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.