“I think the TV character is the best smother in the whole wide world,” creator Adam F. Goldberg tells TVGuide.com of the overbearing, guilt-tripping, nubbies- and snuggies-loving matriarch. But, he adds, “it wasn’t even my intention.”
Indeed, Beverly might look and sound a lot different now had Goldberg stuck with his original plan. The character, of course, is based on his own mother, whom he describes as a “really loud ball-buster.” He wrote her as such in the pilot, which featured Bev slapping her kids with her slippers. “Beverly would never do [that] now,” Goldberg says. “It was really responding to the polarizing nature of the pilot and really getting to know Wendi and how sweet she was. I think I initially gave an interview where I said I was thinking of Leah Remini, who I think is more along the lines of what my real mom is like. Wendi is so sweet, so nice and so loving as a human being that after the pilot, I realized that that should be the character — the mom who over-loves, not the mom who is overstepping. But she is doing it out of love. I quickly changed the character after the pilot and I think in Episode 2, she starts calling her kids delicious.”
He continues: “It’s also wish fulfillment in a lot of ways. I think I kind of wanted that mother. Now I do, not back then! It’s the same for my mom. Every episode Bevely is hugging everyone, and she never really got a lot of that because she raised three boys. My mom has said, ‘Oh, she’s much nicer than I am.’ My mom sees it and knows that it’s the Disney TV version of herself. She loves it.”
Except for certain “cheap shots.” Real Bev is still sore about Goldberg driving off without her after she threatened to get out of the car and walk home, which he wrote into an episode earlier this season (“She still finds no humor in that”). And then there’s the great “what-if?” “My mom did say, ‘I could’ve been a lawyer,'” Goldberg says. “Beverly said that in the Ferris Bueller episode … and I screened it for my mom in my office. And her only comment after was, ‘You know, I really could’ve been a lawyer. I don’t like that you made fun of that.’ That’s the stuff she gets bent out of shape about.”
Now that the show’s officially renewed for a third season, there’ll be plenty more smothering and crazy real-to-reel life stories to come. But there is one infamous Bev tale that Goldberg vows he will never do on the show.
“My mom is obsessed with finding bargains and loves shopping, which we did on the show last year. When I was a teenager, Wall to Wall Sound and Video was going out of business and they had a big sale: buy one porno tape, get three free,” he says. “It was such a good deal that she came home with a giant bag of pornos and was so happy with the bargain, not even caring about what she bought. That’s just something for my family show that I can never do and it also makes her seem insane. She knew what they were; she just didn’t care because it was such a good bargain. That bargain is so good that it doesn’t matter you’re bringing home a bag of Ron Jeremy pornos to your family!”
So… what happened to the tapes? “The tapes sat around our house for years and years. When my mom was sending out all my old home movies for the show, a lot of those pornos made it out here. But I don’t own a VCR so they went into the garbage. It’s our version of an old family heirloom: old ’80s porn!”
The Goldbergs airs Wednesdays at 8:30/7:30c on ABC.
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