Image of all the characters from The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder sitting on a couch.

‘The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder’ Reinvents a Disney Classic for Modern Times

The renewed version of the original Disney animated series is a reboot worth watching.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is a classic expression. Take “Casablanca” and “Blazing Saddles,” both one-of-a-kind movies that, thankfully, have not been targeted for remakes. But once in a while, a revamped show presents itself that doesn’t cue the thought “They ruined another good one.” Disney cracked that code when it brought “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder” to a new life.

If you grew up in the late 1990s and early 2000s, there’s a decent chance you saw “The Proud Family” when it aired from 2001 to 2005, ending after only two seasons. Penny Proud, the show’s 14-year-old star, faces the trials of adolescence and all the growing pains that come with it. The show’s episodes consisted of family drama, friendships and Penny’s growing interest in boys. Yet it often felt relatable to kids back then. In those two seasons and in the movie, we watched Penny grow up alongside us until she reached the age of 16 by the series’s end.

“The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder” brings that same relatable attitude to the reboot. Only this time, it kicked Penny back down to 14 and features a whole new animation style. The original characters and their voice actors are all in with Suga Mama, Trudy, the twins CeCe and BeBe, as well as Penny’s friends. Granted, due to Orlando Brown’s drug use, and despite the fact he is clean now, his character Sticky is no longer on the show.

New characters join the show in his place, with Maya, KG, along with their dads. There’s also the return of Michael, voiced by E.J. Johnson, who was originally a minor character, but helps break the ice on LGBTQ+ representation in “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder.” This was not a topic that the original show touched on, but to make it fit modern times, the reboot makes sure to address this subject matter by the fourth episode of the season.

The episode includes two on-screen kisses between the dads. However, one possible issue could be Michael, the token gay kid, having extremely good fashion sense. But that quickly gets put in its place by the creators, who make sure to show him engaging in other activities, including sports, to avoid stereotypes.

“The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder” takes parenting to another level. Since BeBe and CeCe are older in this version, they get into a bit more trouble. Oscar tends to call for Trudy to “come get yo’ kids.” The creators had it set straight in the first episode of the new season that, as the main breadwinner, parenting duties would be split and not fall solely onto her. The original show had it flipped, even though Oscar’s failed snack inventions did not rake in the cash then either.

Aside from new characters, LGBTQ+ representation and a change in style, the show tackles topics that affect kids these days to continue its relatability, much like the original. Bullying is still an important concern that gets addressed; sadly, nearly 20 years haven’t changed that message yet. But other topics such as social media influencers, staying true to yourself and embracing change are all new additions to the “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder.” Without spoiling it too much, all of this happens within the first three episodes alone.

One notable spoiler — the guest stars. While the season only has five episodes so far, with a new one released each week on Disney+, big names have entered the game already. Ceelo Green plays Shuggie the Panda, alongside Tone Loc and Lizzo, who also grace the show with their presence. Lizzo even portrayed herself in the fifth episode of “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder.”

As if Cedric the Entertainer wasn’t enough of a recurring guest with his portrayal of Bobby Proud, Penny’s uncle in both the original and the reboot! Now, this isn’t to say the original did not have their guest stars. They had some heavy-hitting star power with Tim Curry, Cicely Tyson and Samuel L. Jackson, just to name a small few.

The reboot is a reprisal of childhood in the midst of the world’s turmoil. So far, the show is holding its own with a refurbished opening song to go along with the updated characters. The plots are consistent, the voice acting on brand and the laughs frequent. The only possible complaint is the aging down of Penny from where the movie left off. It would have been nice to see Penny and the gang in high school.

If there had to be a reboot for a newer audience, a younger demographic is much easier to market to than one made up of high schoolers. It makes sense, considering high school is behind most of the original target audience, either being just about to graduate college or having been out for some time. Either way, “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder” gives new life to the familiar original and brings in fresh ideas to satisfy a more modern vision.

Rebecca Trevathan, University of Texas at Austin

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Rebecca Trevathan

University of Texas at Austin

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