In episode 2 of Reboot Season 1, Hannah tries to convince Gordon to do the script she wrote, but Gordon thinks it isn’t funny enough. He eventually agrees to read the script at the table on Monday.
Hannah thinks the actress Gordon hired for Reed’s daughter Wendy is too put together. And, as it turns out, she can’t act.
Her name is Timberly Fox, and she got her start on a reality dating show. She reads Hannah’s “serious” script terribly, and it upsets Reed that she ruins his pivotal scene. Bree, on the other hand, is just happy that Timberly doesn’t outshine her.
Zack, meanwhile, struggles to tell his mom that he doesn’t want her hanging around the set, so he enlists Clay’s help. Throughout the week, Clay tries to talk to his mom, but gets sexually involved with her each time instead.
Hannah and Gordon continue to battle each other, with Gordon adding scenes without Hannah’s approval, and Hannah later cutting them.
And no matter what Hannah says, Hulu refuses to fire Timberly, which makes Reed unhappy as well. So, Gordon convinces Reed that it’s his responsibility to take Timberly under his wing and teach her how to act.
Bree doesn’t like this, however. She watches as Reed coaches Timberly and hates the see the young actress getting better.
So, Bree tells Timberly she knows what she’s going through with Reed. She says that he can go overboard with acting notes. When he did it with her, it was a disaster. She then promises to tell Bree what she needs to know.
Later, Reed is confused when Timberly changes up her approach and becomes bad at reading her lines again.
Thirty minutes before show night, Hannah receives new pages for the last scene. She goes to Gordon, who says he lightened it up because Timberly can’t handle the heavier scenes. Hannah then accuses him of not wanting to make Lawrence into an asshole, since he’s based on Gordon. “You know,” she adds, “you’ve never apologized once for disappearing.”
He then accuses her of hijacking his show to make him look bad. “I’m not gonna be the villain,” he says. “Too late,” she responds.
Reed finds out what’s been happening and accuses Bree of sabotaging Timberly. Bree tells him that’s just how it is in Hollywood. in all her previous gigs, other women would sabotage her out of jealousy. Reed sarcastically congratulates her for giving Timberly a similar story.
Bree finds Timberly crying in the bathroom before she goes on. She admits to being really nervous. She’s not an actor like they are and doesn’t know what she’s doing. Not to mention that everyone’s advice is conflicting.
Bree asks her to forget what she said. She hasn’t acted in 15 years and is terrified too. “Listen to Reed, and you’re gonna be amazing.” They hug.
Hannah watches the premiere nervously. Hannah and Elaine (vice president of comedy at Hulu) chat about horrible dads. Elaine’s dad actually wants them to work together. He thinks she’s crazy for ditching computer science to work in TV. Her parents used to work all the time, but she did get to watch about happy families every week. Her favourite show, tells Hannah, was Step Right Up–she’s seen every episode.
Right before showtime, Hannah gets new pages for the last scene. When it plays out, it’s real, like Hannah wanted. And it’s an apology from Gordon, who watches Hannah watch the production.
“If I could go back and change things, I would,” Reed says as Lawrence to his daughter. “I’m hoping, some day, when you’re ready… you’ll give me a second chance.”
Hannah applauds, and chases after her dad. She thanks him for the scene. He says he’s sorry that he didn’t have Lawrence say more to his daughter, but “characters can’t change that much in one episode.”
The Episode Review
It seems Reboot is trying to say something significant in this episode with its departing message. And, sure, “characters can’t change that much in a day” (that’s one thing the show has right)… but neither does one apology assuage the bitterness from a lifetime of trauma. Nor is the problem of women in Hollywood sabotaging each other an easily-resolvable side plot to be boxed into a few minutes of screen time.
The resolutions the show does offer are still too “cute” and “cliché” for a show that, much like Step Right Up, feels like it should be more “real.”
Right now, a talented cast carries the show, and it’s clear that there are a lot of issues to be explored both in and out of the confines of Step Right Up (Bree’s and Reed’s past and Clay’s criminal convictions). There’s still time, then, for the show to “get real.”