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The Goldbergs: 5 Totally '80s Milestones to Expect in Season 4 (Besides The Breakfast Club)

Ready for video dating?

Joyce Eng

The Goldbergs returns on Wednesday night (at 8/7c, up from 8:30/7:30c last season), but the premiere is all about Saturday morning.

Season 4 kicks off with a Breakfast Club homage that finds Adam (Sean Giambrone), Barry (Troy Gentile) and Erica (Hayley Orrantia) in Saturday detention after Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey), who has earned her teaching certification, sends them there for insubordination. And the World's Best Smother in school is exactly what the doctor ordered, according to creator Adam F. Goldberg.

"We did a good job with the finale last year because it gave us a lot of runway for the season," Goldberg tells TVGuide.com. "It wasn't even intentional. It was kind of like, where are some of the places we could take the characters next year? Obviously Adam is entering high school, which is a big deal. Having Beverly in the school is super helpful. It just leads to so many great stories. The best part of high school for me was being out of my crazy house. I can't imagine what that would be like where your mom is everywhere you go, but I love that idea."
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From that, the tie-in to The Breakfast Club was born. The show has done more than a fair share of '80s movies tributes and '80s-inspired storylines, but Goldberg wants to make it clear that they're not all shoehorned in for reference's sake.

"We're not going out of our way to figure out the '80s thing," he says. "It's just the way that I am that I use all the stuff from my childhood as a filter when I look at everything, so that comes up naturally. I think, hopefully, that's why the show feels like we're not forcing it too much. The first episode is about the kids coming to terms with the fact that their mom is going to be in their school. Their anger about that is what leads them to detention and they have to sort that out. And we were like, oh, The Breakfast Club! That'd be a great way through which to tell that story."

Here are five other totally '80s things you can expect this season.

1. I dreamed a dream of an unauthorized Les Miserables production
As we previously reported, The Goldbergs will be putting on a Les Mis production for its annual theater episode. "Theater was a huge part of my life, so we do one every year. This year, Adam is attempting to make his school put on an unauthorized production of Les Mis, which was so huge in the '80s you could never get the rights to it," Goldberg says. "Because Adam has to kiss Lainey (AJ Michalka), Barry ends up becoming incredibly jealous and he joins the stage crew and operates the spinning stage and uses it to just screw with Adam."

And yes, our prayers have been answered: There will be a "Confrontation" scene. "We do do the 'Confrontation' scene actually. That is the 'Look Down' number," he says. "It's funny because when you look at that musical, every song is great and you're like, 'We should do this!' But it's also so expensive [to get the rights] that we were focused on the one song that related best to the story."

The story is inspired by Goldberg's own Les Mis reenactment -- which he filmed with two of his friends. "We played every character. We wore different costumes and had effects. We showed it to the [writers'] room and they were like, 'Oh, we have to do this!'" he says. "It's a really funny episode culminating with the video that they make, which is the video that I made."
Exclusive: The Goldbergs dreams up a Les Miserables episode

2. The concert that changed the world
Goldberg has wanted to do a Live Aid episode since the first season. "Growing up in Philly, that was the biggest deal ever," he says of the dual-continent benefit concert. In the third episode, Beverly wants to see the Beach Boys at Live Aid, but ends up missing the entire 16-hour fundraising concert thanks to a parking space. Or more specifically, Murray (Jeff Garlin) losing his sh-- over a parking space.

"My dad would always get into fights over parking spaces," Goldberg says. "He would do this all the time. We would go to movies and he would get into a fight over a parking space. He'd be like, 'Go into the movie. I'll be here!' He'd come into the movie incredibly late or he'd miss the movie entirely and you'd come out and he'd be in a stalemate. ... So they miss the entire concert because Murray's in a fight over a parking space. I have a video of my dad in a parking dispute that I'm going to show that was outside our house. I ran and got the camera and started filming it and cracking up."

And perhaps this storyline wasn't too much a stretch for Garlin. "Jeff was in the news for getting into a parking dispute too," Goldberg points out. "So it happened! Jeff Garlin is essentially my dad."

3. "I'm your number one fan."
Frankly, we're surprised it took so long for this one to happen. In the Halloween episode, Bev will Misery Adam after he writes a horror story about his mother. "It's called 'The Beaverly,' about this smother monster," says Goldberg, who invited Stephen King to his bar mitzvah and actually got a reply. "She forces him to rewrite it in his room and refuses to let him out for Halloween. She Misery-s him and it's really funny."

The bar has already been set high by Happy Endings.



4. The greatest Audrey 2 you'll ever see
After realizing too late that she has feelings for Geoff Schwartz, Erica will spend Season 4 pursuing the guy she friend-zoned into the arms of Evelyn Silver. "We held off [a romance for Erica] until now and you'll get to see her pine for a guy, and it's a guy who was in love with her her whole life and she just completely blew it," Goldberg says. When Evelyn's grandmother gets sick in the same Halloween episode, Erica and Geoff decide to go to the Halloween dance together. Unfortunately for Erica, Evelyn's granny recovers, so she then has to go with Barry, who is dressing up as Audrey 2 from Little Shop of Horrors.

"The guy who makes the plants designed a plant for Barry for us for the episode," Goldberg says. "It's the most amazing costume ever. It always bothers me in Halloween episodes when people have the most amazing costumes, but for this, I was like, 'Let's just design the greatest plant ever!'"

5. Long live video dating
Long before Tinder, there was video dating, which is exactly like it sounds. Back in the '80s, matches-made-in-heaven were formed by singletons filming video profiles of themselves, which were then shown to potential partners to pick and choose. It was awkward, and Erica and Lainey want to subject Lainey's dad, Bill (David Koechner), to this.

"I never did video dating," Goldberg says. "The only reason it's kind of survived today is because of all the viral videos. Those videos from the '80s are always so crazy and hilarious, so it crossed my path and I thought it would make a really funny episode. We tracked down one of the guys on it and got his approval [to use it]. It's really, really funny."

The Goldbergs
premieres Wednesday at 8/7c on ABC.