‘Party of Five’ Reboot Review: A Fuller House Divided

Reboot fever has brought many of our favorite shows back won’t their original casts like Will & Grace, Mad About You, The L Word and Fuller House. When that’s not possible they’ve still done all new reboots like Charmed, Magnum P.I. or MacGyver. Party of Five may have the best reason to exist again. 

L-R: Brandon Larracuente, Elle Paris Legaspi,, Niko Guardado, and Emily Tosta | Freeform/Nino Munoz

Party of Five has an all new cast and updated premise (same font though). The modern twist gives it new relevance and new ways to deal with the same idea. Party of Five premieres January 8 on Freeform.

‘Party of Five’ loses their parents in a brutally modern way  

Gloria (Fernanda Urrejola) and Javier Acosta (Bruno Bichir) get caught without papers and deported back to Mexico. Their children, who were born in the States, get to stay but they become a party of five without their parents. Emilio (Brandon Larracuente) is the eldest. Beto (Niko Guardado) is the middle boy. Lucia (Emily Tosta) is the eldest girl. Valentina (Elle Paris Legaspi) is the younger girl. They have an infant too.

However you fall on the political spectrum, this is a savvy way to update a show. The original was about a family of siblings coming together after their parents die. Family separations are happening for immigrant families so it is fertile ground to explore dramatically. It’s a slightly different trauma than death, but a dramatic trauma nonetheless. 

Living parents change ‘Party of Five’

The fact that the parents are alive immediately adds a new element to Party of Five. Emilio still has to step up as the eldest and the other teens do their part but the parents are still in the picture remotely. They can skype and call from Mexico.They can advise, but they can’t control their kids from afar..

Acosta Family in Party of Five
The Acosta family in Freeform’s Party of Five | Freeform/Vu Ong

So Emilio is parenting whether his parents like it or not. And if they disagree, the parents have no way to enforce their authority. There’s an aspect of defiance, not as in breaking the rules and throwing parties. Rather, the kids can have legitimate different views on running the business or approaching schoolwork and they now have the authority to do what they want.

This is still the same

Whether the parents died or got deported, the strain it puts on the kids is just as devastating. It’s hard to argue with Lucia and Beto neglecting their schoolwork when they have bigger real world problems. The situation thrusts Emilio into a patriarchal role before he should have to, and skipping typical processes like having kids of his own. He’s inherited a whole family.

The characters are different and they have lives in 2019 complete with the specific issues of modern day and the universal ones of growing up in any era. The cast is great and will be worth following in this new Party of Five drama. In one way, the Party of Five reboot is even more tragic.

Freeform’s Party of Five | Freeform/Vu Ong

True, Mr. and Mrs. Acosta get to live, but if the series is success, the whole family is going to suffer through a drawn out immigration drama. It will be poignant and relevant, but nothing you’d wish anyone to go through. The Salinger parents were gone for good, but the siblings were able to move on from that and heal. The prospect of years with their parents just out of reach makes the Acostas’ Party of Five just a little more bittersweet.