Paul Reiser on Parenthood, Horrible Timing at NBC
By Nicki Gostin Posted Jun 6th 2011 10:19PM
"Literally, it could not have been a less opportune moment," to air a new show, he says. "It was bought by some people and then the entire network was sold so there was no real investment on anybody's part ... all shows are moving parts on their chessboard, they don't get particularly attached."
So this book is all about raising your kids and how they're getting older.
I can't stop that. It seems to be every day they're taller and older. What surprises me as I said in the beginning of the book is that it's been 15 years since I last sat down to write. There is something about having children that is so time consuming and enveloping you don't even realize it's a lifetime later, as a result the book is from a very different vantage point. In the beginning it was all so new to me, the very fact that there was a live human being was plenty of new information for me and 15 years down the road and two kids to compare there are so many other issues and it's such a dense, thick world. The book is very personal but what I'm finding is it's ringing a bell with a lot of people because it is so universal and the fears and the insecurities of raising children, are you doing it right? All the frustrations are so universal and it's so comforting for me and for others that they aren't the only ones going through this.
Are your kids ever embarrassed of you?
Oh yeah, that started early. I remember feeling that as an early adolescent, my little guy was like seven or eight, I walked him to school and he said, 'Don't come in the yard, just stay there.' I was like, 'So fast!' I have to tell myself it's not necessarily anything I do, it's just the fact that we're alive. That we're alive and that our lifespans overlap is embarrassing to him. Other than taking one of us down I don't know how to change that.
Isn't it like the song 'Sunrise, Sunset' how quickly time passes by?
Yeah I think I even mention that in the book and most of the changes are so imperceptible it's only way later that you recognize certain things are gone. Like you don't waddle anymore, you walk now. Gee that little lisp that was cute, that's gone. I missed that, we wanted to correct the lisp but I miss it now or there's never a day when they say, 'I don't want you to read picture books to me anymore,' but one day it's like, 'Hey, what happened to that? I just noticed we don't read together anymore.'
Do you try to hang out with them?
We definitely spend as much time as they'll allow. Some people are much more graceful at playing and sometimes I think I'm a bit obvious. You need to sneak that up on kids, you can't be so boldfaced about an activity.
Don't you get great perks being a celeb? Doesn't that help?
You know once in a while you get access to something that others might not. I don't know that they recognize what makes that happen.
I can't believe you had problems getting your kids into private school.
It's very competitive in L.A. Thankfully we got in where we wanted to get in, you can't presume it at all. You see a kid with unbelievable grades not get in or someone whose parents are huge in the industry. And you go, 'Really? They didn't take Spielberg's kids? We don't have a chance.' It's a grueling adventure and putting your kid up, it's like 'The Lion King,' you're holding them up to the heavens for their approval and you sing the song and wear the African robe and you hope that the gods smile.
I have to say the way NBC treated you was appalling. I don't get it. You made them millions and lots of shows take a while to gain an audience. 'Seinfeld' was not a hit out of the gate.
Yeah, it was quite surprising. One of the things I've learned is it's not really a great idea to develop a show at a network that gets sold in the middle of your term. Literally it could not have been a less opportune moment. It was bought by some people and then the entire network was sold so there was no real investment on anybody's part.
So, really, nobody cared if you got canceled.
Yeah, all shows are moving parts on their chessboard, they don't get particularly attached. It was only particularly disappointing because I thought it was a terrific show and I was really confident that it would find its audience given a chance and run for a long time.
Do you regret not taking it to somewhere like HBO?
You can always rethink everything and you make the best decision you can at the time so there is a thousand-million shoulda, coulda, wouldas. You know showbiz, they never tell you it's going to be easy.
You grew up in New York City. Are you more streetwise than the average American?
I don't know streetwise but there were certain urban skills that I've lost since living in L.A. For instance I can't hail a cab as well as I used to. I've lost my edge, I used to be great at it and I could just spot them and I just knew where to stand and boom it was done and now I'm like a tourist waiting behind six people saying, 'Well that guy just stepped in front of me, that's my cab, that doesn't seem right.'
Oh please, what do you have to worry with cabs.
Yeah people ask me if I have a car in New York and I say, 'Yes it's yellow and I keep it rotating around the city.'
Is it true that you turned down the part of Danny Tanner in 'Full House?'
You know what, I might have been offered that, it was such a long time ago. I was friends with the guy who created it, we may have talked about it.
And instead you did 'My Two Dads.'
You know that's not really the way it worked out.
By the way I never got that show. All they had to do was get a DNA test.
Here's what I'm going to give you to make your life better. You don't have to watch, how's that? I can alleviate all your problems. Get on with your life.
Ha! That's so true. My mum always tells me that.
Well I hope people go and read the book. They can't cancel a book, I maintain firmly. Unlike T.V. and movies you don't have an opening weekend. You can buy it on a Thursday and you can read it a month later. There's no rush, take your time with the book.
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