‘Reboot’ Meta Sitcom Hulu’s Revival From ‘Modern Family’ Co-creator – The Hollywood Reporter

A few minutes later Restart, a self-important actor (Keegan-Michael Key) embarks on a script for a noisy new comedy. “It’s the funniest thing you’ll ever read, and you won’t laugh once,” he told his skeptical girlfriend. It’s a ridiculous line in its face, but it’s not a completely unfair depiction of a lauded type of TV comedy: dark, unique, and prestige-y, with Jokes are meant to bruise rather than tickle.

Restart not the program. Restart is a show that delivers real laughs, out loud, and very often gets them – thanks to clever writing, a crackerjack cast and a cheerful willingness to find broad humor, such as a avalanche (despite wink understanding). If it’s not as dramatic and heartwarming as it could be, that’s part of its charm, in a way. At its best, its light touch yields crowd-pleasing results, which is a hair more perilous than the classic sitcoms that creator Steve Levitan, whose credits stretch, are from Wing arrive Modern familybuilt his career, but that brings much of the same laid-back pleasure.


Key point

The satirical stories of showbiz brought out cheers, not gore.

However, finding and maintaining that balance can sometimes be a challenge. Initial, Restart seems to be leaning on showbiz satire about it all. The series opens with Hannah (Rachel Bloom), a young writer just starting to indulge in the festival circuit with an unprintable title, convincing Hulu of her big idea: revival. Step right up, a cheesy family sitcom from the ’90s, as a more serious, less sane version of itself. (It makes me a bit odd that Restart it’s not technically about a reboot, considering how nitpicky studio PR can be about breaking down pieces between reboots, remakes, “re-imaginings”, revivals and sequels follow. But I think”revival“Would suggest a zombie drama or something.)

After being assured that, yes, everyone was “still working on a reboot” – as if anyone in Hollywood in 2022 would need to be told that – the moderator gave her the green light. In succinct order, Hannah reunites the original gang, who number up to a collection of familiar Hollywood stereotypes. Besides Key’s character, Yale School of Drama’s Reed, there’s a slightly reformed shipwreck (Johnny Knoxville’s Clay), a B-list Duchess (Judy Greer’s Bree), a child actress who never grew up. (Calum Worthy’s Zack) and finally, the returning author of the original Step right up (Gordon’s Paul Reiser), whose tastes and methods are much more traditional than Hannah’s.

Conflict inevitably ensues, with fault lines going in all directions – between Boomers and Zillenials in the writers’ room; between Bree and a younger actress (Timberly by Alyah Chanelle Scott, just starting a fictional reality show called Fuck Buddy Mountain) she considers her rival; between Zack and a whole lot of people who just don’t seem to care about valuing the star of tween oriented videos like Admission is not possible, 12 angry boys and The Hunchback of Notre Dame High.

In contrast, meanwhile, Restart feels like the product of a well-oiled machine. Nearly all of its major players are television veterans, and while it’s hardly surprising that, for example, Reiser exudes effortless charm even when he’s is insulting an entire room filled with 20 things rented by Hannah, or Greer just knows how to punctuate Bree’s emotional outbursts with exaggerated facial expressions that are equally enjoyable to watch. Restart brought them apart in various combinations in the eight half hour episodes of the season.

RestartIndustry parody never comes close to the wit of a Barry or one Bojack Horseman, and it doesn’t try either. It does have a few good things, like when an executive (Krista Marie Yu’s Elaine) gleefully said she’s “new to comedy” before revealing herself as Hulu’s VP of Comedy, which fell. into the physical location by accident after a dizzying series of business consolidations.

And the program scripts are heavy on self-referencing. When one writer scoffed that “in real life, people don’t just skim through things at the right time when you need them,” you know that’s exactly what’s coming. But its prongs aren’t designed to suck blood as much as to playfully urge savvy audiences, like a downtrodden presenter at an awards ceremony.

However, as the season goes on, Restart increasingly turned away from satire towards affection, rooted in repaired old ties and unexpected new ones. The shaft does not always work. The series’ tendency to embrace thorny personalities and controversial relationships while also tiptoeing around truly thorny territory means its moments of embracing and learning in some schools. may feel exciting and overly comforting in others. It was one thing for two colleagues who had never really gotten along to settle their differences by dimming Chuck Lorre’s Walk of Fame star; it’s a relationship that’s been rooted in decades of trauma to turn mellow into passionate respect after a few short episodes.

Without enough acidity to balance its sweetness, the show’s attempts to create deeper emotions can tend to be bland. It was in such miscalculations that Restart seem most uncertain about themselves – about how to balance fun with seriousness, about where to draw the line between comfort and complexity. The section ends with a surprisingly sad note suggesting that it could dig deeper in future installments, possibly at the expense of its own shady humor.

But the series reaches its best when it delivers laughter as honest to God as its northern star. Gordon, in a martini tone that doubles as a meta defense of the work itself Restart joined, making the case better than I could: “You can make millions laugh. And to get that out into the world, to give people a little bit of fun at the end of their bad day, damn it for not appreciating that,” Gordon told a frustrated actor. , who always demands heavier material. “Because I swear to God, it’s as good and an honor as a man can do.”

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