Discussing the Final Season of ‘The Goldbergs’ with Sean Giambrone and Hayley Orrantia

Sean Giambrone and Hayley Orrantia star as Adam and Erica in The Goldbergs, which takes fans back to the ‘80s. After ten seasons of making us all laugh, the family comedy series has come to an end. You can currently stream episodes on Hulu.

The Goldbergs” are back for a monumental 10th season celebrating everything we love about our favorite ‘80s household while also welcoming a new season of life. With everyone living back under the same roof and Beverly preparing for her new role as Grandsmotherer, there is more Goldbergs pandemonium than ever! As this new chapter unfolds, the Goldbergs continue to remind us that there is no bond greater than family, and there is nothing they can’t handle with each other’s support.

It was a true pleasure to catch up with the actors and speak with them about their last days on set, which props they took home with them, what they’ve learned from each other, and more. Keep reading to find out what they shared with me!

ABC/Scott Everett White

How did you approach saying goodbye to The Goldbergs and your characters?
Hayley Orrantia: As far as the character, I don’t know if I have yet, but I texted my friend, Nolan Gould, who was on Modern Family, when I found out that we weren’t probably gonna be coming back and I said, “Nolan, what do I do? What is my last week supposed to look like? What do you recommend?” And he said, “Just try to be off your phone and really take it in like minute by minute, talk to the prop department about taking stuff back home with you if they can allow, and then just spend time on set and be present.” For me, personally, I wrapped on that Monday, but obviously, they were filming until Friday and the last scene was with Sean, so it was really cool. I personally wanted to make sure that I was physically there on set, weeping alongside everyone else, so that was kind of my way of doing it. But I don’t know, it’s been hard so far. What about you, Sean?

Sean Giambrone: Yeah, definitely don’t want to say a complete goodbye. It’s been so awesome, but when Hayley wrapped, it was like, she wrapped and it hit me. But then I was like, I don’t think it hit me completely, it seems so like… I don’t know, I just couldn’t grasp it. Then the next day, I saw her, I was like, “Wow,” and we were all getting wrapped throughout the week and it was just kind of wild. Sometimes you’d realize what was going on and other times you’d be like, “Oh, this is just a regular week.” But Hayley helped because she said some of those tips from Nolan, and so I was like, okay, and kind of was following that a little bit too. But yeah, I kept my glasses and my watch, and then wardrobe sent some t-shirts and other stuff, like hats and stuff that I wore so I have some sort of mementos.

Hayley, did you get to take anything home with you?
Orrantia: I did. So, there were a couple of things that I really wanted that I talked to the prop department about, one of which was the crossword puzzle that George would write in, in the living room scenes a lot. I just loved that it still sat in the same spot even after he had passed and there were a few pages where he actually either filled out the crossword puzzle or he had some of his lines written in there. And so, that one was just like, you know, I think, you don’t really notice it in the scene at all or in the room, but it was something that I just always recall when it would come to filming scenes with him. So I’m really glad I got that, but there was one thing I was just outed for taking.

ABC/Scott Everett White

Three of our crew members on the show have just started a podcast called, Goldbergs Rewind, and one of them is the prop master and the production designer, and they, I guess, had figured out that I had taken the watercolor painting from the dining room area of like the Goldbergs house and I knew that it was like, I couldn’t ask for it because they would not let me have it and so, I just stole it on the last day, but I left the frame hanging, which was hilarious because it looked like such an art heist. But I ended up taking it and I’m framing it here, and they definitely made fun of me. I guess it’s all okay now, no one is looking for it anymore, but I was gonna go to the grave with that one.

Were you both personally satisfied with the finale and ending?
Giambrone: Well, I guess, for me, I like the ending. It’s kind of exciting because I remember talking about it with my family and I was like, “I feel like we could go for another year because it doesn’t feel like an ending.” Then I was explaining some of the stuff that was happening, like, “Oh crud, there are some kind of full circle things going on in this episode.” But you can kind of see potentially where each character might be going in the near future, and so I like it. I’m very excited to see it, but the one thing is I wish it could be slightly more like the Seinfeld one, if we could have had everybody from the — I think Hayley and I, we talked about this, like have as many people throughout the whole show just all compiled into that episode would have been really cool.

Orrantia: Yeah, it’s tough. I think, what’s difficult about this episode for me was that it was initially written to be the third to last episode. Then, as we did the table read, we had been informed they were gonna move it to the finale, which I think like Sean was saying, gave us a lot of hope that this show could do another year because it is somewhat left on a cliffhanger, somewhat not. So it kind of was an interesting place to be in, which is I think why a lot of us thought, “Okay, we’re coming back, we’re coming back.” Then we found out like, no, that’s it. For me, personally, as a fan of the show as well, I feel a little bit of like, there’s not closure there for me.

But Wendi also made a comment in an interview recently that I’m like, she’s right, there’ve been a lot of reboots happening and not saying we would do that any time remotely soon, but that could be on the table, you know? And maybe this is a cool way of being able to do that. So I think that people are gonna love it and people are gonna not like it, but it’s just kind of where our show leaves for here right now.

ABC/Scott Everett White

I was actually gonna ask if you both would do a reboot or revival in the future. We could do spin-offs for all the characters easily.
Orrantia: Everybody’s got their own.

Giambrone: The Goldbergs universe.

Orrantia: I think the hard part about spin-offs for our show though is the whole point of who they are at the core is that they are so involved in each other’s lives to almost an inappropriate degree. So I think no matter whose story you try to take off on, there’s a chance that like Beverly is gonna be there all the time or the siblings are gonna pop in, and so I think, spin-offs while not off the table, may be hard because then it’s just The Goldbergs.

There was some big stuff this season. What were your favorite moments or storylines to explore?
Well, I always enjoyed when I had a scene with Hayley, Sam, and the baby because those two, they’re really great with the baby. They’d come up with some funny things to do and they were really sweet, they were twins. And so, yeah, that was like an exciting new part of this year and I didn’t have that many with the baby, so every time.

Orrantia: They are so sweet. I even asked the mom, I’m like, “What did you do during your pregnancy? Because they are abnormally kind and well-behaved,” and it’s bizarre. I mean, not only are they just babies so they’re unpredictable normally, but you’re now bringing them onto a set with 100 people, cameras, lines, and not knowing when they — like, what if they made noise or whatever in the middle of a take? And so, I think there’s a lot of unpredictability there, but they were oddly made for this. They just were so well-behaved. They were happy to be there and there were times when there would be lines that would be a little bit of space and it was like they knew and they would make the perfect noise or facial expression. Maybe it’s just by chance, but I’m like, “You did something unique here.” And she goes, “Well, I’m a yoga teacher and I meditate a lot.” I’m like, “Oh, you can tell because these babies are just so chill.”

Giambrone: Well, at one scene, it sounded like one of them said, “Cut.”

ABC/Scott Everett White

Orrantia: Oh, I know! I swear to you, I don’t remember if it was Sequoia or Serenity, but one of them, it sounded like they went “cut,” and we were like, “Well, little director on set.” They’re very talented little ones.

Do you have a favorite filming memory from this season? I know there’s probably a lot.
Orrantia: It all blends together. I’m trying to think of what was this year or what was last year. That’s a good problem to have though, we’ve done so many. I don’t know, I feel like there was something Troy did at the beginning of the season that was like a line — I can’t remember what it was though, unfortunately. But I feel like every year there’s a Troy-ism that happens that sticks with me.

Giambrone: There was one scene that was, I think it was my favorite, and I don’t remember what it was but for the cold open this year, a lot of the times it was like everyone together and there was one, I can’t remember if it’s the one where Hayley dumps the popcorn on Sam’s head or one of those, but there was just a goofiness. Everyone was kind of laughing and I can’t remember what was going on, but it felt like everything was clicking and it was just a beautiful — everything was so fun in that scene. I don’t remember what we were doing exactly, nothing too extraordinary was happening but everything was just great. It was a really fun scene.

Both of you are extremely talented, I can’t wait to support you in new projects. How does it feel to go onto the next chapter of your careers knowing that you have such a huge fanbase following and supporting you?
Orrantia: Honestly, I think that for me, I hope they can get ready for the wave because I’m excited to try to challenge myself, whether that’s in acting or in music. We’ve been on this show for a decade and Sean and I both started when we were very young, and I think in our own ways, we kind of have sort of come into our own or have been trying to get to come into our own through the process of also being on a set for 226 weeks of our lives. So I think for me, it’s like taking this time to really settle into who I am as a person outside of the show and interpreting that in my own way in a different form of art. And so, I’m excited about that and I’m just hopeful that fans of The Goldbergs will be able to continue to follow along that journey.

ABC/Scott Everett White

Giambrone: Yeah, I guess, really what Hayley is saying, it kind of hit a couple of weeks in. It’s like, wow, I guess figuring out how to live without The Goldbergs going on is kind of a different thing. So just kind of picking up different stuff and taking it easy but also auditioning and just seeing what could happen, so just kind of staying loose to it all.

Sean, this is the perfect opportunity to get you into the Marvel Cinematic Universe!
Giambrone: Sure, you know, I like the way that sounds.

Orrantia: I think that would be amazing actually. I wanna see that. Sean, is there any Marvel character you would ever want to play that hasn’t been, or maybe even one that’s already been portrayed by somebody, is there one that you love?

Giambrone: I do read comics and I have my favorites but I don’t see myself as them, so I don’t know.

Orrantia: We’re gonna have to dig one up for you.

Giambrone: Hayley, would you rather be in a superhero movie, a Western, or a period piece?

Orrantia: That’s a good — what is this a Troy question? Troy will just come up to people, sit, and go, “Peanut butter or jelly, go,” and they’re like, “Peanut butter?” Then he’ll just walk away and you’re like, “What poll are we taking?” He’ll do it with anything. Well, I can’t go with Marvel purely because I just don’t think I’m athletic enough, so that’s just not in the cards for me. Unless there is a superhero whose power is being a couch potato, I don’t envision me doing that well. Other than that, I would say Western would be fun because I can obviously do the Southern accent and I would love to be able to do that. But there’s something about a period piece, I love the 1920s, so let me be a flapper girl and I’m in.

ABC/Scott Everett White

What have you personally learned from each other? You’ve grown up on this set together and I imagine that gives you a bond that lasts for life.
Orrantia: Definitely. What have I learned from Sean? So much. Honestly, what I admire so much about Sean outside of the fact that he’s just ridiculously talented and was the only lead member of our show that had been juggling doing school at the same time that he’s [doing] all of the work that we had to do to be on set, impressive in and of itself, but I think what I really admire is his ability to navigate being on set without letting any outside influence or emotion get to you.

Even if you were, I never saw you have a bad day and you never took it out on anyone else, and I think that that’s so admirable because everybody has a day that they come into work and they’re just like, “Oh my God, I wanna scream,” like it’s too much or I get hangry with little quips and I’m like, “Sorry about that, I need a sandwich.” Guilty! I think it was just so cool to not only watch someone who was just totally thriving in this role and juggling all the things that he’s juggling, but at the same time, just coming in with a great attitude because I think that in this industry that can be hard and it’s very admirable and it’s something that I hope I can carry with me to other jobs if I’m lucky enough to do that.

Giambrone: Thank you, Hayley. My communication skills are kind of different, like sometimes I can get it going in a good way and sometimes I’m like, oh, so having someone like Hayley around that would always — Hayley, you’re really good at showing your heart I feel like to other people and it’s in a very sincere way, but you’re still kind of presenting yourself, even if it’s just a small disagreement or misunderstanding, it doesn’t escalate. It’s kind of more showing that as a possibility in a conversation that I would kind of veer away from, and so that was something I really appreciate having you around to see that.

I also tend to be very kind of serious, I overfocus or something like that and Hayley focuses, but I think it’s in that right amount where she’s good at keeping it light and getting everyone just goofing around and then when we’re acting, she’s kind of locked in but she’s able to take the stress out but keep the focus in. There’s other stuff that I know I’ll be kicking myself that I might not have said, but I feel like those are the specific ones that kind of stood out as really helpful things. I really appreciated having you around.