Talking THE GOLDBERGS with Hayley Orrantia and Troy Gentile

HAYLEY ORRANTIAAs a season-long fan of THE GOLDBERGS, the episodes have gotten better and better each week, and tonight’s episode that finds Barry joining the wrestling team and Erica joining Adam for a certain Star Wars premiere, is the funniest I’ve seen so far.

I spent some time chatting with series stars Troy Gentile (Barry) and Hayley Orrantia (Erica) about what’s coming up tonight, what happens next week, and what a Season 2 might bring!

Just watched the next week’s episode – felt like I laughed from start from finish. What is it about Barry and Erica that you count as favorite things?
Troy: For Barry, I love how highly emotional he is. He’s not afraid to express how he feels. I love how he’s into sports, and he’s a competitive person. I was a very competitive person at that age, well, I still am, but especially at that age, growing up. I think that’s what makes the character so fun to play.

Hayley: For me, I like playing the daffy older sister, but the one thing I really love about Erica – the little moments when you get to see her nerdy side, and how she was before she became all popular. I think that’s really cool about my character.

TROY GENTILEI think the episode is a great showcase for the things you just mentioned – Barry’s competitive side, and Erica’s nerdy past. Talk a little bit about what we see in [tonight’s] episode.
For Erica, you get to see her and Adam and go on this little adventure to see Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. That’s the main thing, and the fun stuff that happens with that.

For the other story, Barry wants to join the wrestling team to impress his crush Lexi. In the midst of all that Beverly is not for it, and my father is 100% for it, so conflict develops from that. I think it is my favorite episode of the year, so far. It’s a great episode.

Yeah I think it’s great.

I love that throughout the season, we’ve gotten to see little glimpse of all of your characters, how they interact with all other characters. Is there a character or relationship that you’d like to see explored more?
You know, that’s a really good question – I think the writers have done a really good job of each character having time with each other. Me and Hayley have our time together. Pops and Adam have their time together. Me and my father, Hayley and our father. For the most part, they’ve done a really great job. I think in the second season, there is going to be a lot more characters, so there’s going to be a lot more character connections. In the second season, you can open up. You have Barry’s friends, Erica’s friends. I don’t think there has been any complaints on how they wrote all of us together. We’re all an ensemble, and we’ve all been in scenes together with each other!

SHAWN CROSBY, SEAN GIAMBRONE, HAYLEY ORRANTIA, THOMAS LENNONWhat can you tease for us beyond what happens in tonight’s episode?
Well, Barry throws a houseparty, and…

…Erica’s best friend Lainey kind of helps him with everything. I guess that’s the best way to put that [laughs]

I love that we know the show is based on Adam’s real life – have you gotten the chance to meet the real Goldbergs?
Yeah, we got to meet – I didn’t get to meet Barry – but Hayley and I got to meet Beverly. That was the only Goldberg I got to meet was Beverly. And of course, Adam Goldberg is the writer/creator, so him and his mother, Beverly.

That has to be fun to be able to build off someone’s real life. It’s a love story to his family.
Exactly! It makes it that much more special. I don’t think there are [many] shows on TV that are about real families. This is legitimately a real family. After every episode, they show that raw footage of Adam and his quirkiness. Barry doing something, Barry and him wrestling. It’s an authentic, real show. It’s a true story, which is cool about it.

TROY GENTILE, WENDI MCLENDON-COVEY, JEFF GARLINDo you have favorite other characters?
I love the Beverly character.
Wendi is my favorite character on the show.

Some of the things that she has to say, like the stories she tells in tonight’s episode – they have to be hard to get through scenes with straight faces.
She cracks me up harder than anyone else on set. She does it during scenes – off-camera, she is a jokester, but when you’re in scenes with her, she’s not like Jeff. Jeff’s joking around 24/7, before and after takes, just kidding around. That’s just Jeff. But Wendi, when you’re in the moment, in the scene, yes, it is so hard to keep a straight face. She is a comedic god. I love her, I love what she does. She makes the show amazing.

I love that you’ve gotten to play emotional scenes, as well – not just the comedic. Hayley, the breakup episode was so great, because you really needed to lean on people. That has to be fun to play the all-around character.
I mean that episode for me was really cool. You get to see a whole other side of Erica, this vulnerable side. It makes it more fun to play. It’s already a blast on set because it’s so funny, but getting to see every side of the character is really cool, too.

THE GOLDBERGS airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on ABC.  For more info, head to!