Yes, you read that correctly: Jamie Lynn Spears, of Zoey 101 fame, is in talks with Nickelodeon to reprise her iconic role as Zoey Brooks. Are you ready? Alexa, play the Zoey 101 theme song. TMZ reports that the reboot is not official yet, but the fact that they’re talking about it with the show’s former star is a start, at least. Jamie would still play Zoey, but the show would be way different than the one we all came to know and love at PCA.
First of all, the show would follow Zoey at 28 years old, which makes sense considering that Jamie Lynn Spears is 28 years old. If I had to trace my insecurities about my baby face back to one thing, it’s that I grew up watching twentysomethings play high schoolers and thinking that was how I was supposed to look. Another big change in the show would be that Zoey would have a few kids. It’s unclear whose kids they’d be, but if they were not Chase’s, I would personally start a riot. But we don’t even know if Chase is still in the picture in this hypothetical reboot! That would be the biggest crime of all. I did not spend three years on that will-they-won’t-they storyline just for Nickelodeon to bring a classic show out of its grave and not revive Chase Matthews with it!
Fortunately, it looks like with the exception of Austin Butler (who played James, a character I literally do not recall whatsoever, and is now slated to play Elvis in a new biopic), getting the rest of the cast to come back shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Matthew Underwood, who played Logan, has barely done anything since Zoey 101 ended. Sean Flynn, who played Chase, is hot now, but aside from a few episodes in the terrible show Devious Maids and a TV movie called The Wrong Boyfriend, has not done much, either. Erin Sanders, who played our favorite weirdo Quinn, also aged extremely well and is now an “artist, actress, writer, director, and yoga and meditation teacher”, according to her Instagram bio. Christopher Massey, who played Kyle, is really not doing hot, and was arrested for misdemeanor domestic violence in 2016. Yikes. And finally, we have Victoria Justice, who played Lola, who you all know is doing just fine. Her latest project is a movie called Summer Night, which according to IMDB, is “A coming-of-age story about the complexities of young romantic relationships.” Sorry, that sounds terrible. I’m sure Victoria could be persuaded to do a Zoey 101 reboot. She doesn’t have that much else going on, right?
While part of me is super stoked by this news, because I loved Zoey 101, a bigger part of me is rooting for this not to happen. Zoey 101 was great, and there’s literally no need to bring it back. Who would this even be for? Kids these days (I’m elderly) didn’t watch the original show, and the only millennials who are willingly watching Nickelodeon in 2019 are probably the ones who have kids themselves. Hell, even if we wanted to watch this, many millennials wouldn’t be able to watch Nickelodeon—61% of young people ages 18 to 29 watch their TV primarily on internet streaming services. Who under the age of 50 even has a cable login these days?
It’s easy to understand why TV networks are scrambling to bring back old hits like Gossip Girl and 90210. Gossip Girl got 2.35 million viewers in its first season, though by the final season its viewership dwindled to about 900,000. Zoey 101′s premiere was the best series premiere Nickelodeon experienced in nearly eight years. The episode “Goodbye Zoey” was the highest-ever rated live-action show on Nickelodeon, with over 7.3 million viewers, and the series finale was the highest-rated show on all of television for all kid demographics. From a monetary standpoint, this makes sense, and might even be a lucrative move.
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And past revivals of other fan favorites have done pretty well, at least at first. Girl Meets World, for example, got 5.16 million viewers to tune in for the premiere. However, that success didn’t last—its last season averaged 1.5 million viewers, and it was canceled after just three seasons. Fuller House was, supposedly, the most-watched TV program anywhere—on cable or on streaming platforms. It claimed 14.4 million viewers in the first 35 days of the day it premiered. (Then again, those numbers don’t account for the fact that the show isn’t watched week-to-week.) Then again, viewership fell 52% after season one, and although it lost less viewers between the other seasons (about 10%), that still means the show struggled to hold onto its initial audience.
This all could indicate that although the nostalgia pull is enough to get people to watch initially, it doesn’t sustain an audience. Or it could mean that some things aren’t meant to last forever. Personally, I’m sick of the revival trend. It’s a barely-veiled marketing ploy aimed at millennials to get them to watch a show or movie by sheer nostalgia power alone. It’s insulting to our intelligence. And, just because something was good when I was a preteen doesn’t mean it’s going to be good in 2019. For one, I was an idiot at age 13. My sense of humor was not exactly nuanced. But even beyond that, even if these shows are funny, why can’t we just let the classics rest? I saw Toy Story 4 over the weekend, and while it was a very enjoyable movie that I laughed at throughout (shouts out to Key and Peele who basically made the movie for me), it just didn’t need to be made. There was no need to drag Woody and Buzz out of retirement for it. It ended plenty nicely and neatly with the third one, and the ending to the fourth movie basically ruined that. (Again, not spoiling.) That sums up my feelings about pretty much all these revivals: is it worth it to mar an iconic show, just to make a few bucks? Obviously, Hollywood has done far worse things to make money. But that doesn’t mean I have to like, or watch, these revivals.
My one exception? A Drake and Josh remake. That, I would watch in a heartbeat. Now hug me, brotha!
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