The Goldbergs Pay Homage to Ferris Bueller

Ingela Ratledge
Gilles Mingasson/ABC

The Goldbergs

Bueller? Bueller? No paean to the 1980s is complete without a nod to Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and tonight, The Goldbergs pay tribute to the beloved Matthew Broderick big-screen comedy. "It's a perfect time capsule of that period. When I was growing up, we had it playing on a loop in my house," says series creator Adam Goldberg. "From Day One, we've been talking about doing this episode."

The Ferris-inspired story kicks off when socially challenged teen Barry (Troy Gentile) attempts to rip a page from a much cooler playbook, ditching class and setting out on a legendary adventure. "For Barry, that movie felt like his world put onto the screen," says Goldberg. First order of copycat business? Calling the school to pretend that his girlfriend, Lainey (AJ Michalka), has had a death in the family so she can join him–except he fails to give her a heads-up about his plan. "She believes the news and starts crying hysterically," says Goldberg. With the first of many blunders under his high-waisted belt, Barry resorts to Plan B: enlisting his little brother, Adam (Sean Giambrone), and grandfather Pops (George Segal) to join him instead for the odyssey through Philadelphia.

"Barry and Adam spend the whole day arguing about which one of them is Ferris, when in reality, they're both Camerons," says Goldberg, referring to the depressed, geeky sidekick made famous by Alan Ruck. While the boys bicker, third sibling Erica (Hayley Orrantia) is on a mission to bust them and eventually lands at the police station, where she encounters Charlie Sheen, reprising his role from the film. "He wore the same leather jacket and delivered the lines exactly like he did 30 years ago," says Goldberg. "It was surreal and epic. We were all looking around at one point like, 'Is this frigging happening?'"

The Goldbergs, 8:30/7:30c, ABC