‘Reboot’ — When TV mocks itself

Hulu comedy lampoons the formulaic sitcom

Keegan-Michael Key stars in “Reboot,” premiering Tuesday on Hulu.

Every family has its issues, even fake ones.

In the case of the cast of the vapid 2000s-era family sitcom being remade in the Hulu comedy “Reboot,” premiering Tuesday, Sept. 20, the dysfunction is still apparent even 20 years after the show ended.

Reed (Keegan-Michael Key, “Key and Peele”), who plays the dad, is a pretentious thesp who never misses an opportunity to remind everyone that he went to Yale Drama School. His departure to pursue a movie career put the coda to the show as well as his not-so-secret relationship with TV wife Bree (Judy Greer, “The Thing About Pam”), who went off and married a Nordic duke.

Clay (Johnny Knoxville, “Bad Grandpa”), who plays the oldest son, also returns but it’s clear time hasn’t been kind. And the youngest, Zack (Calum Worthy, “The Act”), is the classic child star whose adult acting career hasn’t panned out.

Overseeing the group is Hannah (Rachel Bloom, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”), the showrunner whose darker reimagining of the series struck a chord with the network — but not with former showrunner Gordon (Paul Reiser, “Mad About You”), who wants the show back.

“Reboot” is the brainchild of creator Steve Levitan (“Modern Family,” “Just Shoot Me!”), whose task it was to create two shows — “One kind of bad one and hopefully one good one,” he quips.

“It’s always a tricky thing,” he says, “because in wanting to bring this cast together, I almost had to like reverse-engineer a show that would make sense, the old show. But it was very fun to do and the fact that it wasn’t the greatest and isn’t probably the greatest show on earth makes it a lot easier to write.”

It also helped that the cast has extensive behind-the-scenes experience — Greer as a director and producer, Knoxville as a writer and producer and Key and Bloom as show creators. So sharp-eyed viewers might notice a few in-jokes.

“It felt like making a very fun documentary sometimes …,” Key says. “There are fun little kind of sly lines every now and again … that I love.

“It’s very cool that a lot of us are creators,” Bloom adds. “I think it speaks to Steve and everyone’s urge to collaborate. And there was a generally really collaborative spirit. And I was basically playing — not myself, but let’s say a version of myself that didn’t have to worry about also being on camera, which was nice.”

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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