The Larry Sanders Show Taught Steve Levitan How To Make Reboot Feel ‘Real’


Probably remembered as one of the most prolific Hollywood satires created, “The Larry Sanders Show” ran from 1992 to 1998 on HBO. The series was influential in solidifying the network’s reputation for presenting quality programming and it inspired subsequent shows like “30 Rock,” “Extras,” “The Office,” “Episodes,” “Arrested Development,” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Beyond his comedic influence, the cinematic technique known as the “walk and talk” became popular thanks to Larry Sanders and went on to become a staple of “The West Wing” and “ER.”

In an interview with Consequence, Levitan revealed that the seminal cable sitcom about the production of a late-night talk show became the backbone of his outlook on “Reboot,” which included presenting aspects of his everyday work accurately onscreen. If TV writers couldn’t authentically describe what a writers’ room is like, after all, then who could? He explained:

“Garry [Shandling]’s big thing [was] ‘This should feel real. How would this be in real life?’ And that’s what I was trying to do here. I would say to our writers and our set designers and everybody, that this is what we do for a living, so we should be able to get it exactly right. There’s no reason that we got that wrong other than we were being lazy. So let’s not be lazy. Let’s try to show things how they are.

And I think people will feel it, especially the people who work in the business. I care very much about what fellow writers and actors think about this show, directors, the crew — I want anybody who works in this business to recognize this and say, ‘Oh yeah, they got that right.’ Even the executives. [Laughs] I think authenticity is a really good backstop.”



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