Two days before season 8 of the ABC comedy The Goldbergs was scheduled to wrap series star George Segal passed away. With only a few days left on the shooting schedule there was no time left to address his death on the series itself, though several tributes to him aired directly before or after some episodes, buy the upcoming season nine premiere of the show will acknowledge the real-life tragedy. Speaking during the show’s panel at today’s Television Critics Association press tour, series star Wendi McLendon-Covey revealed that the first episode will not only be one of the show’s trademark movie homages but it will center around the scattering of “Pops'” ashes.
“Every time we open a season, it’s always a movie tribute, and I’ve got to hand it to our writers. We’re doing a movie tribute that actually takes us on a journey of where to spread Pops’ ashes,” McLendon-Covey said during the event (H/T The Hollywood Reporter). “It’s not only a traditional tribute, but hysterically funny, and you will cry your eyes out. Sean Giambrone and I could barely get through filming and we’ll be mentioning George a lot during this season…. We’ll be mentioning George a lot this season.”
Previous movies that The Goldbergs has used as a template for its homage episodes include Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Dirty Dancing, The Goonies, Say Anything, Risky Business, The Princess Bride, Caddyshack, and Top Gun. What film might be parodied in the tribute to Segal is unclear.
After his passing the cast of the series were quick to pay tribute to him on social media. Adam F. Goldberg, creator of the series, wrote on Twitter: “Today we lost a legend. It was a true honor being a small part of George Segal’s amazing legacy. By pure fate, I ended up casting the perfect person to play Pops. Just like my grandfather, George was a kid at heart with a magical spark.”
An official statement from the producers of The Goldbergs was also released after Segal’s passing, which read: “On behalf of everyone at The Goldbergs we are devastated at the loss of our dear friend, George. He was kind, sweet, beyond talented and funny. George was the true epitome of class and he touched all of our lives so deeply. It was an honor and a privilege to have him as a colleague and friend all of these years. It is no surprise to any of us that knew him so well that he is a true national treasure. He will be missed by all. POPS, we will miss your banjo playing and your infectious laugh. Rest in peace.”
The Goldbergs will premiere on Wednesday, September 22 at 8 PM on ABC.