If you haven't watched the newest season of Arrested Development, then WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON THE INTERNET? Go watch it and then come back.
Alright. Glad you're back and now you're ready to read one of the most self-gratifying rants I think I can possibly write.
Maybe I wasn't in the right state of mind when I first started watching. Maybe I was a little too drunk on Sunday, immediately after midnight. Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe. Or maybe, those first two episodes sucked.
Let's get perfectly honest here - it's okay that the first episode wasn't up to par with the previous seasons. Chalk it up to getting back into the groove of the show. In my eyes, that can be forgiven.
What can't be forgiven, as easily, is the drastic change in characters. Michael is the straight man of the show. The entire premise of the show is here is this guy with a crazy family and he has his own quirks ("Family first" while he has a strained relationship with his own son), but he manages to keep it together. In this new season, Michael isn't keeping it together. He's falling apart just as rapidly as everyone else. He's suddenly become similar to his mother in regards to her overbearing relationship with Buster when he jumps into the shower with George Michael. That is something that original series Michael would never do.
A lot of these characters do things completely outside of themselves - Tobias, Lindsay, George Sr., etc. and it just feels wrong. Other characters, particularly Maeby, grow and change, but in a way that makes sense to the development of the character.
And maybe the reason why the original Arrested Development was so good was because it wasn't about character development. It wasn't even really plot driven. There were arcs and an overarching theme of the show (the Iraq war and the light treason charges), but a lot of it was episodic, ensemble-based comedy. With the new format, we lose that. We lost the ensemble and were left with one-dimensional characters being the lead of each episode.
The reason we all think Tobias is funny is because a) he is clueless and b) he comes in short bursts. In the original series, he delivers the best one-liners of the show. Ex: I just blue myself. In this new season, I am unable to think of a single one-liner because the writing was so concentrated on this complex and elaborate plot.
The new Arrested Development was brought back to please the fans and to make money. But, there's an underlying theme that they wanted to change how we watch television. Mitch Hurwtiz wanted to create an entire season of television that could be watched in any order while still telling a story. It's a lofty goal. And one that quite frankly fell short.
There were some funny jokes and moments. But overall, this season felt off -- as if it was trying too hard to jump right back where it left off. Maybe it's just better to let good things die peacefully. I'm looking at you, How I Met Your Mother.
What did you think? Let me know in the comments.
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Labels: Arrested Development, television, TV Reviews