Tuesday, April 29, 2008

On the next Arrested Development...

Arrested Development is my favorite TV show. If you knew me during its run, you already knew that. I was more than obsessed, I was an activist for this brilliant comedy throughout its three seasons. I didn't catch the pilot, I picked up on the show on its third episode or so and wasn't entirely sure what to make of it on the first go. However, I was compelled to watch it again and I quickly discovered the genius in the writing, in the acting (what impeccable casting), in the direction and in the narration.

Following the Bluth family's exploits became my weekly haven for comedy. It aired on Sunday nights after The Simpsons and was an underdog from the get-go. In spite of critical plaudits and numerous awards, the show couldn't gain an audience. The ratings remained incredibly low for the entire three season run until Fox gave up. Though it seemed more like Fox hadn't a clue as to how to market the show (which probably would have had a definitive popular run had it aired on HBO or Showtime from the beginning). In spite of an Emmy win for Best Comedy Series, the network officials petered out on the final season, switching the show around, pulling it from the air without a moment's notice (which was incredibly unfair to those of us who arranged their entire work schedule around the airing of this show), reducing what would turn out to be the final season to 13 episodes, and in a final burst of glory, aired the last four episodes in a marathon opposite the opening ceremonies of the 2006 Winter Olympics.

In what is my lone TV obsessive phase, I became ardently supportive of the show. I had AIM and livejournal icons, a post in my AIM profile about it, turned off my phone, and threw the phone at anyone who got between me and the TV screen. I even signed those asinine online petitions that aren't read by anyone just so I could honestly say how much I appreciated and fought for this little show that could. I own all three boxed sets on DVD. Others I know became more interested in the show after it aired as a result of its exposure in the video format. I know I need to replace season 2 as a result (who leaves DVDs out of the case?)

In talking about the show, its catchphrases, its incredible moments of awkward and its penchant for the effectively absurd (it had its own bizarre logic, but boy did that logic work), I still crack up. It's hard to pinpoint what I think is the best part of the show. I adore the characters, their quirks and the performances by the actors who played them. Though special mention to Jessica Walter for the most refreshing take on the overbearing matriarch. (And Jason Bateman as Michael the lone voice of reason, David Cross' sexually ambiguous Tobias, Michael Cera's awkward George Michael, Jeffrey Tambor as George and his twin brother Oscar, Henry Winkler as the clueless family attorney and it goes on and on and on...). Oh and I could go on about the guest characters (Liza Minnell getting the dizzies anyone?), the recurrent plot points ("I may have dabbled in a little light treason"), the thinly veiled incestuous humor, and just the completely random bits (the chicken dances, loose seal, et al), but you're much better off seeing it for yourself than reading about it from here.

I have just read recently that a film is in the works which would update us fans on the Bluth hijinks. I will not say anything more, since the series finale both tied up a surprisingly large amount of loose ends, but all the while opening a whole new floodgate of insanity. It was 53 episodes of sheer genius.

Though I love The Office and 30 Rock (the latter of which is the closest we have to AD today), neither come as close to my regard for Arrested. Here's a very brief clip of one of my all-time favorite moments from this masterpiece:

This is my 100th post. I'm not sure if it's a milestone, but I like to think it's pretty cool.

Oh! And Happy Birthday to our fellow blogger Roxie!!

PS - Who would win - Violet Weston or Lucille Bluth...? I'd have to put my money on Lucille.


SarahB said...

"I'd cry but I can't afford to lose the moisture."

Esther said...

Hey, your 100th post is a big milestone. It's very cool. Congratulations!

Coincidentally, I just started watching "Arrested Development." I'm midway through Season 2. It is one of the funniest, most inventive shows with some of the most outrageous characters I've ever seen. I mean, who could have come up with these people? The funniest part is, they play it so straight. Except for Michael, could there be a more clueless, hilarious group of people? So far, Tobias joining the Blue Man Group is one of my favorite subplots. I can't believe I waited this long. And I'm definitely looking forward to the movie.

Roxie said...

Happy 100!!! Woooooo

Theatre Aficionado at Large said...

Haha. It feels like quite a milestone. Between blogging and drinking green tea every day, I feel like I've started putting my life into some semblance of order.

Here's to many to more entries to come!

"Okay, Lindsay, are you forgetting that I was a professional twice over - an analyst and a therapist. The world's first analrapist."

God, I love this show!