Arrested Development is back! But is it the same show we known and loved 10 years ago?
Can you believe that the show first started 10 years ago? When I first watch this show, I only just arrived America, and hardly speak any English. However, it doesn’t stop me from knowing a great show from others. While it was hard for me to get some of the jokes, overall, Arrested Development soon became one of my all time favorite, and I was hit pretty hard when the show got cancelled. 7 years later after the abrupt cancellation of season 3, Netflix decides to bring back the series with a season 4 and of course I’m overjoyed. However, all the laughs and excitements aside, the show is not the same anymore.
The show has a different format than the previous seasons. The season begins with many years after we last seen the Bluth at the end of season 3, and things are not looking well for Michael. In fact, things are so bad, we see him trying to have sex with Lucille 2 to reduce his $700,000 debt. The rest of the season is about finding out what happened in the past years and what brings our characters to where they are now.
Each episodes focuses on a character, kind of like how LOST was back in the days. The episodes usually center around the same story, but just tell it from a different character’s point of view. The writers did a pretty good job most of the time, but some of the revelations are too obvious, and it’s easy for us to see what they’re planning. For example, episode 3 “Indian Taker” has Lindsey traveling to India, and the whole trip she was harassed by an unseen character. It’s easy for us to see that the harasser is going to be Tobias, and sure enough, it’s revealed to be Tobias. Things like these make some of the episodes redundant, and unnecessary. I remember one of the George-Michael episode tells us everything we already piece together from other episodes, and I found it really pointless.
Don’t get me wrong though. While the season overall is not as good as it used to be, the individual episodes can still be pretty funny. I especially like all the Tobias episodes, and George-Michael are not too bad themselves. The guest-stars are fantastic as well. I really enjoy watching Kristen Wigg playing a young Lucille Bluth. She’s just perfect for the role.
Oh, and Seth Rogen as George Sr.? Not so much.
Another guest star that I want to mention is Mary Lynn Rajskub’s character Heartfire. She’s one of the most interesting characters in the entire Arrested Development series, and I really wish they can have more of her. You see, the character doesn’t speak and she only communicates with her facial expressions. While the jokee that “no one really understands what she’s trying to say” is right now the nose,I find it brilliant that the show decides to put the captions next to her face. The captions will be big or small to show her screaming on the inside, or asking question. It’s also use to show her distant from other characters. It really is a clever way of narration.
Oh, and what the heck happened to Steve Holt?
The actor really let himself go in the last 7 years, and I can’t even recognize him anymore. In fact, the show plays jokes on this too and has many characters unable to recognize him. A scene in the bar has Gob (Steve’s father) talking to him for hours without recognize him. Another time has Maeby talking to him, telling him he has the same name as this kid she knew from high school, but still can’t tell that he is Steve Holt.
Let’s talk about some of the main characters, and their journeys this season. Out of all the characters, I think Maeby has the most interesting story. She has a lot of mysteries surrounding her, and unlike other characters, you cannot guess her stories easily. We find out how she leaves her job as a movie producer, and how she is still in high school after 6 years. We also learn that Maeby is a really good business woman, and you will want to have her by your side when starting a new company.
She also has the most complicated, and interesting relationships with her families. Her feelings for George Michael, and her resentments for her parents are all wonderful materials for jokes. Too bad Maeby only has one central episode this season though. By the way, I like the revelation that Maeby is actually the Shaman in disguise from India. I know that Shaman is fishy, but there’s no way I can tell he’s actually Maeby. A point for you, Arrested Development’s makeup department.
Also, how funny is that she’s staying in high school so long, she’s becoming Steve Holt herself?
George-Micheal’s story is interesting as well. His story this season is about his new found app that’s the opposite of Facebook called FakeBlock- An app that cuts you off socially from others. Of course, the app turns out to be fake, but it becomes too big before George Michael can do anything about it. It’s also interesting to see George Michael’s relationship with Rebel Alley (Isla Fisher). It’s clear who’s really our main character now after the show’s 7 year absent. Rebel is with Michael at first, but she soon becomes a love triangle between the father and son, and we’re definitely rooting for the son. If anything, I actually like the new George Michael better than the old one. He used to be whiny and twitchy, but the new George Michael is definitely awesome for punching Michael. More on that later.
Before we move one, did you know that George Michael never met Lucille 2? Crazy.
Tobias is a given for strong and funny character, so and he delivers some of the best joke this season as well. I really like his new-found relationship with DeBrie Bardeaux (Maria Bamford). The two have such wonderful dynamic, and it’s hard not to look away from this train going off rails. My favorite joke of the whole season is “anustar” joke. I laugh so hard when Tobias and DeBrie are excited about their common with “anustar,” and there’s background chords singing “coincident.” Did you guys catch that? It was really, really hilarious.
Lindsey turns out to be a pretty strong character, too. I remember I’m always indifferent with Lindsey, but she’s definitely becoming an awesome character this season. Her story with Herbert Love where people mistake her for a prostitute is just so Lindsey. Also, she’s right, her cutting her hair short does make her cuter.
Gob’s story is pretty typical of him as well. It’s funny seeing him giving himself an endless cycle of rufie, just so he can forget that he actually slept with another man. The story is great especially when it turns out the man he slept with is actually his long time rival Tony Wonder (Ben Stiller). I guess all rivalries are actually homoerotic huh, Batman and Joker?
Let’s talk about some of the worst characters this season. I really don’t care about Michael Bluth anymore. He’s stories are boring, and his goal is tiresome. I hate how he can always stand so high on moral ground, just to end up an asshole. He throws away all his beliefs, just so he can impress a girl. Ethics my butt. As long as Michael is our main character, the show is only going to go downhill.
Another character that’s pretty boring is George Sr. While it’s funny that he’s switching his personality with his younger brother, he’s stories are just not interesting at all. When I was doing re-watch before the review, his episodes are the ones I got stuck on. I just can’t get myself around his schemes, and quite frankly, I just don’t care.
Both Buster and Lucille are way under use this season. In fact, I don’t even remember anything interesting about Buster until towards the end of the season. The biggest change of Buster in this season has to be him getting himself a giant, bio-mechanical hand to replace his hook. It’s funny seeing Buster going around with one giant hand, and people calling him a monster.
Nothing more to say about these two characters, but here’s a video that highlights one of their best moments:
The season ends with a bunch of questions still unanswered, or maybe I’m just too stupid to see the answers. We still don’t know why the CIA are spying on Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment, what’s Sally Sitwell’s plan with the company and most importantly, what happened to Lucille 2. The season ends with a creepy and bizarre note where we see Lucille 2 lying by the stair car with blood, and her “body” disappears after the light goes off. We have no idea if she’s dead, and what the heck happened to her. It’s a different tone than what the show’s used to, and I don’t really like it.
I hope Netflix greenlights a fifth season, and answers all the questions we have about the show. Also, I hope they will get rid of the format they have for this season, and just give us a standard season.