WonderCon 2017: The Goldbergs tackle the Bat with Kevin Smith

At this weekend’s Wonder Con, ABC’s The Goldbergs celebrated their 80s geekery with an episode all about Batman and directed by Bat-guru himself, Kevin Smith. The cast and creatives arrived at Wonder Con to chat about the upcoming episode The Dynamic Duo. The episode features Adam (Sean Giambrone) and Pops (George Segal) watching Tim Burton’s Batman starring Michael Keaton. Barry, feeling left out, attempts to create a divide between Adam and Pops’ relationship and have them battle on who has the better Batman (Pops with Adam West, Adam on Team Keaton). The other storyline has Erica blowing off her college interview at Penn State so she would go to her first choice, Carnegie Mellon.

“But really, it’s all about Batman,” says Smith.

The series, which is currently in its fourth season, is loosely based on the life of creator Adam F. Goldberg. Goldberg wrote most of the stories based on his life, but his team of writers also contribute their stories to the series.

“We’ve done 95 episodes. So that’s almost 200 stories – an A and a B story. I would say maybe 180 are from my life in some way,” Goldberg tells us. “Usually, I want a B story that is strictly 80s and that for example, we are doing The Day After which was a movie about the atomic bomb that scared the crap out of everybody back then. That was a movie someone brought up. I wasn’t even familiar with it, it was kinda before my time. One of the writers, who saw it as a kid, was so impacted deeply – they got off school because of it – they had a big assembly. So I was like, we have to do something like Barry wants to build a bunker to protect himself.”

Smith was a fan of the series prior to directing an episode. He tells us, “Every episode I watch, I go F*ck, why didn’t I make this show!? When I first watched the Goldbergs, I thought God damnit, it’s so close [to my childhood]. I had a mother, father, we had a grandparent that lived around the block, older sister, middle brother, younger brother. So the whole structure is there. They are in Jenkintown, which is not very far from Highlands, New Jersey. They are in Pennslynvannia. Very close to us. Grew up around the same time, with all the same f*cking references. Maybe Adam is a little younger than me, so he’s more GI Joe and Transformers than I am. But, generally speaking, it is like watching my childhood.”

When Smith was told it’d be a Batman episode, he was even more happy to direct. “Now I can do a good job. So, when I went to show and looked around. It looks like he grew up with a little more money than I did. He has all the toys. It’s very very close. His 80s and my 80s are very similar – same cultural references.”

Jeff Garlin, who plays dad Murray Golberg in the series, remembered watching Tim Burton’s Batman. He was a fan of Michael Keaton. “The idea that somebody started out as a comic could become this. I followed his career very closely. I was a huge fan of his before I even started in comedy. So it was very exciting with Michael Keaton and I enjoyed it.”

With Smith directing the episode, could there possibly be any Easter eggs in the episode? Smith turned down that idea, but did tell us at one point, he wanted to have Jay and Silent Bob make a small cameo.

“At one point we were going to do a tag where Jay and Silent Bob were outside the WaWa, but Jay wasn’t in town and we found a way better tag that’s inherent to the story,” said Smith.

“Our episode ends with a better tag than Jay and Silent Bob. It’s a tag that involves the character and the story itself. I try not to show up and put ads into myself. But when it happens, it’s a cool thing. If other people are like hey, we want to do this. Almost doing it on this show felt really sweet, but the same time, it felt like maybe not this episode. Maybe one day down the road. Sooner or later, me and Jay will stand outside the WaWa. We have to, but not right away.”

The Goldbergs
‘Dynamic Duo’ airs this Wednesday on ABC.

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