When fans of “The Goldbergs” tune into the ABC sitcom’s 10th season this fall, Jeff Garlin’s patriarch Murray will have already been dead for months.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, showrunners Alex Barnow and Chris Bishop unveiled how “The Goldbergs” will deal with Garlin’s messy departure from the series midway through its ninth season. Garlin’s exit from him was a “mutual agreement” between himself and Sony Pictures Television following an HR investigation into his on-set behavior from him, which the actor chalked up to “silliness.”
Premiering Sept. 21, Season 10 also introduces a new member to the family, as newlyweds Erica (Hayley Orrantia) and Geoff (Sam Lerner) have their first child.
“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,” Barnow said. “So we’re starting with optimism about a baby coming and looking forward to the future. It’s an opportunity for this interesting emotional basis for the way people are behaving.”
Bishop added: “It honestly feels like a huge reboot for us. So we have tons of momentum rolling into this new season.”
“The family has already grieved, unlike Pops [George Segal] and the premiere of Season 9 where they’re dealing with it sort of very freshly,” Barnow said. Jeff [Garlin] won’t be in the series this year, and so far the stories have been largely about looking forward rather than looking back.”
Asked whether Garlin is aware that his character is being killed off, Barnow said: I’ve had a conversation with Jeff and he’s aware that he’s not being replaced. The truth is, I do not know if he knows what his fate is, but I’m assuming he knows, would be the answer to that question. We haven’t had a subsequent conversation since the beginning of writing that he would have any specific clarity on that.”
Detailing Season 10, the showrunners said that viewers will be seeing more of Pop-Pop (Judd Hirsch), as Murray’s death brings the family closer. They also teased that David Hasselhoff will play himself in a guest spot.
Season 10 will mark the first time Garlin is completely absent from “The Goldbergs” throughout its nine year run on the network. The series was filming the 15th and 16th episodes of its 22-episode Season 9 when Garlin was suddenly off the show due to the allegations. However, the star still appeared through off-camera dialogue pulled from earlier episodes and unused takes, as well as previously shot images. During that time, Garlin was still getting paid for her work on the show.
Garlin had previously addressed the allegations against him in an interview with Vanity Fair, saying, “Well, to be honest with you, there is no story. We have a difference of opinion, Sony and myself.”
He continued: “My opinion is, I have my process about how I’m funny, in terms of the scene and what I have to do. They feel that it makes for a quote ‘unsafe’ workspace. Now, mind you, my silliness making an unsafe workspace — I don’t understand how that is… I am always a kind and thoughtful person. I make mistakes, sure. But my comedy is about easing people’s pain. Why would I ever want to cause pain in anybody for a laugh? That’s bullying. That’s just uncalled for.”
Days after that interview was published, Garlin left “The Goldbergs” by mutual agreement.