Warning: The following story features spoilers from this week’s The Leftovers. Proceed at your own peril.
In Sunday’s The Leftovers, exec producer Damon Lindelof rekindled his love affair with Perfect Strangers in a big way (read full recap here). Not only did the auteur bring the ’80s sitcom’s star, Mark Linn-Baker, back for a (far meatier) encore, but he played the comedy’s iconic theme music over the opening credits (and then reimagined it again later in the hour during Nora’s road trip).
As Lindelof explains to TVLine, the perfectly strange plot — which was foreshadowed last season when it was revealed that Linn-Baker (making a cameo as himself) had faked his sudden departure — was hatched while he and his fellow writers were plotting out the episode’s central, “crazy” idea: Nora learns there is a device that can reunite people with their departed loved ones. “The idea was so ludicrous, we were like, ‘Who should present it to Nora? Maybe the messenger should be as ridiculous as the idea itself?'”
Cut to Lindelof e-mailing Linn-Baker and inviting him back. “But I told him that he was going to have something big this time,” he recalls. “This was going to be the payoff for everything we’ve been leading up to. And he was like, ‘When and where?!’
“It was just an exhilarating scene for us to write and I think he turned in an incredible performance,” Lindelof continues. “So if people don’t like it that’s on us. It’s certainly not on him.”