So, we are officially in it.
Sitcoms that have been dead and gone for over 20 years have been brought back to life, and, unlike a movie sequel that is made wayyyyy after the original and thus bombs at the box office (I’m looking at you, Dumb and Dumber To, and Supertroopers 2, and yeah even you Godfather Part 3 and yes of course you future Bill and Ted installment), these resurrections (or are they an offshoot of a reboot?) have had a different outcome.
They are HUGE HITS.
Which bears the question: what the fuck?
Sorry, I more mean… like, what the fuck why?
And, okay, okay showbiz snobs, I technically know WHY. I get why these shows are being made, (familiar/safe = $$$$$) and I even get why these actors have agreed to return (familiar, safe and $$$$$$$$$$). I’m aware that this is a classic example of the business of show biz currently beating the creative of show biz. (i.e. Enough people will watch this familiar/safe/old famous actor show for it to be worth the cost of making it= $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$)
And I’m not saying these Reboot Resurrections (trademark pending) are NOT creative or like, bad, even. I mean, hell, I loved when they brought back Gilmore Girls. I thought it was well done, exciting and lovely! (I would also argue that it’s a show that never got the ending we wanted in the first place, but perhaps I’m just defending it because it’s a show I love, and I think the things I love should be an exception… but I digress.)
I don’t want to knock these shows and their newly revived existence. Though my kneejerk reaction is to roll my eyes, I know that all is fair in love and television. Good is good. And I’ve caught a few episodes of Will and Grace, and it totally made me laugh. Hard. As a poster may say, “They still got it!”
I just keep circling back to the why of it all.
Why are we hankering for the repeat?
Why do we want something that’s all been done before?
I know, I know, TV snobs who I am arguing with in my head, television has been repeating ideas for years. It’s just that this time it’s more direct. This time networks have ripped off the disguise of television shows that were “in the vein” of previous hit shows (like how How I Met Your Mother is just really a reboot of Friends which is sort of an offshoot of Cheers, blah blah blah…), and are simply cutting to the chase.
Want a show like Roseanne? Let’s just give you Roseanne.
But that’s so weird, right??? Within these last four or five years, suddenly it’s totally normal to be like: “Hey, do you wanna know how that blue collar loud lady is doing over 20 years later? THE SAME.”
And I’m not saying this is wrong or bad or stupid.
I guess I’m just asking why. Why is this truly happening? Why is this the thing?
Why is this what America wants right now?
Like how in the 2000’s the easy viewing trend was all in epic reality game shows, (some still clammering to this day), how come seeing an aged but familiar sitcom on television is “all the rage?”
I have some theories.
1. Nothing makes sense anymore. – Trump is president despite 3 million more people voting for Clinton. There’s a White House porn star situation and a remarkable amount of ties with people surrounding Trump colluding with Russia. White supremacy is a mainstream thing again. We are relying on high schoolers to change gun laws. I don’t even want to get into the Kanye of it all. So sure, let’s give an irrelevant conspiracy theorist a republican lady platform (with America’s most likeable man by her side to add to the confusion) because, for some reason, ROSEANNE IS NUMBER ONE BABY.
2. We need to re-learn what the word “literally” means. – We’ve abused it so much in the last few years that maybe Resurrection City is one of many friendly reminders that literally means “exact, precise, actual.” As in, “You want a show like Murphy Brown? Then we will literally give you Murphy Brown.”
3. We are on the wrong timeline. – Simple as that. We diverged. We’re on the wrong path. We shouldn’t be here. Here, the Berenstain Bears is spelled that way, the Good Charlotte twins are somehow married to Cameron Diaz and Nicole Richie, and a bunch of the Avengers are dead. (Sorry. Have you really not seen the movie yet though?)
4. We’ve been… um… hankering for it? – Were there really enough of us twiddling our fingers, musing “you know what would be great? Bringing a show that had a solid finale nearly two decades ago back?” I mean, is that how a lot of us think? Is this the new logic I am not part of? I mean, I guess if I really thought about it I’d want Obama back so maybe that’s the same? Like when I am happy to see old retro limited time logos on candy or soda or something? Like it’s a hankering that has always been there, I just didn’t see? Maybe this is the Retro Pepsi Can Effect? I’m just going to keep using question marks on this? Because I guess I don’t understand hankering?
5. The slogan Make America Great Again had nothing to do with racism and skewed nostalgia, but instead had everything to do with television. – Like maybe it was an NBC slogan that got pitched around during Apprentice times and then it was discarded, along with, like, a bunch of hats, and then a Trump intern found them and was like, “hey, should we use these?”
6. Muses are on strike. – Lots of strike talk in Hollywood this year, maybe our very own beautiful, ethereal muses decided to unionize. WGA was close to striking, SAG did picket for a bit last year, maybe the MGA (Muses Guild of America, trademark pending) who are woke from the Me Too movement realized they have been underappreciated and working too long of hours (especially for us millennials who have chilled way into our 30s before really “discovering” who we are. I mean, that’s a lot of muse overtime.) and decided to demand better treatment before returning to work inspiring us with new ideas and shit.
7. Mercury is in retrograde. – Have at it, astrologists!
8. We don’t want to try new things anymore because we are scared. – Not to beat an orange horse, but Trump was a pretty new concept, am I right? Look how that newness is shaping out. Also, we’ve all had the new haircut that went wrong, the new clothing choice that was embarrassing, the new dating app that turned into fun rejection. Eeek! Why try new things after all of that? Familiarity can’t hurt us, can it? Yeah, let’s just stay safe and never try anything new ever again. It’s a great plan, America!
9. Aging is a thing of the past. – With so many anti-aging products and health advancements on the market, looking old for a rich person has never happened so slowly! And these resurrected millionaire actors are a shining example of that! They look great! They need to remain on the air for as long as it takes for us to figure out their beauty secrets.
10. We are in an inspiration rut, so it’s time to go back to what we know to be inspiring in order to make something new. – It’s time for newer writers (like me!) to keep pushing forward with new, comedic ideas, even though it’s hard and the world sort of sucks right now. So, keep on existing resurrected shows! And I promise I’ll keep watching you for guidance and inspiration as I keep at it creating new, never-before-seen ideas that will hopefully hit a television screen near you!
– One L
“Whatever happened to predictability?” – Full House/Fuller House