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Reboot — “New Girl” – 102 — Hannah and Gordon’s relationship is tested when he brings in a new cast member without her knowledge. This cast member also drives a wedge between Reed and Bree. Clay gets sucked into a new relationship with someone close to Zack. Reed (Keegan-Michael Key), and Timberly (Alyah Chanelle Scott), shown. (Photo by: Michael Desmond/Hulu)

Acting Up: Alyah Chanelle Scott

The snapshot: Alyah Chanelle Scott plays a reality TV star who gets hired to star in the reboot of an early 2000s sitcom in the very funny Hulu series, Reboot.

(The eight-episode season premiered on September 20 with new episodes dropping every Monday)

The Performance:

For all the funny things that happen in Hulu’s Reboot, an inside-baseball Hollywood sendup from Steve Levitan (co-creator of Modern Family), there’s something about a reality TV star getting hired to star on a sitcom that doesn’t feel at all far-fetched in the year 2022.

I could easily spend time talking about Reboot’s entertaining repartee between a dysfunctional father/daughter showrunner team (Rachel Bloom and Paul Reiser). Or the seismic amount of sexual tension between the show’s co-stars Bree and Reed (Judy Greer and Keegan-Michael Key). Or even the twisted romance between Johnny Knoxville’s character and a former child star’s mom. But instead, I’ll focus on the performance that feels right for Casting Networks – as it involves a reality TV star who is out of her depth on her first real acting job. Or is she?

Enter Timberly (Scott), the star of F*ckbuddy Mountain, who gets forced on Reboot’s showrunners by Hulu. (Yes, the streamer actually stars as a fictionalized version of itself in the series). Timberly checks a lot of demographic boxes, including a sizable social following, but she lacks one key ingredient upon arrival: the ability to act. She also likes to read stage directions when speaking her dialogue, which I’m no actor, but I hear isn’t really how the gig works.

However, when Key’s character, a more dramatically trained Reed Sterling, teaches Timberly a thing or two about acting, she begins to morph from ‘duckling into swan.’ Unfortunately, a jealous, thin-skinned, past-her-prime Bree (Greer) gets her hands on Timberly and reverses the good work Reed has done. This leads to Timberly performing her dialogue with wildly off-putting gesticulations that play like a hybrid performance between speaking and … signing.

Watching Timberly getting played by these chronically insecure acting vets is cringe-inducing — and highly amusing. But we soon realize that maybe she’s not so green as Timberly takes things into her own hands – namely, Bree, after a night on the town together. Now Bree, who’s left to process what’s she done (Timberly) starts Googling things to get a snapshot of her future like “oscar winning lesbians” and “what does yous laid” mean after Timberly tells her “you slayed.”

It’s all fun to watch – especially when Timberly playfully breaks the news to Key’s Reed, who still has the hots for Bree after the two dated on the show’s first go ‘round. Overall, Scott’s presence lends a license to amusingly show the gen X/gen Z divide and how times have changed with the power of social media and sexual identification. Even though she may not be in every episode, Scott nails her role and becomes a character we want to see onscreen more.

Here’s to hoping Timberly’s reality check continues into the inevitable season two.

The Career:

If you thought you recognized the young Scott from somewhere but just can’t place the face, I’m here to help. It’s from The Sex Lives of College Girls, the excellent HBO Max series from co-creator Mindy Kaling I wrote about once starring a talented ensemble cast. In Sex Lives, Scott plays Whitney, a college freshman/soccer player and daughter of a female Senator, who endures many-a-life-lesson while having an impetuous affair with her married college soccer coach.

Scott played her scenes well in Sex Lives too and even though her plotline had a little bit of an ABC Afterschool Special quality at times, you could see her talent coming from a mile away.

Born in Houston, Texas, the 25-year-old Scott attended – and received her BFA from – the University of Michigan where she was in the musical theater program. When Scott was a senior, she landed the female lead role in The Book of Mormon in the musical’s U.S. national tour performing hundreds of shows until the Covid pandemic scuttled things (just a bit) in 2020.

Now, with The Sex Lives of College Girls coming back and Reboot still playing out its first season, the sky’s the limit for Scott – an apt metaphor considering her mom is a NASA engineer.

If you want to learn more about Scott, you may want to check out this revealing interview she did with Grazia, which covered everything from what it was like growing up in Texas to overcoming her impostor syndrome. It’s rare you see a young actress speak with such frankness and honesty, which should bode well for her growth as an actress as her promising career grows from here.

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Gregg Rosenzweig has been a writer, creative director and managing editor for various entertainment clients, ad agencies and digital media companies over the past 20 years. He is also a partner in the talent management/production company, The Rosenzweig Group.