"The Goldbergs" is back for another season of amusing antics - but there's one member of the family missing this time around.
Season Ten of the hit ABC sitcom premiered on Wednesday night, answering the question that's been on everyone's mind since Jeff Garlin left the show in December 2021: What happens to his character, Murray Goldberg?
Garlin, 60, departed the popular show following several allegations of misconduct on set in December 2021.
Garlin addressed allegations against him in an interview with Vanity Fair earlier that same month, denying rumors that he had been fired.
“Well, to be honest with you, there is no story,” Garlin said in the interview. “We have a difference of opinion, Sony and myself. Okay. My opinion is, I have my process about how I’m funny, in terms of the scene and what I have to do. They feel that it makes for a quote ‘unsafe’ workspace. Now, mind you, my silliness making an unsafe workspace — I don’t understand how that is… I am always a kind and thoughtful person. I make mistakes, sure. But my comedy is about easing people’s pain. Why would I ever want to cause pain in anybody for a laugh? That’s bullying. That’s just uncalled for.”
The actor left before the cast wrapped up Season Nine, so the show improvised by using previously shot footage/dialogue and unused takes of the family's patriarch.
So, how does Murray die? Season 10 addresses it — sort of
Over the summer, ABC confirmed that the network would be killing off Garlin's character in Season Ten.
His departure is addressed within the first few minutes of the premiere episode when Adam (Sean Giambrone) announces that the family unexpectedly lost Murray a few months ago, but he doesn't go into detail about what happened.
“Just a few months ago, out of nowhere, we lost my dad,” Adam says. “We will always love you, Dad. Always. And we’ll find a way to continue on together. Because, after all, we’re the Goldbergs.”
How does Season 10 start?
At the beginning of the episode, we find out that all three Goldberg children are living in their childhood home once again with their mother Beverly Goldberg (Wendi McLendon-Covey).
Erica (Hayley Orrantia), who got married to her longtime love Geoff (Sam Lerner) last season, has moved back in while she's pregnant with her first child.
After getting accepted to medical school, Barry (Troy Gentile) returns home, and Adam (Sean Giambrone) is still around as he prepares to go off to college.
The family also has a new house guest: Murray's father Pop-Pop (Judd Hirsch), who moved in following a fire in his apartment.
How is Beverly coping with the loss of Murray?
The show picks up a few months after Murray's death, and everyone is still grieving the loss in their own way. Beverly seems to be channeling all her energy into preparing for her first grandchild, and starts bedazzling diapers and decorating the baby's nursery.
On the surface, she seems OK, but when Erica discovers that her mother still has a closet full of her father's clothing and belongings, she encourages Beverly to go through it all.
Donating your late husband's clothing is one thing, but when Beverly's BFF Virginia Kremp (Jennifer Irwin) and Murray's pal Bill Lewis (David Koechner) get rid of his beloved recliner (per her request), Beverly is heartbroken and realizes she made a mistake. After all, the Goldberg patriarch practically lived in that chair.
Bill and Virginia explain that they tried donating the chair to Goodwill but they wouldn't accept it, so they left it on the Goldbergs' curb. But when they take Beverly out to retrieve it, it's gone.
Adam and Barry are forced to share a room
With all three children in the house and a baby on the way, Adam and Barry have to share a room for the summer ... and they're kind of driving each other crazy. Barry has been channeling his grief into torturing poor Adam, who gets fed up and decides to play a prank on his older brother.
The youngest Goldberg records himself saying "If you build it," a phrase from the film "Field of Dreams," and plays it in another room using the baby monitor so that Barry will hear it.
Adam is just trying to mess with his brother and get him off his case so he'll explore the mysterious voice. But Barry takes the mysterious message as a sign that if he builds a baseball field in his backyard, his dad will return so they can have one last game of catch together (like in the film "Field of Dreams"). As it turns out, Adam interpreted the film differently and didn't realize his brother would take it this way.
Barry's friends tell Adam that he took the message seriously and didn't realize it was a prank. Feeling guilty, Adam tries to fix things and asks one of Barry's friends to dress up as his father and stand at a distance to play catch with Barry and make him think his dad's ghost is back.
Barry overhears this, and feels hurt and embarrassed, but the brothers later work things out and play a game of catch while reminiscing about their dad.
Erica is busy preparing for her first child
Meanwhile, Erica is busy preparing for her first child and she has plenty of support from Geoff and Beverly. The newlyweds are excited to decorate their baby's nursery and open gifts from loved ones, but there seems to be something missing in the nursery. Still, they just can't put their finger on it.
Later on, we learn that Pop-Pop found Murray's chair on the curb and decided to bring it in the house to place it in the nursery. Finally, Beverly is at peace knowing the chair has returned to the Goldberg home, and Erica and Geoff are touched by the sweet gesture. Pop-Pop even added gliders to the chair to turn it into a rocking chair.
"The Goldbergs" airs Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. on ABC.