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Jeff Garlin's CGI Presence on 'The Goldbergs' Is the Stuff of Nightmares

By Dustin Rowles | TV | March 15, 2022 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | March 15, 2022 |


My family are regular viewers of ABC’s The Goldbergs because it’s the rare sitcom about a Jewish family where Jewish holidays are celebrated, and it’s also nice because my kids know a ton about ’80s music and movies because of the sitcom. I have also kept them apprised of the Jeff Garlin situation — he “left” the show because everyone wanted him to leave — and we knew that episode 15, the 200th episode of the series’ run, the big wedding episode — was likely to be Garlin’s last. Truthfully, I don’t think he appeared in the two or three episodes prior to the wedding episode, in spite of the fact that fathers would seemingly be useful for those episodes.

Even before Garlin disappeared, however, it was obvious that he was only shooting one day every few weeks, probably with only stand-ins in the room, because he was almost never in the same frame with other actors, and the only thing he ever did was sit on his lounge chair and say something like, “Get out of the way. You’re in front of the TV!” or comment about something on the TV. Most scenes with Jeff Garlin look like this:

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Because it’s a family show, and because families have different schedules, it took us a week-and-a-half to finally sit down and watch the wedding episode together, and it did not disappoint. Not because Richard Marx made an appearance (although that, too), or because Jeff and Erica finally got married, but because of the unintentional comedy in watching scenes with Jeff Garlin because he obviously wasn’t there. Even in the wedding episode, Garlin appeared for a grand total of maybe 30 seconds. However, they couldn’t pull off the wedding without the father character present and they couldn’t use leftover footage of him sitting in his chair. So, instead, they used CGI. Bad CGI. Poor Matt Mira, the episode’s director (yes, that Matt Mira), who had to work with this:

As captured by Noel Murray, Garlin looks like a ghostly apparition, like his character was appearing at his daughter’s wedding from beyond the grave.

That’s probably the last we’ll see of Garlin on the series. When ABC extended the season for another four episodes, I think they probably did so to allow The Goldbergs to kill off Garlin’s character, which would also be a fitting end for the series. I would not mind seeing it run another season so it could last a full ten years, or as long as the ’80s. Garlin hasn’t been a factor in the show for a few seasons, so he would not be missed. With all three kids in college and no husband, it’d be interesting to see what they did with Wendi Mclendon-Covey’s character, left a widow and an empty-nester. The real Adam Goldberg’s father passed away only a few years before The Goldbergs debuted, so I’m sure the real-life Beverly Goldberg could provide plenty of inspiration.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

Header Image Source: ABC