Reboot, Redux, and Recycle
By Amanda Rossenrode
I received some new shoes for Christmas, which was the last thing stopping me from heading to Hollywood and pitching my awesome movie ideas. With the success of Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chip, a cartoon which originated in the sixties, rebooted in the eighties, and dragged out again for the current generation of sticky-faced preschoolers, I realize that all one needs to do is take something soaked in nostalgia, put a lazy “new spin” on it and kids will lap it up and adults will pay money to think they’re simply “young at heart,” and not actively denying that they are aging rapidly, and that their dreams are withering away in the condemned basement of their souls.
Since we have become such good friends, I will give you a little peek at some of the ideas bubbling in my brain.
Popples were both a toy and a half-hour commercial for the toy, as most cartoons in the eighties were. What the show was about I won’t even deign to Google, since no one at the time or since then has cared. They were some sort of marsupial aliens that came in different colors and I had eight of them. And if I put them into a live action/CG/3D film, kids will want hundreds of them.
The film will star Zach Braff, because Zach Braff is literally hitting the Internet up for money and will do my stupid theatrical toy commercial. Zach has moved into a new house he intends to renovate only to discover the house is infested with singing, dancing, farting Popples. He tries to set traps to get rid of the Popples, but they foil his traps in all kinds of hilarious slapstickery (Popples Brand Popple Traps sold separately). Sofia Vergara will play his realtor and love interest and pronounce “Popples” in a sidesplitting way (just imagine her saying “Jaaake, Where did all these Popples come from?!”). They teach Zach the meaning of friendship and he lives with the talking anamorphic mutant rodents for the rest of his life and all foreseeable sequels.
I buy a sweet Honda.
You know what we have a severe deficiency cinematically lately? Talking babies. Remember the critically acclaimed hits Look Who’s Talking, Look Who’s Talking Too, and the cult classic, Baby Geniuses? I plan on reviving this genre by taking the beloved 90’s animated show Rugrats and doing it live action, with adult voice actors. Millennials will howl in protest at my bastardization of a cherished childhood classic, but maybe they should grow up and get back to making my latte. To throw a bone to parents, I will have the Apatow crew (without Apatow at the helm, of course) voice the Rats (that’s what I’m calling them, deal with it). Starring: James Franco as Tommy, Jonah Hill as Chuckie, Seth Rogen and Rashida Jones as Phil and Lil respectively, and Mindy Kaling as Angelica (that last one is pretty cool actually).
Then I’m going to send them to space, because it makes no sense and I am increasingly mad with power.
Then I buy a baby puma.
As anyone who has ever stayed up until 4 a.m. watching the USA Network knows, Small Wonder is a show. An inventor dad, who already had a son, invented a robot daughter named Vicki because his son was a huge disappointment and failed him as spawn. Rather than just try again, like the rest of our parents, he decided to play god and invent a disturbingly lifelike yet lifeless android and force his family to treat her as human, spiraling closer and closer towards the mouth of insanity.
It was the eighties, man. This was considered light-hearted family sitcoms. It’s currently almost 2016, which means I will reboot this into a gritty origin story.
After the birth of their son, Ted and Joan (Ethan Hawke and Rosamund Pike) are unable to have a second child. They grow distant and resentful, as Joan had always dreamed of a daughter. They ignore the boy and Joan begins an affair. Maniacally determined to salvage his family, inventor Ted begins to assemble an A.I. child that he believes will fill the void. But Vicki (Chloe Grace Moretz) becomes a little too intelligent and doesn’t appreciate competing with her mother and brother for her creator’s attention. Just because we can create artificial life, doesn’t mean we should.
I buy a car seat for my baby puma.
Saved by the Bell (The Bell has Rung)
In a Netflix series everyone will clamor for, remembering SBTB as a better show than it actually was, I will assemble the original cast, minus Screech, because that dude is craaaaazy. Did you hear he stabbed a guy? Yeah, we can do without Screech. Mark Paul Gossler will reprise his role as Zack, now a music teacher at Bayside High. Mark and I will go to dinner to discuss the show and I’ll tell him about all the posters I had of him on my wall when I was little and he will tell me he never really loved Kelly, and I’ll laugh and…
Oh sorry, okay, so Zack is teaching music and married to Kelly (ugh, whatever). Slater is the school’s wrestling coach and Lisa is the Administrative Director of the school. Following the sudden death of Mr. Belding at the glee competition, the gang gets together at the Maxx, now a seedy bar in Bayside and wonder just what happened to their lives. It's been twenty years and they never got farther than the halls of Bayside. A bottle of Hot Sundae Schnapps later, they decide to put Zack Attack back on tour (bonus: Slater pulls out his iPhone and Zack says, “Whoa, that’s a big phone!” Slater: "You got to be kidding me, Preppy.”). They travel the country, on the verge of real success until Jessie relapses into her caffeine pill addiction on the night of the big show. Focusing on Jessie’s well-being, they cancel the remainder of the tour and return to Bayside, where Screech is now principal, off-camera. Fame and success pass them by, but maybe they were successful anyway. Successful in friendship.
Everybody cries and I buy a diamond hat.
Skip It! To the Next Level
Skip-it was a delightful toy for children bad at athletics and making friends. The main point of this ankle bracelet/plastic stick “game” was not to trip over it. It was an ideal toy for the child who didn’t get invited to a lot of birthday parties.
Tina (Willow Smith) is new in a California private school with a cliquish mentality. She tries out for soccer, but is pretty terrible at it; there’s a whole montage of her being bad at things and failing. Popular girl Amy and the other girls make fun of her. Tina becomes friends with a homeless woman named Guff (Hilary Swank) who sees Tina playing hopscotch alone. Inspired, Guff pulls out her prized girlhood possession: her Skip-it. She points out to Tina that she can win the respect of her peers by demolishing them in a Skip-It tournament, and Tina decides to use the prize money to save the local homeless shelter that Amy’s dad wants to demolish to turn into a pet hat boutique. And then demolish the homeless, because poor people clash with his luxury cars. Tina goes through a vigorous week of training under the tutelage of Guff (Tina’s parents care enough to send her to private school, but not enough to supervise training montages between her and random transients) and swiftly becomes better than Amy and the Hoppers--a troupe who has been diligently studying the Skip-It since babyhood.
To the surprise of no one, Tina wins the competition after some various sabotage and hobo-healing magic. The homeless shelter is saved and Amy’s dad is thrown into jail for HOA violations. Tina’s parents don’t show up to the tournament, because parents never do in sports movies, but she invites Guff to Christmas dinner and they offer her a room to live in for the rest of her life.
Epilogue: Guff bites the cat after a heated political debate between the two and is quietly asked to leave.
I buy a jet pack from eBay and travel the world.
Laugh if you must, my sweet friends, but with the theatrical sequels, DVD spinoffs, and merchandising, I have just made enough money to demolish every youth center and soup kitchen as I see fit. I will enter my children into karate and have them bully Ralph Macchio. The actual Ralph Macchio. I will send them over to his house to pick fights so long as it amuses me. And if you steal any of my ideas, I will send them, and my puma, to bully you.
And make sure you pre-order your tickets to Popples Too: It's Getting Pop in Here! Your future children will despise you if you don’t. 200 Minutes of sanitized Ke$ha songs and Zach Braff. You’re welcome.