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I’ve had it officially™ with gross, edgy teen TV show remakes

Hollywood is so obsessed with making money through reboots—and I’ve had it.

Just this week, Cartoon Network classic “Powerpuff Girls” is the new pick for another Hollywood reboot. They’re making it darker and edgier instead of filled with sugar, spice and everything nice. It’s not as if they know any other way to reboot a childhood classic.

If this happened five years ago, I would actually be excited. But I’ve been burned way too many times with these nostalgic reboots. I’m not talking about Disney’s “Lion King” or “Aladdin”—those were actually sort of bearable. Nothing compares to the peak caucasity that happened with series like “Riverdale” or “Heathers.”

Young adults who grow up with these franchises call out these shows’ bad writing and cringey edginess. If we are the target audience, why keep rebooting our childhood with the same formula?

TV execs didn’t stop with the likes of “Riverdale.” Obviously, we have more upcoming reboots in the middle of a global meltdown (’cause they love money). Franchises that will get an edgy remake are ’90s classic “Clueless,” the much-awaited, live-action remake of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and of course Cartoon Network’s “Powerpuff Girls.”

“After a decade or so of insisting that ‘darker and grittier’ is somehow more true to life or realistic, we’re looking for something more like pure escapism once more.”

The aim for the new “Clueless” is to make it a “baby pink and bisexual blue-tinted, tiny sunglasses-wearing, oat milk latte and Adderall-fueled look.” As for “Powerpuff Girls,” they are turning the trio into “disillusioned twentysomethings who resent having lost their childhoods to crime fighting.” Literally, no one asked for this.

One of the original creators of these franchises spoke against this edgy reboot angle. For instance, “Avatar” creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko left the live-action adaptation project on Aug. 14. Internet sleuths found out one of the reasons was that Netflix wants “Avatar” to have romance, sex and blood.

Have we not learned from “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina?” Or are we just ignoring these flops on purpose?

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why reboot means turning it “darker” or “edgier.” Like what Deborah Krieger of The Awl said, “After a decade or so of insisting that ‘darker and grittier’ is somehow more true to life or realistic, we’re looking for something more like pure escapism once more.” The world is already shitty as it is. 

If dark and edgy aren’t the way, what can make reboots actually worthwhile?

I’ve always expressed my hatred of reboots wholeheartedly. Supposedly, I can clear the air and say I only hate bad reboots. There are remakes out there of childhood staples that I actually enjoyed. Hell, I’m even thankful they were made.

Take “Hey Arnold: The Movie” for instance. What they recreated wasn’t the show’s heart or its themes. Sure, they made the animation and character designs more modern but what it really gave us is what we fans were actually looking for: an answer to the mystery of Arnold’s parents. It was a nice link to the series. It was less of a reboot and more of a closure.

All we want is actual good plots and a purpose for these childhood rehashes.

As for “Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling,” it followed the same formula of “Hey Arnold: The Movie.” They placed the show in the 21st century, but touched up on timely topics such as the queer community (a plot twist, I know). In the remake, the Bighead’s daughter and understanding her transgender journey became the heart and soul of the TV film.

With these classic Nick staples taking a stab at reboots, they’ve managed to enrich childhood nostalgia through good storytelling, representation and inclusivity. No romance, sex or blood involved.

So if reboots should stay, then fucking fine. All we want is actual good plots and a purpose for these childhood rehashes. If not, it’s just exploitation for clout.

Read more:
Please, please don’t make ‘Clueless’ an edgy teen series
‘80s cult classic ‘Heathers’ reboot takes different direction from original
Is Disney brewing a live-action remake of ‘Atlantis: The Lost Empire?’

Art by Yel Sayo

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Rogin Losa
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