The Goldbergs' Wendi McLendon-Covey Breaks Silence on Jeff Garlin Exit: He 'Doesn't Want to Be There'

For the first time since Jeff Garlin left The Goldbergs in December, series star Wendi McLendon-Covey has addressed (and defended) the show’s handling of his departure.

First, some context: Garlin abruptly left the long-running ABC sitcom (on which he’d starred since the pilot) at the end of 2021, following a human resources investigation stemming from several complaints about his on-set behavior, including alleged lewd language and unwarranted touching. Just prior to Garlin’s departure, he spoke with Vanity Fair about the complaints against him, stating that HR had come to him three years in a row to discuss his behavior.

“It’s always the same thing,” Garlin said at the time. “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. We just think differently.”

In the wake of Garlin’s exit, The Goldbergs has opted to use a body double for the actor in order to film his incomplete scenes, while Garlin’s face has been superimposed in post-production. But the final result of Garlin’s “appearance” has yielded recent criticism online, some of which prompted McLendon-Covey’s social media response this week.

“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,” journalist Noel Murray tweeted on Monday, alongside a Goldbergs clip in which Garlin’s superimposed face and pre-recorded dialogue are particularly conspicuous.

“Thanks for the great suggestion Noel!” McLendon-Covey wrote on Tuesday in a reply, marking her first statement about the Garlin controversy. “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 werent about to re-write the 2nd half of the season. We’re doing our best.”

ABC did not immediately respond to TVLine’s request for comment. Murray, meanwhile, has yet to publicly respond to the actress, though other Goldbergs fans showed support for her and the series in subsequent Twitter replies.

The Goldbergs‘ ninth season currently airs Wednesdays at 8/7c. Its Season 9 episode count was recently upped from 18 to 22 half-hours, but the comedy has yet to be renewed for Season 10.

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