Jeff Garlin left his hit TV series, and yet somehow Murray Goldberg is still making appearances…
The Goldbergs has been running for a healthy nine years, but controversy that has been brewing behind the scenes finally came to a head this year. In December, it was announced that Garlin would be exiting the series after three years of HR complaints against him. In an interview with Vanity Fair, the comedian downplayed accusations of misconduct and claimed he had not been fired, framing the exit as more of a difference of opinion between himself and the production company, Sony Pictures Television. Yet while the actor was no longer available to shoot, the character remained a part of the show — to mixed results.
Over on Twitter, writer Noel Murray shared a surreal clip from a recent episode where Garlin’s face was superimposed onto a body double. He complained:
“They should either cancel The Goldbergs or kill off Jeff Garlin’s character because the workarounds they’ve been using this season ain’t working”
Ch-ch-check it out for yourself (below):
They should either cancel The Goldbergs or kill off Jeff Garlin’s character because the workarounds they’ve been using this season ain’t working. pic.twitter.com/EgG4so6rIA
— Noel Murray (@NoelMu) March 14, 2022
A little creepy looking, if we’re honest! But Garlin’s TV wife Wendi McLendon-Covey clapped back at the criticism. She replied:
“Thanks for the great suggestion Noel! This season threw us for a loop because a.) it’s hard to incorporate someone who doesn’t want to be there and wants to leave mid-scene, and b.) we weren’t about to re-write the 2nd half of the season. We’re doing our best.”
Thanks for the great suggestion Noel! This season threw us for a loop because a.) it's hard to incorporate someone who doesn't want to be there and wants to leave mid-scene, and b.) we werent about to re-write the 2nd half of the season. We're doing our best.
— Wendi McLendon-Covey (@wendimclendonco) March 15, 2022
Left mid-scene?! Wow! Another fan responded:
“If my co-workers were trying to get me fired because of a couple of jokes I made, I wouldn’t be too excited about being there either.”
Wendi responded with a series of crying-laughing emojis, writing:
“right. That’s definitely what happened!”
???????????????????????? right. That's definitely what happened! ????????????????????
— Wendi McLendon-Covey (@wendimclendonco) March 16, 2022
So what DID really happen? As we previously reported, the sitcom star came under fire for being “extremely verbally and emotionally abusive,” making off-color jokes that frequently used the word “vagina,” and using “nicknames that some also considered offensive” for female co-workers.
Deadline reported in December that the embattled funnyman reached “a mutual agreement” with Sony Pictures Television to leave the show in the middle of shooting the ninth season. (Variety claimed they were in process of filming the 15th and 16th episodes when the decision was made, so that tracks with Wendi’s tweet.)
According to Variety, the ol’ superimposed-on-the-body-double trick has been used for Garlin “in promotional materials” in the past, so this isn’t The Goldbergs’s first rodeo. His lines were recreated by “using off-camera dialogue pulled from earlier episodes and unused takes.” Even though his exit from filming sounds pretty abrupt (and as you can see, the workarounds to include his character are kind of jarring), the loss didn’t shake up their schedule too much, as Variety reported he was only filming one day a week at that point. Still, a production source shared with Deadline:
“It feels a little surreal that he will never be here again but the mood on the set is ecstatic. In fact several people cheered when the execs said that Jeff would not be returning.”
Wow. Must have been a pretty tense atmosphere if that was the case! The Goldbergs hasn’t been renewed for a 10th season yet, so we’ll see if the show continues and whether they decided to actually write the character of Murray off moving forward.
[Image via ABC/YouTube]