In what was supposedly a mutual decision, Sony and Jeff Garlin reportedly agreed last week that the actor would no longer appear on the ABC sitcom The Goldbergs. The decision followed long stemming accusations of toxicity from the actor on the set. The Hollywood Reporter announced that an executive producer told cast and crew last Wednesday of the news. ABC reported that while the actor who had starred as patriarch Murray Goldberg for over eight years would no longer be an alleged nuisance on set, he would remain on the show, at least for the time being.
When news breaks of controversial partings similar to that of Jeff Garlin’s, producers often scramble to find a way to write the character off in a believable manner. However, this time around, it seems the studio is taking a different approach as they make plans to keep Murray Goldberg in the story. According to Variety, the foreseeable plan is to use off-camera dialogue along with unused takes to implement the head honcho into the remainder of the series’ ninth season.
First airing in 2013, The Goldbergs is a period drama set in the ‘80s and follows the titular family. Although suffering a rocky start, the show has held its ground amongst prime-time sitcoms with the show’s nostalgic tones and entertaining dynamic family chemistry led by Jeff Garlin. But while the sitcom remains a fan favorite, there has been plenty of off-screen issues surrounding it.
Starting in 2019, reports of off-camera controversy surrounding Jeff Garlin began making headlines. In an interview with The New York Post, Garlin admitted to nearly being fired from The Goldbergs citing his language as the problem. Garlin said, “I was saying some really stupid silly things that I can’t believe that anyone would find offensive but to each his own”. He even went on to say, “I understand if I worked at an insurance office and there’s a bunch of desks — that’s inappropriate. But in a comedic atmosphere, it’s stupid. They said, ‘What if we fire you?’ and I said, ‘I’d love to have it announced Jeff Garlin got fired for saying [that].'”
Almost two years went by without much talk on the controversy surrounding Jeff Garlin until Vanity Fair recently reported that the 59-year-old Curb Your Enthusiasm actor was once again under fire. According to the reports, Garlin was recently investigated by the human resources department on The Goldbergs for behavior that now unwanted touching of crew members on set. According to the outlet, Garlin made some uncomfortable, stating that he often would hug cast and crew. “He got away with it because he would call himself out for it — saying he was a big teddy bear,” a source told Vanity Fair. Speaking with the magazine, Garlin responded that he was not fired.
Although the character of Murray Goldberg has become less centric to the show’s story over the past few seasons, questions still remain on how exactly ABC and the studio plan to pull off parting ways with one of their main characters, yet still keeping them on the cast. While it seems like a difficult feat, it won’t be the first time the studio has had to get creative like this. It was revealed that Jeff Garlin’s last scenes of The Goldberg’s season 9 were filmed in a similar manner. When Garlin declined a mandated COVID-19 test, producers used a body double to film the actor’s uncompleted scenes while superimposing Garlin’s face on the double.
Jeff Garlin is just one of the many celebrity comedians to come under fire for their behaviors in the last few years. Garlin himself discussed the current climate surrounding comedians and their ability to push boundaries being hindered. While the investigation is reportedly ongoing, the question remains what the future will hold for Murray Goldberg. However, fans of the comedian can still see him play the popular Jeff Green in the remaining three episodes of the 11th season of Curb Your Enthusiasm on HBO.