Who would’ve thought that the early 2000s hit show “The Proud Family” would make a comeback? After 17 years, fans are probably wondering what shenanigans Penny and her friends are up to now. Is her dad still as controlling and “ambitious” as he was in the original? How’s Suga Mama? Disney Plus’ “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder” answers all of these questions and so many more.
Surprisingly, the show doesn’t miss a beat. Of course, if you’re a fan of the original, it’s going to take some time to get used to the revival because of how much the story art has changed in appearance and the slight shift in tone, but it’s still as wholesome as before. There are moments where the show appears to cater to modern times with its internet lingo and LGBTQIA+ inclusivity, but this is what gives audiences even more reasons to watch.
Although not much has changed on the surface, the first episode reveals one major change: Puberty hits Penny Proud (Kyla Pratt, “The Addams Family 2”) and her friends seemingly overnight. Zoey (Soleil Moon Frye, “The Cleaner”) is taller, LaCienega (Alisa Reyes, “Break Even”) is hairier, Dijoney (Karen Malina White, “Bruh”) is still obsessed with Sticky (Orlando Brown, “Smoke Filled Lungs”), who is sadly moving away to Japan, and Michael (E.J. Johnson, “With Love”), who has replaced Sticky in the group, embraces his pride as a queer, “non-conforming trendsetter.”
The entire group is older, but their personalities remain the same at their core. Penny’s mom, Trudy (Paula Jai Parker, “A House Divided”), is still the primary breadwinner as a now veterinarian-on-wheels, while her dad, Oscar (Tommy Davidson, “Miracles Across the 125th Street”), is still waiting for his big break as an entrepreneur. But instead of selling Proud Snacks, like in the original, this time it’s Proud Diet: Gummie Yummies. Suga Mama (Jo Marie Payton, “A Very Charming Christmas Town”) remains just as vigorous. Throughout the show, we run into classic characters like the Gross Sisters and are introduced to new characters Maya (Keke Palmer, “Alice”) and KG (A Boogie wit da Hoodie, debut).
Regardless of the fact that things remain similar to the original, the show has a contemporary culture shift that older fans (millennials) are sure to pick up early. However, this culture shift is not necessarily a bad thing in terms of real-life lessons the show teaches to a Gen Z audience.
The second episode spends its time exploring the world of social media influencers and its drastic effects on the person. When popular influencer Makeup Boy (Bretman Hart, “Escape the Night”) comes to town, Penny sees right through his facade, so she creates her own social media following to prove that anyone can be an influencer. Yet when Penny takes her newfound fame to heart and exposes Makeup Boy, canceling him and others using her platform, it becomes clear that the show portrays how people can lose their true selves chasing likes and followers.
It’s easy to assume that this revival was not solely created for its fans from the late 90s and early 2000s. At one moment, Penny and her friends reveal that they don’t know who iconic duo Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg are, proving that the show’s story isn’t supposed to be relevant to its older fans.
This revival may not appease all older fans, but it’s still an important story that paints a reflection of the society Gen Z is navigating today. Of course, in my mind, the best way to reach and influence the younger generation is through entertainment. So, it is no surprise that the creators chose to construct this revival in a way to cater to the current generation.
“The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder” may not be what old fans have grown to love, but that’s okay — now it’s Gen Z’s turn to enjoy the Proud family and friends.
Daily Arts Writer Jessica Curney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.