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February 11, 2013 9:39 AM   Subscribe

A dramatic reimagining of Arrested Development, just in time for the series' return.
posted by Rock Steady (42 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
I can see this working out, although it's one of those "what if Travis Bickle isn't really a vet" things wherein fun to imagine how the pieces fit together but nothing you can hang your hat on. I've actually been re-watching the entire series in reverse order (by season, not by episode) for what may be the fifteenth or sixteenth and I'm still catching callbacks I missed the first time around.
posted by griphus at 9:46 AM on February 11, 2013


Sometimes I think pop culture criticism would be more fun if 'An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge' did not exist.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:51 AM on February 11, 2013 [24 favorites]


The short story by renowned author Thomas Westphall? What does that have to do with anything?
posted by griphus at 9:53 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


David Lynch presents, "Lost Banana Stand".
posted by codacorolla at 9:54 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Or Mulholland Banana Stand, or Inland Banana Stand for that matter...
posted by codacorolla at 9:55 AM on February 11, 2013


The short story by renowned author Thomas Westphall?

Didn't he shoot JR?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:56 AM on February 11, 2013


That was the guy who played Patrick Duffy.
posted by griphus at 9:57 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sometimes I think pop culture criticism would be more fun if 'An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge' did not exist.

Good news! It doesn't actually exist!

You might want to have a seat for this next part.
posted by ODiV at 9:58 AM on February 11, 2013 [18 favorites]


Not bad, but then why does George continually fantasize that his mistress, Kitty is being seduced by his son Gob? Some complex inverted-Oedipus cuckolding fetish?
posted by Kitty Stardust at 10:04 AM on February 11, 2013


My first reaction was the same as your observation about pop culture, shakespherian, but then again I wouldn't be that surprised if the series ended with a super-cheesy palimpsest reveal of some kind, though I think they would do something more surprising than this.
posted by clockzero at 10:05 AM on February 11, 2013


GOB doesn't exist either, he's George's fantasy of being young again.

See also: GOB wearing his father's suits.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:07 AM on February 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


Come on.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:11 AM on February 11, 2013 [11 favorites]


Let's pretend the TV show is really a TV show inside the TV show...? Couldn't you do that with just about anything?
posted by rebent at 10:22 AM on February 11, 2013


I really, really hope they're taking off at the exact end of "Development Arrested" and just totally ignore the fact that George Michael (Michael's son, not the singer-songwriter) and Maeby are now well into their 20s.
posted by griphus at 10:23 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I really hope all the ensuing episodes just explore what various characters were doing between scenes of the extant episodes, but there are visible model-2013 cars in the background, GOB has a beard, Maeby is played by someone entirely different, etc.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:30 AM on February 11, 2013


The staircar is now just a hybrid with a fireladder strapped to it with bungee cords.
posted by griphus at 10:32 AM on February 11, 2013


Or Mulholland Banana Stand, or Inland Banana Stand for that matter...
Diane, if you ever get up this way, that frozen banana is worth a stop.
posted by Erberus at 10:32 AM on February 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


Great theory, but one that is invalidated by the horrible For British Eyes Only subplot, which a death row inmate would not waste valuable fantasy time on imagining.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:58 AM on February 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


Oh, did anyone notice that the rape whistle Michael gives back to Buster uses the exact same sound effect as GOB's missing tooth later in the episode?
posted by griphus at 10:59 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't make more sense if it was the crazed delusions of Michael, his sanity snapped when at the precipice of taking over the company, his father is arrested for treason?

Take a lot of the rationale, but then apply it from Michael's perspective. He is the center of the show, isn't he? I mean, the man can't even make it to Phoenix without feeling its his purpose to exist as the overseer of his family and the business.
posted by Atreides at 11:04 AM on February 11, 2013


The show is actually from the perspective of the third actress to play Marta.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:12 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


(Werner Herzog in an Elvira wig.)
posted by griphus at 11:13 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


No really in 'Forget Me Now' in season 3 there's a montage of Michael's former girlfriends and the only that the show labels as Marta is a different actress from the two who played the character in season 1.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:19 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately, the theory runs aground on the fact that the narrator, who is believed to be a figment of George Sr.'s imagination, is heard talking before the arrest in the pilot.

Actually, I much prefer the idea that AD is a remake of either (a) The Brothers Karamazov or (b) The Godfather. Which, by the transitive property, may mean that The Godfather is a remake of The Brothers Karamazov.
posted by Cash4Lead at 11:28 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


My favorite good-god-it's-nuts-but-it-FITS! fan theory is the one that Tobias is actually an albino African American. I suspect the writers work a lot of this stuff into the series just to mess with people - there's no way in hell they'd every own up to either fan theory even if it was true. But, again, the jigsaw puzzle sort of goes together: secret subplots or deliberately misleading subtext are not beyond this show. People are going to navel-gaze over this series for decades to come.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:28 AM on February 11, 2013


Tobias is actually an albino African American

That isn't even a fan theory, it was just subtle and unexplored.
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:19 PM on February 11, 2013


GOB doesn't exist either, he's George's fantasy of being young again.

So... His fantasy is to be a bumbling moron who may or may not "follow men to their cars" for money (or candy), just because said moron happens to be youngish?

Whatever, dude.


(It's obviously a thinly-veiled expose on the Bushes. GOB=GWB/Jeb.)
posted by Sys Rq at 12:39 PM on February 11, 2013


The masterstroke in this article is claiming the "It was all a dream!" trope for the cause of realism.

I teach students in college English classes who propose similarly tortuous and unnecessary interpretive frames to fairly straightforward texts, all for the sake of placating the mighty god realism. Man, it's art; there's going to be some artifice. Even the realism is, basically, artifice.

I tend to hope that some of them are comic geniuses of the Andy Kaufman variety, constantly elaborating a tedious theory until --BAM-- they hit me with the actually funny punchline right at the end of the semester.
posted by Idler King at 12:47 PM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: Werner Herzog in an Elvira Wig.
posted by univac at 12:47 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately, the theory runs aground on the fact that the narrator, who is believed to be a figment of George Sr.'s imagination, is heard talking before the arrest in the pilot.

The theory can still be saved. The SEC raid actually happened in some fashion but it's seen on screen as it appeared in George Bluth's memories and therefore altered to include Ron Howard and silly things like the flamboyant gay protesters which kinda bolsters the theory a bit.

A moderately conservative older guy from Orange County would have a certain limited view of how gay men act in public, so visualizing these men prancing around on a boat, wearing feather boas, would fit his imagined stereotypes.

I think at least one had a feather boa on. It's been a couple of years since I last saw the pilot
posted by honestcoyote at 12:57 PM on February 11, 2013


Continuing with that thought for a minute: the SEC raid was probably in actuality a rather boring and normal (by the standards of the SEC) takedown with agents showing up in the office one day, carting away boxes and boxes of documents and George is arrested.

Having the raid take place on a boat would definitely be an altered memory since it would be much more interesting scenario, but one which would stretch credulity since the SEC probably does not have a maritime division with its own enforcement fleet.

I have to say: I like this theory. More in the St. Elsewhere vein though, less Owl Creek.
posted by honestcoyote at 1:05 PM on February 11, 2013


You've made a huge mistake.
posted by rikschell at 1:31 PM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am really intrigued by the new "season" and am impressed by how much it sounds like they're really running with the freedom allowed by a Netflix release rather than a network one.

Pretending no time had passed and just going on as before seems like a funny joke but at thin one; instead they've got what, 7 years of character life to pick from, making in jokes from the original run and what the actors have done since.
posted by mountmccabe at 1:50 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wonder how all of the ca. early-2000s television in-jokes are going to fare? At the end of the day, the show is a satire of a very, very particular period in American history (housing boom + Bush administration quagmire) and that can be explained, but there's a lot of jokes that depend on knowing what was on TV around the show's airdate and why. William Hung's cameo is one of them -- although I will bet my hat that was mandated by Fox, as other American Idol performers were doing cameos on Fox shows at the time (and maybe still are?) -- along with the "we can't just become housewives and waiters" line referencing Desperate Housewives (which gets a much more concrete nod during the protest) and one of the multitudinous restaurant-based reality shows or sitcoms out at the time. There's also all of the "O.C." jokes, and Andy Richter's "identical quintuplets" thing (Fox was airing a quickly-canceled sitcom called Quintuplets at the time.) The genius of the show's writing is that absolutely none of these references point are Murphy Brown-style topical humor and are funny in and of themselves, but I feel like there's going to be a layer of humor to Arrested Development that may be forgotten as TV addicts like me begin to forget the intricacies of television programming schedules from decades past.
posted by griphus at 1:57 PM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


...and that being said I think I just discovered what mono no aware means.
posted by griphus at 2:04 PM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


The masterstroke in this article is claiming the "It was all a dream!" trope for the cause of realism.

When a long-running story ends with "it was all just a dream" I interpret that as "I didn't think of a good ending, so nevermind"
posted by aubilenon at 2:06 PM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Damn Lindelof interprets that as the pinnacle of storytelling.
posted by davidjmcgee at 3:04 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Heh. Edit button or no, I'm leaving that. [hashtag freudian]
posted by davidjmcgee at 3:04 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


But George Bluth himself, and all of his escapist fantasies, are just the intricate imaginings of an autistic child lost inside his own mind.

Or rather, a being that believes it is an autistic child but is actually an ancient and long-abandoned computerized brain, slowly going insane as the eons pass.

A computerized brain that exists in just one permutation of an infinite number of multiverses, collectively playing out every possible reality that could ever exist.

All of which are just a passing daydream in the mind of God.
posted by dephlogisticated at 3:32 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


George Bluth dreamt that he was a magician. A magician happy, and free, and doing illusions. He didn't know that he was George. Suddenly he awoke, and there he was on death row, solid and unmistakable George. But he didn't know if he was George who had dreamt he was a magician, or a magician dreaming he was George. Between George and a magician there must be some distinction! Come on!
posted by codacorolla at 5:11 PM on February 11, 2013


Curiously enough, George Bluth never found out that he had wings under the hard covering of his back.
posted by Copronymus at 8:17 PM on February 11, 2013


Sometimes a loose seal is just a loose seal.
posted by eddydamascene at 9:53 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


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