We’ve reached that point in our pop-culture cycle where studios — obsessed with pre-existing IP — have run through all the good stuff and have started trawling through 20-year-old muck in the hopes of spit-shining a turd into a … shiny turd? You know what, actually? We’ve been in this point of the pop-culture cycle for a long time already, and it’s only a matter of time before someone decides to remake Gigli and Showgirls (actually, I’d totally give the latter a shot).
In either respect, our thirst for more content has finally led MTV to reboot two of their most popular properties of the ’90s: Singled Out and Punk’d. For the unfamiliar, Singled Out was a dating game show where — you know what, I watched a ton of episodes back in the day, and I don’t remember. Host Chris Hardwick would try to pair single people with matching venereal diseases together during Spring Break while Jenny McCarthy jumped around in revealing outfits? Ah, the good old days before Chris Hardwick was an abusive nerd and Jenny McCarthy probably couldn’t spell anti-vaxxer.
Meanwhile, Punk’d I actually kind of loved, but only for the way it revealed the true person beneath the celebrity veneer, like the time Justin Timberlake cried on the curb outside his house after the IRS repossessed it, or the time that Zach Braff went ballistic on a little kid for vandalizing his car (would I have also gone ballistic? Maybe! But I’m not a celebrity and therefore do not have to live up to the expectations society puts on lovable doofuses who star in medical sitcoms).
Anyway, the twist here is that, for a new generation raised on Pinkfong and Five Finger Family videos, MTV is going to crap out 20 episodes of each show, but the episodes will be less than ten minutes apiece, which means you only have to fast-forward through the first nine minutes before you get to the good part, where a celebrity low-level enough to sign a release of an embarrassing video exclaims, “I got ‘Punk’d’!”
“This deal builds on MTV’s strategy of reinventing our iconic shows to reach new audiences on pioneering new platforms like Quibi,” said Chris McCarthy, president of MTV.
“Quibi” may or may not be a word Chris McCarthy just made up on the spot. I have no way of knowing.
But wait, there’s more! Because a studio called UCP is bringing back Punky Brewster, an ’80s sitcom about a girl who wore colorful outfits and whose foster dad was played by Commandant Lassard from the Police Academy movies (I swear, in my false memory, Bob Uecker played her dad). I don’t really remember what the appeal of Punky Brewster was, but I did have a monster crush on series star Soleil Moon-Frye, who will reprise her role as “a single mother of three trying to get her life back on track when she meets a young girl who reminds her a lot of her younger self.” If it’s anything like the Fuller House remake, I will check out an episode with the twins out of curiosity and curse myself for weeks because it’s awful and the girls are hooked. I don’t even think that Punky Brewster had a cool theme song that Carly Rae Jepsen can remake. WHAT EVEN IS THE POINT?