Restarts, remakes, reinterpretations, sequels and everything related to remixes of old films have been the subject of regret for both filmmakers and fans. So a show like “Reboot” should seem like a refreshing and poignant look at the entertainment industry and its tendency to reinsure itself with recognized properties.
However, despite all its strengths, “Reboot” never lives up to its premise, leaving its supremely talented cast to act out typical sitcom plots, albeit with the participation of sitcom actors and writers. For a show that seems to want to be about the inner workings of Hollywood, “Reboot” doesn’t seem to be anything more than a regular workplace comedy.
The reboot begins with a self-reflexive scene where Hannah (Rachel Bloom) meets with Hulu executives (that’s the streaming service the show is on!) about the reboot of the old sitcom “Step forward!”. for the streaming era. The pitch is accepted, and the show’s original stars Reed Sterling (Keegan-Michael Key), Brie Marie Jensen (Judy Greer), Clay Barber (Johnny Knoxville) and Zach Jackson (Kalam Worthy) return to resume their roles. However, difficulties arise when the original creator of the show, Gordon (Paul Riser) he is also returning to work on the show. Unhappy with the way Hannah is doing things, Gordon sneaks back into the writers’ room, bringing with him some outdated ideas about TV comedy.
The main theme of the show is the conflict between Hannah and Gordon, who, as it turns out, have a personal history that affects both the show within the show and their working relationship. Hannah wants the show to be down-to-earth, modern and relevant. Gordon, first of all, just wants it to be funny and entertaining. The dynamic between these two characters is probably the most intriguing aspect of The Reboot, and Bloom and Riser have impeccable comedic chemistry. Even their performances seem to be transferred from two different eras: Bloom exudes an awkward sincerity, which was described by “My crazy Ex”, and Raiser shows a sharp comedic rhythm, testifying to his years spent in “Crazy about You”.
The rest of the cast is also brilliant. Keegan-Michael Key and Judy Greer are obviously having a lot of fun with their roles, showcasing many of the show’s funniest moments. Similarly, Johnny Knoxville and Calum Worthy show great performances. This is especially true for Worthy, whose Zach, a prolific child actor who hasn’t really grown up yet, can’t seem to get rid of his intonation and positivity on the Disney Channel. Clay from Knoxville is a grizzled comedian who is more known for his bad guy antics than real comedy, but there’s more to the surface, and Knoxville’s own experience as the de facto leader of a team of Weirdos goes a long way to informing the character. .
Unfortunately, as in the plot of the show itself, the biggest drawback of the “Reboot” is the apparent conflict in its writing. He never finds the right balance between standard sitcoms and meta commentary, which makes him unbalanced. There are no fresh views in the relationship between the characters. While Reed and Bree have a lot of fun with each other, the story between them seems like something that has been in any other series before. Even the mid-season shake-up involving Bree’s unexpected exposure is simply hushed up in the next episode. Things aren’t much better for Clay and Zack: many of their plot moves fit into predictable TV formulas.
Steve Levitan, the creator of the show, is probably best known as one of the creators of American Family, a multiple Emmy Award winner of the network juggernaut, which aired for 11 seasons on ABC. Despite the fact that Levitan and his team are freed from the restrictions of network television (the “Reboot” is filled to the brim with swearing and frank discussions about sex), their latest creation still chooses the least creative ways of storytelling. The Reboot has given these seasoned comedy writers a real opportunity to laugh at themselves, and yet the series still uses one of the episodes to highlight the supposed value that aging comedy writers with outdated sensibilities bring.
The reboot never manages to find a balance between the competing voices embodied by Gordon and Hannah. Is this a sharp satire about show business aimed at the empty nature of the industry? Or is it a sitcom in the workplace dedicated to the antics and conflicts of employees (in this case, production staff and the stars of “Step Forward”!)? Trying to be both, Reboot does not completely succeed in either, although it usually tends more towards the latter. It’s only in its final episode that the show really embeds the whole element of rebooting its storyline, but by then it spends most of its time on superficial storytelling that never does or says anything new.
Of course, since this is a comedy, the big question will be “is this funny?”.