A reboot of Disney Channel’s original show “The Proud Family” showed up on Disney+ last month after the show has been off the air for almost 17 years. Creator Bruce W. Smith has returned to the production, along with co-executive producer Ralph Farquhar, to bring this classic back into households nationwide.
“The Proud Family” is an unapologetically Black TV show,” Farquhar said in a Disney+ interview. “You know, that’s what it is. You’re going to see real brothas and real sistas on this show.”
This reboot came out swinging with updated character designs, old and new faces, a revamped title sequence, pop-culture references, and celebrity guest stars to top it all off. While its older incarnation mainly used hand-drawn animation, its use of puppets and character rigs compliments its modern styling. The show looks cleaner, and the animation is smoother.
“The Proud Family” has always been a beloved TV show in the Black community. As a show made by Black people, for Black people, it does not shy away from showing many different facets of the Black experience.
“We always wanted to make sure that we displayed a spectrum of the Black experience,” said Smith in the Disney+ interview, “which is something that you just didn’t get in the early 2000s, you know, especially in animation.”
Michael, a side character who was originally queer-coded, is now a fully-fledged Black queer character who has been added to the main cast. His high energy and quick-witted demeanor add a new flavor to the familiar cast of teenagers.
While the reboot said goodbye to the old character Sticky, two new kids have been added to the playing field.
Maya (voiced by Keke Palmer) is the new kid on the block. She is a radical leftist who is not afraid to speak up against injustices. Her brother Francis, referred to as KG, is much quieter and laidback, often playing his handheld video console.
The show’s first two episodes regularly point the spotlight on Maya as Penny tries to befriend her, leaving KG in the background for much of it. Not much is known about KG for now.
The show also has an incredible soundtrack. While it’s hard to live up to the original theme song by Destiny’s Child, the new rendition gives a softer and poppy feel to complement its modernized look. One-off songs, such as “Hands Up Cash Out” by the Gross sisters, are surprisingly catchy despite being less than a minute long.
The animation of this show spares no expense. Visual sequences, such as Oscar’s “Prince” music video and the panda “Shuggie” (voiced by CeeLo Green) singing “Strawberry Letter 23,” show the amount of effort that was put into making the program eye candy for the audience.
At its core, this show has a lot of heart. It is a coming-of-age story for Penny Proud that many teens will relate to. Overprotective parents, new fashion trends and finding a place to fit in are all subjects the show wants to be open and honest about.
There is a lot of love and care put into the main cast, and it shows through the screen. It’s easy for the audience to see that these characters care for each other, and that adds to the show’s charm.
“The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder” is streaming through Disney+, with new episodes every Wednesday. If you haven’t already, consider giving this reboot a watch and maybe even stream some of the original.