ‘Thing’ and then they said you should show more of those. That is how they came about.
Jim asked Doug why did he think the show was special.
DR: Adam showed me his home videos years and years ago. We did a show together called “Breaking In” and when that show got cancelled I told Adam it’s time to do your family show. When he showed it to me the first time I said that is your show, your family is insane and he said, why would anyone care about my family, nobody is going to care, it’s not a show and I think it took him becoming a parent to understand what it was from the other side to really see that it was a show, now we are going to do your family show and everyone is going to want to do it. To Adam’s credit, he put together the most awesome pitch that I have ever had the pleasure to be part of. Just a collage of his home videos it was incredible, that is where it all came together.
JH: Wendi talk about when you first stepped in to the role of Beverly Goldberg and how you found her?
WMC: They approached me about maybe doing this and they gave me a script and I thought it was funny, but it was the script package that Doug was just talking about that sold me on it and I thought if we are being true to this, what a dream job, these people are insane. It was so rare and a video of your mom yelling at you and midstream asked about where you got that sweater.
AG: When you are casting these pilots, it’s like a mad rush and everyone is going after the same actors and Wendi was the only person that we wanted from the beginning, she had already had four offers at that point, it was this bake off.”
Wendi said “I’m a big deal!” and the audience erupted in laughter.
JH: Does your family have a say of yes or no on the clips you do show?
AG: Absolutely, yes. Barry especially, Troy, who is not here tonight captures so well, is like just such passion and going from zero to one hundred in a way that is hilarious, I would purposely try to make my brother lose it and so a lot of video is like him being like 20 years old and hysterically crying and screaming. Those in particular, he says, please don’t show that.
JH: How is it to cast yourself as a pre-teenager before when the show started?
AG: For Haley, she sent a tape and we watched it and she was the first person to audition. That’s it, and they we go we can’t just look at a tape and say that’s it, it just doesn’t work that way. So we proceeded to look at everyone in town and then we went back and said it’s the person on the tape. Haley is really gifted in turning a joke, which even on a tape would like her fireplace in the backgrounds at home while she would still do, like this is our person. Hailey was really easy.
Garlin was my Dad, he is my Dad, we has channeled by Dad, I have hired my Dad to play my Dad. The perfect Jeffing, he was angry at ABC, just like my Dad would be angry at people easily. He read the script and said, ‘yeah okay I’ll do this.’ He came in and he and Wendi started to improvise, and he said, year I got this. He proceeds to yell at the network president for five minutes for not putting his previous pilot on the air.
Casting me, finally was Sean, he just came in and he was 13, we thought he was 8. He was a kid from Chicago and he had never been on a set before. He didn’t know what was happening.
Doug chimed in and said to Sean: What are you doing out here and he said I’m on a business trip, with that really high voice he had then, it was the funniest thing.
AG: he would talk about video games and then like he was a real kid and I think the thing that got him the job was he wore glasses and that fits the character and he said ‘yeah I have a lazy eye.’
Doug: Troy was the last piece of the puzzle. We had him come back eight or ten times and some actors are great at auditions, but I think Troy, who is so gifted and he just didn’t find the character and they wouldn’t allow us to hire him even though we wanted him and asked him to come to the table read. When he came to that table read, he just crushed it, he brought it to a whole other level and they were like ‘how about this guy’ and we said you mean the guy that we have been saying we want for the last several weeks.
AG: It was Troy from the beginning but you have to bring in a couple of people, so I ended up calling Matt Bush whose in the JTP, who plays Andy Cogan, who was like in his 30s and just go with this kid.
Doug: We have George Segal, which were like please, and thankfully he said yes.
AG: We were about to shot the pilot and he said, ‘I can’t wait to be doing a multi cam again’ and we said no were are using a single cam and he goes ‘oh, that’s better for the actors right?” and we went yeah!
Jim asked Lea Thompson, you have done sitcom, you have done drama, you have done everything, what do you make of the show coming in later as a director of the show?
LT: I always loved the show, and what I loved is the incredible attention to detail. A lot of time a show, especially after it’s been going for a long time, the writers leave, and no one cares, but this show, Adam turns up, every single cut, every single prop, every single line, every single actor, every single song, so I think that the audience feels that attention to detail. I felt so happy to be able to play in the sandbox that is so incredible with all these incredible artists.
JH: Wendi I have to ask you of course, Beverly’s hair gets a lot of attention. What is your relationship with the hair?
WMC: You know, there are good days and bad days. She is like a jealous lover. I hate that thing. That is what she looked like. All of our Mom’s looked like that, at least in my part of the country. They all had their helmets of armor, and once she gets put on me I’m ready to go. Am I making any sense? Informs a lot of how she moves and how she behaves during the day, because once you are quaffed, nothing can take your mojo away and you do it for you, maybe you just going to Gimbals to buy a bra, but you got to look good, and you are going to command respect. That it the 80s for me.
JM: Hey Haley talk about playing Erika from day one until now.
HO: I talked to Adam and he said because he and Erik had a big age gap, you didn’t have as many story lines as you did with Barry, so at the beginning, I think trying to find what that relationship was, what that character was. So I think she has changed a lot and has become her own independent kind of hard headed person and very passionate about things. Obviously, focusing on the musical career was cool to add to it. I think this year specifically going away to college, you see her time to struggle with being on her own and being an adult and something that I can personally relate to, like getting away from the family, yes I have my independence, but can I do this by myself. I think that is something you will see this season that is a big part of who she is in the first place.
JM: in the music career, obviously you were singing on the episode, you did a great job, so did that storyline come from Haley?
AG: It comes from Haley being incredibly talented and when she sings we only have to pay half price on the songs (laughter) so we are not paying REO Speed wagon or whomever it is that week. The thing with Erika, people say like on Twitter, when they realize Erika is not real, they are like there is no Santa Claus.
When I started the show, I refused to call it The Goldbergs, and they were The Silvers in the pilot and I thought, like Haley said, my brother in real life is so much older than me, I thought it would just open up the world and have more story lines if there was a daughter and the great thing about this character is that I am so locked in to how Pops would be, or how my Dad would be or how I would be and there is one person in this family that that is no rules. I don’t get a phone call after the morning it airs. That their feelings are hurt, it has really turned out fantastic.
What I love that we did was the thing about my oldest brother, he was just like my Dad and super stubborn and everything was butting head with them. The writers in the room, the women saying that they went through this and went through that and that character for all the writers is really fraying for us, because they will pick some great stories, but then I’ll go like yeah but I didn’t like Star Trek, so that Star Trek convention story doesn’t make sense to me.
JH: One the best things about the show is how you pay tribute to these movies that I grew up, Revenge of the Nerds, Back to School, talk about the early days, was that something you wanted to go back to frequently
AG: The first seven I did not, look I thought it was going to be cancelled after about three episodes, so I had a lot of stories I wanted to tell right away and I kept going back to the Goonies, over and over, like a really weird way and the writers were like what’s up with this guy and Goonies. Then in episode eight or nine I said we are doing a Goonies episode, we are still around and it’s crazy. One of the writers, Lou, was like came to me and said I don’t know about this, this is weird. Goonies, what is happening so he just named it Adam’s Follies, because he was certain that it would undo the show and this would be the nail in the coffin that would end the show. Once I did that and we were still on the air and the most fun I had, then it was wide open, we did Ferris Bueller, and all these movies. It’s funny, we don’t do that many, but people seem to think we do it every episode, I say that I show the Revenge of the Nerd episode. The most joyous part is getting to do these movies that I got to watch over and over again as a kid and someone would say to me there is no way you watched that as a kid, I did watch it and it was very inappropriate.
JH: asked Lea Thompson, who do you approach directing in general and how did you approach it with this show
LT: A lot of time, I have directed myself, which is kind of strange, so this is a real joy not have to direct myself. I am very difficult, as an actor. It’s such a joy to be able to use all that I have learned from the 35 years in Hollywood. I have worked with a lot of great directors and I get such a joy working with these amazing actors. It was fun for me. Comedy and drama inform each other and in good writing they exist side by side and I think they are not different in a lot of ways. There is beautiful drama in every one of these Goldbergs, I don’t like people that don’t have a sense of humor, I don’t believe them. I like comedies, because a sense of humor needs intelligence, so that is what I love about this show. They inform each other, so I am happy to do both.
Jim Halterman asked the actors if they have a wish list that they still want to do on this show?
WMC: I want to do a vacation episode. I want to see them go on a road trip and have it be miserable. Go to a wedding or some kind of solemn occasion where someone gets the giggles so badly. I just can’t wait until one of them gets married.
AG: You know when an actor is like I want to be in wedding and have the giggles, that is something Wendi wants to do and now we have to do it, because it is going to be so great.
There was an emergency meeting with George this year and we were like what’s going on, we sit down and he says, ‘look, kids love this show, I really want to do a How’s On First, and we went okay and he said that’s it! That’s the emergency, he says it’s a great routine and it’s very funny and the kids will like it. We go okay. So we are going to do an episode with Pops trying to teach Barry How’s on First, Barry is like ?? It could be one of the best we have ever done.
HO: I have no idea, I get surprised with every episode they come up with and it’s way funnier than I could ever come up with myself. So I just let the professional handle it.
SL: We talked about a Sixteen Candle episode. That would be cool. We are just along for the ride.
An audience member asked a question if there any song or movie that said no to them.
Adam’s answer was Thriller. Adam even wrote it and really powered through and written letters and he believed his love of Thriller would make it happen. It will never happen he believes.
And audience member made them cool magnetics in honor of the 100th episode and went up on stage to personally hand them to each of them. The cast was very appreciative of the special and thoughtful gift.
A young member of the audience asks if anyone has tried to quit the show. Laughter erupted once again.
Adam said yes that Jeff quits every day and then he would ask Jeff I hear you are quitting and Jeff would say oh come on, it just said that. Jeff will say I’m out of here.
Another audience asked what the real Beverly Goldberg thinks of how Wendi portrays her?
Wendi answered: I just happen to have some of her Tweets! She is great one Twitter and follow her on @goldilocks405. Wendi’s scene at the window tonight was so real, that she sounded just like me and Adam’s response to please just stop so realistic, scary and surreal. Okay Adam no you really owe me a call for making me cry tonight. This is on Twitter!
Adam said her mother calls him a hundred times a time and if I took her calls the show would never get done.
Adam said for all the ABC Shows, Halloween is always a big deal, He loved when Wendi was the Predator mom, it was such a stretch and he just wanted Wendi in a Predator costume running down the street and saying there is poising in the candy.
Sounds like this episode is going to be a memorable one and AJ is back and Adam gave us a spoiler of a possible girl band! Back to the Future is the movie theme.
The Goldbergs got picked up for the fifth, currently running and a sixth season too.