I will be very disappointed in western society if this isn't a trending topic by the end of the day along with #ArrestedDevelopment. Today is May 26th. Today is a very important day in the lives of pop culture junkies, cult show fanatics and people who happen to have netflix. Today is the day, Arrested Development returned to us.
Though it wasn't on television or in a primetime slot or even on a major network, I think this is how a show with a farfetched, yet amazingly possible interwoven story line, needs to be enjoyed. A full season (or series if you're behind) at a time. The comedy binge was well worth half my day and the crick in my neck. In all honesty, I don't even know if it was a nice day outside, I kept the shades drawn so there wouldn't be glare from the possibly present sunshine as I hooked my HDMI cable to the TV and laptop. Screen quality is important so you don't miss any pop culture cues in a show like this. Trust me, they happen a lot. I will probably rewatch the episodes next weekend to try and pick them out (I know, I'm cool...).
I really REALLY hope that people will actually go and watch the season and netflix will go and make more episodes, but things need to be discussed so SPOILER ALERT!!!!!. What you really need to know is, the jokes and references were still witty, the insults were amazing, the running gags popped up and the character development was there, though the storyline's timing was random.
****HERE IS WHERE THE SPOILERS START****
Let's start with the jokes and references. To me there were certain cues that were impossible to miss, probably because I have no life and watch massive amounts of television and movies while cross referencing them with the internet... Some of the highlights in my opinion, were the nods to The Social Network in how they dealt with George Michael, "FakeBlock"'s ownership and lawsuits and even the twins (though I didn't see the WinkleVoss'... WinkleVi?). It was just about perfect, right down to Michael Cera's inherent ability to not only be super awkward, but to look extremely similar to Jesse Eisenberg. At least 2 different times they mentioned that while Lucille 2 and Buster were an item there was some awkward Captain and Tenille thing going on, which is why Lucille 2 had the red wig. If I were Lindsay, I would not have worn that wig, I would have burned it, and that could have saved us from George Sr.'s awkward-redheaded-lady-breakdown. In the words of the almighty internet memes "Ain't Nobody Got Time fo Dat". The guys from Workaholics showing up as airline employees when Michael tries to get a copy of the in-flight magazine he's featured in, just about had me on the floor laughing. I don't know what it is about that trio, but they are comedy gold (or "tight butthole" if you watch their show). The whole Eat Pray Love angle was a little overwrought, but I really enjoyed it once we got to Maeby's take, plus there was a good liner in there about the Real Housewives. She's always been one of my favourite compulsive liars. Another joke that ran right through the new season was the cast getting "A New Start" or more specifically "ANUSTART" which plays right in to the running gag about Tobias' sexuality....
The running gags in this show have always been one of my favourite things about it. Anus Tart (aka Tobias) continues to say things that just sound unfortunate, not only leading in to more of the family making fun of his sexuality (nothing was implicated), but also to him becoming a convicted sexual offender on television. Way to go Maeby.... Tobias' unfortunate speaking and reading abilities make me wonder how he ever became a doctor, and I'm not surprised when he ends up taking his next acting classes at a "Method One" read: "Methadone" clinic, were he meets his second love DeBree, who literally ends up in the garbage. Sad, yet giggle-worthy. Also, the jorts returned, and he compared being a never nude to being a drug addict, which are totally like the same thing. To round out the Tobias section (it's like they make fun of him a lot or something...), this happened again, to save the Fantastic Four Musical of course!
The chicken dance made a half-executed comeback when George Michael was naming his app, apparently his noise is "block block", and one leg is awkwardly up in the air. I also really enjoyed how they employed the "I have made a huge mistake" line in this one, with the narrator starting to say it, then Maeby brushing it off, she really does.not.care.. Though it does seem Gob does care, after continuing to read his audience wrong (Jesus tricks on a huge Christian audience at a wedding apparently don't work), and dancing to The Final Countdown on his way to another genius escape gone wrong, has another fleeting romance where he rides in shopping carts, but this time with his nemesis - Ben Stiller's Tony Wonder.
|Instead of his adorable ex-wife.|
Also... what in god's name happened to the epic Steve Holt!?
|He looks older than Gob, too much pesticide.|
As for character development, where to begin?! With every episode focusing on one character's perspective, there's a little something happening for everyone. Michael still has a hard time letting go, but he finally makes in to Phoenix! First online, then in real life, then he wants to leave immediately and does. Talk about an anti-climactic end to your dream. George Michael however, finds himself very different than before (so OS) after some time in Spain, that is until Maeby comes back in the picture and he reverts back to his old self before realizing his penchant for lies (it runs in the family). The biggest moment for character development in the whole series in the last moment between George Michael and Michael, when George "Maharis" finally stands up for himself. It was oh-so satisfying to see. The show is mostly about the father and son, but we also get to see issues from everyone - Buster tries to get over his need for a full time mother and falls in "Love" after getting a fake hand from the army, George Sr and Oscar trade strength roles and become character foils for one another, Lindsay gets political again only to find out she truly is a princess, Maeby needs attention (seriously she has the WORST. Parents. Ever.), Tobias tries to be a psychiatrist again super briefly to return to his true passion of show biz, Gob tries to take down Tony Wonder and mistakes friendship for love as they find out just how much they have in common and Lucille (1) realizes she no longer wants to be the villain when really she's the invisible girl (fantastic metaphor, I loved this with her evil queen type outfit she was wearing, it was a shining moment). Everybody went through something, and aren't we all glad they're not better people?
The one gripe I have about this season that is different from the first 3 seasons (which ended over 7 years ago, so there was bound to be differences) is the timing. I quite enjoyed the storyline, but I do feel it was a bit overdone. 15 episodes to revisit the same week from everyone's perspectives came to be a bit taxing at times. Especially when certain scenes were revisited with pieces added. The feeling of information being withheld the first time around seemed more like something Lucille would do, and not the writers of Arrested Development. They made it work, and it was connected in a funny way, I just found it strange.
Overall, I really did enjoy the reincarnation of one of my favourite shows of all time. The actors who were cast in for this season were also excellent - see Seth Rogen and Kristen Wiig as the young George Sr. & Lucille Bluth, as well as Isla Fisher as Rebel. I've always loved the casting decisions on this show, and there was no exception to that this time around.
|Just look at those angels|
Now my plea:
If you enjoy smart comedy, please watch this show. The fanbase is always growing, and for good reason. There are a lot of ways this re-emergence could have gone wrong, but luckily, there's a lot of ways it went right. Keep watching and rewatching it. Even if it's just on the internet, it's back.
|I love this screen.|
(that hashtag goes for Community. I know, but goddammit you should be fans of both shows /EndRant)