There are many layers to the trailer of Reboot, Hulu’s upcoming sitcom about rebooting a sitcom. The meta-series not only makes fun of comedies past and present, but it also gets some good jabs in at the current state of television behind the scenes—and makes fun of its own network in the process.
Rachel Bloom’s bespectacled TV writer Hannah is the one to propose a reboot of Step Right Up, a feel-good early 2000s family sitcom. The dysfunctional cast graduated to lackluster careers, from low-budget sci-fi to offensively stereotypical movie roles.
Here’s one of those meta layers: the fictional actors of Step Right Up are all real-life TV comedy veterans, including Keegan Michael Key (Key & Peele), Judy Greer (Arrested Development), and Johnny Knoxville (Jackass). The series’ awkward former child star, Calum Worthy, is himself a former child star from Disney Channel’s Austin & Ally. Then there’s Step Right Up’s original head writer Gordon, played by Paul Reiser–who not long ago wrapped up a reboot of Mad About You.
Stepping back into their old roles causes some growing pains in reverse, whether it’s flubbing promo in the livestream era or being decidedly un-woke in the writers’ room. “Comedy’s evolved since you last wrote for television,” Hannah tells Gordon. “I mean honestly, whole species have evolved.” There are also lingering tensions amidst the cast, particularly Bree (Greer) and Reed (Key), whose partner is none too happy about this TV family reunion.
And here’s the other meta layer, which is that Hulu’s Reboot is about a reboot on Hulu, and the streamer gets the most savage treatment of all in the clip. “This is my first time on a set. I’m new to humor,” says studio exec Elaine (Krista Marie Yu). Asked for her title, she says–ironically unironic–“Vice President of Comedy.”
The series was created by Modern Family’s Steven Levitan, who serves as an executive producer alongside Danielle Stokdyk and Jeff Morton. Reboot premieres on Hulu on September 20, 2022.