‘Reboot’ on Hulu review: A sitcom disaster means comedy gold

Cheesy jokes and clever humor go head-to-head in “Reboot,” a half-hour comedy about a millennial writer’s efforts to revamp an early-2000s family sitcom for a new generation of viewers. The behind-the-scenes satire, which premieres Tuesday on Hulu, follows the cast and creators of the hit series Step Right Up as they attempt to reinvent the show while capitalizing on its legacy.

Created by Steven Levitan (‘Modern Family’), who serves as executive producer alongside Danielle Stokdyk and Jeff Morton, ‘Reboot’ is a fun, clever and self-deprecating show of an unimaginative, reboot-obsessed television industry mining rich material from the generation gap between Old school boomer humor and picky cancel culture.

In this paradoxical comedy, young author Hannah (Rachel Bloom) pitches her idea for a Hulu reboot with a vision to make it smarter and more realistic than its goofy predecessor. The original cast signs on with Hannah’s promise that the show will be updated for a new era; Reed (Keegan-Michael Key), Clay (Johnny Knoxville), Bree (Judy Greer) and former child star Zack (Calum Worthy) then arrive on set with their old grievances and rivalries. Reed sees himself as a “serious” actor who has been burdened with his sitcom persona for decades. Former Bad Boy Clay is a scandal and/or PR crunch waiting to happen. Bree is plagued by Hollywood’s ageism and her own insecurities. And Zack’s helicopter mom still accompanies her 20-something son to set.

A smiling man shows in a large photograph of a group of people "reboot."

Keegan Michael Key in Reboot.


But when the show’s original creator, Gordon (Paul Reiser), reintegrates himself into the herd as showrunner, Hannah’s plans for a modern makeover are challenged by his old-fashioned sitcom sensibilities. His idea of ​​humor dates back to the 1980s and 1990s: characters tripping and laughing, popcorn pouring out of the dryer, boob jokes aplenty. Her humor is rooted in deeper questions of abandonment, longing and sexual identity. Gordon mentions SeaWorld as an example of a fun time. Hannah snorts at the idea. He shrugs, “Who doesn’t like SeaWorld? There are dolphins.” “The dolphins,” she calls.

Adding to the tension between the two is the fact that Hannah and Gordon also happen to be an estranged daughter and a father with big problems that spread at work. Her trio of rookie writers will be challenged by the experienced team Gordon hires, making the writers’ space a bounty of material. Old people make “insensitive and inappropriate” jokes. The younger crew uses the Bechdel test to check the work of the older ones. The generation gap is highlighted in Gordon’s one-word challenge to identify an inherently “funny food.” The millennial chooses oatmeal. The boomer? pickle.

“Reboot” is ingrained in the entertainment ecosystem it mocks. Episodes are titled with the names of old shows like New Girl and Growing Pains and current shows like What We Do in the Shadows, and there are plenty of references to the streamer carrying the show. When concerns are raised in the pilot about Hulu releasing a reboot of Step Right Up, someone scoffs, pointing out that it’s the network that greenlit a fifth season of The Handmaid’s Tale. Everything is possible!

The chemistry between the cast takes this series from good to extraordinarily funny in an endearingly dysfunctional way. They capture the absurdity of rebooting a show that has no business anymore, and in the process turn this disaster into great comedy.


Where: Hi

When: At any time

Valuation: Not rated

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/tv/story/2022-09-20/reboot-hulu-review-steven-levitan-paul-reiser-rachel-bloom-keegan-michael-key ‘Reboot’ on Hulu review: A sitcom disaster means comedy gold

Sarah Ridley

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