February 4, 2023

Entertaining Movies

Entertaining Movies

That ’90s Show Review 2023 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew

That ’90s Show

That ’90s Show Review 2023 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew

    Call it a remake, a reboot or an update, but “That ’90s Show” is definitely triple-dipping its Dunkaroos in the Crystal Pepsi of TV nostalgia. Fans of “That ’70s Show” will likely want to see what 20 years have done to the series’ characters. Millennials may be intrigued to see what it means to be a ’90s comedy. Archaeologists of television trivia will want to see how many period references have been shoehorned into the new show. The uninitiated may think they’re trapped on a pop-cultural Möbius strip.

    “That ’70s Show” (1998-2006) was an almost-alternative comedy that broke with the sitcom mold in its treatment of drugs, sex and intergenerational dynamics. It launched several cast members to considerable celebrity (among them Laura Prepon, Topher Grace, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis) and has had a healthy afterlife in syndication. (A very short-lived “That ’80s Show” aired in 2002.) The aforementioned alumni make what amount to cameo appearances in the new Netflix series. But what happened to their characters in the interim—between a storyline set in the ’70s that began airing in the ’90s, and a show set in the ’90s that has begun airing now—can’t really be addressed, given how destiny has diverged from what the old show indicated their futures would be. Suffice to say that what appears to be a live audience (or an overly enthused laugh track) responds to each appearance and revelation with predictable astonishment and appreciation.

    The anchors of the story are, as ever, Red and Kitty Forman (Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp), their nest now empty—which pleases the curmudgeonly Red to no end, but makes Kitty long for the days when her son, Eric (Mr. Grace), and his pals would spend hours in the basement, doing what teenagers do. One of the updates in the new show is its far more overt treatment of marijuana, which never seemed to be directly addressed during the ’90s version of the ’70s—when it was illegal and more frowned upon in both dimensions of time and space—although the people were quite obviously high. The show’s trademark camera technique, i.e., the revolving point of view around a seated circle of potheads, who never openly passed a joint, is brought back. There will certainly be giggles. But there’s no longer any wink necessary between the show and its audience. There are also considerably coarser references to sex and basic biology now, which seem to arrive at moments when a writer has run out of wit.

    How to refresh a format that was about adolescent misbehavior? Get fresh adolescents to misbehave. When Red and Kitty’s granddaughter Leia (Callie Haverda, who’s wonderful) comes to visit, she meets neighbor Gwen (Ashley Aufderheide, also wonderful), wailing along to Alanis Morissette under her Discman headphones. Leia (yes, named for the “Star Wars” princess) finds Gwen to be the coolest person she’s ever met and decides she wants to stay for the summer. Kitty is overjoyed; Red acquiesces; the basement is refilled with the otherwise idle stoners of Point Place, Wis.

    “That ’90s Show” utilizes the same go-go dancer interludes that punctuated the scenes in its predecessor’s episodes; it makes offhand references to period TV (“Grace Under Fire,” for instance, which was a production of Carsey-Werner, the company behind the current “Show”). But like “That ’70s Show,” you wonder if the allusions are to television of the period or—in the case of “That ’90s Show”—its ’70s predecessor. Sometimes it is both: Mace Coronel as Jay Kelso plays the son of Mr. Kutcher’s character in the original, but he’s also doing an impersonation of Joey from “Friends.” Ozzie (Reyn Doi), the gay Asian character who serves the same comedic function that Wilmer Valderrama’s Fez did in the old show, also sounds like Eric Cartman of “South Park.” Sherri (Andrea Anders), the single mother of Gwen and Nate (Maxwell Donovan), rushes in and out of the Forman household in a fashion that seems to be an homage to Kramer in “Seinfeld.”

    Unfortunately, “That ’90s Show” much of the time suffers from a sensibility that suggests Disney Channel tween comedies of the early 2000s, programs that never made much of an effort, perhaps because they had a captive audience. There’s a much racier tone to “That ’90s Show,” though it relies mostly on innuendo and double-entendres, much as the old show did with its drug references. When Leia, who has never been kissed, wonders whether she should change that by corralling some “rando” at the mall, her reconnaissance man, Ozzie, reports back that “It’s a total sausage fest!” Pause. “Hickory Farms is giving out free samples.” It’s not the worst joke in the show.

    That ’90s Show Review 2023 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew