Hey, Hollywood, Leave These Favorite Shows Alone

This year brings two more cynical remakes of beloved programs — 'CHiPs' and 'Baywatch'

This Friday brings the release of “CHiPs,” an R-rated remake of the beloved show from the ’70s and ’80s.

The film’s trailers have thus far offered a handful of unfunny scenes, crass humor, and sexual innuendo. If it weren’t called “CHiPs,” it wouldn’t really matter all that much — but it is. Hollywood has stooped to suckering people into buying tickets for movies by reusing old beloved titles, even when the original properties have nothing to do with the new ones.

After “ChiPs,” moviegoers will also have to endure an R-rated comedy remake of “Baywatch” this summer.

“CHiPs” is just the latest in a series of films to take popular TV shows from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s and inject them with cynicism and the kind of R-rated shenanigans that would have never fit into the network television worlds the franchises existed in before.

There’s so far been “21 Jump Street,” “Starsky and Hutch,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “The Dukes of Hazzard,” and many others. After “CHiPs,” moviegoers will also have to endure an R-rated comedy remake of “Baywatch” this summer, which was just recently given a crude and phallic poster that, again, never would have worked for the ’90s television show.

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Why use these existing properties at all? These shows did what they had to, said what they needed to say, and provided a lot of entertainment for people at the time. Viewers grew up with these series and characters — so why sour their legacies with cynical reboots that do little more than poke fun at the originals in a hipster, tongue-in-cheek way? Originality is replaced with lowbrow humor and gross-out gags.

Related: Another Year of Remakes

Hollywood studios have become afraid of financing original properties and are looking for any way to create brand awareness before a film hits theaters. “CHiPs” may not end up being a big hit — but the curiosity factor alone will at least help the studio break even.

Even original “CHiPs” star Erik Estrada has come out against the new reboot and helped to voice concerns from the fans of the original show in a series of retweets.

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Unfortunately, these studio-financed reboots also rob us of original voices. These movies simply retread and make fun of old stories and characters — they don’t give a true platform for filmmakers to say anything new or fresh.

The latest example is Dax Shepard, the star and writer/director behind “CHiPs.” Before this reboot, the funnyman made the impressive sleeper hit “Hit & Run” — his homage to the films of directors like Hal Needham (“Smokey and the Bandit”). It was original and crowd-pleasing. Now, he’s been sucked into the black hole of Hollywood remakes, where for two hours we simply get a story that does its best to point and laugh at a beloved franchise.

There’s nothing wrong with an R-rated buddy cop comedy about highway patrolmen or a crassly humored movie that pokes fun at overzealous lifeguards — people usually know what they’re getting early on. But there’s no reason to drag through the sand the names and characters people grew up with and loved. It not only damages an existing brand — it alienates fans who had genuine love for the property in the first place.

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