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ABC's 'The Goldbergs': Five Things to Know About the 1980s-Set Comedy

The single-camera comedy is based on the life of showrunner Adam F. Goldberg.

The Goldbergs Key Art - P 2013
ABC
"The Goldbergs"

ABC is going back to the 1980s with The Goldbergs, a single-camera comedy based on the formative years of showrunner Adam F. Goldberg.

Goldberg (Breaking In) created the series using footage he filmed as a kid of his loud and loving family. The show, which is described as a dysfunctional Wonder Years, stars Jeff Garlin, Wendi McLendon-Covey, George Segal and Sean Giambrone as a young Adam. 

Here are five things to know about the comedy, which premieres Sept. 24 at 9 p.m. as part of ABC's new Tuesday lineup.

1. Patton Oswalt voices the older Adam on the show. The decision to turn to the prolific actor was an easy one, Goldberg said, after he heard Oswalt perform a stand-up bit about a debate with a college professor about Star Trek. "He read the script and loved it," Goldberg said Sunday at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour. 

2. What's old is new again. Executive producer Doug Robinson said The Goldbergs is the latest show to explore a decade 25 years later -- joining shows including Happy Days and Wonder Years. "Enough time has gone by that you look back fondly on it," he said. "What's old becomes new again; themes become relevant. Every 25 years, people are ready to look back." Further proof: The hideous sweater featured in the key art for the series is currently for sale at Urban Outfitters, according to an ABC spokesperson.

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3. Goldberg didn't have a sister and instead opted to turn his older brother, Eric, into Erica -- as played by Hayley Orrantia. "Adding a daughter into the mix would open up the whole world and bring us different kinds of stories," the writer/executive producer said, acknowledging that his brother wasn't wild about having been made fun of as a kid for being the "girl" of the family. The showrunner also noted that his family loves the show and that each week Goldberg's own personal footage will be featured during the end tag. "My mom is the most excited -- this just validated everything she ever did," he said to laughs. Worth noting: Goldberg digitized more than 100 home video tapes to help sell the series to ABC.

4. Garlin acknowledges there will be a lot of yelling from his father figure, Murray, on the show, with producers and co-stars noting that it's true to the nature of some families in the '80s. "Did you ever watch Seinfeld? Yelling is good!" he said. "When it becomes annoying, I'll be the first to notice and I'll stop. But yelling is funny." Added McLendon-Covey: "We didn't have Dr. Phil in the '80s showing us how to do things perfectly. You yelled through it. You got in trouble; your parents didn't ask how you felt and it was just, this is what you're going to do and you do it. We're working from that place." Fun fact: Goldberg noted that his mother, Beverly, shipped him a box of her Cosby Show-like sweaters from the '80s. McLendon-Covey has yet to meet her.

5.  The pilot features a number of classic '80s songs, from bands such as New Order and REO Speedwagon, and that won't change as the series continues, producers noted. While the Wonder Years' DVD boxed set has been delayed because of music rights issues associated with tunes from the series, producers vowed that wouldn't be the case with The Goldbergs.

Check out the trailer for The Goldbergs, below.

E-mail: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit