Guest Blog by Joe Plume – Ant-Head: The Reboot

I’m back. You didn’t think it was possible, but I’ve returned in all my fictional glory. If you’re unfamiliar with my existence: I’m Joe Plume, eater of relish sandwiches, writer of the finest sitcom-based fan fiction, he who once had ants in his hair, and star/narrator of Ant-Head: A Love Story by Budgie Bigelow, my creator, my giver of life and sunlight, my God.

OK, so I’m only going to buy into Mr. Bigelow’s delusions of grandeur for  a moment. As a fictional entity, I shouldn’t be acknowledging him in any way. I should know; I’m also a writer, and He should know better too. But me guest blogging for Him is a little weird. Why not write it himself? I guess I’m the sitcom guru in his head, the authority on situation comedy. If he’s going to write in my voice, I might as well get credit, right?

Enough about that dude.

As I stated earlier, I’m back. I’m here to talk about something near and dear to my heart and soul: Sitcom reboots. Sorry, there is no Ant-Head reboot on its way. There isn’t even a sequel planned. After all that, there’s no more plans for Joe Plume. Fine. Whatever. Use me to “guest blog” and leave my ass on the back burner.

I’m getting the signal to stick to the script here, so let’s get back to it.

“Reboot” is a dirty word to me. You get the amount of seasons you’re given, cry during the finale, and move on with your life. You social media parasites aren’t even using the word correctly as far as I’m concerned. I think you mean to use the word “sequel”. Example: “Fuller House is the sequel to Full House.” Or how about “continuation”? As in “The new Roseanne show was a continuation of the original.

I’m going to get to you, Rosanne… Don’t you worry.

That sounds better. We’re not dealing with reboots. We’re dealing with sequels or continuations. A reboot would be a whole new show based off the premise and characters of one that had already existed. Remember the Odd Couple reboot with Mathew Perry? Don’t worry; not many people do, but that’s what a reboot is.

And we’re not talking about reboots.

Where did this all start? You can assume, not wrongfully, that the world has gotten so fucked up that people need an ice-cold nostalgia enema to bring them some minute semblance of happiness. Is this why these shows are so utterly popular? Or was Fuller House just an unexpected hit full of familiar catch phrases and characters (except Michelle), spawning a copycat-like tsunami of other sequels and continuations?

For argument’s sake, let’s call it a mixture of the two. Everyone wants to revisit their past, and most of my generation was raised on TV. I spent every Friday night on the TGIF lineup rather than bonding with my family. How lame would have that been?

I see how all this is appealing to the laypeople who consume mass amounts of streaming television. And therein lies another problem. There are so many streaming services out there vying for content. People want to see an old sitcom brought back from the ashes of history? Let’s do it! What are those two guys from Perfect Strangers doing right now? Nothing? Get them in a studio and get them a script! We need some content!

My Perfect Strangers continuation fantasy aside, there’s only so much this new generation could take. Rumors surfaced of a Fraiser continuation, and I don’t know how I feel about that. Sure, the final episode left me disappointed, but the show was good overall (despite how unrealistic Niles getting together with Daphne was). This may work more as a sequel about Fred Crane, Fraiser’s son, but I can’t see where they’d even go with this. Here’s an idea: Fred Crane has a shitty podcast about his love of My Little Pony, and his father (who now lives with him) is greatly disappointed by this. Get me the networks on the phone, and tell them Joe Plume just hit a fat vein of gold!

Let’s circle back to the short-lived Rosanne continuation and why it was both a good and bad idea.

As a fan of sitcoms, I have to admit that Rosanne is required material. I’ve never been able to properly do the show justice in a fan fiction. I’ve gotten about halfway and failed. There’s only two shows I’ve admitted defeat with writing: Rosanne and All in the Family. Rosanne Connor and Archie Bunker are just two characters I could never get right…

But Rosanne did her fans wrong in that infamous last season, oh so wrong, arguably so. The Connors won the lottery and lived the high life, only to reveal in the final moments that it was all a fantasy world, written by the fictional Rosanne Connor to cope with the death of her husband, whom she felt betrayed her by dying. Yes, he was actually dead the whole time. It was a shocking twist, but did the audience really deserve an entire dream sequence season to end the run of the show? It’s the sitcom equivalent to writing an act of God to end your story because you’ve written yourself into a corner.

But they erased time, bringing John Goodman back as Dan Connor for the continuation, alive and well. This was another disservice to the fans of the original run who shed tears for Dan’s death. But I digress…

I thought the Rosanne sequel was a way to make that ninth and final season up to the fans who had to endure it. So, in it’s own fucked up way, it was a good thing. It’s almost too bad Rosanne herself had to go and fuck it all up, but I won’t get into that.

By the way, Hollywood executives who may be reading this: Fox never gave us a real finale for Married With Children. If you’re thinking of doing some fan service, there’s a show that deserves one more shot.

I’ve talked about my love of finales in the past, notably in my own book Ant-Head: A Love Story (which could be adapted into a sitcom of its own… wink wink…). What I don’t like is when they leave things open to come back to later. It seems cheap. Cheers breathed its dying breaths through Fraiser appearances, and I still think they can revamp Friends without skipping a beat. All they’d have to do is bring Joey back from Hollywood, but his spinoff died on the operating table anyway. Rosanne concluded, period. They brought it back with sorcery, and they should be ashamed (for a lot of reasons).

Now let’s please slow all this nonsense down before Will Smith produces a reboot of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and puts his spoiled-ass kids in it. And I pray to any deity that’s listening that he never reads this and gets the idea.

-Joe Plume
7/27/18

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Click here to check out Joe’s book: Ant-Head: A Love Story, and don’t forget to check out other books by Budgie Bigelow.

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