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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

Reboot, booted

Back in late 2019, when corona was just a neighborhood in Queens, the news broke that Hollywood was considering a television reboot of the Janeite classic Clueless. At the time, I was not excited.

Amy Heckerling’s 1995 film, which updates Emma to high school in Beverly Hills, is immortal perfection, in my humble opinion; I felt – and feel -- no need to watch anyone else mess with that perfection. Ever.

So I was far from heartbroken to learn, earlier this month, that the Peacock streaming service has passed on the project, nine months after acquiring it.

The new version of Clueless wasn’t conceived as a remake of Heckerling’s original, or even as a remake of the 1996-99 TV show based on that movie. It was envisioned as a twenty-first century teen mystery – a “baby-pink-and-bisexual-blue-tinted, tiny-sunglasses-wearing, oat-milk-latte-and-Adderall-fueled look at what happens when queen bee Cher disappears and her lifelong No. 2 Dionne steps into Cher’s vacant Air Jordans,” to quote an oft-quoted description that seems to have originated with Variety.

In other words, the new show was going to have nothing to do with Emma, and precious little to do with Clueless, the movie. It’s hard to escape the suspicion that the project was called Clueless solely to capitalize on the cult status of Heckerling’s original. (Commercially motivated cynicism in Hollywood? Quel surprise!)

Film and TV projects often travel meandering paths, and the latest setback -- which sounds as if it’s at least partly the result of a leadership change at Peacock -- may not be the end of the road for Clueless: CBS Studios seems likely to keep working on some kind of reboot. I will not be broken-hearted if those efforts continue to fail.


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