Wendi McLendon-Covey Has PTSD From ‘Goldbergs’ Stint with Jeff Garlin

Wendi McLendon-Covey Has PTSD From ‘Goldbergs’ Stint with Jeff Garlin

Add Wendi McClendon-Covey to the list of The Goldbergs cast and crew members who were thrilled to see Jeff Garlin leave the hit sitcom in midseason last year. “That was a long time coming,” McLendon-Covey told Andy Cohen in an interview for SiriusXM. “That it finally happened, it was like, ‘Okay, finally someone is listening to us.’” Want more details? We’re not getting them from McLendon-Covey, who asked Cohen if they could please talk about something other than Garlin. “I’m exhausted by that topic and the PTSD of it all. I just feel like the less people know about that, the better. No one benefits from knowing anything.” 

Well, maybe we could benefit by knowing a little something. A quick recap for anyone who hasn’t been paying attention: After a three-year HR investigation into Garlin’s on-set behavior, the star and Sony Pictures Entertainment mutually agreed to part ways. This came after an extensive (and defensive) Vanity Fair interview wherein Garlin repeatedly put his foot in his mouth. Among his statements at the time:

  • “I have my process about how I’m funny, in terms of the scene and what I have to do. (Sony) feels that it makes for a quote ‘unsafe’ workspace.”
  • (On why HR had been investigating him for three years) “It’s always the same thing. It’s about me and my silliness on set. They don’t think it’s appropriate. I do.”
  • (After a stand-in allegedly complained about Garlin’s verbal and physical conduct): “To me, if you’re a stand-in on a show and you don’t like the content or the behavior... If someone’s going after you, that’s different. But in terms of in general—well, then by God, quit, go someplace else.”

While McClendon-Covey isn’t saying any more about Garlin’s behavior, she also wasn’t thrilled by the way The Goldbergs handled his exit, even though it was challenging for producers. “We had lost George Segal in real life,” she says. “To have to go through another loss on a sitcom…you can’t keep asking your audience to mourn people. That’s not why they tune in.”

So rather than killing off Garlin’s Murray, the show tried to piecemeal his character together out of old outtakes, off-camera dialogue, and CGI-ed footage of a Garlin body double (nice work if you can get it). 

It’s the sitcom equivalent of Patton Oswalt’s old routine about getting paid to write punch-ups for already completed animation: “We need you to think of funny jokes that people off-screen can yell over the unfunny, uninteresting action.”

Fans and critics complained about how awkward it all was, and McClendon-Covey was right there with them. Season Nine “threw us for a loop because it’s hard to incorporate someone who doesn’t want to be there and wants to leave mid-scene, and we weren’t about to rewrite the second half of the season,” she wrote on Twitter. “We’re doing our best.”

McClendon-Covey and her costars had it easier this year, with Garlin’s Murray officially killed off once and for all. The Goldbergs is in its 10th and final season, with its last episode airing on May 3. And if that doesn't slap maybe have Patton at the ready.

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