Friday, 26 January 2018

Reboot is Just Another Name for Old Shit.

I read in an entertainment piece yesterday that there are planned for or currently in production over one hundred reboots of old television programs.

One hundred!

Murphy Brown, Roseanne, Will and Grace, Swat, Charmed, Hawaii Five-O, One Day at a Time, Dynasty, The X-Files, Party of Five, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, MacGyver, Prison Break, The Office, American Idol, and even those wacky Animaniacs are making their way back to a network near you. (Truth be told? I'm really ok with that last one.)

And that's just a beginner's list.

One hundred!

That's more programming than most of us watch in a year.

I've been giving this complete lack of creativity and total disregard for originality some deep thought and honestly, all I can come up with is Kohelet.
What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under t
he sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
It feels like we have come to the end of television. The reruns are now making their own reruns. I feel like TV is living its own perverse version of Groundhog Day and we, the viewing audience, are being massively played. We sit there in front of our screens like fucking zombies and digest and regurgitate all that is fed to us. We have surely become the Deltas and Epsilons that Aldous Huxley cautioned could be our fate. (You really need to read Huxley's Brave New World.) is a fascinating concept, this idea of a reboot. What if we could take the events in our own lives, run them through a "Wayback Machine," tweak the storylines to fit our current narratives, add a few characters, and finally live the lives we always wanted for ourselves. What if we had a chance to do it again? Would we do it differently?

Maybe I would have been more aware of the front step that time I broke my foot and almost dropped Younger Son on his head? Maybe I would have insisted that we NOT set out on the interstate in the middle of an ice storm? Maybe I would have spent more time listening to my grandparents and their stories? Maybe I would have taken more time to play and less time to clean up?


But here's the problem with reboots. They are never as good as the originals. We long for the nostalgia of what we knew; some sepia-coloured bygone era that can never be replicated or duplicated. We hope that the 2018 version of Murphy Brown will bestow a shit-laden tongue-lashing to the current holder of the Oval, but we know in our hearts that it can't be nearly as good or nearly as funny as the one she gave to Dan Quayle. As much as that accident on I75 in the ice terrified me, the resulting time together and family stories have lasted a lifetime. We learned valuable lessons from that experience. Lessons that I wouldn't trade for anything.

The problem with reboots is that we tend to look backward instead of forward. We tend to lazily reach for what is easy and avoid that which might challenge or confound us. A reboot is candy for the Deltas and Epsilons in a world where we should be striving to be Alphas.

Kohelet also states: "There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven." (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

We need to live our lives as if there are no do-overs, no reboots. Live your life in such a way that, if given the opportunity, you would do it the same way all over again. No regrets. No reboots. Demand better.

Shabbat Shalom to all who observe.

1 comment:

  1. Now hold on there one, we should stop doing Shakespeare? No restagings? No more re-stagings of Death of a Salesman? A Doll's House? Three Sisters? No more restaged Nutcrackers or Swan Lake? No more restaged operas? No more modern takes on G&S operettas? Be careful for what you wish. Not to mention the many really great reboots that rip your theory apart: Battlestar Galactica, Dr. Who, Star Trek, to name just a few. What about the Olympics? I think you are layering your own disappointments with the plethora of misplaced nostalgia in our society over the plethora of reboots. Truth is, our society has been doing reboots for millenia. Code of Hamurrabi. Ten Commandments. Hebrew Bible. New Testamanet. Quran. Sure, lots of reboots suck, and don't improve upon the original. So what? It's OK to be a grump - just don't waste your grumpiness on illusory issues! Psst - btw - I'd be willign to bet the Bard recycled old ideas from earlier shows and used them in later shows. If he had lived life as you suggest, with no do-overs or reboots, think of all the grrat plays we might have lost.