'The Goldbergs' season 10 picks up months after Murray's death, 'feels like a huge reboot' – Entertainment Weekly News
If you thought Beverly Goldberg was the smother of all smothers, just wait until she's a grandsmother.
The ABC comedy The Goldbergs — which kicks off its 10th season on Sept. 21 — is welcoming a new member this season, when newlyweds Erica (Hayley Orrantia) and Geoff (Sam Lerner) have their first child. But the happy event comes with mixed emotions, as the Goldbergs are also getting used to a world without patriarch Murray (Jeff Garlin), who will have already died when the season begins.
"This is going to be a family that has not reconciled the fact that their father's gone but has sort of moved on and has dealt with a lot of that," co-showrunner Alex Barnow tells EW of the decision to kill off the character played by Garlin, who left the show in late 2021 after complaints about his conduct on set. "So we're starting with optimism about a baby coming and looking forward to the future. It's an opportunity for this interesting emotional basis for the way people are behaving."
Adds co-showrunner Chris Bishop: "It honestly feels like a huge reboot for us. So we have tons of momentum rolling into this new season."
While much of that relates to the new baby, of course, and how Wendi McLendon-Covey's Beverly and Erica butt heads during her pregnancy and when the baby arrives, Murray's death also brings the family together, meaning we're going to see more of his dad, Pop-Pop (Judd Hirsch). And then there's a major guest star: quintessential 1980s star David Hasselhoff, who EW has a first look at below.
Read on for those images, as well as Barnow and Bishop's chat with EW about the new season of the comedy.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Congratulations on hitting season 10. Does it feel like it's actually been that long for all of you?
ALEX BARNOW: It's been many chapters. [Laughs] You could take it into like little chunks of time, like the first four years, the next four years — it's been a big part of our lives, obviously, but it feels really great. I think we've come from sort of periods of exhaustion, doing 22 episodes a season, which is unusual [for shows] at this point. There have been times at the end of seasons where we're like, "Oh my God, how are we going to keep going?" But this year especially, we feel really revitalized and excited about it. Stories are coming easily, and it's been a good year so far.
CHRIS BISHOP: [The show has been on almost] as long as the entire decade of the '80s. It's just super exciting for us, and we're at the point where we're going to need to give Ronald Reagan a third term. [Laugh] The secret to the longevity of the show is that we have this sort of equal balance of comedy and heart, and we do these big, crazy comedic things set in the backdrop of this insane sort of day-glow decade. But we have this magical thing where, if we can ground it with the love of the family, it's just this perfect balance. It's special. We've been very lucky.
What's at the root of feeling revitalized?
BARNOW: Well, some new cast dynamics, obviously, and we're going to have a baby on the show, which will bring both the sense of joy to the show and shift dynamics and shift relationships. And putting Beverly in a position as a grandma is something that's obviously a fun and natural fit. So it's been a joy to break new stories of new dynamics amongst our characters.
Before we get to the new baby part, let's talk about the cast dynamics, because Jeff Garlin is no longer on the show. You had to get a little creative with the absence of his character, Murray, during the back half of season 9. So what is to come in terms of Jeff Garlin's departure and Murray's presence, or lack thereof?
BARNOW: Well, [Garlin is] not going to be on the season, obviously. [Murray] will have passed, and we are sort of starting from a place of multiple months removed from his death. The family has already grieved, unlike Pops [George Segal] and the premiere of season 9 where they're dealing with it sort of very freshly. This is going to be a family that has not reconciled the fact that their father's gone but has sort of moved on and has dealt with a lot of that. So we're starting with optimism about a baby coming and looking forward to the future. It's an opportunity for this interesting emotional basis for the way people are behaving. But Jeff won't be in the series this year, and so far the stories have been largely about looking forward rather than looking back.
Does Jeff Garlin know that Murray is dying?
BARNOW: I've had a conversation with Jeff and he's aware that he's not being replaced. The truth is, I don't know if he knows what his fate is, but I'm assuming he knows, would be the answer to that question. We haven't had a subsequent conversation since the beginning of writing that he would have any specific clarity on that.
So when we last saw everyone months ago, Adam graduated high school, Erica and Geoff were married, and we found out in the season finale that she's pregnant. At the time Beverly was worried about having an empty nest, but now everyone is home. So how did we get here?
BISHOP: Barry's back because he was late to fill out his housing paperwork without Murray breathing down his neck, and he has to move back home temporarily. Adam's making a choice to forego NYU; he was accepted, but we're going to have him sort of defer for a year to keep his eye on his mom. But he is still going to be committed to being a filmmaker, that's still his goal. In fact, we actually have a cool episode — a couple episodes — with David Hasselhoff. We got the Hoff, so we're very pumped about that.
Geoff and Erica, they're moving back in to sort of save money and get some help when the baby arrives. And Beverly's going to be that overbearing smother turned into an overbearing grandsmother. So we're excited about that. And if you're missing any of that curmudgeonly feeling from the character of Murray, we have Judd Hirsch as Pop-Pop coming back for a lot, to keep the house very, very full. I feel like it's going to help us a lot with driving stories. It honestly feels like a huge reboot for us. So we have tons of momentum rolling into this new season.
What have you enjoyed about watching Wendi McLendon-Covey do as this grandsmother-to-be?
BARNOW: One of the things we hear a lot, which is funny, is that everybody misses the kids when they were young — I miss my kids when they were young too. It's a natural instinct. And so I just think seeing Beverly with a baby, seeing the family with this new dynamic, Erica and Geoff in very relatable experiences of exhaustion and growing tired of each other in a tight space, and an overbearing grandmother — we're really leveraging a lot of the dynamics that young families all can relate to in terms of the sleeplessness and the physical deprivation, coupled with the fact that they're living under Beverly's roof. And she is, despite her best instincts, constantly underfoot. It's created a lot of fun so far. The baby will be coming around the fifth episode, and so we have a lot of fun on the side of the preparation and birthing classes and with the doctor and all those things. And then on the other side, when the baby gets here, [Erica and Geoff] can't get their hands on the baby often. So it's been a good development story-wise for us.
And now I'm just kind of picturing Erica doing everything she can to not be her own mom as a new mother herself.
BISHOP: [Laughs] Yes. We have them butting heads a lot, and we have a great Hanukkah episode coming up where Bev will hope for how you raise your children [is] how you assume they'll raise their children. There's lots of tension between Beverly and Erica this season, which is great for story for us. So we're very happy with that.
BARNOW: Yeah. But you're right that she's often allergic to Beverly's parenting style. We have very sweet moments — especially when she has the baby — that she desperately needs her mother there, which is where the show lives with them at each other's throats and there's sort of this acknowledgment in the end that they need each other desperately, and Beverly plays that role in her life. The birth episode is especially great. It'll be a lot of fun to see them with the newborn.
BISHOP: And not just them, but also Adam and Barry, how they relate to this young kid. We have a cool tribute to Uncle Buck where they attempt to be fun uncles. Each one has a new way to look at this new life in their home.
Love that movie. And speaking of movies and tributes to various movies and shows throughout the seasons, the season premiere is always something a little bigger, something really special, this year's being Field of Dreams. How exactly are we going to see that manifest throughout the episode?
BISHOP: Basically we're — we're not going to give too much away — but Adam is going to trick Barry into building a Wiffle ball court in this backyard. So instead of Kevin Costner plowing over a field of corn, we're going to have Barry tearing up the yard and his mom's gazebo, which should be fun. And there's also the sweet side of Field of Dreams that is about loss and regrets. I feel like we nailed that in a really special way. We'll see.
And you mentioned David Hasselhoff. I know he's playing himself, he'll be shooting a movie in town, which I'm sure Adam just goes absolutely nuts about.
BARNOW: Yeah. Truthfully, we've been so lucky over the years with all of our guest cast, and there's some people who, embody the '80s more than others. We can't think of anybody more emblematic of that decade. You see him and it's like, it's almost hard to believe he's here — he's wearing the jacket, he's got the hair, he looks great. And we're using him in multiple episodes. So yeah, the family drives him crazy until Adam gets a job. And then in a very surprise twist, he ends up giving the commencement address and a makeshift graduation for Erica, who's raced to graduate so she can have a diploma before she has a baby. So we're utilizing him a lot. It's awesome to have him. You believe it in this world because Beverly Goldberg would do anything for kids, including getting Adam a job working on a movie with David Hasselhoff. He just looks so authentic in this time and space.
Hold on: Beverly and Hasselhoff are going to have scenes together too? Is that what you're saying?
BARNOW: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. She brings him a shrimp parm.
Season 10 of The Goldbergs premieres Sept. 21 at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
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