Will the Clueless TV reboot be a success...as if!

Grace Piercy discusses the announcement of a Clueless spin-off from Dionne's perspective.

Grace Piercy
21st August 2020
Credit: IMDb
Cult classic Clueless is getting a TV reboot with Dionne Davenport as the lead. The series has been pitched as "a baby pink and bisexual blue-tinted, tiny sun-glasses wearing, oat milk latte and Adderall-fueled look at what happens when queen bee Cher disappears and her lifelong number two Dionne steps into Cher’s vacant Air Jordans.” This new show will be set at the same high school, in the mid-90s, and will presumably feature many of the same characters as the original movie. 
@dovecameron, Instagram

There is currently no release date or casting announcements for the spin-off series, with it set to be released onto NBC’s streaming service, Peacock. This is not the first attempt at franchising the long-lasting popularity of Clueless; with a TV series in the 90s featuring most of the original cast, several books, and a stage musical featuring Dove Cameron as Cher. The minimal success of these other ventures could be a bad omen for the success of this new show. 

Reboots like this can often feel like a desperate attempt at forced nostalgia

The series will focus on how Dionne deals with “the pressures of being the new most popular girl in school, while also unraveling the mystery of what happened to her best friend”. The reboot has also been described as “Mean Girls meets Riverdale meets a Lizzo music video”. Reboots like this can often feel like a desperate attempt at forced nostalgia, especially with this one using Clueless to drum up viewership from fans, whilst potentially ignoring everything that made the original so iconic. This one could be especially desperate, with it trying to draw inspiration from something that’s as famously cringey as Riverdale

Alicia Silverstone and Stacey Dash in Clueless
Credit: IMDb

It cannot be ignored that Clueless was a contemporary adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma, the 90s high school setting suiting the early 1800s story of matchmaking and gossip perfectly. The lack of long-lasting success for the attempts at sequels up until now could be accredited to the storyline veering from it’s original inspiration and falling short of the mark. I worry that an attempt to drag Clueless into 2020, whilst disregarding its origins and trying to keep its 90s setting, could result in what is essentially Riverdale in the 90s: ignoring original characters and following storylines that make little sense to the original story.

The beloved status of Clueless makes me wonder if it serves the story and its iconic characters to ruin its legacy as a new version of cringey Riverdale/Mean Girls/Lizzo video with the rose-tinted lenses of 90s nostalgia. 

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