‘Schooled’ Star AJ Michalka Talks About The ‘Goldbergs’ Spinoff

The cast of ABC's “Schooled”: Brett Dier, AJ Michalka, Bryan Callen, and Tim Meadows.
Craig Sjodin / ABC

Fans of the 1980s-set sitcom The Goldbergs will surely want to tune in to spinoff series Schooled. Premiering on Wednesday, January 9, the show is set in the following decade, the 1990s, and focuses on the funny faculty at William Penn Academy, which all three of the Goldberg children attended.

The new ABC show features older, future versions of characters that have already been introduced on The Goldbergs, including Lainey Lewis (AJ Michalka), Principal Glascott (Tim Meadows), and Coach Mellor (Bryan Callen). Plus, there are new characters, including series regular Brett Dier as young and enthusiastic teacher Charlie “CB” Brown.

The first episode, “Be Like Mike,” sets up the series as Lainey — Erica Goldberg’s best friend and Barry Goldberg’s fiancée — becomes the school’s new music teacher after failing to achieve success as a musician.

“In a way, we are getting a chance to start a new show but not be the new kids in town,” Michalka told TV Insider.

“This is from the lenses of these teachers. The workforce of William Penn… We’re painting these teachers as heroes, which I think is exactly the way they should be depicted.”

The 27-year-old actress considered becoming a teacher when she was a child, but then got involved with the entertainment industry, so she’s enjoying playing an educator on screen.

"Schooled" star AJ Michalka as Lainey Lewis.
  Craig Sjodin / ABC

“I’m really inspired by what teachers do, and I love kids… But would I feel capable enough to do such a hard job? I would say no, not now, but I could get there,” she explained to Parade.

As for how Schooled will handle Lainey’s engagement to Barry Goldberg, which has been a main plot line throughout the current season of The Goldbergs, Michalka said viewers will get their answers right away as the two shows are airing back-to-back.

“We kind of wrap up the story with Barry and Lainey and transition to Schooled on the same night,” she revealed to TV Insider.

“I think it’s going to be a little heartbreaking in some ways, but I also think it’s going to be one of the most exciting episodes.”

As far as which of her Goldbergs co-stars will pop up on Schooled, she told Parade that Beverly Goldberg (Wendi McLendon-Covey) and her dad, Bill Lewis (David Koechner), make appearances, and there’s one other particular character that makes a crossover that she is “so excited about, but can’t talk about.”

Some of the reviews for Schooled have not been kind.

Variety called the debut episode “a letdown” and “painfully strained,” saying it “lacks the snap and vigorous, unruly wit” of other ABC sitcoms such as Black-ish and Speechless.

The Times Herald-Record also wasn’t a fan of the premiere episode, saying “Schooled uses pop culture references as a crutch” and that it “is not so much a comedy as a collection of contrivances, a rickety vehicle that doesn’t deliver many — make that any — actual laughs.”

Schooled premieres on ABC on Wednesday, January 9, at 8:30 p.m. ET.