Pop Culture References in The Goldbergs - The Tasty Boys

ABC’s The Goldbergs is a love letter the 1980s and contains a veritable cornucopia of pop [...]


ABC's The Goldbergs is a love letter the 1980s and contains a veritable cornucopia of pop culture references and jokes about decade in each and every single episode. While it's next to impossible to list every single 1980s reference on The Goldbergs, we're going to run down some of each episode's geekier and more obscure pop culture moments. Please note that this column tries to cover only the "unique" references that appear in each episode, while passing on the posters, toys and other background pieces that appear in every episode and are irrelevant to the plot.

The Beastie Boys

The main plot of the episode revolves around Barry and Adam's attempt to emulate the Beastie Boys by creating their own rap "supergroup". One of the greatest hip hop groups of all time, the Beastie Boys were one of the top-selling rap groups of the 1980s and 1990s. While the group started off as a punk band, the Beastie Boys quickly added rap to their repertoire before the band exploded in popularity in the mid 1980s. Their first album, Licensed to Ill,was the best selling rap album of the 1980s and helped launch the group to superstardom. The Beastie Boys remained active until the death of founding member Adam Yauch in 2012 and are members of the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame.


New Coke

When pointing out Murray's distaste for change, Beverly pointed out an entire cupboard filled with Coke, which Murray stockpiled upon hearing news of "New Coke". "New Coke" was Coca-Cola's disastrous attempt to tamper with its classic recipe while trying to regain some of the market share it lost to Pepsi. Coca-Cola made its new recipe sweeter to bring it closer to Pepsi's taste, but some consumers reacted negatively to the change and created a nationwide backlash. Coca-Cola quickly backtracked on New Coke and brought back "Classic Coke" within three months. New Coke lingered until the 1990s, before it finally passed into history books as as a cautionary tale for businesses too eager to change their already successful product.

DJ Jazzy Jeff

Adam calls himself the "DJ Jazzy Jeff" of the Tasty Boys, referencing the less popular member of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Jeff Townes. DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince spent most of the 1980s performing in the hometown of Philadelphia (home of the Goldbergs) before exploding in popularity with their Grammy winning song "Girls Just Don't Understand". After peaking in the early 1990s, the Fresh Prince began to pursue an acting career under his real name Will Smith while Jazzy Jeff became a music producer. However, both Smith and Jazzy Jeff claim the group never broke up and Jeff produced many of Smith's rap singles. Recently, Smith announced that he and Jazzy Jeff would reunite for a tour this summer, performing together fro the first time since 2013.


The Fraggles

While trying to come up with a look for their group, Adam suggests that they dress up as characters from Fraggle Rock and even produces stuffed Fraggles toys as an example. While Jim Henson's best known for the Muppets and Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock also enjoyed some popularity during its run on HBO during the 1980s. With musical Fraggles living in sync with the Doozers (the miniature builders that built the food the Fraggles eat) and the Gorgs, Fraggle Rock taught the importance of co-dependence, cooperation and other "serious" issues in a fun and whimsical musical setting. Although Fraggle Rock hasn't enjoyed the same popularity as other Henson creations, the Fraggles live on via comic books and the occasional appearance in Ben Folds music videos.


Bob Vila

Beverly takes a cue from Bob Vila and This Old House and tries renovating the kitchen on her own with disastrous consequences. Vila was the original host of the longrunning PBS series, helping homeowners with "DIY" projects from 1979 until he left This Old House in 1989. Vila started his own CBS show Bob Vila and occasionally appeared on the ABC comedy Home Improvement as the nemesis to Tim Allen's character Tim Taylor. Vila still appears on TV, mainly as a sponsor and spokesperson on commercials.