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Brokaw: ‘Reboot’ offers lots of laughs

By Francine Brokaw - Special to the Daily Herald | Sep 17, 2022

Courtesy photo

"Reboot" begins streaming on Hulu on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022.

The new comedy on Hulu, “Reboot,” delivers plenty of laughs along with some fun clashes between the politically correct and incorrect. From the mind of Steven Levitan — who brought us “Modern Family,” “Frasier,” “Just Shoot Me,” “Wings” and more — this is a cute show about family, Hollywood and interpersonal relationships.

The plot revolves around the rebooting of a 2000s family sitcom using the original cast: Reed (Keegan-Michael Key) as the second husband of Bree (Judy Greer) whose first husband Clay (Johnny Knoxville) lives with them and their son Zack (Calum Worthy).

At the helm of the new production is Hannah (Rachel Bloom) who pitched the idea to the powers that be at Hulu, and her formerly-estranged father Gordon (Paul Reiser), who was the original show runner and now insists on remaining with his show. So Hannah must learn to work with her father who, up until now, has had very little contact with his daughter. Can the two forge a personal relationship or will it be strictly business?

The sitcom, “Step Right Up” had to be created for this show — along with the in-universe actors, writers and production staff. When asked by the media if they had to basically create two shows in one, Levitan acknowledged that reality.

Because the “original” sitcom is 15 years old, the actors are older as well and Worthy is tasked with playing the young adult still recognized as a precocious child.

“It was very therapeutic to play this role because I started acting when I was a kid,” Worthy said. “I was on Disney Channel. And I know the experience of being a child actor and trying to be an adult, even though you don’t have experiences that lead you to becoming an adult. You often miss high school. You missed out on the normal activities that normally lead you to becoming a normal adult. And Zack is frozen in time. So I did pull on real experiences for that.”

As the cast and Levitan explained to the media, they tried to make the scenes as authentic as possible to how Hollywood works. The writers’ room is hysterical and the table reads are spot on.

Reiser stated, “I was watching the episodes with my wife and in the scene when Keegan hits Johnny (with his car) and Johnny flies up onto the hood of the car, my wife goes, ‘Oh, is he okay?’ I went, ‘He does that every day, that’s nothing. That’s like Tuesday.'” The antics of all the cast come into play.

Levitan added that the show is “set at Hulu as opposed to a fictional place because we were doing everything we could to make it as real as possible, you know? So if you’re constantly hearing about some fake network executive, I think it just takes you out of it a little bit. And the Hulu people were really cool about it and they’ve never said, ‘Oh, we don’t want you to say that,’ or anything. So it just seemed like a really good idea to do that.”

Playing both the father and show runner, Reiser’s character is forced to adapt to the new-look business and the new standards of what can, and can not, be said in the workplace.

“And it’s also really fun being the representative of the old-school,” he explained, “because part of what this show is, all these characters are saying we want to, as you say, reboot our lives, we want to come back. How have we changed? So my character, Gordon, has sort of been out of it for a while, so he’s walking into this cold.”

The writers room for the show within the show is a blend between Hannah’s new-age “politically correct” team and Gordon’s old-time writers who have no compunction about spewing out sexist, racially offensive jokes that might offend some people. The dichotomy of the two groups adds to the overall humor.

So, as the actors and writers are rebooting their own lives, the characters they play in the rebooted sitcom are rebooting their lives. It might sound confusing written down but it really isn’t. It’s a funny show filled with talented actors who will definitely provide many laugh-out-loud moments for viewers.

“Reboot” premieres Tuesday on Hulu.

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