Jeff Garlin and his character Murray, the father of the Philadelphia family at the center of ABC’s “The Goldbergs,” have officially, terminally exited the sitcom.
Wednesday’s Season 10 premiere began with a substantial time jump — and with Garlin’s patriarch long deceased. The episode opens with a grown-up Adam Goldberg (narrator Patton Oswalt) explaining how the 1980s summers zoom past.
“Yep, life moves fast. Sometimes too fast, because in that year there was one thing that made everything stop,” Goldberg says, pausing as the camera zooms in on Murray’s empty reclining chair in a spotlight. “Just a few months ago, out of nowhere, we lost my dad. We will always love you dad, always. And we’ll find a way to continue on together.”
The episode portrays Murray’s wife Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey) clearing out her husband’s belongings and trying to find his beloved but misplaced armchair. Meanwhile, son Barry (Troy Gentile) builds a “Field of Dreams” field in the family yard, hoping his father returns for a game of catch.
Murray is never seen in the episode.
Last season, a stand-in and post-production workarounds were used to portray Murray after Garlin, 60, left the show following investigations into his on-set behavior and accusations of misconduct.
A post on Garlin’s Facebook page Tuesday indicated he’s dealing with bipolar disorder.
“Bipolar is a mother- - - - - -,” the Chicago native wrote. “Sometimes it’s just too much to deal with. I’m doing the best I can. This is the first time I’ve opened up about this.”
He is scheduled to appear Oct. 22 in Evanston for a conversation with his “Curb Your Enthusiasm” co-star Susie Essman at Northwestern University’s Cahn Auditorium, as part of the Chicago Humanities Festival. He also has a role in Damien Chazelle’s film “Babylon” (out in December) and is working on Season 12 of “Curb.”
“[‘The Goldbergs’ is] sort of starting from a place of multiple months removed from his death. The family has already grieved,” executive producer Alex Barnow told Entertainment Weekly in August. ”This is going to be a family that has not reconciled the fact that their father’s gone but has sort of moved on and has dealt with a lot of that.”
Executive producer Chris Bishop said, “It honestly feels like a huge reboot for us.”
Barnow said that ”so far, the stories have been largely about looking forward rather than looking back.”
Garlin has appeared on ”The Goldbergs” since ABC’s No. 2 comedy’s 2013 premiere. The show follows a family based on the life of creator Adam F. Goldberg in 1980s Philadelphia. Boisterous Murray Goldberg was often clad in underwear and chilly in his affection towards his children.
In a Dec. 3 interview with Vanity Fair, Garlin did not specify what led to the show investigations, but cited a “joke” he made to a stand-in on the set “that was completely missed.”
“It’s about me and my silliness on set. They don’t think it’s appropriate. I do. That’s where we’re at. I’ve not been fired because of it.” Garlin said. ”I need to do what I need to do to keep my energy up and do what I do. So I don’t know what to say.”
Garlin’s exit came months after, and in sharp contrast, to the show’s handling of series regular George Segal, who died in March 2021. The late actor, who played Pops, was honored at the end of Season 8 with a touching 48-second video tribute to the longtime film and TV star. Season 9 opened with the family remembering their beloved grandfather.
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