The Goldbergs is about the life of young Adam Goldberg and his family in the 1980s. Episodes are narrated by adult Adam (voiced by Patton Oswalt), passing stories from his childhood to the audience (and perhaps his own children in the present). Each episode takes place in "1980-something" so as to allow for a multitude of 1980s references, not pinning the story in to a specific year. Ghostbusters is referenced or spoofed in many episodes, as listed below, with Ghostbusters merchandise appearing frequently in the background of scenes. The Ecto Cooler beverage has appeared, or been mentioned, on numerous occasions.
Season 1 Episodes
In addition to the episodes specified below, Adam has a Ghostbusters movie poster hanging in his bedroom throughout the season, and is seen wearing a Ghostbusters t-shirt a few times.
- "The Circle of Driving" (September 24, 2013) (Season 1, Episode 1) - Adam wears a shirt with the no ghost logo on it and the real Adam wears one in the "Adam F. Goldberg Productions" card at the end (which was previous seen at the end of his series, Breaking In). Also, a clip of Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters is shown in the opening montage.
- "Mini Murray" (October 8, 2013) (Season 1, Episode 3) - There's a Ghostbusters poster on Adam's bedroom wall, and Adam mentions that ghosts "keep the Ghostbusters employed" when he's on the phone with his grandfather.
- "Who Are You Going To Telephone?" (October 29, 2013) (Season 1, Episode 6) - The episode not only takes its title from the phrase "Who ya gonna call?", but also features the character of Albert Solomon wearing a Venkman costume with homemade proton pack, while the Ghostbusters theme song is played.
- "Call Me When You Get There" (November 5, 2013) (Season 1, Episode 7) - Includes a clip of Ecto-1A from the montage of Ghostbusters II.
- "You're Not Invited" (March 8, 2014) (Season 1, Episode 20) - Featured a Ghostbusters birthday cake in the home movie opening and the first movie playing in the background during Adam's birthday party. Consequently, the episode took place on the date of the opening of Al Capone's vault, which was later spoofed in an episode of The Real Ghostbusters.
Season 2 Episodes
In addition to the episodes specified below, a Kenner Ecto-1 toy would be seen in Adam's bedroom throughout the season.
- "I Rode A Hoverboard" (December 3, 2014) (Season 2, Episode 8) - A Hi-C Ecto Cooler juice box is seen in the opening scene.
- "DannyDonnieJoeyJonJordan" (January 7, 2015) (Season 2, Episode 10) - Erica offers Barry and Adam Ecto Cooler juice boxes, which prompts Adam to say that he "declines your hollow offering of an Ecto Cooler". Also, the Kenner Ecto-1 you is seen in Adam's bedroom.
- "The Darryl Dawkins Dance" (January 14, 2015) (Season 2, Episode 11) - A clip of The Real Ghostbusters opening is shown when Adam watches some Saturday Morning Cartoons. At the end of the episode, a photo of the real Adam wearing a Ghostbusters t-shirt and playing with Transformers toys is seen.
- "Cowboy Country" (February 11, 2015) (Season 2, Episode 12) - Adam says that he's not afraid of no water tower...or ghosts.
- "Happy Mom, Happy Life" (March 4, 2015) (Season 2, Episode 15) - Ecto Cooler is part of the meal Dana made for Adam in the treehouse.
- "Bill/Murray" (May 6, 2015) (Season 2, Episode 23) - Adam's father, Murray, beferiends his son's girlfriend's father, Bill. A bartender notes that their names form "Bill Murray", "like the Ghostbuster", and they bond over their love of his films. The two guys watch Ghostbusters on TV, and Bill (played by David Koechner) does a decent Bill Murray imitation, quoting his "The flowers are still standing" line.
Season 3 Episodes
- "Couples Costume" (October 28, 2015) (Season 3, Episode 6) - Adam wears a Ghostbusters costume (nametag reads "Spengler"), to which his mother added the "Stay Puft Marshmallow Mom".
- "A Christmas Story" (December 9, 2015) (Season 3, Episode 10) - The Real Ghostbusters: Pinball Game is on the dresser in the background while Adam & Barry are playing Ball Ball.
- "The Tasty Boys" (January 6, 2016) (Season 3, Episode 11) - Adam drinks an Ecto Cooler juice box during the song performance at school.
- "Double Dare" (January 20, 2016) (Season 3, Episode 13) - Ecto Cooler juice boxes are on the table while Adam and his girlfriend watch Double Dare on TV.
- "Weird Al" (February 17, 2016) (Season 3, Episode 15) - While on his treehouse date with Dana, Adam offers her an Ecto Cooler.
- "Rush" (April 13, 2016) (Season 3, Episode 21) - Barry tries to bribe Adam by offering him some Ecto Cooler. One of the items on Adam's list of things for the "Greatest Birthday Ever" is "Ghostbusters Barbershop Quartet". Also, in the background, we see The Real Ghostbusters: Pinball Game again.
- "An '80s Rewind" (April 27, 2016) (Season 3 Special) - Right before the title screen is an outtake of Sean Giambrone (Adam) in the bedroom set, and in the background is the Proton Pack from Adam's Ghostbusters costume (from the episode "Who Are You Going To Telephone?"). Later, there is a set tour of Adam's Bedroom conducted by Sean and prop master Jem Elsner, where the Kenner Ecto-1 and ghost trap toys are seen, and a home-recorded Ghostbusters VHS tape is amongst those on Adam's shelf. There are also a few clips from previous episodes (mentioned above) that include Ghostbusters references.
Season 4 Episodes
- "Globetrotters" (December 7, 2016) (Season 4, Episode 9) - A Stay Puft clip from Ghostbusters is very briefly seen on TV screen. Later, Adam wears No Ghost logo boxer shorts when he pants himself.
- "Han Ukkah Solo" (December 14, 2016) (Season 4, Episode 10) - Adam loses his sense of childlike wonder, and starts to think about the implausibilities of the Statue of Liberty scene in Ghostbusters II. A clip of said scene is shown on the TV in his bedroom. If you look at the image carefully, you'll notice that the Goldbergs crew re-edited the scene. The shot of the NES controller is not from the Fifth Avenue part of Miss Liberty's journey. It's from when she's still anchored to Liberty Island, before she even comes alive.
- "Kara-Te Kid" (March 1, 2017) (Season 4, Episode 16) - "Egon" and "Venkman" are amongst the new names on Adam's list.
- "Fonzie Scheme" (April 26, 2017) (Season 4, Episode 21) - Murray's extreme couponing results in a kitchen full of groceries, including several juice boxes of Hi-C Ecto Cooler (seen on the right side of the screen).
- "The Day After The Day After" (May 3, 2017) (Season 4, Episode 22) - When Adam is editing the video, the Kenner Ecto-1 with all four first wave Real Ghostbusters figures can be seen sitting on a dresser in the background.
Season 5 Episodes
- "Revenge O' The Nerds" (October 18, 2017) (Season 5, Episode 4) - Adam is wearing a No Ghost logo shirt on the title screen.
- "Jackie Likes Star Trek" (October 25, 2017) (Season 5, Episode 5) - A clip of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters is shown when Adam says that he and Jackie like marshmallow-based movies. Also, a trick-or-treater dressed as a ghostbuster is seen running across the street at the end.
- "The Hooters" (January 17, 2018) (Season 5, Episode 13) - While dad Murray is watching 227 on TV, Adam holds an Ecto Cooler juicebox, though you never see the label clearly like in previous episodes.
- "Colors" (March 28, 2018) (Season 5, Episode 17) - Barry says that Naked Rob's mom always greets them with Ecto Coolers.
- "Let's Val Kilmer This Car" (May 16, 2018) (Season 5, Episode 22) - Adam is holding an Ecto Cooler juice box in his hand while talking to Barry in the high school hallway.
Season 6 Episodes
- "There Can Be Only One Highlander Club" (February 20, 2019) (Season 6, Episode 16) - While in his bedroom on a "playdate" with Johnny Atkins, not only is the Kenner Ecto-1 seen in the background on a shelf, but Adam shows off his "Ecto-1 Autobot. It's the Ectotron Figure that wouldn't be released until 2019; 30 years after "1980-something".
Season 7 Episodes
- "Schmoopie's Big Adventure" (March 25, 2020) (Season 7 Episode 18) - After Adam puts his Pee-Wee bike in the lucite case, his mother tells him to treat it like his other toys. He says that he is, and then quick shots of boxed toys in his bedroom are shown. In the first shot, a sealed-in-box Kenner Real Ghostbusters Rapid Fire Ecto-Blaster is seen sitting on top of a Nintendo R.O.B. The Robot box. There's also a Kenner Ecto-Bomber box on the far left of the shot, to the left of Castle Grayskull. Although the episode is set in "1980-something", both of these toys were released in 1990.
- Patton Oswalt, the uncredited narrator/adult Adam in The Goldbergs, is the voice of the Icon Ghost in Ghostbusters VR - Now Hiring.
- Spook Central's Critical Commons Account - search results for all Goldbergs Ghostbusters video clips