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Series / Reboot (2022)

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"Okay, you know how in the old sitcom, the characters always did the right thing? They don't do the right thing anymore. You know, like, I fuck with it. But in a fun way."
Hannah Korman

Reboot is an American sitcom created by Steven Levitan of Modern Family fame. It premiered on Hulu on September 20, 2022.

Indie screenwriter Hannah Korman (played by Rachel Bloom) gets an invite to pitch an original series to Hulu, but surprises them when she chooses a seemingly simple idea: a reboot of her favorite childhood sitcom, Step Right Up, about a blended family.

Though the cast have all moved on to different life paths (Reed Sterling (Keegan-Michael Key) quit the show to become a serious actor, Bree Marie Jensen (Judy Greer) became the duchess of a small country, Clay Barber (Johnny Knoxville) became a troubled comedian, and child actor Zack Jackson (Calum Worthy) mostly did teen movies), they agree to return when they hear Hannah's script is a more complex re-imagining of the original series. But when the original showrunner, Gordon Gelman (Paul Reiser) returns to the scene, Hannah refuses to work with him for a reason that instantly makes the reboot's production a lot more complicated.

Has nothing to do with the animated series ReBoot. On January 30, 2023, it was announced that the show had been cancelled after one season.


  • All Women Hate Each Other: In "New Girl" Reed calls out Bree for sabotaging their young, pretty, charming costar Timberly's acting out of envy. She retorts that she came up in a Hollywood where women were cutthroat towards each other and cites examples of female costars who sabotaged her. Reed responds that she's now just perpetuating the same cycle of abuse and misogyny, prompting her to make up with Timberly. In "Girlfriends", Reed and Clay wrongly assume that Timberly might have been taking advantage of her, but it's shown that Timberly has nothing but good intentions.
  • Author Avatar: In-Universe; Hannah adds the character of Whitney to the reboot as a stand-in for her, the daughter who got left behind when her dad left to be someone else's good stepfather.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: The in-universe sitcom is produced for Hulu, just like Reboot itself, allowing the show to make fun of its corporate owners. There are a few digs at Disney, Hulu's majority owner, too.
    • The third episode has Disney (Hulu's owner) issue an HR complaint about Reed getting an erection during the show, but with Disney's typical whimsical tone.
    • The eighth episode makes fun of the volatile nature of streaming services, showing a leadership coup at Hulu overnight and their show being at risk of cancellation over a personal grudge.
  • Blended Family Drama: The Show Within a Show Step Right Up is a man named Lawrence who now lives with his new wife Josie, her ex-husband Jake, and their son Cody. Though the original show seemed to be drama-free about the blended setup, Hannah, the original showrunner's daughter, reboots it with the intention of revealing Lawrence had a daughter from an earlier relationship, Whitney, the entire time. Subsequent scenes show that Whitney integrating herself with the family is a subplot.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The three female leads, who all have different roles to play in the script-to-screen process: blonde actress Bree, brunette network exec Elaine, and redheaded showrunner Hannah.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Gordon and Hannah's conflict over the show's writing has shades of this: while Hannah is correct that humor has evolved since the original show came out and that people don't just want shallow comedy and slapstick gags anymore, Gordon is also correct that jokes have to actually make people laugh, and blending social commentary and heavy thematic elements risks that.
  • Darker and Edgier: Invoked. The initial appeal of Hannah's reboot of Step Right Up is that it's more serious and less shallow than the original, introducing "dark secrets" to the characters. However, when Gordon returns as showrunner, he wants it to go back to its shallow roots, much to Reed's dismay.
  • Elite School Means Elite Brain: It's a Running Gag that Janae, one of the writers, is prone to mentioning she worked on the Harvard Lampoon when credentials come up.
  • Expy: Hannah and Gordon are this to Maya and Jack on Steve Levitan's '90s sitcom Just Shoot Me!. Maya was an "edgy" journalist who reluctantly ended up having to work at her estranged father's fashion magazine, which she viewed as beneath her, and resented him for making time for his new family but never being there for her when she was young (additionally, Hannah was also the name of Maya's baby sister).
  • The Generation Gap: There's a contrast between the old-school writers of Gordon's generation, who prefer simpler storytelling, physical comedy, and punchlines, and the newer writers of Gordon's daughter Hannah's generation, who prefer social commentary, complex characters, and deeper themes.
  • Good Stepmother: Male example; the premise of Step Right Up is that Lawrence is a great stepdad to Cody, even if there are growing pains. Hannah, the showrunner's daughter who got left behind when said showrunner left her family for a second one, is disgruntled at this idealistic portrayal. When given the greenlight for a reboot she makes Lawrence a slightly less perfect stepdad by introducing a daughter from his previous relationship.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Reed and Bree are surprised that they get a scene in bed, commenting that the streaming service reboot lets them get away with a lot more than their show's original network TV home.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The episodes are named after the titles of other sitcomsIn order . These episode titles also refer to at least one of the subplots.
  • Jews Love to Argue: After Gordon brings in a trio of experienced (ahem, old) Jewish writers, just figuring out what to order for lunch takes a long time.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The actors are confused when Hannah gets upset at Gordon not wanting to do her plot revealing a "deep secret" for the reboot's pilot. When they discover Hannah is really Gordon's never-mentioned daughter, Bree says, "the big twist at the end of the pilot..." with Reed adding, "is you."
  • Mock Hollywood Sign: The show is set in a Hulu studio in Hollywood, CA and parodies show business. Fittingly, it uses the Hollywood sign's font as its poster's title font, and in some versions of the poster the logo replaces the actual Hollywood sign in the background of the Show Within a Show's set.
  • More Diverse Sequel: Well, reboot, and behind the scenes: Hannah brings in three diverse writers, just to have Gordon bring in some old hands when things weren't progressing to his liking.
  • New Old Flame: Exes Reed and Bree are reunited on the set of their show's revival. The possibility of them rekindling their relationship is frequently teased, despite Reed having a girlfriend whom he continually reassures that nothing is going on. Bree eventually admits she has always been in love with him.
  • Norse by Norsewest: Bree was a former duchess of the fictional Nordic country of Fjorstadt, which is portrayed as cold, sunless, and populated by dour people who smell like herring.
  • Odd Friendship: The younger, diverse group of writers that Hannah hires and the trio of old Jewish writers that Gordon brings on have little in common and share very different ideas on how to write comedy, but they're gradually able to find middle ground with each other and form an odd but still effective team.
  • Oh, Crap!: The actors when they discover Hannah is Gordon's daughter and realized they just signed on for a major dysfunctional family feud.
  • Old Shame: In-universe for all the actors, but mostly Bree, who was relegated to low-budget sci-fi shows. Subverted with Zack, who is proud of and won't stop talking about the corny children's straight-to-video projects he's done.
  • Revival: In-Universe. The main characters are attempting to revive an old fictional sitcom called Step Right Up in the vein of Fuller House, with the four original cast members returning.
  • Romance on the Set:
    • In-universe. Leads Reed and Bree had a rocky relationship during the show's original run; this causes a few issues with the reboot when they meet up again.
    • Exploited Trope in the last episode where Bree claims they're back together to get back at her ex-husband, which gets the press buzzing.
  • Show Within a Show:
    • The show is about the revival of a fictional sitcom called Step Right Up.
    • Timberly is an alum of the reality TV show Fuck Buddy Mountain.
  • Slobs vs. Snobs: Not quite as drastic, but the old writers rely heavily on physical humor and corny jokes, while the younger writers want to inject social commentary and high-brow, complex themes. A big theme of the show involves Hannah (correctly) insisting that humor has developed into something more sophisticated in the decades since Step Right Up originally aired, while Gordon also correctly notes that you still need jokes to get people to laugh.
  • Stealth Insult: In Episode 3, Bree mentions that the country she married into named a glacier after her; in hindsight, she wonders if they were telling her she was cold.
  • Theatre Is True Acting: Screenwriter Hannah Korman is aghast when the studio stunt casts a reality TV alumna to play her Author Avatar. She complains that she had already found a "real" actress from Broadway to play her, but is shut down.
  • Uptight Loves Wild: The budding romance between Zack (an immature former child actor) and Elaine (a poised and intelligent studio executive) starts to develop when he gets her to ditch her plans of meetings, outlines, and emails for an afternoon spent running around the studio lot.
  • Write What You Know: In-Universe, many events of the show came from Gordon's life with his step-family. Hannah also vents her relationship with her father into the script by giving Lawrence, her dad's self-insert, an estranged daughter.
  • Write Who You Know: In-Universe, Gordon says he based the character of Lawrence off himself, and the other members of the family seem to be based off his second family, something his first daughter resents.
  • Younger and Hipper: In-universe, reality TV star Timberly is not-so-subtly brought in to attract younger viewers, much to the chagrin of the rest of the cast. Could also apply to the writers, as the newer, more diverse, and much younger writers clash with the old hands brought in.