In Hulu’s meta-comedy Reboot, Bree Marie Jensen, a former sitcom star played by Judy Greer, is hiding something. After Step Right Up, the show within the show that’s being rebooted, ended in the early 2000s, Bree retired from acting and married a duke of a small European country, making her a duchess. At first, Bree pretends she’s okay to her co-stars, hiding her pain, but at the end of the pilot she reveals that she went through a divorce and got nothing from it. A flashback shows a royal Bree, dressed in a crisp white pantsuit with a fur shawl, confronting her husband about fitting in with the country’s people (she was just called a clown whore). During the confrontation, Bree discovers that another woman is under her husband’s desk. “I never liked you,” Bree shouts at Ingrid, the mistress, as she storms out of the room, but then she turns around and says, “Well, I did, but I don’t anymore.” The scene requires a sort of sweet, generous anger and meticulous timing that few people besides Greer can pull off.
Bree is trying to figure out who she is after her marriage ends while in the midst of returning to the entertainment industry. Now that she’s back to acting, she’s learning what it’s like to be an actress over 40 (she receives Spanx from the costume department). And she’s on set with another ex, her co-star. Only a few episodes in, the role has given Greer more to do than she has in years, perhaps ever.
Greer has been a consistent presence in films and television shows alike for over two decades. In the early 2000s, fresh off the success of the 1999 cult comedy Jawbreaker, Greer was the go-to best friend of very famous romantic leads in romantic comedies. In 2001’s The Wedding Planner, Greer played Penny, the frantic best friend and co-worker of Jennifer Lopez’s Mary. In 2003’s 13 Going on 30, Greer played a similar character opposite another Jennifer (this time Garner), but the film gave Greer more meat by giving her a villainous role. Greer also appeared on FOX’s Arrested Development as Kitty, the unpredictable secretary who predictably took her top off every time she was on screen. More recently, she was fantastic as overzealous prosecutor Leah Askey in NBC’s The Thing About Pam.
Over the years, (please note that when I first wrote this I intuitively typed “over the Greers”) Greer has appeared in smaller roles in films of a wide variety including The Descendants, Jurassic World, Ant-Man, and Halloween, to name a few. While Greer’s all-consuming warmth and vitality give even the dullest dinosaur movie a lifeline, Greer is consistently underused, with roles that barely scratch the surface of what she’s capable of or roles that almost do but not quite. This is not Greer’s fault, mind you — it’s on the entertainment industry as a whole for underestimating her and always giving her smaller roles than she deserves.
Hulu’s Reboot, however, recognizes Greer’s star power by casting her as the former star of a beloved, but kind of dumb 2000s sitcom that’s getting a reboot (obligatory hey, the name of the show!) on Hulu. As Bree Marie Jensen, Greer is doing what she does best: being both confident and anxious, fast-talking in her signature high, comforting voice, and bouncing off her co-stars (and in doing so, making them look as good as possible). The character feels written specifically for Greer’s idiosyncratic gift for capturing bottled-up paranoia and excitement — she’s the anchor of Reboot’s sprawling ensemble cast. Her romantic and comedic chemistry with co-stars Keegan Michael Key and Alyah Chanelle Scott pops off the screen, and her mannerisms are in perfect, stark contrast to Johnny Knoxville’s raunchy stand-up comedian character.
After decades of being the chronic co-star, Reboot finally gives Judy Greer a more-than-deserving star moment.
‘Reboot’ is currently streaming on Hulu.