Reboot, Reuse, Recycle

One thing I’ve noticed since starting my search for reboots to review is that few animated series have been redone. Popular series with high demands for more seasons or episodes that focus on primarily children or young people will eventually run into the problem of the child actors growing up, which can lead to the end of a show. However, with animated shows centered around kids, you don’t have to worry as much if at all about the kids growing up, so I was confused as to why there aren’t many animated reboots in general. Another thing about remakes is that most of them come from shows that aired in the ’80s and ’90s. So I was surprised when I came across the new Disney+ reboot“The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder.”

The original “Proud Family” was an animated series aired on Disney Channel from September 2001 to August 2005. The show centered around 14-year-old Penny Proud and her family, consisting of Penny’s mom, her dad, (with whom she often butts heads), her baby brother and sister, Bebe and Cece, and her grandma, Suga Mama. The show also focuses on Penny’s close friend group, consisting of Dijonay, who was portrayed as a self-absorbed, loudmouthed drama queen, and LaCienega, a popular, stuck up girl Penny doesn’t really like but feels obligated to hang out with.  Sticky is a tech-savvy genius on whom Dijonay has an obsessive crush. And Zoey is a tall, kind, nerdy ginger who has little confidence in herself. 

While some episodes in the original contained fictitious situations like talking animals, most focused on more average and relatable issues for kids of Penny’s age, like trying out for cheerleading or using a credit card without parents knowing. This show not only was relatable to kids growing up, but specifically to African American kids entering adolescence because it depicted one of the first animated Black families. It’s important for people of color to have representation in the things that they watch on TV, and in the characters and people they look up to. Before this, younger BIPOC audiences didn’t have proper representation, so this paved the way for future kids’ shows to have a more diverse set of characters. Everyone should be able to look at a musician, an actor, a fictional character and really connect to them on a personal level, and this show really did a good job presenting possibilities for their young audience.

The reboot, “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder,” first aired February 2022,  almost 17 years after the original. “Louder and Prouder” follows the same characters, picking right up where “The Proud Family” left off. This is unusual because most reboots that follow the original characters show them in totally different situations, or in a different part in their lives. “Fuller House,” for example, follows the same characters (and actors) as “Full House” did, only they’re all grown up. Or a remake might follow the same storyline, but with different characters, or from a different perspective, as in “Doogie Kamealoha” or “The Wonder Years.” While this new idea of a reboot was at first a little bit odd and confusing, I ended up liking this interesting take.

At the beginning of the first episode Penny and her friends undergo a “spell” in the form of pink glitter that floats from house to house. In the morning, Penny notices that she underwent some physical changes overnight.  When she goes outside to meet up with her friends, she realizes they seem to have changed too. It becomes evident to viewers that the glitter was a metaphor for puberty. This is a good message for young teenage viewers who may feel awkward and alone as they are going through similar changes; seeing fictional characters struggling with the same things they are can feel incredibly reassuring  because they can further relate to them.


Penny’s friend group is one of the first changes we as an audience see In “Louder and Prouder.” It is revealed that Sticky’s family has moved to Japan for his father’s job, and in his place, Penny befriends Michael. In the original Michael was a very minor character clad in baggy workout clothes and portrayed as very effeminate. In the new version, Michael is still very effeminate, although much more of a fashionista, with pink hair and stylish glasses (perhaps a way to show to the audience who Michael is as a person, proving that he’s not just another minor character, he actually has a personality and opinions). 

Another notable change can be seen in Penny’s brother and sister, one-year-old Bebe and Cece proud. In the original, the two are babies incapable of speech, wearing diapers and causing trouble. In the new version, they can talk (kind of) and wear more grown-up-looking clothes; they also both have longer hair.Even Bebe, who was almost always seen with a bottle in his mouth in “The Proud Family” now has a few teeth in the bottle’s place. The two are now interpreted as having turned into toddlers while everyone else has stayed the same age. This might be because the creators of the show wanted to show the passage of time through the “pink glitter” and the baby’s growth progress, while still relating to young teenagers and kids of Penny’s age group.

“Louder and Prouder” is unlike most reboots I’ve come across so far. One could say that it’s more of a revival than a reboot, solely because instead of introducing new characters or a new point of view, it follows the same characters, who—with a few exceptions—are all relatively the same ages going through more modern issues that preteens may face. The show feels nostalgic and is similar to the original, down to the voice actor. That said, the series continues to address the very real challenges faced by young teenagers. And, the only thing that has changed about Penny is her modernized slang and attitude, which was adjusted to better identify with the new audience, who might not understand or be able to relate to the 2001 slang and mindset. This reboot, while somewhat repetitive, successfully reminds  old viewers of the original “Proud Family” and is still entertaining for new viewers, which is a great quality for a remake to have. Overall, I give “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder” four Bratz dolls out of five.

Remember, be kind and rewind!