Rachel Bloom interview: ‘Reboot’
After co-creating and starring in “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” for four seasons, maybe it was inevitable that Rachel Bloom would learn something new about the television industry by starring in “Reboot,” the Hulu comedy series about a Hulu reboot of a fictional ‘90s multi-camera sitcom.
“To be able to just act and then not have to run to editing or run to the writers’ room? I mean, it’s insulting to other actors to be like, ‘it’s so easy.’ Because it’s not easy – depending on the scene, it can be easy or it can be not easy – but to not have that heavy workload was unbelievable,” Bloom tells Gold Derby in an exclusive video interview. But what she realized after leaving the “insane days” of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” behind was that television production is still a punishing beast, no matter the skin in the game.
“You’re still waking up super early. You’re still on set for 12 or 13 hours a day and it made me actually realize more so than on ‘Crazy Ex’ how brutal production is for everyone else,” she says. “On ‘Crazy Ex,’ I was there the longest – I would be there before a lot of people then I would be there after a lot of people went home. I was really just thinking about my own schedule. With ‘Reboot,’ helping to bring this to life… This is still really hard. I’m not home before dinner a lot. It just made me realize how it’s a brutal industry.”
Created by Emmy Award-winner Steven Levitan (“Modern Family”), “Reboot” is an eight-episode comedy series that revels in its meta-commentary. The opening scene of the pilot takes place at Hulu itself, with Bloom’s Hannah – a writer and director fresh off a hit SXSW short film with an explicit name (“C–tsaw”) – pitching the executives on her idea to reboot a comedy called “Step Right Up” with its original cast. But while the premise was immediately interesting to Bloom, it was Hannah’s arc that pushed the project to the next level. As revealed in the closing moments of the first episode, Hannah is actually the estranged daughter of the original “Step Right Up” creator, Gordon (played by Paul Reiser), and their fraught relationship gives “Reboot” its emotional backbone.
“It was heartbreaking to do because I think in both writing and in acting you want the character to have some primal hole in their heart or at least some primal need. And there’s nothing more primal than the love we have for our parents or wanting our parents to love us or wanting our parents to approve of us,” Bloom says. “And the arc of the season for me was very much Hannah fighting with her hatred of her father, but also her need to connect with her father because the opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference. She hated her father because she felt rejected by him and loves him.”
But it’s in the finale of “Reboot,” just as Hannah has perhaps begun to accept her father when the rug is pulled out again. Gordon, in a misplaced act of love, decides to leave the show and his daughter behind in an effort to save it from cancellation. “It’s a great encapsulation of where their relationship is because she’s not saying, ‘F–k you, leave.’ She’s saying, ‘Stay. I need you. Stay,’” she says. “And he’s once again walking out on her. She’s finally been vulnerable to him like she was when she was 5 or 6 years old, and he has once again broken her heart. It’s just so incredibly primal and I think that sometimes with any show about the industry, it can get very inside baseball. But like, man, there’s nothing more primal than just a child wanting their parent to love them.”
Bloom has ideas on where Hannah could go in Season 2 of “Reboot,” but the show has not yet been renewed by Hulu for another round of episodes. “I would love there to be a Season 2. I wish I had any control,” Bloom says, noting how the landscape of television has changed in just a few short months. “The business right now is really weird. It’s scary,” she says. “Shows are getting taken off of platforms for seemingly no reason. I don’t know it feels chaotic.” Sounds like the type of material “Reboot” could do a good job satirizing in future episodes if given the chance.
All episodes of “Reboot” are streaming now on Hulu.