Garlin, who left the show following allegations of inappropriate behavior, was reportedly in the middle of filming episodes 15 and 16 of a 22-episode season order.
Don’t worry, there will be no deepfake technology used!
“The Goldbergs” finds itself in a challenging situation midway through its ninth season after parting ways with one of its main stars. Jeff Garlin came to a mutual agreement to step away after allegations of inappropriate behavior on set.
He admitted in an interview with Vanity Fair that he’d been the subject of HR investigations for three years running, and seemed dismissive of the complaints that had been filed against him, like his excessive use of the word “vagina” and behavior he says was joking but was taken as overly aggressive.
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As such, the Goldberg family patriarch is out, effective immediately. But there’s still a lot of season left to film. With ABC picking up additional episodes, “The Goldbergs” is looking to produce 22 episodes this season. They were reportedly filming episodes 15 and 16 when Garlin departed.
There were, of course, several options available to producers and writers. They could have come up with a rather abrupt reason for his character to suddenly be absent form the events of the series for the rest of the season. Or, they could make a surprisingly different decision.
Rather than kill off Murray, or have him run away from his family or go on an impromptu vacation, none of which would really work for the tone of the show, it turns out Garlin will continue to appear in the series.
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He’d already been showing up in a more reduced capacity, with Garlin reportedly only showing up to work one day a week. Now, apparently, Murray can still be a part of the show with Garlin showing up zero days a week.
Instead, producers will use a combination of his stand-in for group shots, lines of dialogue that have already been recorded spoken off-camera, either from prior episodes or alternate takes, according to a report by Variety. They’ll also pull video from those unused takes.
In other words, he’ll be a patchwork pre-recorded Murray, which is certainly an interesting approach. It also means Garlin will continue to pick up a paycheck for the show for the remainder of this season.
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What happens next will be a huge question mark. ABC is reportedly bullish on bringing the show back for a 10th season, or at least they were before this whole situation came up. While the option would exist to keep cropping Garlin in this way for a whole season, it doesn’t seem sustainable as a long-term solution.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, though, there were discussions happening about writing Garlin’s character out ahead of a possible Season 10 even before the allegations and his subsequent departure from the show.
Should they go that route, it might prove a little more challenging to get there with only archival audio and video footage available for Murray. We can imagine some interns at that show are suddenly very busy combing through nine seasons of tapes.
Not even halfway through its season yet, “The Goldbergs” returns with its tenth episode on January 5 — so it’ll be a little while yet before we get to see how this “Murray Minus Garlin” experiment works.
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