It’s 2022. Everything old is feeling new again in inventive ways, which will be one of the reasons viewers will tune in to Hulu’s new comedy, Reboot. New comedy series from Modern Family creator Steve Levitan stars Keegan-Michael Key (Schmigadoon!), Judy Greer (The Thing About Pam), Johnny Knoxville (Jackass), Paul Reiser (The Kominksy Method), Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Calum Worthy (The Act) and Krista Marie Yu (Last Man Standing) in a show about a show that is coming back to the screen. The series pokes fun at showbiz, specifically targeting today’s fascination with the TV show revival, something that really picked up steam when Will & Grace returned to NBC several years ago.
Roseanne soon followed, later transforming into The Conners. Levitan was intrigued by it all. And so were the actors he would eventually find to star in Reboot.
“I had the idea for Reboot many years ago when the Roseanne debacle happened,” Levitan said, “and when it exploded I thought that premise would be an interesting arena for a spectacle. You know, people get back together after many years and thought their lives would be one thing, and maybe they weren’t, and here they are – forced to get back together.
The return of Will & Grace and Roseanne has sparked creative fires elsewhere. Suddenly there were so many reboots happening. It was in tune with the times.
“It gave me a chance to start writing about all my years in television,” Levitan noted. “The way I wrote about my family in Modern Family was obviously very deep and personal to me, but my work is also very deep and personal to me, so it gave me the opportunity to think about all the characters fascinating that I have known through the years [in the business] and the ridiculous situations I’ve been in.
But Reboot also turned into a spectacle that lit up Levitan’s joy for the company.
“I didn’t want to take a cynical look at [showbiz],” he explained. “Because it’s been a wonderful undertaking for me, but it’s also been filled with refreshing times and very tough times. And many moments of joy. I wanted to sum it all up in something new.
Judy Greer and Johnny Knoxville at the reboot
Whichever way you turn it, Levitan couldn’t have asked for a better cast. In Reboot, Key, Greer, Knoxville and Worthy are the former stars of Step Right Up, a hit sitcom from 20 years ago that fell flat after Key’s character reportedly left the show. Reiser and Bloom, two behind-the-scenes writers/executives, are hoping to strike gold with a revamped show and once-popular actors. Yu plays a Hulu HR executive, playing what modern streaming titans go through to launch any show.
Overall, Reboot is great fun, but its heartfelt nature caught Greer’s eye.
Well, that and, “Johnny and Steve were dating a long time ago,” she joked, referring to Knoxville and Levitan. “They always wanted to work together again. Steve owed him. No. We both loved, respected and admired Steve. And his talent…I felt that anyone who’s been on TV that long was something to laugh at and that we as actors would get a lot of good scripts. Right? »
Knoxville said he “loved Modern Family,” so for him, being on Reboot was “a no-brainer!” “And with all the actors involved,” he added, “it’s like a nice little change from my previous work.” »
In Reboot, Greer’s character Bree had a relationship with Key’s Reed. Naturally, there is a bit of tension when they come together. Meanwhile, Clay of Knoxville hopes to be reborn as a phoenix from the ashes of his scorched past. Can they stay together without the booze and the scandals?
“I love playing Bree,” Greer shared, “and I was excited about it because the cast brings something unique and special and funny to the show. I also thought it would be interesting because everyone is a good actor too. What keeps people coming back when you watch a comedy is that you can care about the character. So, for all of us to have good acting skills, I felt we could do comedy without a problem. »
“But there are also more poignant and heartfelt moments in the show, and I hope that’s what brings us back [for season two],” she added.
This may be Greer’s time to shine. She has long been the “funny friend” or witty neighbor in TV shows or movies. In Reboot, she takes on a more commanding presence.
Knoxville did not personally know anyone in the cast except for Reiser before entering the studio.
“There are so many lines that are funny, and Paul can just take a line or a word that’s not necessarily funny on paper and say it that way,” he said. “And there are moments in the stories we tell that just tickle me. »
Greer and Knoxville said they both learned a lot from Levitan while filming Reboot.
“After our very first reading – we had to do it by Zoom because of the pandemic – and Steve was like, ‘Don’t be so loud, you’re screaming!’ “Knoxville joked. “And I’m hard of hearing. So, I thought, ‘Oh, I was super loud.’ I’m a little calmer now on Zooms. But really, I learned a lot.
“I don’t understand how his brain works,” Greer said of Levitan. “Sometimes when you talk to him he seems to be looking away – down or up. But in his head, he misses nothing. I could say, ‘Oh, I’m going to die if I don’t have a Diet Coke soon’, just in passing. And then in another episode, Bree drinks a Diet Coke. Everything is contained for him. You really have to be careful. But it’s also great, because you really feel like your boss is listening to you and writing for you.
Both stars admitted they drew inspiration from sitcoms of the past – Greer Three’s Company, among others, and Knoxville Sanford and Son.
“I love making people laugh,” Greer continued, “And I hope people think the show is funny. I would like people to cling to our characters. Each of our characters’ stories is engaging enough to keep audiences coming back.
Why restart? Why now?
By all accounts, Levitan could have tidied up everything after Modern Family bowed out several years ago. By then he had won numerous Emmys and given the world popular sitcoms like Just Shoot Me! and back to you. He had also written and produced the show Wings, among others.
“It was definitely a daunting task to keep up with Modern Family,” he said. “And it was hard to imagine a series doing so well. But I had not finished working. I didn’t want to stop. I still love this job. I always like to create shows. Now it’s about, ‘What do I really, really want to do? What do I want to write about what’s different? »
He said he wouldn’t want to be on another family show like Modern Family.
“I liked the idea of doing a streaming show because I can go further than I did with network television, both in language and in situations,” he said. he declares. “And especially in time. Modern Family was limited to 21 minutes and 30 seconds per episode. The reboot can last as long as it takes to feel good. I can let the moments land and use the music more effectively.
Was launching a show on a show cathartic for Levitan, given his history in showbiz?
“That’s exactly the word I used,” he laughed. “But at first I thought the idea of the show was a good arena because I like larger-than-life characters that also feel real. And our profession is full of larger than life characters, between actors, screenwriters, executives, all kinds of people. There are many fascinating characters and situations. What surprised me was how personal Reboot started to feel – those little moments of observation. And sometimes, these little moments became like a love letter from me to this company. »
“Those little moments where you can capture the joy of what this business is about, or the heartbreak,” he continued. “Or to be able to express how much I have loved so many people in this profession. And maybe to denounce the bullshit of some people that I didn’t like as much. First, I hope viewers will be entertained. I hope people will laugh. It’s before all. I want people to come out of Reboot laughing and feeling better.
Restart streams on Hulu on September 20.