Mama Drama yields a “Near Goldbergs Experience”

The Goldbergs Season 2 is in full swing and there’s no stopping it now! Last week’s ratings were great but the sky is the limit for this show.

Episode 2 is entitled “Mama Drama” and while one story deals with Murray & Vic and an apparent hockey rivalry (Vic attends a Flyers game while wearing an Oilers shirt…This seems like a no-no) the main story is about Adam and the school play. There is plenty of drama in Drama class along with his mama & the Drama Teacher – Miss Cinoman (played by Ana Gasteyer).

Miss Cinoman is another real-life person in Adam’s 1980something life and she really had an encounter with the now (in)famous Beverly Goldberg. Based on this interaction she pitched a story to Adam and he liked it so much he flew her out to LA to help with the episode! Not a bad gig for a middle-school drama teacher, eh?

Adam and "Miss Cinoman" - courtesy of @sueplon

Adam and the real “Miss Cinoman” – courtesy of @sueplon

Well it turns out the real Susan Cinoman is actually a published screenwriter & playwright with a growing body of work and accolades. Out of the blue we were contacted by THE Miss Cinoman and she shared her thoughts on reconnecting with the boy she taught many years ago:

Near Goldbergs Experience

I am recovering from a Near Goldberg Experience. We’ve all heard stories about people at the end of their lives entering the light, seeing people from the past whom they dearly love, experiencing great bliss and not wanting to return to their physical bodies in the earthly life they once knew. That’s kinda what it’s like being on the set of The Goldbergs.

First of all, I sent Adam Goldberg a pitch for a story idea that I had for his hilarious, original, somewhat retro half hour comedy “The Goldbergs”. The idea was about his high school drama teacher (me) criticizing a play he’d written (really happened) and his mom (I knew her) rewriting the play in an angry tirade. His mom, Beverly, rants and raves and rewrites after having a showdown with the obviously idiotic drama teacher who doesn’t know her drama. To my ecstatic surprise, Adam liked the idea, gave me shared story credit and named the character Miss Cinoman after his old teacher/writer-again, me. He and the writers smartly changed the story some (can’t reveal it here!) and I went to Los Angeles with my husband, Doug, to watch the show being shot.

All of that began the out of body journey highlighted by our entrance through the rainbow archway of the Sony lot, passing posters from MGM movies that both Doug and I had watched and loved . “The Wizard of Oz” was made on this lot, and there is no doubt that we, too, were entering a world as bright and beautiful as one where bluebirds fly. On the first day, I sat in the Writer’s Room with Adam. The writers were amazingly quick and smart. They talked and quipped in non-sequitors and the subject drifted from remembrances of friends from high school to shows they’d worked on elsewhere. Brilliantly, the seemingly disjointed nature of conversation wound back around to the episode they were working on with Adam at the forefront, helming like the Captain of a starship.

If my perception of things seems romantic, it might have been because I was so, so happy to see Adam again after not having done so in more than 15 years. I remembered him as an ebullient, funny and super talented kid and really, and I say this in the most comforting way, nothing really changes. He’s the good guy now as he was then, giving me the biggest break in my writing career that I’ve had. Staying home with kids and trying to stay on the career train is hard. It took Adam Goldberg to give me that one great push back on. Remember the end of “Love in theAfternoon” when Gary Cooper lifts Audrey Hepburn onto the train car with him? That’s what is was like. Another movie reference notwithstanding.

But maybe the most surreal, not of this earth part of the shooting of the episode “Mama Drama” was watching myself, longish hair, jeans tucked into boots and an on the edge of Bohemian sweater being played by Ana “Saturday Night Live, “Good Times”” Gasteyer. There was I (wonderful Ana) squaring off with Beverly (genius Wendi Mclendon-Covey) in the office of my former boss, Headmaster Dr. Ball (Stephen Tobolowsky). It’s how a ghost must feel, delighted, detached watching itself in some form, moving through life but not in it at the same time. Just wow. It seems poetic that the last time I directed Adam in a play we did “Our Town” where Emily watches her family in life just like I watched Miss Cinoman in Adam’s.

And we were ushered around by a bunch of angels- just to stay with the heaven analogy for a little longer. The hair and make-up women, the script supervisor, the crew, Adam’s assistant, the director- just heaven sent. Really, really.
So it is hard getting back to the grind of sending out plays and not hearing the jokes in The Writer’s Room, at least until they air. But once you reach heaven, you just know in your heart that someday you’ll be back.

Think she’s got a knack for writing? Miss Cinoman clearly thinks the world of her former student (making sure to ask us if we’ve seen Fanboys) and also told us that she had a small part in the episode. Below you can see her with Sean Giambrone (young Adam F. Goldberg).


THE GOLDBERGS – “Mama Drama” (ABC/Tony Rivetti)

You can follow Susan on Twitter @sueplon or on Facebook. Her IMDb profile showcases some of her screen work (including “Mama Drama”).

The Goldbergs airs Wednesdays at 8:30/7:30C on ABC.