The Schmooze

George Segal on 'The Goldbergs' and Playing Pops Solomon

ABC’s newest comedy is called “The Goldbergs.” At least, now it is.

Created by Adam F. Goldberg and loosely based on his life growing up in a Jewish family in the 1980s, the show was originally called “How the F***| Am I Normal?” Its new name is likely more acceptable to newspaper TV listing editors, but the original was certainly more descriptive.

Yes, when it first begins there is too much yelling and, of course, the requisite smothering Jewish mother. Ultimately, though, comedy and love win out. While it is difficult to tell from the pilot, airing September 24, where establishing characters is more important than plot line, “The Goldbergs” shows long-term potential.

The show stars George Segal, the veteran actor (and raconteur), who has spent the last 50 years showing long term potential. He plays Pops Solomon, the kindly grandfather always available to show young Adam how to pick up older women, meaning 14-year-olds.

Segal is used to appearing in films with unusual family situations. He played Nick in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” (Oscar nominee), a philandering husband in “A Touch of Class” (Golden Globe winner) and as suburbanite/bank robber in “Fun With Dick and Jane.”

For many he is best known as magazine publisher Jack Gallo in the long-running sitcom, “Just Shoot Me.” But for others he remains the always-smiling, banjo-playing frequent guest of Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show.

Segal spoke to The Arty Semite about his own family growing up, anti-Semitism on Long Island, and a Jewish show with a lead actor named Troy — wait for it — Gentile.

Curt Schleier: Are the Goldbergs anything like your family growing up?

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George Segal on 'The Goldbergs' and Playing Pops Solomon

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