Before there were parenting blogs, trophies for showing up and peanut allergies, there was a simpler time called the '80s. For geeky and movie obsessed youngest child Adam, these were his wonder years, and he faced them armed with a video camera to capture all the crazy. The Goldbergs are a loving family like any other -- just with a lot more yelling. Mom Beverly is a classic "smother," an overbearing, overprotective matriarch who loves her delicious kids, but still rules this brood with 100% authority and zero sense of boundaries. Dad Murray is gruff and sometimes oblivious, parenting with half his attention span but all his heart. Sister Erica is popular and terrifying, doing her best to cover up that she's the smartest of the clan. Barry is a passionate dreamer, who maybe dreams a little too big and who always gets the short end of the stick. Adam is the youngest, a camera-wielding future director who's navigating first love, and growing up with his family. Rounding out the family is beloved grandfather Al "Pops" Solomon, the wild man of the clan, a shameless Don Juan who's learning as much from his family as he teaches them.
Beverly and Murray move Erica into college where her roommate is also named Erica. Later, Beverly has a hard time letting go and ends up sleeping over in the dorm, much to Erica's dismay. Meanwhile, Adam tries to give Barry the perfect girlfriend, even trying to build one like in the movie "Weird Science," as he embarks into his senior year.
Adam is assigned a term paper on a great person in history, and he decides to make a movie about his grandfather but finds all of Pop's war stories mundane. Pops takes matters into his own hands and decides to tell more exciting stories based on an old television series. Meanwhile, Erica returns home to confront Beverly for over-mothering her. Murray insists Beverly teach Erica and Barry basic life skills, but she worries Erica and Barry will be too independent.
Beverly confronts Coach Mellor who reveals his strained relationship with his own brother Coach Nick, so she intervenes prompting Nick to face off with Rick. Adam and Barry join in, each one siding with one of the coaches. After a fight breaks out, Beverly points out to Adam and Barry this could be them as adults. Meanwhile, Geoff and Erica struggle with their relationship long distance.
With the children growing up, Beverly decides to reinvent herself and quits being a substitute teacher. She decides to focus her energy on going to night school so she can eventually own her own business. Murray doesn't like change or things costing money, so he convinces her to get a perm instead. Meanwhile, Erica struggles to balance her academic and social life in college and needs Adam's assistance.
After Adam and Jackie disagree over their Halloween costumes, Murray teaches Adam to be a shell of a man to keep Jackie happy; however, it backfires quickly also causing an issue for Murray and Beverly. But they soon all learn to compromise in their own special way, in the Halloween and 100th Episode.
When The Ottoman Empire's business declines due to a new furniture competitor, Adam offers to make Murray a commercial starring Marvin, but things go awry when Marvin's actions mess up the original plan. Meanwhile, Beverly offers to help Barry as he keeps striking out as he attempts to get a girl at school.
During the holiday, Uncle Marvin reveals he has become a stockbroker and convinces Barry and the JTP to invest their money with him. Murray intervenes which has repercussions for Barry. Meanwhile, Erica tells Geoff she is in debt and gets swept up in the family investment. Later, Beverly invites 50 people over for a Thanksgiving potluck instead of stressing out cooking for the family, but the plan backfires and Beverly realizes some traditions shouldn't change.
It's a complete disaster when Murray takes Adam out for a driving lesson and they learn something new about Pops in the process. Meanwhile, Erica has a hard time making friends at her school and turns down a toga party invitation. When Barry arrives for a weekend visit, he quickly thrives on the social scene, easily making friends, unlike his sister. But a little pep talk by Barry helps Erica finally enjoy college.
Adam and Barry decide to write a song like the iconic "Parents Just Don't Understand" and call it "Dads Just Don't Care." When they don't get the reaction they expect from Murray, the boys take appropriate steps to make amends. Meanwhile, Beverly keeps calling Erica in college but she wants space from her mom. Beverly is forced to take drastic measures to change that.
When Erica tells Beverly she is going to spend the first night of Hanukkah with Geoff and his family, Beverly worries and starts a competition for who hosts the best Hanukkah party. Meanwhile, Barry seeks advice from Pops on how to be cool and suggests entering into the school's talent show. However, when Pops hears Barry sing, he tries to stop him from performing, but will it be too late?
Afraid she'll be all alone in her old age, Beverly attempts to bond with other moms to form their own group like the TV show "The Golden Girls," while Erica gets annoyed at Geoff's romantic gestures, almost causing them to break up.
Erica warns Geoff about going to dinner with her family to celebrate her birthday, but he insists. Upon arrival, it's apparent this will be no ordinary dinner out: The family changes tables multiple times, Beverly sends her food back, Murray insists Adam order off the children's menu and Barry wants to change his order, but it's too late. By evening's end, Geoff hits his breaking point.
Adam tries to be funny in class but ends up distracting his woodshop teacher, who nearly injures himself when his tie is cut off so Murray grounds him. Meanwhile, Geoff and Beverly try to become more cultured so Erica will remain close when she decides she wants to attend a Philip Glass concert but, in the end, they learn something surprising about Erica's taste in music. 80s band Hooters makes a special appearance.
Barry joins the football team but is quickly benched by Coach Mellor due to his lack of playing ability. He convinces himself the coach is testing him; but when Barry realizes the truth of his playing ability, Adam helps his brother understand there are other ways he can contribute to the team and comes up with their own version of the Super Bowl Shuffle. Meanwhile, Beverly designs jackets that she tries to get Murray and Erica to sell when a national TV channel won't.