FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE YET TO SEE REBOOT, THIS IS A NON-SPOILER REVIEW OF ALL EIGHT EPISODES OF SEASON 1.
If you have felt like there has been a dry spell of solid, legitimately funny comedies in recent years, you are not alone. In a time when everyone is so easily offended and eager to “cancel” a performer or an entire production for one bad joke or misstep… the state of comedy as we once knew it, seems all but dead. Take what the great Steve Carrell recently said about The Office, a show that has only been off of the air for a decade… That it would be impossible to make now, because people would be outraged by its brand of humor. It’s sad to me that people are so afraid to offend anyone and everyone, that we have forgotten that’s what comedy is all about in the first place… making light of the absurdity of society and the human race.
IS REBOOT SIMILIAR TO MODERN FAMILY?
So, count me blown away and feeling truly refreshed by Hulu’s new sitcom, about the making of a sitcom, “Reboot”. This is a show that is fearless with its jokes, and takes joy in not only making fun of itself, but the entertainment industry as a whole. The series is created by Steven Levitan, who is responsible for arguably one of the last great sitcoms in recent years, Modern Family. And you can see the influence of that show in this one, right from the outset… from the timing of each joke, to the framing of each scene and the way the camera is used for even greater comedic effect. But, Levitan is not restrained by the chokehold of the network sensors with Reboot and he and his writers take full advantage of that.
With expletives flying and jokes about Tony Danza’s Johnson and scissoring in full-force… there will surely be people that are offended by this show, and that’s okay… because those people are made fun of in Reboot, as well. This is equal-opportunity roasting, no one is safe… and that’s exactly how comedy should be. As long as it’s all done in a good-natured and respectful way, which it is here.
HOW FUNNY IS THIS SHOW?
What I love so much about the humor in this show, is how far-reaching it’s range is. From the more crass, low-hanging fruit type gags, to broad and physical comedy all the way to satirical and meta jokes. Just the fact that Levitan has made a show on Hulu about the making of a show at Hulu, that pokes fun at the streaming platforms and lambastes The Walt Disney Co., shows just how brilliant and ballsy his Reboot is.
The many scenes that take place in the writers room, just like in the similarly ingenious 30 Rock, have some of the best and funniest moments of the series. I love the idea of having two different generations coming together to share their alternative perspectives… And mine comedy gold out of that. No matter what the scene is though, whether it be in that writers room or not… This series is relentlessly laugh-out-loud hilarious.
HOW IS THE ENSEMBLE CAST?
The jokes can all be written to perfection, but it takes a truly talented performer to pull them off. And Reboot is full of them. The ensemble from top-to-bottom represents truly inspired casting, starting with the effortlessly funny Keegan Michael-Key. The actor has unfortunately been a part of some real misfires in his post-Key & Peele days, like The Pentaverate, The Bubble & Friends from College, all Netflix titles… Which makes me think he should stay far away from Reed Hastings and stick with the people at Hulu or Apple TV+ (His Schmigadoon! is also a winner), because this is the best I have seen him since he was side-by-side with Jordan Peele. It is also a huge pleasure to get to see the horribly underrated Judy Greer flex her excellent comedic chops. And Johnny Knoxville is also wonderfully charming, even though he is playing the same character he always does.
But, for me, the real stand-outs of the show are Rachel Bloom and Paul Reiser. Who seem as if they have been working together on the screen for ages. Their banter with one another is electric and they both prove to be the soul of Reboot. The two Emmy-Nominees are surely looking at more nominations in the near future, for their work here.
DOES REBOOT HAVE HEART, TO GO ALONG WITH ITS JOKES?
What puts Reboot on the shortlist of the best-of-the-best comedy shows for me though… Is that beyond all of the jokes, it has such a big heart. From a fractured father-daughter relationship, to a journey of sobriety and making amends, a difficult coming-out, a character struggling to find their purpose amidst a sea of over-achievers and a love that has endured for fifteen long years… this show has so much more substance than what I was expecting. And because I felt emotionally connected to this series and its characters, it’s comedy was able to make even more of an impact.
ARE THERE ANY WEAK LINKS IN THE SHOW?
I struggled throughout these eight episodes to find any flaw with Reboot. I was enjoying my time so much that honestly nothing negative came to mind while I was watching. But, after a day of reflection, I came up with one… that is miniscule, but hopefully something they will fix in subsequent seasons. I feel a little let down with the direction they went with the former child star Zack… Played by Calum Turner.
With a show full of biting social commentary, there is so much the writers could have said about fame at a young age and what it can do to a person… but, they haven’t really done anything with Zack, besides turn him into a one-joke character about all of the pun-filled movies he’s made and given him a little fling with a Hulu junior executive. In a show full of wonderful characters, he is sadly, the one weak link.
Despite that one small issue, there is no denying that Reboot is a huge accomplishment for all involved. Not only has this series single-handedly reinvigorated my belief in the future of sitcoms… But, it is also without a doubt, the best new comedy series of the year.
Reboot Premieres on Hulu Tuesday September 20th, 2022.
For More Reviews, make sure to Stay Tuned to That Hashtag Show!