'I didn't want to do a nostalgia thing': Paul Reiser on rebooting Mad About You

Reiser sat down with Tom Power at q's grand piano to reflect on his roles in Mad About You, The Kominsky Method and Stranger Things.

The reboot of the popular ‘90s sitcom airs its series finale tonight

Reiser sat down with Tom Power at q's grand piano to talk about his roles in Mad About You, The Kominsky Method and Stranger Things. 34:13

In 1999, Mad About You, the Emmy Award-winning American sitcom starring Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt, aired its 164th and final episode. Titled "The Final Frontier," this special double episode flashes forward to the future, when Paul and Jamie Buchman's only daughter, Mabel, is now a filmmaker who blames her parents for her current life.

The episode was not only supposed to be the conclusion for the sitcom, but also a fail-safe against any future reboots. Yet 20 years later, the Buchmans are back.

The Mad About You reboot is 12 episodes long and follows the couple after their daughter has left for college. The series debut aired in Canada on Tuesday, Jan. 7, and the finale airs tonight at 10:00 pm ET.

Reiser joined host Tom Power at q's grand piano to reflect on the original seven-year series and to explain why he agreed to the reboot. Along with his starring role, Reiser also co-created the show.

Making the reboot

Although the original series creators never wanted a reboot to be made, the idea was brought up again after seeing the successful revival of other classic shows.

"What happened was in the last couple of years when everybody was doing these reboots it came up, and everybody was saying, 'Hey, but what about you guys?'" said Reiser. "And so we jokingly said, 'That would be silly, wouldn't it?' And then we kind of looked at each other and said, 'It would kind of be fun.'"

That conversation set the reboot in motion, but there were still some plot-related hurdles to overcome, not to mention Reiser's distaste of rebooting the series for nostalgic purposes.

"I didn't want to do a nostalgia thing and didn't want to go back and say, you know, let's pretend it's 1994 and let's pretend we're newlyweds," he said.

Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser reprise their roles as Jamie and Paul Buchman in the revival of the ’90s sitcom Mad About You. This follows a recent trend of '90s TV shows getting reboots, including Will & Grace, The X-Files and Roseanne. (NBC)

In the end, it was decided that the reboot would be set two decades after the original series ended.

"Because of the nature of the show, it actually made sense to say, 'Well, where would this couple be now? Let's jump in as if we just walked away for 18, 20 years and come back.' And we realized that story-wise our child would be leaving, and this is the next chapter of our lives."

The decision not only made the reboot a reasonable extension of the original series, but also a relatable fact of life for any couple who has had to say goodbye to their child.

"It's a really interesting moment because when the child leaves, you have to rediscover each other because you've been focused on the child," said Reiser. "So suddenly it's like … what do we talk about when we're not telling the kid to put on his jacket?"

Mad About You is available on the CTV Comedy Channel in Canada.

Watch the full career-spanning interview with Reiser near the top of this page, where he also talks about his career in comedy, The Kominsky Method and Stranger Things. Download our podcast or click the 'Listen' link to hear the full conversation.

Written by Mouhamad Rachini. Interview with Paul Reiser produced by ​Jennifer Warren.

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