Paul Reiser's Son Had To Show Him Stranger Things And The Boys Before He Was Cast In Them

"Stranger Things" hasn't just been the breakout for its young talent like Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, or Natalia Dyer, it has also revitalized the careers of its older stars. Winona Ryder is consistently back in the spotlight for the first time since her 1990s heyday, while David Harbor went from a "hey, it's that guy!" character actor to a household name.

Season 2 continued that trend with Paul Reiser as Dr. Sam Owens. "Stranger Things" is all about the '80s, so Owens is an inversion of Reiser's "Aliens" character Carter Burke — a seemingly bad guy who turns out to be alright. On the "Lights Camera Barstool" podcast, Reiser admitted he only knew about the show thanks to his, "cultural canary in the coal mine," — his younger son Leon.

"[My son] told me about 'Stranger Things.' He watched it the hour it came out, like on a Friday ... So ironically that Monday, two days later, I get a call from my agent and he said, 'Are you familiar with this new show 'Stranger Things?' I went, 'Yeah, I don't live in a cave! Of course I am. I'm an expert.' Then he goes, 'Well good, because the Duffer Brothers want to meet you.'"

Leon Reiser came to regret keeping his old man in the loop. Reiser continued:

"I certainly would've watched Season 1 of 'Stranger Things' just because you have to, everybody's talking about it ... Left alone, I don't know that I would've watched Season 2. And [my son] said, with no trace of irony, 'You know Dad, that's true, I would've enjoyed Season 2 a lot more if you weren't in it.'"

Reiser compared this experience to Bruce Springsteen's revelation that his children don't keep up with his music: "you've gotta work hard to only know two [Springsteen] songs."

The Legend Himself

Reiser had the biggest role in "Stranger Things" season 2. However, he returned for a cameo in the season 3 finale and a supporting role in season 4 this year. His more entertaining TV turn in 2022, though, was on "The Boys" as "The Legend," the former VP of Hero Management at Vought (aka chief superhero babysitter). Reflecting the change in medium, the Legend was reimagined from a Stan Lee analogue (as he was in "The Boys" comic) to a stand-in for movie producer Bob Evans. Reiser is a bit against type as the foul-mouthed cigar-chomper, but that only adds to the fun of his presence.

When Reiser got the call about appearing in "The Boys," he hadn't heard of the series and had to reach out to his son for information. His son told him, 'Yeah it's great, you'll hate it.' This prediction turned out to be off; while Reiser did find the show "wild," he appreciated how it was violent and crass with purpose:

"You gotta appreciate, when someone does something well, even if it's not your taste, you go, 'oh these guys are good, and they're being graphic and over the top on purpose, it's not casual' ... it's a really smart show, the writing of it, they lace a lot of really current political, social strings without tripping over them, it's not easy to do."

It's always fun to see actors who've been out of the game for a bit jump back in. It's also a good thing these actors of yesteryear, like Paul Reiser, now have kids to keep them up to date on which projects to take.