Nineties fans, get ready to rejoice: One of the decade’s biggest cult-classic shows, Party of Five, is allegedly getting a reboot. According to The Hollywood Reporter, it’s in the preliminary stages right now, but — fingers crossed — it’ll be the next ’90s reboot to follow up the successful revivals of shows like Gilmore Girls and Fuller House. (Squee!)
In case you were too young to remember (or more of a 90210 girl), Party of Five was the must-see teen drama of the ’90s, before Dawson’s Creek entered the scene. It premiered back in 1994, and followed five siblings ranging in age from 1 year to 24, who tragically lost their parents in a car accident and were left to fend for themselves. The struggles of Charlie, Bailey, Julia, Claudia and baby Owen were well-followed by legions of fans, who helped the show stay on air for six seasons and made the actors household names. (Hello, Scott Wolf!)
But here’s the really exciting news about the reboot, IMO: There’s talk that an immigration storyline will be central to the new version of Party of Five, with the main characters being first-generation Latinos. Though details are still sparse, speculation is that the show will focus on the young adults grappling with their new life in the U.S. while their parents reside abroad, possibly unable to enter the country.
As an avid fan of the original show, I honestly can’t tell you how excited I am to see it revived, with such a diverse twist. All the shows that I obsessively watched throughout my teenage years (Felicity, Beverly Hills 90210, and Gilmore Girls to name a few) always had a pretty much all-white cast who were living a completely foreign existence to me, a girl from Pakistan who immigrated to Chicago with her family in the late ’80s. And I know I wasn’t alone.
I can still remember being a freshman in college and visiting San Francisco for the first time. It was shocking to me just how much ethnic diversity I encountered there, because my only exposure to San Francisco at that point had been through shows like Party of Five and Full House, which depicted a very “white” world. In reality, San Francisco has a large Hispanic and Asian population that until recently, was rarely represented on television shows.
Representation matters — and as a kid who grew up watching shows that never depicted anyone who looked like me, it’s still cause for wonder and excitement when I see any semblance of myself on television.
Successful shows with ethnic main characters, like The Mindy Project, Jane the Virgin, and Fresh off the Boat, have caused Hollywood studios and networks to shift towards a more diverse — and accurate — portrayal of minorities on television. But we still have a ways to go.
The 2017 Hollywood Diversity Report analyzed shows for the 2014-2015 season, and the results were unsettling. Even though approximately 1 in 3 Americans is a part of a minority group, minority lead characters only made up 11.4 percent of lead roles in televised broadcasts. This underrepresentation offers an eschewed and inaccurate version of American reality, which is why it’s exciting to see the creators of Party of Five, Chris Keyser and Amy Lippman, taking an unconventional (and often missed!) route towards diversity.
I for one can’t wait to see what the 2017 version of the Salinger family looks like, and am looking forward to seeing this new trend of ethnic representation on television shows keep going.