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The Worst Episode In The Goldbergs Season 9

Season 9 of AMC's family sitcom "The Goldbergs" started airing in September 2021 and expects to finish its 22-episode run in May 2022 after it received an extension for four additional episodes (via Deadline). The show, loosely based on creator Adam F. Goldberg's own childhood in the 1980s, follows a Pennsylvania family headed by Murray Goldberg (Jeff Garlin) and Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey) and their children, Erica (Hayley Orrantia), Barry (Troy Gentile) and Adam (Sean Giambrone), as well as Beverly's father, whom the characters call Pop (George Segal). The series grew popular through its use of narration by Adam's character as an adult (voiced by Patton Oswalt) as well as its frequent use of 1980s pop culture throughout the show's run, similar to other 2010s television series that make use of nostalgia for the decade like Netflix's "Stranger Things."

"The Goldbergs" proved popular enough among ABC's family-oriented sitcom lineup over the last 10 years that it even spawned "Schooled," a short-lived spinoff series following recurring character Lainey Lewis (AJ Michalka) as a music teacher at William Penn Academy in the 1990s.

Season 9 of "The Goldbergs" was the show's first season without George Segal, who died in March 2021; the season premiere was dedicated to the late actor (via TV Line). The season's 15th episode also marked the 200th episode of "The Goldbergs," but it also displayed the on-screen effects of a major HR problem for the series that peaked as the latter half of Season 9 was filmed.

The Goldbergs' wedding episode provided the show's worst example of its Jeff Garlin problem

In Season 9's "The Wedding," Erica Goldberg finally gets married — but the episode quickly grew more memorable for its awkward usage of series star Jeff Garlin, who agreed to leave the show in December 2021 after a string of HR complaints about his on-set conduct came to light (via Deadline). Garlin's departure appeared to be quite abrupt, but necessary; a source who spoke to the outlet described Garlin's presence on the show's set as "extremely verbally and emotionally abusive." Although the actor himself downplayed any incidents in an interview with Vanity Fair, he did confirm that HR had investigated him more than once due to his on-set behavior. 

Garlin reportedly agreed to exit the series just weeks after telling Vanity Fair that he had not been fired. The actor's departure meant the season's final run of episodes employed some different tactics to include his character in scenes that he clearly filmed and audio recorded separately from the rest of the cast. Recently, Slate published a piece noting how awkwardly Garlin was slotted into the episode, appearing largely via a stand-in with his face superimposed for a minimal amount of time, with his lines clearly dubbed in via automated dialogue replacement. It turns what should be a pleasant, late-sitcom run wedding episode into a bizarre on-screen moment. 

Ultimately, it sounds like the people behind "The Goldbergs" were doing their best in a tricky situation. Wendi McLendon-Covey addressed the Garlin issue briefly on Twitter, writing that the show had few options since he no longer wanted to be involved and the show's writers did not want to re-write the back half of Season 9.