“Step Right Up” is a promising opening episode that briskly sets up the show’s premise and quickly introduces viewers to its intriguing cast of characters. It’s an enticing concept, and the satire has the potential for comedy gold.
This recap of the Hulu series Reboot season 1, episode 1, “Step Right Up”, contains spoilers.
Hollywood is forever remaking, rebooting or reviving old properties, hoping to capitalize on our nostalgic tendencies to rejuvenate audience viewership. Streaming services are also desperate to deliver an endless library of content to fulfil their consumer’s ever-growing needs and in these unusual times, they see a reboot as technically a safe bet. All these topics and more are cleverly summarized in a meeting held during the opening moments of Reboot, a show that happily exploits the trends of this ever-changing TV landscape to provide realism and comedy gold.
Reboot season 1, episode 1 recap
The premiere, “Step Right Up”, opens in Hulu headquarters no less, as an edgy writer called Hannah (Rachel Bloom) waits to pitch to the daunting Hulu execs. She wants to reboot the old sitcom Step Right Up with the original, noughties cast members. Hannah’s overall goal is to mix up this tradition formula to make something entirely unique and, dare I say, meta. The business types quickly research the show’s popularity on their streaming platform and are surprised by its lucrative potential. After watching a hilarious clip from the sitcom online, the Head exec seems more than convinced.
As the discussion continues, the head honcho is updated on all the cast’s current whereabouts. Reed Sterling (Keegan-Michael Key), who played the step-dad Lawrence, is a now a struggling actor. We are shown one of his latest auditions, where the pretentious thespian ruins his reading by trying to over-analyze his role. The show’s mother, actress Bree Jensen (Judy Greer) played an alien on a cable sci-fi dud and is now a Nordic duchess. Whilst the divorced father portrayed by Clay Barber (Johnny Knoxville) was arrested on multiple charges and now does offensive stand-up routines. Then finally there’s the son Zack Jackson, who has grown up to become a Z-lister teen actor. In other words, they are all pretty available and dying for their next screen credit.
The cast members are reunited for the first time in fifteen years. It is revealed that Reed left the sitcom to pursue a film career, causing the show to be cancelled and the others are still extremely bitter over this betrayal. Reed and Bree dated during the production, before leaving things on awkward terms. Reed knocks on Bree’s trailer door to patch up old wounds and instantly sees Bree topless. He continually reiterates that he is in a committed relationship now, but she toys with him further.
It takes a while for the cast members to recognize the grown up Zack, who was their annoying child co-star. There is a funny running gag, where everyone confuses him for a lowly assistant. Hannah meets with the three men and gushes about her obsession with the show. It’s a great setup that feels like it has the potential for lots of drama and then the series unveils its first twist, pulling a real 180. Hannah is called into the office, while the cast recreate their famous billboard poster from the original run.
Reed refuses to do his comical pose and the gang argue. He worries that he’ll become the laughing stock once again and wants to keep the reboot’s sophisticated edge. They rush into the showrunner’s office to discuss this further and witness Hannah storming out. She has quit already. The show’s original creator Gordon (Paul Reiser) wants to do a complete rewrite. This dinosaur of a creative is stuck in the past and passionately hates the new script.
Reed threatens to quit, again, and the gang walk out of Gordon’s office. Bree confesses that her marriage is over, she’s broke and desperately needs the show just like the others. They head to Hannah’s home to try and convince her to re-join the show. Hannah states that she can’t work with Gordon, but the cast say they’ll back her up this time. Here, the series reveals its greatest twist yet, Hannah is in fact Gordon’s daughter and he left her to form a new family, with the sitcom being based on those tragic, real-life events. It’s a clever twist that adds extra depth to the show.
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