'The Goldbergs' Alum Returning in Upcoming Episode

A familiar face is making their way back to The Goldbergs. TV Line reported that AJ Michalka's Lainey is coming back to the ABC comedy. She will reprise her role as Lainey Lewis, Barry's ex-fiancée, in the Feb. 22 episode of The Goldbergs

Lainey is going back to her roots to meet up with her friend, Erica (Hayley Orrantia), who recently welcomed a baby, Muriel Goldberg-Schwartz. Even though Erica is thrilled to see her old friend, her husband, Geoff (Sam Lerner), has concerns. According to the official synopsis for the episode, Geoff "is worried that Lainey's return will cause chaos in Barry's life, which is quickly written off by Erica as paranoia." Things change when Erica and Geoff see Barry (Troy Gentile) "suspiciously visiting the Lewis home! After a series of hilarious misunderstandings, the truth is revealed."

Michalka initially appeared on the first two seasons of The Goldbergs in a recurring capacity. She was promoted to series regular in Season 3. The actor eventually left the series in 2019 to headline her own '90s-set spinoff, Schooled. Michalka starred on Schooled as Lainey, who took a job as a music teacher at her former high school. Alas, the spinoff was canceled after two seasons. Since the cancellation, Michalka has made appearances on The Goldbergs on a handful of occasions. 

The current season of The Goldbergs looks rather different. Jeff Garlin, who played Murray Goldberg for the first nine seasons of the comedy, left halfway through Season 9. Garlin was accused of inappropriate on-set behavior, which led to an HR investigation and, subsequently, his departure from the series. It was then reported that the actor's character would be killed off in the series. 

In the Season 10 premiere, the show revealed how Garlin's character was written out of the series. The premiere began with Adam Goldberg (Sean Giambrone) delivering a solemn voiceover, telling the audience, "That year, there was one change that made everything stop." The camera then panned over to the chair that Murray sat in, which was empty. Adam said, "Just a few months ago, out of nowhere, we lost my dad. We will always love you, Dad. Always. And we will find a way to continue on together. Because, after all, we're the Goldbergs."