An unfamiliar feeling gripped me today as I was revisited by an old friend. As I poured over the upcoming shows on EZTV I noted the presence of Arrested Development amongst contemporaries such as Mad Men, The Borgias and… Marvel Avengers Assemble? I’ve been getting steadily more excited as the launch date draws closer. Yesterday a rainy gale drained any desire to leave the house, so we started re-watching some of The Bluths’ misadventures. Some 18 of them. I’d forgotten how absurdly layered and dense the series was/is. Jokes that run over multiple seasons, recursive elements or foreshadowing planted deep within the first season that only reveal themselves halfway through the second. A constant barrage of references and throwbacks, clever throwaway lines and well stacked “bits” cement it as my favourite comedy bar none. Even my deep, well documented love of Community (another show that lasted 3 seasons) doesn’t come close to the respect and admiration I have for the AD writing staff.
Those reassuring elements resurface constantly. We know that the Bluths will never play against their true nature. Michael always wants to be seen as a good guy, Lindsay only wants what she can’t have, Gob’s desire to be loved and appreciated overrides almost everything, Buster craves safety in all forms. It goes on. The show stands up to repeat viewing ridiculously well, with so much hidden under different layers and new things popping out each time you watch. Also knowing the comedy and TV landscape so much better it’s refreshing seeing characters from across the spectrum. Amy Poehler, James Lipton, Phyllis Smith, Craig Robinson, Dave Attell, Jack McBrayer and so many others appear in bit parts throughout the series. The quality of the central cast and their relationships really shines through as well. Any interaction between Gob and Buster, George-Michael and Maeby or Tobias and anyone is usually enough to leave me guffawing like a donkey. Is that what donkeys do? Or do they bray? I’m thinking more the latter. Regardless, this series is astounding.
It’ll be interesting seeing how this Netflicks arrangement and the concept of releasing everything to the market immediately works out. Consumption habits have definitely changed for most and it seems archaic to be tied to traditional network television models of weekly scheduling. Hopefully this deal is successful enough that it ushers in a new release method from the studios. It’s always nice to see some form of progress. A mass dump of the rest of Breaking Bad perhaps? The internet is proving to be quite the bolstering force for critical darlings and commercial flops to get a resurgence of support. Arrested Development is just one. New Firefly? More Party Down? Maybe we’ll even get a season 4 of Community? Thing is, times pass and most of the actors from unsuccessful or prematurely cancelled shows tend to move on to bigger things. Certainly the case with both Firefly and Party Down. Exceptionally talented casts in well constructed shows, but you’ve seen the actors scattered all over the place. Martin Starr certainly gets around and Jane Lynch shot up to a level of exposure becoming an icon befitting the outstanding comedic actress that she is. Too bad Glee blows chunks, or in reality is just targeted at a demographic I don’t find myself within.
Still, excitement builds as I pour over the remaining episodes to revisit. I really hope the writing stays consistent, that Mitch Hurwitz is still “on” and that the series moves on to new territory without spending all of its time pandering to old fans. I get the feeling that if Community got a 4th season without Harmon at the helm, we’d be seeing a bit of the latter. Good thing they cut it before it started rotting I guess. One More Day.