'The Goldbergs' Star Wendi McLendon-Covey Speaks out About Jeff Garlin's Exit

After a critic pointed out how awkward the Jeff Garlin stand-in looks on ABC's long-running sitcom The Goldbergs, star Wendi McLendon-Covey spoke about the issue on Tuesday. Garlin, who also stars on Curb Your Enthusiasm, left the show during Season 9 due to misconduct allegations. The show has continued to use his character with stand-ins, outtakes from past seasons, or CGI.

Earlier this week, critic Noel Murray tweeted a clip from a recent episode of The Goldbergs, where Erica (Hayley Orrantia) was getting married. Garlin's Murray still walked her down the aisle, even though Garlin was not there. The show's producers used an awkward combination of a stand-in and CGI to make it appear like the actor was on set. "They should either cancel The Goldbergs or kill off Jeff Garlin's character because the workarounds they've been using this season ain't working," Murray wrote.

"Thanks for the great suggestion Noel," McLendon-Covey, who stars as Beverly Goldberg, replied. "This season threw us for a loop because a.) it's hard to incorporate someone who doesn't want to be there and wants to leave mid-scene, and b.) we weren't about to re-write the 2nd half of the season. We're doing our best."

Garlin, 59, often joked about not caring for the show and accepting it as just a paycheck. He claimed he left during Season 9 out of boredom, but Vanity Fair reported in December 2021 that there were multiple allegations against him of misconduct. Three former Goldbergs staffers told the magazine that Garlin allegedly "engaged in a pattern of verbal and physical conduct on set" that made some uncomfortable. Garlin also allegedly used inappropriate language and would often touch or hug people in ways that made them uncomfortable. "He got away with it because he would call himself out for it – saying he was a big teddy bear, saying things like, 'Oh you know me, just a big bowl of mush, I'm a hugger. I just love you,'" one source said.

Garlin confirmed there were multiple HR investigations into his behavior, but he insisted he was not fired from the show. At the time of the interview, he was leaving with a few episodes left to film and said he grew "bored" with the series. "No other reason. Well, bored, and I was frustrated with the parameters that were being put on me by Sony, which they have every right to [enact]," Garlin told Vanity Fair. "And I have every right when I'm not under contract to decide not to come back. That's all it was. But I love the people I work with, and I didn't want the work to end for them. So I did my part in keeping the show going, even though I would have been happy not doing the show."

The Goldbergs was created by Adam F. Goldberg and is inspired by his childhood in 1980s Pennsylvania. The show debuted in September 2013, and over 200 episodes have been made. Episodes are available to stream on Hulu.