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Giving Reboots The Boot

Giving Reboots The Boot
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The Golden Girls (Photo: NBC

BY LORRAINE DUFFY MERKL

Everything old is not new again. It’s the same old story in HDTV. Or streamed on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.

I confess that when Gilmore Girls returned with four 90-minute episodes, I was giddy. My 19-year old daughter Meg and I used to watch “our show” when she was a little girl. Seeing what happened to Yale grad Rory and empty nester Lorelei was sweet and somewhat satisfying.

It was not the first show to be resurrected, but the whole reboot thing was still few and far between. Now it appears to be an epidemic.

I smiled at the repackaging of Full House, rejuvenated as Fuller House, because the series was a childhood obsession of both Meg and her older brother Luke; nodded acceptingly at Twin Peaks, as it was a fave of my husband Neil; shrugged indifferently at the reappearance of Will & Grace, which I never watched the first go ‘round; exhaled impatiently at Dynasty, with its setting change from Colorado to Atlanta; rolled my eyes at One Day At A Time; and cringed at the thought of the just-announced return of Starsky & Hutch. My head banged against the table when word had it that Lost In Space, Magnum, P.I.—without Tom Selleck, and Rosanne might be on the horizon.

The titles from yesteryear seem to make some wistful; in fact, ironically enough, some bygone show enthusiasts weren’t even born when the originals aired. According to the Los Angeles Times, millennials are the ones obsessed with oldies but goodies like, are you ready? The Golden Girls. Perhaps even people in their sexual prime find the soft porn that passes as prime time TV a bit much, and take comfort in watching Bea Arthur lob zingers at her senior citizen gal pals.

All I can think, though, is: can no one come up with a new idea?

I’m going to do a little wishful thinking here and say that I have quite a number of decades left. I’d hate to think that when I’m 80, I’ll be watching a re-cast version of a show I watched when I was 18.

I’ve spent a lifetime reading articles about not living in the past, yet it seems here I am.

I will be first to admit that I have lived a charmed, aka average, life; I’m grateful that there have been more highs than lows. Regardless, I really don’t want to relive it. I’m rather enjoying my present, and look forward to seeing what the future brings me, as well as how it will unfold for my children.

I find it distracting, even if I don’t watch the programs, to even hear about the new escapades of, let’s say, “The Carringtons,” which will probably resemble the old ones. (Two women in a shoving match that ends up in the pool.) Just the idea of this show triggers cringe-worthy memories of sartorial mistakes, like shoulder pads that had me looking like a linebacker.

Simply hearing the title One Day At A Time returns me to high school, when I gave Valerie Bertinelli the power to make me feel not pretty or thin enough. It doesn’t even matter that years ago, when she was promoting Jenny Craig as well as her memoir, “Barbara Cooper” revealed that back then, she too didn’t feel pretty or thin enough either.

Recently, Meg decided to stream 90210, in and of itself a reboot that ran from 2008 until 2013. I declined the offer to watch with her.

When the original first aired in the ‘90s, I was in my early 30s and working in an ad agency. Everyone tuned in. When I think of professional men and women talking about whether “Brenda” should break up with “Dylan,” the embarrassment starts at the base of my spine, creeps its way up, and when it reaches my head, little explosions go off.

For all those who find solace in broadcast nostalgia: enjoy. There will be apparently an abundance of riches for you to choose from. I think, however, I’ll keep my eyes off the screen, and looking ahead.

 

 

 

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Lorraine Duffy Merkl
Lorraine Duffy Merkl is the author of the novels BACK TO WORK SHE GOES and FAT CHICK, for which a movie version is in the works.