In what was supposedly a mutual decision last week, Sony and Jeff Garlin agreed that the latter would no longer be appearing on ABC sitcom The Goldbergs following allegations of on-set behavior that reportedly made people uncomfortable (not to mention a general refusal on Garlin’s part to acknowledge that anything he might do could make someone uncomfortable).
Garlin played Murray Goldberg, the dad on the show, and the story at the time was that this probably would’ve been his last season (it’s the show’s ninth) anyway. It was unclear last week how The Goldbergs would write out such an important character, but now we know: It won’t. Variety is reporting that Garlin will actually remain on the show—and continue getting paid—through the wonders of editing. In other words, they’re doing the Carrie Fisher/Star Wars: Rise Of Skywalker thing. And that worked out so well in the movie!
Variety says ABC will use “off-camera dialogue pulled from earlier episodes and unused takes, as well as previously shot images of Garlin,” to make it seem like he’s still there. The story also points out that Garlin’s stand-in is already being used on the set, “shot from the back,” and the stand-in has even replaced Garlin in promotional shots for the show (but with Garlin’s face superimposed on).
Now, The Goldbergs takes place in the ‘80s, so it wouldn’t strictly make sense for it to do one of its big pop culture parody sequences about The Rise Of Skywalker, but it would be fun if characters were constantly coming in and relaying information that Garlin’s character told them off-screen. “Dad said that he made a lightsaber and hid it in Luke Skywalker’s house on that island, but nobody ever thought to mention it.” You know, that sort of thing.
It all sounds like a potentially hilarious disaster, but it will probably more seamless than we’re expecting. Either way, we’ll know when The Goldbergs returns to ABC.