Right, I know, but I had to do it. I was no huge fan back in the day; I didn’t watch a lot of TV as a kid, but I saw a fair amount of the original series. It’s safe to say that this show nails the original show. The writing is still bad, the jokes still mostly unfunny. None of the actors have, you know, gotten any better. (Some of them, oddly, seem to have gotten worse). The new characters fit right in; they’re all paper-thin, not funny and extremely broad. I’m not sure when the show is worse, when it’s being self-aware or not. Is it worse when there’s a Donald Trump joke or when there’s a line referencing Michelle being too busy with her fashion empire in New York and everyone turns and looks directly at the camera? This is a question I don’t think can be answered. And is that split screen bizarre or what? I felt like I was watching 24 when that happened. Being self-referential is one thing; pausing the episode in order to specifically and proudly ape the choreography of a scene that happened twenty years ago is quite another. This seems to signal this series is going to be less of a riff on the original series and more of a straight cover, if you know what I mean. There’s even less of a reason to redo bits from over two decades ago when the damn episode is thirty-five minutes long. I’m honestly not so sure why a premise everyone has understood for twenty-five years needed quite so much explanation. I admit I snickered at least a couple of times (“Grandpa’s taught me to get out all but the most stubborn stains;” the helium gag, but then I just find helium voices inordinately hilarious, I guess). I’m, surprisingly, not going to ascribe all this to mercenary motives. As an actor, I understand the fun of reuniting as performers with a group of performers you’ve previously bonded with and I’m sure acting on the original was the most fun most of these people ever had in their careers. On the whole, I see no reason for this to exist and I don’t know why anyone would ever want to watch it. It isn’t evil or anything, but boy is it ever pointless. ½ star.
tl;dr – odd sitcom sequel is completely of a piece with the original; in other words, it’s extremely bad in almost every way, except in its good intentions. ½ star.