Being a teenager is hard enough. Adding in Hollywood to the mix is a dangerous cocktail that has the potential for unwanted consequences.
The new documentary Kid 90 premiered last night on Hulu. It follows former child actor Soleil Moon Frye (Punky Brewster) as she interviews her friends who were also child stars growing up in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Reading from her old diaries and revisiting video footage that is decades old, she recounts her own teenage years with honesty that is sometimes missing from our memories of that period in our lives.
I enjoyed this movie. It revealed that the teenage experience is universal, regardless of where we are growing up. It also spoke of mental health issues and how being a kid actor can mess with your head in ways that are unique to showbusiness.
When looking to the past for what is hoped to be future success, Hollywood often banks on nostalgia bring eyeballs to the screen.
The reboot of the popular 1980’s series Punky Brewster premiered on Peacock the end of last month. The title character (Soleil Moon Frye) is now a forty something photographer and a divorced mother of three. Her musician ex, Travis (Freddie Prinze Jr.) has just finished another tour and is co-parenting with Punky. Her longtime bestie Cherie (Cherie Johnson) is a social worker. Cherie asks Punkie to temporarily take in a foster child, Izzy (Quinn Copeland) until she find a home for the girl.
When the original series premiered, I was a little too young for it. But I certainly knew of it, as did many who were born in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. I watched the first two episodes last night. I wanted to like it. Unfortunately, the certain something that makes a reboot successful is missing from Punky Brewster.
Do I recommend it? No.
Punky Brewster is available for streaming on Peacock.
As much as the writer in me loathes reboots and re-imaginings because Hollywood often takes the easy way out, I cannot say anything bad thing about these programs. They take me back to a simpler time when I didn’t have to worry about everything that comes with being an adult. For a short time, I can look back and remember why I loved these shows as a kid.
With everything that is going on these days, its easy to get caught up in the intensity that is adulthood. If I can sit back, relax and go back to a simpler time, if only for thirty minutes once a week, I will take it.
If your a woman of about my age, then you know and fondly remember the following statement: Punky Power!
In 1984, a new young lady burst onto the television landscape, influencing a whole generation of young girls.
Her name was Punky Brewster. Airing from 1984 to 1988, Penelope “Punky” Brewster (Soleil Moon Frye) is left by mother with her dog, Brandon at a grocery store. Instead of going to the orphanage, Punky is taken in by curmudgeonly, but secretly warm-hearted Henry Warnimont (George Gaynes), who gives her and Brandon the home they sorely need.
Back in the day, Punky Brewster was the perfect kids show. Punky, was well, Punky. The then young audience members could relate to her and appreciate living temporarily vicariously Punky’s adventures. And it was nice to see a female lead in a show aimed squarely at kids.