5 things to know about Reboot on Hulu

Reboot -- “Pilot” - Episode 101 -- When a young writer sells the pitch for the reboot of an early 2000’s sitcom, the show’s actors must come back together and face their unresolved issues. Zach (Calum Worthy), Reed (Keegan-Michael Key), and Clay (Johnny Knoxville), shown. (Photo by: Hulu)
Reboot -- “Pilot” - Episode 101 -- When a young writer sells the pitch for the reboot of an early 2000’s sitcom, the show’s actors must come back together and face their unresolved issues. Zach (Calum Worthy), Reed (Keegan-Michael Key), and Clay (Johnny Knoxville), shown. (Photo by: Hulu) /
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Let’s face it. Everywhere you look in our current pop-culture landscape, there’s a reboot happening. This fall alone, three popular films from the 90’s, including Interview with the Vampire, A League of Their Own, and Dangerous Liaisons are getting the TV treatment (at AMC, Amazon Prime, and Starz, respectively). So, it was only a matter of time before we got a fictional show about a TV reboot.

Reboot on Hulu follows the reboot of a fictional TV series called Step Right Up. In the world of the series, Step Right Up was a popular sitcom for five seasons in the early 2000’s and focused on a blended family of a precocious kiddo (Callum Worthy), his mom (Judy Greer), his stepdad (Keegan Michael Key), and his father (Johnny Knoxville). Now, more than a decade later, a new showrunner (Rachel Bloom) is on hand to reinvent the series as grittier and more realistic than the cheesy original, but the original creator (Paul Reiser) is waiting in the wings to regain control of his show.

Recently, the cast and creator, Steven Levitan (co-creator of Modern Family), were on hand to answer questions about Reboot for a virtual panel for the Television Critics’ Association last week. The series debuts its first two episodes on September 20th on Hulu, and if the good vibes among the cast and the excitement they shared about the series are any indication, this reboot is going to be must-see-TV.

5 fun facts that we learned about the upcoming Reboot on Hulu

Reboot is inspired by Roseanne

Reboot was inspired by the Roseanne reboot. As the first season of the Roseanne reboot was underway in 2018, the star of the series, Roseanne Barr, made some racist and unsavory comments on Twitter, leading to the cancellation of the series. As all of this was going down in the news, Steven Levitan was watching from the set of Modern Family. He said to himself, “well, that’s the show. I want to see what’s going on on that set.” As Levitan was still committed to Modern Family, he didn’t think that he’d be able to get to the idea first. He said, “I figured it was such a ripe area that somebody’s going to do this before I have time to do this, but they never did.”

Thankfully, the Roseanne reboot didn’t completely die. The show rebranded as The Conners, and it will be entering a fifth successful season this fall on ABC. Hopefully this fate mirrors the fate of Step Right Up on Reboot, and we’ll enjoy the satirical hijinx of this cast for seasons to come.

Reboot vs. continuation vs. reimagining

Technically, not every reboot is an actual reboot. Levitan also mentioned that he prefers the shows where the creatives are reinventing the original source material in some way instead of just rebooting it directly. He said, “[I like when] there’s some reason for that reboot to happen and it’s not just like, ‘Hey, let’s make more money on this show.'”

Paul Reiser also chimed in on this concept as his own popular sitcom from the 90’s, Mad About You, was recently resurrected for a season back in 2019. Reiser said, “I insisted Mad About You was not a reboot […] It was never an attempt to recreate and let’s be 34 years old again. It’s like, no, we’re in our 60s now and we walk slower and we don’t hear as well. What are these people like now? So it was a continuation, you know.”

The fantastic Judy Greer of it all

For those of you in the “Judy Greer needs to be the lead” camp, I’m firmly with you. And you’ll be happy to know that in Reboot, she’s not only *the* female lead, she’s a double female lead!

During the press conference, Greer joked about her status on set in the past, alluding to the fact that she was never first on the call sheet on set every day. She said, “I never got picked up. The call sheet never said my pickup time on it. So it was like a little less confusing for me.” But as the star of both Reboot and Step Right Up, Greer gets the chance to shine that’s she’s deserved for a very very long time. Y’all can retire those t-shirts now, because Reboot has got your backs, Judy Greer hive.

Reboot has the meta element

The stacked cast includes alumni from many popular comedy series and sitcoms. Paul Reiser was the co-creator and star of Mad About You, Rachel Bloom was the creator and star of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Keegan-Michael Key was the co-creator and star of Key and Peele, and Johnny Knoxville was the co-creator and star of Jackass. That’s a lot of talent in one room.

The cast communicated an appreciation for all the satirical elements that are peppered throughout Reboot on Hulu. Bloom said it was interesting to play, “a version of myself that didn’t have to also worry about being on camera, which was nice,” while Keegan-Michael Key said that the experience, “felt like making a very fun documentary sometimes.” Key went on to comment that some of the jokes are for the crowd in the know. He said the “funniest thing” on the show to him was a line about lunch ordering, which prompted the rest of the cast to chime in in agreement.

Furthermore, Rachel Bloom appreciated the realness of the level of filth on the writer’s room table. “I also really liked that [set decoration] made sure the writers’ room table was like always a little bit disgusting […] It’s the worst place in the world. And so I’m always glad there was like a tissue or like a stray almond.”

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The stunts in Reboot were performed by professionals

Reboot isn’t a series that showcases a lot of stunt work, but Johnny Knoxville was on hand to perform all his own stunts. During a scene in which Knoxville’s character Clay has a run in with a car, Steven Levitan commented, “there was a whole guy dressed like Johnny and everything, and he’s standing there and you can just see Johnny to the side going, “Nuh-uh, he’s not doing it.” Knoxville agreed, saying, “My stuntman is the most underworked person in Hollywood.”

Levitan elaborated on the situation, recalling a day when the Reboot team first chatted with Knoxville about the project. He said, “The first time that Johnny and I spoke, you know, when I wanted him to do this and we met on Zoom, I literally like kind of as a dumb joke started the conversation with like, ‘You, know, uh, thanks for meeting us,’ some version of ‘I’m sure that yesterday you were probably shot out of a cannon or something.’ And he goes, ‘Dude, that’s so weird. Yesterday I was shot out of a cannon.'”

Reboot premieres on Hulu on Sept. 20. The first two episodes will premiere on that day.

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