5 times The Goldbergs paid homage to '80s sci-fi

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May 22, 2016, 4:32 AM EDT (Updated)
For a generation of sci-fi fans, it all began in those halcyon days of the 1980s, when Spielberg and Lucas reigned supreme at the box office.
Adam F. Goldberg knows that time well, and as the creator of the aptly titled ABC sitcom The Goldbergs, he has been mining those '80s geek memories for three seasons.

“The way I relate to the world is through movies and geek culture," he said.

The Goldbergs tells the mostly true story of Goldberg's family, growing up in suburban Pennyslvania in 1980-something. References to favorite 1980s science fiction and cartoons are sprinkled throughout.

Teen actor Sean Giambrone plays young Adam Goldberg, a kid obsessed with capturing his family life and re-creating his favorite science fiction movies on a camcorder (Patton Oswalt stands in for the adult Goldberg, reminiscing about the old days).

"In terms of the main character being the kid obsessed with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas and comic books, and the kid that has a camcorder and makes movies -- you can see it in my office that is packed with Star Wars [memorabilia] – that is the point of view of the show," he said.

“I’m not going out of my way to put these things on the show, these are how I view the world. That’s why the show goes back to these things so much is because that’s how I relate to the world.”

Goldberg also noted how so much from the 1980s is now ground zero for blockbuster movies of the past few years.

"The movies and TV my friends and I were into, all of that is being remade: TransformersStar Wars, the Muppets [went back to movies and] TV, TRONTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."

Even if you didn't grow up as an '80s sci-fi geek, Goldberg's firsthand knowledge shows you just what it was like in often hilarious detail  (And those of us who were there can attest to this).

Following last Wednesday's Season 3 finale, here are five of the best moments of 1980s sci-fi nostalgia from the show's first three seasons:

Camping out for Star Wars

When Adam gets word that Return of the Jedi is premiering at the local theater, he has to make the pilgrimage to camp out with his fellow fans, even if he has to drag big sister Erica along with him.

Adam even encounters some impressive cosplay of a man dressed as Hoth Luke Skywalker, complete with tauntaun (Thomas Lennon, The Odd Couple).


"Goldbergs Never Say Die"

One of the earliest episodes to pay tribute to a 1980s classic involved Adam being convinced that there was buried treasure in his neighborhood. He recruited some of his best friends to go on a quest to find the treasure, Goonies-style.

Of course, he and all of his friends were given characters to "play," reminiscent of the 1985 fantasy comedy.



A time travel lie

Adam was one of the many kids fooled by the making-of special on Back to the Future Part II, in which Robert Zemeckis infamously claimed that hoverboards really existed, but Mattel considered them too dangerous to put on the market.

Adam went on to boast to his friends that he rode a real hoverboard -- and who wouldn't want to be able to say that? (Of course, it wasn't true.)


Making friends through TRON

Adam is thrilled to meet a kid as obsessed with Tron as he is in an early episode, and of course he cosplays as Tron, himself, complete with "lightcycle," as part of one of his many home movies.


Is that you, Optimus?

Adam's grandfather (George Segal) often humors him on the show, even when he has no idea what Adam is talking about.

Case in point: That time Adam made him dress up in a homemade Optimus Prime costume. 

Segal recently mentioned this as one of his favorite moments on the show, even if he still hasn't much of a clue what a Transformer is.