Join 3,433 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


A New Start
May 28, 2013 12:31 PM   Subscribe

"Arrested Development's fourth season is triumphant when it's not completely falling apart." That seems to be the critical consensus, which sees the season as ambitious but flawed—a "hot mess", if you will. The American Prospectcompares Season 4 to the housing crisis; Daniel Fienberg simply calls the season's length "exhausting". But how has binge watching affected the critical response? Showrunner Mitch Hurwitz asked viewers not to watch the whole season in one glut: "[Y]ou can’t really laugh the whole time. You have to take a break. There’s so much material." Some critics agree with Hurwitz; others argue that this season is "essentially a 7-1/2 hour long episode" and that binge watching is the only way to appreciate the new show. (Sadly, Hurwitz's original plan—to have the new episodes be watchable in any order—fell through.)
posted by Rory Marinich (369 comments total) 65 users marked this as a favorite

 
AHHH HOT ORANGE
posted by The Whelk at 12:35 PM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


What's with that last tag?
posted by infini at 12:37 PM on May 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


The wife and I couldn't get past episode 3. It's just...not good, and the laughs are rare. I spent most of episode 2 trying to figure out who was Oscar and who was George Sr.
posted by Brocktoon at 12:38 PM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


I give it an "A -". First off, to the haters: Fuck the haters, because who the hell in their right mind would be expecting this to be as good as the original run?

Am I the only one that thinks it's better than the original series at times? Maybe not on average, but there are some heights of hilarity in the new series that surpass any of the gags in the original run (excepting maybe Tobias and George Michael's inadvertent destruction of Tiny Town.)
posted by junco at 12:38 PM on May 28, 2013 [14 favorites]


the Lindsay episode was mostly terrible when it wasn't just boring. and I'm still not sure why her face has been completely modified. is it her character? the actress? I have only seen like 4 so far.

it's really somewhat difficult to watch when you expect the entire cast exchanging dialogue with each other.

on the plus column, the cameos are pretty great. the Workaholics cast are excellent as ticketing agents at an airport.

What's with that last tag?

it's in the Lindsay episode.
posted by ninjew at 12:39 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


With this, with House of Cards, with all Netflix's new series - I think it's a huge mistake to release them all up-front for binge-watching. All the hype is used up at once, and if you don't binge alongside the fanatics, you're "left behind" in conversations. I'd much rather see this stuff released on, say, a weekly schedule - let the hype build, have a chance to jump in after a couple of episodes alongside the fanatics.
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:39 PM on May 28, 2013 [14 favorites]


Brocktoon, I started out tepid, then the deary sweat lodge episode, that sinking feeling that it might not be very good...then but by episode five it EXPLODED and everything started to lock together and OH GOD.
posted by The Whelk at 12:39 PM on May 28, 2013 [19 favorites]


I like how this series can give us elaborate interconnected meta-fictional satire (That Fantastic Four movie was a REAL THING YOU GUYS) and also "A Nu Start" jokes.
posted by The Whelk at 12:41 PM on May 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


(Vaguely relatedly: What?!)
posted by kmz at 12:42 PM on May 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


House of Cards would have worked just fine being released episodically, but Arrested Development seems like it was constructed with a batch release in mind. Each episode is so intricately interrelated to others that they're best appreciated as a gestalt, although I think they need to be seen approximately in order for the setup-payoff of some of the jokes to work.
posted by figurant at 12:43 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


What's with that last tag?
Arguably, more importantly, it's in the Tobias episode.
posted by knile at 12:43 PM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


and that binge watching is the only way to appreciate the new show.

I'm not sure how many episodes at once count as binging, but the first few eps have little to no arc or narrative whatsoever, and it seems impossible to imagine them working as standalones on a one-episode-at-a-time level.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:44 PM on May 28, 2013


My main nitpick is that there weren't more Gob episodes.
posted by Drastic at 12:45 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Listen - a hot mess of Arrested Development is worth ten times the best one of whatever else you got! I'm looking at you, Girls. Oh, and also you, weird-ass shark-jumping Mad Men. Arrested Development is All Shark All the Time! Now I must go before someone ruins an ep I haven't seen yet.

/smoke bomb and cape flourish
posted by Mister_A at 12:46 PM on May 28, 2013 [12 favorites]


So is this something that would be better if one had seen the first three seasons? Or can I skip 9.6 GB of BitTorrenting and still appreciate this?
posted by Michael Roberts at 12:46 PM on May 28, 2013


The wife and I couldn't get past episode 3. It's just...not good, and the laughs are rare.

Sounds pretty much like my reaction to AD from the get-go.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:46 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Season 4 of Arrested Development:

Good as a traditional TV show (where I'm even calling the first 3 seasons as a 'traditional TV show')? Not sure yet. Probably not. Who cares?

Good as a piece of art? Absolutely.

Weirdly, it's like the Jane Campion miniseries Top of the Lake, which ended its run on Sundance last month. It doesn't really work in the traditional episodic TV format in a lot of ways, but as a whole, it is really worth your time if it sounds like something you'd be remotely interested in. They both work much better as a total whole, lend themselves to binge watching, but actually probably deserve to have some air let around them so they can breathe so I think you're better off watching a little at a time.

(I am kind of using this thread to sing the praises of the also available on Netflix Top of the Lake.

Also to post this gem from Yahoo Answers:

What the heck is "Showstealer Pro Trial Version" and why does it keep showing up as a watermark in the middle of the screen when I'm watch the new season of Arrested Development? It's super annoying and I don't want to watch anymore.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:47 PM on May 28, 2013 [15 favorites]


So is this something that would be better if one had seen the first three seasons? Or can I skip 9.6 GB of BitTorrenting and still appreciate this?

The whole thing is on Netflix, so if you can see the new season, you can see the old seasons.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:47 PM on May 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Exhausting is right. Who are these people, why do they claim to be the Bluths, and what are their motivations? They seem to be doing things just for the same of constantly moving in and out of each others' narratives.
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:48 PM on May 28, 2013


Wow, I was not expecting them to release the entire season all at once. That seems like an odd decision.
posted by elizardbits at 12:48 PM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


A rehab center called Austerity gives me the same shivers as the bald-faced-getting-away-with it-grin of "Solid As A Rock."
posted by The Whelk at 12:48 PM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


if you can see the new season, you can see the old seasons.

Netflix is not available in Hungary, so I can't see any of it without BitTorrent.
posted by Michael Roberts at 12:49 PM on May 28, 2013


Wow, I was not expecting them to release the entire season all at once. That seems like an odd decision.

It was clearly designed to cause all economic movement to grind to a halt on the same day.
posted by The Whelk at 12:49 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


It gets significantly better after the Tobias episode, and then builds up and up and up after that. AND, it sort of folds on itself, refers back to itself, and you understand how the whole thing will be better on a second viewing.

The first several episodes seemed weird, off-kilter, and it took me at least 4 episodes or so to appreciate the new structure.

I'd much rather see this stuff released on, say, a weekly schedule

And are you standing in front of the grocery store asking people to sign a petition to bring back the rotary phone??

I kid! I"m kidding. If this had been released on a weekly basis, I think I would've given up after the first 3. I only kept going because I was in bed, with a laptop and coffee, and it was as easy as clicking the next episode.
posted by MoxieProxy at 12:49 PM on May 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Am I the only one that thinks it's better than the original series at times?

My take on it, in a nutshell, was this:

The original Arrested Development has inspired a handful of shows that can, if not over take it, at least match it in terms of speed of wit. As long as Archer is on the air, my need for an ensemble cast making lightning-fast jokes that are simultaneously ultradirty and ultranerdy is met. So what I went into this season wondering was:

—What's it going to do that makes it worth watching?
—Is it going to do things with its characters that make me love them even more?

By that measure, this new season has met my expectations and more. Its storytelling is ridiculously experimental, and in a way which leads to some astonishing punchlines/plot points. Not everything connects, but when it does it's great, and when it doesn't it's at least interesting.

And it's given pretty much every character, except for maybe Tobias, more development than I was honestly expecting. George Michael and Maeby are interesting and hilarious characters as young adults, maybe the best-realized characters in the new series. Michael and George have hit new lows. Lindsay, who was always even more two-dimensional than the rest of the family, was given an episode which was both the least funny of the fifteen, and the one with the wryest character moments. (The sequences in the silently cavernous house and in the car were both ineffective as far as jokes go and quite effective as far as characterizing a marriage that has been terrible from the start.) And GOB was... well. Every moment GOB was in this season was perfect.

This season proves that Arrested Development being back is a good thing, not because it'll give us more of the same but because it'll keep on experimenting the way it did last decade. It sets up enough plotlines to give us another two seasons and a movie, and it does it by expanding upon the original characters without retconning them too much. It is a hot mess of a season, but the hot parts were way hotter than the messy parts were messy, and I hope that the next Arrested Development tightens up its game and knocks things out of the park. I suspect I'll fall in love with this season too, messiness or no.

If anything proves the AD team's still got it, I think it would be the Sounds of Silence gag, especially its ultimate punchline.
posted by Rory Marinich at 12:50 PM on May 28, 2013 [43 favorites]


Also: I would love to read people's thoughts on the very last scene of the very last episode. That seems totally weird to me. I laughed, but then I thought: wtf? That's it??? Now we NEED a movie!
posted by MoxieProxy at 12:51 PM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Hey now, come on with the spoilers, guys. Hard to balance not reading spoliers without not duping what's in the thread already.

I'd pay extra to not have them released all at once. Not for everyone, just me. Or anyone else who needs a DD* experience.

*Designated Distribution

I glutted on "new to me shows" enough to learn not to blow it all in one go. But a little help would be nice, signing up for an "enhanced" experience in some ways ...
posted by tilde at 12:52 PM on May 28, 2013


I’m about halfway through it. So far the experience has been exactly what I expected it would be. I knew it could never live up to the original three seasons and would always feel like a reunion, like when you have lunch with old coworkers and it’s fun but also a bit awkward. I also trusted those people so I knew I would laugh. I have. I’ve also been bored.

Plenty of the jokes are forced callbacks to the original (HER?). The pacing is off, given the added length of the episodes. Too many scenes go on for way too long. Most of the characters are the same, though “the kids” are all adults now so it’s a bit weird.

The show was great because of the way the characters interacted with each other, and that’s what I want to see, but instead they’re mostly interacting with new characters I don’t really care about. I understand about the scheduling issues they had, but it’s too bad. I’m liking some of the choices for guest stars, like Maria Bamford and John Slattery but I think they’re using them too much. GOB’s “entourage” made me laugh.

I feel like plenty of people, professional critics and non-critics, couldn’t wait to say “I told you so!” They couldn’t wait to tell us how flawed it would be, how it would never be as good as the original, and how now we have a mediocre fourth season instead of just three great seasons. Like everything else on The Internet, since it’s not The Greatest Thing Ever Made a lot of people are calling it awful and unwatchable. Total shit. It’s not total shit, nor is it as good as the original. It’s flawed yet amusing. I’m not yet sure I’m glad it was made. Time will tell.
posted by bondcliff at 12:53 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


If anything proves the AD team's still got it, I think it would be the Sounds of Silence gag, especially its ultimate punchline.

And I genuinely thought we were at the point where a reference to The Graduate could no longer make me laugh.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:54 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I loved it. It was admittedly uneven at times and I think the first few episodes are the slowest, but it really starts to get going at a certain point. I thought the new OS George Michael was hilarious. I thought the pacing of the season, once you get past the first few episodes, is much better than the other seasons. I really liked how they started to show some of the characters changing and growing. Also I thought Isla Fisher was really well cast.
posted by whoaali at 12:54 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


The last episode ended on a way soberer note than I was expecting, but I liked that. Arrested Development has always gotten away with its surrealities because it roots itself in characters you can actually care about, and that ending felt earned.

Upon the rewatch (I saw it this weekend with Girlfriend and am seeing it now with Roommates) the episodes that most bothered me at first – that is to say, the second and third – are way more excusable now, though they don't hold a candle to the second half of the season. Eps 4-6 start picking up the pace, and at 7 things pretty much stay continually awesome.
posted by Rory Marinich at 12:54 PM on May 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


It took about a third of the way through the season for me to really get on board. At first I found it confusing and just okay. Once I had really wrapped my head around the structure and the jokes and such, I found it to be just as brilliant as ever.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:55 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


The show was great because of the way the characters interacted with each other, and that’s what I want to see, but instead they’re mostly interacting with new characters I don’t really care about.

I've been getting a lot of that, but I've only watched the first 6 or so. The individual characters are a bit boring, it's much more fun when they're all stuck in the same room together and forced to interact, which is more or less what the original run of the show was about.
posted by BungaDunga at 12:56 PM on May 28, 2013


With this, with House of Cards, with all Netflix's new series - I think it's a huge mistake to release them all up-front for binge-watching. All the hype is used up at once, and if you don't binge alongside the fanatics, you're "left behind" in conversations. I'd much rather see this stuff released on, say, a weekly schedule - let the hype build, have a chance to jump in after a couple of episodes alongside the fanatics.

My ideal format would be two or three a week. Frequent enough to beat out what we're used to with TV, slow enough to keep the hype building.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:57 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I also like the underlining that Micheal, who I always took to represent the hypocritical moral compass of America, being all manic and desperate and pathetic to hit home that he's really no better then the rest of his family/our fellow Americans.
posted by The Whelk at 12:58 PM on May 28, 2013 [9 favorites]


(also I once sat riveted listening to a guy next to me at a bar explain to his friend that AD was a "comedy of ethics" but I can't recall too much of it cause I was aggressively eavesdropping while trying not to be suspicious.)
posted by The Whelk at 1:00 PM on May 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Ooh can I pretend to be that guy at a bar? Because I can totally make that argument.
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:03 PM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm OK with it so far. We're four episodes in - we watched two on Sunday and two on Monday. They're OK. There were funny bits. Not that many. I liked the SHOW STEALER PRO TRIAL VERSION gag. I thought that was funny. People in this thread and on the internet in general say it gets better, so that's hopeful. I'm certainly not going to give up on it.

Also, Portia de Rossi looks... odd. My wife noticed it, and after she mentioned it, I couldn't get away from it. I'm... not sure if she got work done, or if it's something they're intentionally doing, or what - but.. something is afoot there.
posted by kbanas at 1:03 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Only seen 2 eps so far. For what it is: it is so fucking good. I laughed and laughed and even when I didn't laugh I smiled in recognition. I'm going to enjoy watching them all I bet. That's all that matters! Everything else can go walk up a rope.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:03 PM on May 28, 2013


Do your worst Rory.
posted by The Whelk at 1:05 PM on May 28, 2013


I also like the underlining that Micheal, who I always took to represent the hypocritical moral compass of America, being all manic and desperate and pathetic to hit home that he's really no better then the rest of his family/our fellow Americans.

Yeah, the show has shifted tone, adapting to an America (and thus, a Bluth family) shaken up by a prolonged bust. The characters seem defined by a tone of desperate flailing against hopelessness, and their self-delusion actually starts to look like a flawed survival strategy by the end. Even the War on Terror segments in the newer episodes -- most prominent late in the season/gestalt episode -- are inflected with a level of moral horror. Everyone is in debt, or unjustly convicted, or newly morally compromised by the end, and all any of them really get is deeper in the hole. It's some pretty bleak satire.
posted by kewb at 1:05 PM on May 28, 2013 [11 favorites]


Michael is a classic unreliable narrator. At the beginning of the show he's the sympathetic character we experience his monstrous family through; but of course at some point we realize he's at pains to portray himself as sympathetic, but nobody else seems to find him that way (tellingly, least of all his son).

He cares not a whit for his family, except insofar as he can feel better about himself by being around them, because he's a total narcissist. And he's actually codependent on them due to his own general incompetence in typical narcissist fashion (as this season quickly demonstrates).
posted by mek at 1:06 PM on May 28, 2013 [12 favorites]


Michael doesn't have George-Michael to protect from the rest of the family anymore so now his truth Bluthiness has come to surface.
posted by cazoo at 1:07 PM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Michael coming unhinged is a great direction for the writers to take, because we've mostly seen him play off his own family, and OF COURSE he is the one that appears the most stable out of them. Think of his reactions to everyone else outside his family in the original series. He was very close to being as dumb and clueless as a Gob or a Tobias or a Lindsay.

He's just such a fish out of the water in this new season and I was really pleased to see how fresh the humor seemed.

Jason Bateman's delivery of "You ever even been on a plane, you piece of shit?" to P-hound made me laugh out really loud.

But for me, the great meta self-referencing moment that proved way early in the season (not that I needed it) that the writing team still has it?
John Krasinski as Spyder Foode: "You're not charring my tree."
posted by mysticreferee at 1:10 PM on May 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


vice: How The Internet Ruined Arrested Development
posted by ninjew at 1:10 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I also like the underlining that Micheal, who I always took to represent the hypocritical moral compass of America, being all manic and desperate and pathetic to hit home that he's really no better then the rest of his family/our fellow Americans.

Yeah, Michael is the American dream, right? In his mind he's always one step away from the Just One Thing that will make him successful and happy, but in reality (spoilers!) he's getting an online law degree, living in his kid's dorm, way over his head in debt, doing ridiculous self-promotion in inflight magazines, stuck with a bunch of worthless mcmansions in the middle of nowhere.
posted by junco at 1:10 PM on May 28, 2013 [10 favorites]


I had planned to get around to watching the original series before these new episodes came but never actually did. Add it to the list of TV series that I'm hopeless behind in my watching of.
posted by octothorpe at 1:11 PM on May 28, 2013


Of all the zillion throwaway jokes, callbacks and visual puns, I particularly enjoyed the classic SNPP crow-caw for establishing shots of Sudden Valley. Overall, a more than satisfying take on the hyper-dense sitcom.
posted by Lorin at 1:13 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Portia de Rossi looks... odd.

As far as the first Lindsey episode went, my partner is pretty sure that is all about her having short hair in real life now and bad wig placement. I can't speak for Ms. de Rossi for sure, but I do trust him on all matters having to do with bad wig placement.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:15 PM on May 28, 2013 [12 favorites]


You really gotta marathon the whole season at least twice in rapid succession to even hope to get everything that they're doing. I got bored during the first few episodes too, but once I reached the end and realized what everything had been building up to, I began rewatching the season and then those dull first few episodes became hilarious in context.
posted by Jacqueline at 1:18 PM on May 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


[ CleverPostStealer Pro Trial Version ]
posted by Senor Cardgage at 1:19 PM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


If I recall the argument correct, each memeber of the Bluth family is a different "force" in American society. Lucille with her money and diction and racism are Old Money Conservatives in a marriage George Sr, the embodiment of amoral anything-for-buck capitalism. Gob is of course, George W. Bush but also any and all spoiled, entitled rich kids who "deserve" to be put in places of power despite not knowing how to do anything, George Micheal is the hypocrtical moral compass folks, tut-tuting things and explaining how it's all wrong without ever fixing anything and content to feel superior, Lindsey was supposed to be the ineffective left, more concerns with status and image then actual politics while Tobias was the "Expert Class", the talking heads used to sell you the ideas being sold by always offering an explanation while not understanding anything (In short, a therapist who has no idea how humans behave, Hi David Brooks!). George Micheal and Maeby are the younger generation, either trying hard to be good/do good and contain the worse excesses of their family or by cynically dropping out political life altogether.
posted by The Whelk at 1:19 PM on May 28, 2013 [47 favorites]


Also, can I just say that I love that Ron Howard has a LEM in his office but, even though I know they did it for laughs, I hate that they made reference to a Moon hoax. I don't like giving those idiots any credibility at all, even if it's from a crazy comedy show.
posted by bondcliff at 1:20 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


For a series that has always rewarded repeat viewings, I've been a bit surprised by how many people have written off the new season after one.

I'm looking forward to revisiting it very soon, although in much more managed doses. Also, 2013 has been a banner year for things I wanted but never thought would happen (new albums from David Bowie and My Bloody Valentine, and now Arrested Development season 4).

Favorite moments that quickly come to mind/ SPOILERS:

Sounds of Silence
ANUSTART
Ann straight-baiting Gob and Tony Wonder
Kristin Wiig as '82 Lucille
The Church of His Eternal Ressurection (HER?)
That suckerpunch.
posted by Dr-Baa at 1:20 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think that a lot of the initial criticism is tough to gauge, since I imagine many of the critics have watched the original run multiple times. And multiple viewings is what always made the show great.

Moreso--I suspect--with the new format. I'm very interested to see if the first few episodes improve on later viewings. If you haven't seen the whole thing, trust us, it gets WAY better as it goes along.
posted by graphnerd at 1:21 PM on May 28, 2013


Really excited to find out and come back to this thread and drop a Roryesque 6 paragraph exegesis on y'all.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:22 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've been a bit surprised by how many people have written off the new season after one.

Everyone I've seen saying it's crap or whatever seems to have forgotten that hardly anyone liked the original series when it was actually on, either.
posted by junco at 1:22 PM on May 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Do your worst Rory.

Actually Roommate just started watching Season 4 again so this'll have to wait.
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:23 PM on May 28, 2013


Who is story telling the episodic stream?
posted by infini at 1:23 PM on May 28, 2013


The first several episodes seemed weird, off-kilter, and it took me at least 4 episodes or so to appreciate the new structure.

The wife and I couldn't get past episode 3. It's just...not good, and the laughs are rare. I spent most of episode 2 trying to figure out who was Oscar and who was George Sr.


It's not that it got better, it's just that it took a few eps for the recursive self-referential jokes to reach critical density. I suspect the first few eps will be on a par with the rest on a second viewing.

What's with that last tag?

You'll get it when you watch the season.

So is this something that would be better if one had seen the first three seasons? Or can I skip 9.6 GB of BitTorrenting and still appreciate this?

If you have Netflix the earlier seasons are available too. On Preview, I see that's not an option for you. I am not sure I would watch season 4 without the earlier seasons - it's the kind of series that really plays off its own history.

and I'm still not sure why her face has been completely modified. is it her character? the actress?

It's the actress. Portia de Rossi had seemingly pointless cosmetic surgery a while back. It's worth noting the show makes ironic reference to that in a number of cosmetic surgery jokes. I'm guessing she's an unusually good sport to be playing a long with them.
posted by aught at 1:24 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've only seen the first two episodes, but I do want to say: I think that having the narrator have to clear his throat on the very first line was very funny.
posted by Ipsifendus at 1:24 PM on May 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


Also, Ron Howard better get an Emmy.
posted by graphnerd at 1:24 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Everyone I've seen saying it sucks or whatever seems to have forgotten that hardly anyone liked the original series when it was actually on, either.

What? No, hardly anyone watched the original series because Fox didn't know what to do with it. Those of us who did watch it wouldn't shut up about how goddamn good it was. COME ON!
posted by bondcliff at 1:25 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh oh! and Buster is the class in love with the Old Money Conservatives whom they use as disposable pawns, promising them juice and giving them only severed hands.
posted by The Whelk at 1:25 PM on May 28, 2013 [11 favorites]


MAJOR SPOILERS!!!!!!!



So going by this analysis, what do we make of Lucille's seeming steps towards redemption at the end of her storyline? I can see exactly where Michael's and GOB's plots take them; George, Sr.'s and Oscar's changes might allegorize the claudication of the conservative Boomers and the cynical transformation of the "liberal" Boomers, and so on. Tobias running afoul of IP law plays nicely with the original take on him as an "expert" dealing in (mis)reading and (mis)information.



MAJOR SPOILERS HAVE PASSED!!!!
posted by kewb at 1:27 PM on May 28, 2013


In short AD is a bleak, pitch-black look at US politics that would be compared to The Wire if it didn't also have dick jokes and Liza Minelli.
posted by The Whelk at 1:27 PM on May 28, 2013 [16 favorites]


I'm only five episodes in, and I agree with the "hot mess" evaluation, though the incredibly odd way the storyline is progressing and folding back on itself suggests that it will really only come together upon a second or third viewing. Which I'm fine with.

I gotta say, though: Tony Hale as Buster is the funniest man alive. The smoking scene with Lucille broke my brain; I haven't laughed that hard in ten years. Not just the obvious gag of the scene, but the looseness with which he flops around, talking gibberish -- it's a freaking miracle of comedy. Chaplin and Keaton would be blown away.
posted by Fnarf at 1:28 PM on May 28, 2013 [10 favorites]


My argument makes the smoking scene an extended fracking metaphor.
posted by The Whelk at 1:30 PM on May 28, 2013 [19 favorites]


kewb> Yeah, the show has shifted tone, adapting to an America (and thus, a Bluth family) shaken up by a prolonged bust. The characters seem defined by a tone of desperate flailing against hopelessness, and their self-delusion actually starts to look like a flawed survival strategy by the end. Even the War on Terror segments in the newer episodes -- most prominent late in the season/gestalt episode -- are inflected with a level of moral horror. Everyone is in debt, or unjustly convicted, or newly morally compromised by the end, and all any of them really get is deeper in the hole. It's some pretty bleak satire.

Yes to this -- this season is the least laugh-out-loud funny of all 4, but it absolutely makes sense. If you're going to come back to the same characters several years after Season 3, then the humor in their, um, lack of personal growth (I know there's a term for this, but somehow it's escaping me right now), is going to be much darker. Pedophilia, drug addiction, the housing bubble, homelessness: it's all there. That vulture in episode 1 was more than just a cheap visual joke.

Even leaving aside the interlocking story lines and trying to figure out all of the details, I get the feeling that this season is going to be the most rewatchable of them all.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 1:30 PM on May 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Watching that I wanted to believe it was take 246 too and he'd been babbling nonsense for hours.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:30 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


hardly anyone liked the original series when it was actually on, either

Huh? It's the funniest thing that's ever been on American TV, possibly exceeded only by "The Larry Sanders Show". Which tells you something about Mr. Jeffrey Tambor.
posted by Fnarf at 1:31 PM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


In short AD is a bleak, pitch-black look at US politics that would be compared to The Wire if it didn't also have dick jokes and Liza Minelli.

So basically the question is why didn't The Wire have the guts to get Liza?
posted by shakespeherian at 1:32 PM on May 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


It was pretty unpopular at the time which tells you something about American TV also unfortunately.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:32 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


The thing about a lot of the criticisms I've heard is that I can find examples of most of them in the original series. There was always a lot of throwing things at the wall to see what sticks, and the missteps that come with it, there was always a bit that winked too hard at the audience and held its hand too obviously for every masterfully subtle bit, there were always boring subplots that wore out their welcome (Graft-versus-host, anyone?)... and then there's the really glaring "did we watch the same show all those years ago?" things like complaints about the ADR being so bad in the new show (oh god it's always been terrible).
posted by jason_steakums at 1:32 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nothing against Kristin Wiig and Seth Rogen, but getting such recognizable faces for the flashbacks was pretty jarring.
posted by ckape at 1:32 PM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


The first episode or two are a little rough--not awful, but not great either. But if you can make it to Gob's first episode your patience will be rewarded.
posted by JDHarper at 1:32 PM on May 28, 2013


aught> It's the actress. Portia de Rossi had seemingly pointless cosmetic surgery a while back. It's worth noting the show makes ironic reference to that in a number of cosmetic surgery jokes. I'm guessing she's an unusually good sport to be playing a long with them.

It's much worse in her first episode than in the later ones, for some reason. I wonder if it's the case that she had a botox or collagen injection that hadn't fully settled by the first day of filming.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 1:33 PM on May 28, 2013


Liza was on the Wire. It's kind of a professional secret but she may or may not have played, in drag, a mafia leader from a certain Mediterranean state, perhaps I've said too much.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:33 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


complaints about the ADR being so bad in the new show (oh god it's always been terrible).

Oh god there are parts in the original series I have to look away from because the ADR is so bad.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:34 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Portia de Rossi looks... odd.

First, we posted a photo of her and were told that I was dumb; that was not her, it was Christine Taylor. I have seen mislabeled photos before, and it really kind of got me thinking ... that's her ... that's not Christine Taylor ... right?

People assured me it was not Christine Taylor. So I put it to rest in my head.

And then the other night, I heard from someone who felt totally vindicated, because after actually watching this actress on television, she hoped we were all ready to apologize for doubting that it was Christine Taylor, when it was obvious that it WAS, and it was not Portia de Rossi, and it was now obvious that eventually, the show would be making a joke out of the fact that this was not actually Lindsay. She believed this, I'm saying, after watching several scenes starring Portia de Rossi.

I'm just saying, I've seen a lot of reactions to plastic surgery, but you have to really impress people to get somebody convinced you aren't you even after they watch you act.

(It was this picture.)
posted by Linda_Holmes at 1:35 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well there is the AH EVERYONE LOOKS DIFFERENT NOW -thing, I mean aside from Micheal Cera who really should've worded his wish to that genie better - Bateman in particular looks like he spent a few years in the desert, which considering his character, totally works.
posted by The Whelk at 1:35 PM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


I actually thought the super obvious bad dubbing in Season 4 was self-referential. (I'm not kidding.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:35 PM on May 28, 2013


(By the way, I don't actually know whether it's surgery or just looking really different. But she looks really different.)
posted by Linda_Holmes at 1:36 PM on May 28, 2013


I'm actually fully onboard with the "bad wig" theory for Portia now, I thought the odd thing about her was a too-high forehead in that first episode and a wig explains that.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:37 PM on May 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm going to duck back out of this thread before I read any spoilers, but if I had to sum up the new season so far in three words they'd be: 'dreamlike' 'surreal' and 'thatsnotabadthing'
posted by postcommunism at 1:37 PM on May 28, 2013


I felt like it was like a Gaddis novel turned into a TV show. Really amazing to just do that... but what else could one expect from the creator of The Ellen Show.
posted by nutate at 1:37 PM on May 28, 2013


really should've worded his wife to that genie better

lol is that a Charlyne Yi crack?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:38 PM on May 28, 2013


Damn that edit window!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:38 PM on May 28, 2013


Watching the first few was worth it just for the reference to "Halliburton Teen." I've been laughing about that off and on all day. But maybe I did myself good by not watching the series the very second it came out, or at a themed party, etc.
posted by raysmj at 1:38 PM on May 28, 2013


no! A misspelling!

I'm going with bad wig. She looked much more recognizable with the shorter do.
posted by The Whelk at 1:38 PM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


I was slightly disappointed by the first 3 episodes, but it really picked up steam after that as the setup from the first few episodes starts to pay off. Still have a few left to watch so i'm hoping it continues strong!
posted by platinum at 1:39 PM on May 28, 2013


Nothing against Kristin Wiig and Seth Rogen, but getting such recognizable faces for the flashbacks was pretty jarring.

I thought Wiig worked very well -- and in several scenes she really nails it perfectly -- but not so much Rogen.
posted by aught at 1:39 PM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Potomac Avenue> It was pretty unpopular at the time which tells you something about American TV also unfortunately.

Well, maybe. I think that Arrested Development was one of the first network TV shows to really reward rewatching, both with the subtle jokes and callbacks and with the throughlines. I can't imagine the show having been a big hit until it came out on DVDs, Netflix, and Hulu.

I hope that American network TV adapts by trading less money upfront for more streaming and DVD money, which will allow the next Arrested Developments to last longer in their first lives. But maybe those old media distribution channels are going to die no matter what.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 1:39 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rogan just looked too much like Rogan - also, not given nearly as many good lines as Young!Lucille (Grinch rhyming!)
posted by The Whelk at 1:40 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I binged, I loved loved loved it, and I was surprised to see that critical reaction was tepid. The complaints sound to me really similar to the criticisms that AD haters have always made, but they're now in the mouths of AD fans. I can't understand them at all.

My only criticism is that I think they probably opened with the wrong episode. Seeing Michael as such a failure right off the bat was sad, and it made the episode feel off-book. Also, opening with Cinco de Quatro and then flashing back made for a more confusing structure than was needed at first. It gets confusing enough. (I cannot wait to see the inevitable massive timeline image!) Especially since some of the elements in that first episode are still not explained even at the end of the series. (Why was Michael wearing that banana stand uniform at GOB's house?)

My other only criticism is: no chicken dance?!
posted by painquale at 1:40 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


A friend of mine has a pretty convincing theory about the ending that involves the banana stand. This thread might need to break out the ROT13 soon...
posted by jason_steakums at 1:42 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I still don't know what was wrong with Jessica Walter and Jeffrey Tambor playing their characters in 80s-era wigs like they did in the original run.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:43 PM on May 28, 2013


I'm 6 episodes in.. the first episode was jarring for a lot of reasons but, man, the attention to detail with the references is amazing.. down to the 2003 iMac on Michael's desk (My calendar is stuck!)
posted by starman at 1:43 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Huh? It's the funniest thing that's ever been on American TV, possibly exceeded only by "The Larry Sanders Show". Which tells you something about Mr. Jeffrey Tambor.

That may be true, but very few people watched it at the time. From the August 1, 2004, NYT: "The series finished its first season as only the 120th most popular show (88th among viewers 18 to 49), with a meager average weekly audience of 6.2 million people." And that was after Fox put it on following The Simpsons.
posted by junco at 1:43 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


raysmj: "Watching the first few was worth it just for the reference to "Halliburton Teen. "

Not that everything in the world should be marketed to death, but the fact that I can't buy a "Crude and Rude" yellow t-shirt like the Haliburton Teen is wearing on that site from a licensed-by-Netflix distributor is a serious revenue stream failure
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:43 PM on May 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


I was surprised to see that critical reaction was tepid.

With all the hype, that was inevitable. Also, I suspect many folks caught up in the hype didn't really watch the earlier seasons, or at least not very closely or faithfully. "Yeah, sure, I've seen AD, who hasn't, it's so amazing! Can't freaking wait for the new season! Whoo!" I sort of pity someone like that trying to binge through S4 and its meta-fractal-recursive whackadoo.
posted by aught at 1:44 PM on May 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


painquale> My other only criticism is: no chicken dance?!

The reference to it in the second George Michael episode was funnier than actually seeing it.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 1:44 PM on May 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


On the one hand, I wish there had been more of Barry Zuckerkorn, but on the other hand, the gags about his personal life work best when you can only see glimpses.
posted by ckape at 1:45 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


that sure was a Rob Loblow Law Bomb.
posted by The Whelk at 1:46 PM on May 28, 2013


The Zuckerkorn/Loblaw scene was fantastic. "I can't reach the chachi!"
posted by jason_steakums at 1:47 PM on May 28, 2013


On the one hand, I wish there had been more of Barry Zuckerkorn, but on the other hand, the gags about his personal life work best when you can only see glimpses.

Also, the fact that they got Fonzis kid to play him as a young lawyer is a masterstroke.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:47 PM on May 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


I can't ..feel my fingers...
posted by The Whelk at 1:48 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm really enjoying the flashbacks to the young Barry Zuckercorn. They're very good.
posted by bondcliff at 1:48 PM on May 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


I still don't know what was wrong with Jessica Walter and Jeffrey Tambor playing their characters in 80s-era wigs like they did in the original run.

Because then we would not get Kristen Wiig's pitch-perfect portrayal. The greatest thing about that portrayal was that she was obviously doing a young Lucille, but she felt a lot like Lindsay too. You really got a sense that Lindsay was Lucille's kid.

The reference to it in the second George Michael episode was funnier than actually seeing it.

There is nothing funnier than actually seeing it.
posted by painquale at 1:48 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I agree that this season is a hot mess. But it is the hottest mess.
posted by Rinku at 1:49 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fonzis kid
I knew it! Didn't even look it up, just totes called it.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:49 PM on May 28, 2013


that sure was a Rob Loblow Law Bomb.

I wonder if Baio's character helped with another sex scandal back in the 80s? A Bob Loblaw Rob Lowe Low Blow Law Bomb, if you will.
posted by kewb at 1:50 PM on May 28, 2013 [12 favorites]


My reaction so far (3 episodes in) is exactly the same as during the first season's debut. Cute but not immediately hysterical. It took about 4 years of my wife falling on the floor watching reruns before I gave it a fair shake. So yes, as good as the original.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:51 PM on May 28, 2013


It picked up for me and fell into place around ep 7. I still have three more to watch tonight.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 1:51 PM on May 28, 2013


bondcliff: "I'm really enjoying the flashbacks to the young Barry Zuckercorn. They're very good."

Yes, I didn't start the weekend thinking a find of Season 4 Arrested Development would be Max Winkler (who, because I am a stalker once somebody entertains me, directed 3 of the best episodes of New Girl last season "Winston's Birthday", "Tinfinity", and "Cooler" -- which is really only interesting if you think of it as one of the spiritual successors of Arrested Development -- packed densely with jokes, sometimes not at all the show you thought it was going to be, highly self-referential, and directed within an inch of its life so it's almost always seems like it is going to completely fall off the rails.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:53 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know if you noticed, but the judge's name was Kornzucker. And was played by Bernie Kopell, Doc Bricker on "The Love Boat". The casting is spectacular all around.
posted by Fnarf at 1:54 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


So what's the policy on spoilers? Can we talk about the show openly, or do we have to turn this in to a CIA (ahem...) document of redacted information and irritating ROT13 encrypted stuff?
posted by codacorolla at 1:58 PM on May 28, 2013


(I mean seriously. "Whew! I thought that was a real guy!")
posted by JDHarper at 1:59 PM on May 28, 2013


One of the criticisms I've seen a lot regarding the first episode is Michael jumping into the shower with George Michael, oblivious to the uncomfortableness, which is supposedly out of character. To which I say: "Are you too old to sit on your pop's lap and drive?"
posted by jason_steakums at 1:59 PM on May 28, 2013 [13 favorites]


I'm really enjoying the flashbacks to the young Barry Zuckercorn.

yeah, that guy was spot-on!
posted by MoxieProxy at 2:02 PM on May 28, 2013


what is ROT13??
posted by MoxieProxy at 2:03 PM on May 28, 2013


Also, I loved that Michael still doesn't know the word "hermano".
posted by jason_steakums at 2:04 PM on May 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Does the Corn Baller drop in for a cameo?
posted by drezdn at 2:04 PM on May 28, 2013


ROT13 is a simple way to encrypt text which just shifts everything by 13 characters - for example, every A becomes N and so on. It's a way to hide spoilers in forums that don't have spoiler tags, and you can easily put stuff in to plain text with a translator, like this one.
posted by codacorolla at 2:06 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


> "Does the Corn Baller drop in for a cameo?"

In a repurposed sort of way, yes.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:06 PM on May 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


And there's a kinda subtle Cornballer reference at the end of the first episode.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:08 PM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ah, I miss the days of text-only readers that let you encode and decode ROT13 with a keystroke. Furrfu!
posted by Fnarf at 2:09 PM on May 28, 2013


The line between language poetry and cryptography blurs ever further.
posted by kewb at 2:10 PM on May 28, 2013


AH EVERYONE LOOKS DIFFERENT NOW -thing, I mean aside from Micheal Cera

That's cuz everyone's train pulls into Cuteness Station when they are in their teens, but that doesn't mean some of us arent stuck on a course for Fyvush Finkel Junction that—wish as we might—we are powerless to get off of.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 2:10 PM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


There's at least one big big mystery left open at the end of the season. I'm hoping that it'll turn out that there are clues littered throughout background shots of the Cinco de Quatro festival that will let viewers crack the case.
posted by painquale at 2:10 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


jason_steakums> One of the criticisms I've seen a lot regarding the first episode is Michael jumping into the shower with George Michael, oblivious to the uncomfortableness, which is supposedly out of character. To which I say: "Are you too old to sit on your pop's lap and drive?"

In the old episodes, that was the show's way of saying that Michael hadn't come to terms with his son growing up. In these episodes, it's part of an arc that makes it clear that Michael hasn't come to terms with his own aging. Hurwitz is only just barely pulling his punches this season.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 2:11 PM on May 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


I love it. I'm on episode 10, will probably finish it all tonight. The recursive plot structure reminds me of one of my favorite books (Cigarettes by Harry Mathews), in which each chapter is primarily about the interactions between two main characters - all other characters are either muted or left unnamed, until they get their own chapters and the plot intricacies slowly starts to reveal.

This season has some damn good writing. I loved the first three seasons, but on rewatching them last month I noticed how some of the plots and subplots felt just a little too slapped together to really be fully enjoyed.
posted by hopeless romantique at 2:14 PM on May 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Ok, some ROT13 regarding a theory on the ending:

Zl sevraq'f gurbel ba gur Yhpvyyr Nhfgreb zlfgrel: Yhpvyyr Oyhgu, Fnyyl Fvgjryy, Ureoreg Ybir be fbzrbar ryfr uverq Trar Cnezrfna gb xvyy ure. Ur jnf frra ohlvat n xavsr jura Tbo & Zvpunry ohfgrq guebhtu gur jnyy va gurve svtug, naq ur unq bccbeghavgl gb fcvxr ure Qbaxrl Chapu ng Pvapb qr Dhngeb, juvpu pbhyq unir chfurq ure iregvtb vagb bireqevir naq pnhfrq n snyy qbja gur fgnve pne. Ure chapu fcvyyf ba gur fgnvef ng fbzr cbvag, fb vg'f abg oybbq - abgr Ohfgre gnfgvat vg. Zvpunry jnf nebhaq, naq ng fbzr cbvag fnirf ure ol uvqvat ure naq cebgrpgvat ure va gur onanan fgnaq, juvpu vf jul ur'f va gung fuveg. Ohg ur sbetrgf gur ragver guvat jura TBO qehtf uvz.

I need to rewatch again to see how plausible this is, but I like the theory.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:20 PM on May 28, 2013 [15 favorites]


Ooh, that is a great theory.
posted by painquale at 2:23 PM on May 28, 2013


I love the idea of Yvaqfnl genafsbezvat vagb n evtug jvat qneyvat yvxr Zvpuryyr Onpuzna jvgu Gbovnf nf ure Znephf. Please make this a thing.
posted by wobh at 2:23 PM on May 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Oh, I forgot my favorite part of his theory! Znegva Zhyy cynlf Pbybary Zhfgneq va Pyhr. TBO naq Gbovnf jrer rngvat Cnezrfna naq Zhfgneq.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:24 PM on May 28, 2013 [16 favorites]


Yeah, I saw reference to that elsewhere on the internet and thought it was pretty great. I'm not sure it provides evidence for the theory though.
posted by painquale at 2:30 PM on May 28, 2013


I can't wait to re-watch it, but I also need a break. Great story telling, which was always the biggest draw for me. This season is definitely not as funny, but they way the look at a few events from many angles paid off for me a lot.

The second draw was its cultural/political commentary. This season has it, but it doesn't feel as interesting. I think the Iraq War stuff from the original was so very unique for its time, while immigration commentary in this season doesn't bring a lot to the table.

@mek: I have gotten into many arguments about Michael being an amazing unreliable narrator due to his selfish and nutzo moments being downplayed all the time. Then someone reminded me that Michael isn't quite the narrator of the show, which complicated my point. You're the first person I've seen just outright agree with me! Thanks!
posted by lownote at 2:30 PM on May 28, 2013


Can we just get Community moved over to Netflix with Harmon at the helm? I'd love to see his take on ambitious storytelling at this level.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:35 PM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


jason_steakums> Can we just get Community moved over to Netflix with Harmon at the helm?

Well, it may just happen that Harmon returns without the show moving from NBC.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 2:40 PM on May 28, 2013


jason_steakums: "Can we just get Community moved over to Netflix with Harmon at the helm? I'd love to see his take on ambitious storytelling at this level."

I am certainly be intrigued by this idea but I also have a LOT to say about that later -- and at risk of getting my MetaFilter TV cred taken away from me, spoiler: a lot of it wouldn't be that positive towards Harmon.

Hurwitz, when faced with constraints due to funding/time/external pressures seems to have used those things to his advantage. Harmon... does not.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:41 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Did anyone else notice the Dan Harmon cameo in AD s4?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:42 PM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Was that in the same ep as the Eddie Pepitone cameo? Because yes and I squealed with delight.
posted by Lorin at 2:45 PM on May 28, 2013


Regarding the mystery of the ending:

Jul qbrf Yhpvyyr Gjb frrzvatyl qvfnccrne va sebag bs Ohfgre'f rlrf (naq znlor qhevat gur frphevgl pnzren sbbgntr gbb, V thrff)? Gung'f gur cneg gung V qba'g haqrefgnaq.
posted by EmGeeJay at 2:46 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Very good point, MCMike. One of the things I love most about this season of AD is how it worked within its constraints, it's engineered like a mid-range classic car - you can see the compromises, but there's an elegance or at least respectable ingenuity in the way they were made. And yeah, Harmon might not do as well working like that.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:47 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Someone I know was planning a viewing party and asked on Facebook for food recommendations. Mayonegg, martinis, and hot ham water, obviously... but this season gave a whole bunch of new options. Mustard and parmesan, roast duck, donkey punch, Red Vines, maca root, butter, cracker pie, uncooked noodles, vodka purses....
posted by painquale at 2:48 PM on May 28, 2013


I've seen all but the last two episodes. I didn't binge watch, but would watch it between episodes of Veronica Mars. I'm not sure if that had any effect.

This is...different. I need time to process it and maybe rewatch it at some point. But I can see why Hurwitz advised against binge watching.

I will say, though, that Maeby has become my favorite character in the series. Also, I found myself really wanting Tony/GOB to be a thing, and I haven't shipped anything since high school. (Although, I do have two eps left to go.)
posted by bookwibble at 2:52 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


My criticism: it seems like they are spending too much time overlapping. I have half a feeling of "we get it, can you move on?" And the deal where no one is in the same room at the same time might be intentional, or meta, but it makes me uncomfortable. It's not funny enough to be a good joke, and it isn't executed well enough to cover for casting non-availabilities. Kristen Wiig = awesome. Seth Rogan = waste of time. Portia De Rossi = looks awesome with the short hair, I'm really glad the weird wig look was not real. Also, the Mary Lynn Rajskub character and the way they did the graphics, were subtle and hilarious.

Also, and this might be the least consequential spoiler in the history of TV and the internet, but almost the entire cast of the TV show Outsourced were featured at one point.
posted by gjc at 3:03 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, Workaholics. Continual Kudos for that Scene forever.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:07 PM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Dear All Y'all ROT-13ing the Spoilers: THANK YOU!

Due to work and other commitments, I was not able to mainline the whole season, I'm only halfway through. I appreciate the consideration for those of us not yet finished!
posted by MissySedai at 3:08 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Does the Corn Baller drop in for a cameo?

Yes, with perfect timing.

(you see what I did there? huh? did you?)
posted by MoxieProxy at 3:11 PM on May 28, 2013 [15 favorites]


I love all the John Beard stuff. It's extra funny if you know he's quit several L.A. news anchor jobs because he felt there was getting to be too much celebrity fluff, so now he does the local news in Buffalo.

(Is it possible he's the only character in every episode of this season?)
posted by Sys Rq at 3:11 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, also, this came up in the old thread, but it's worth mentioning: George Maharis.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:15 PM on May 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Has anyone put together a comprehensive timeline yet? That's one chart I'm eager to see.

I enjoyed my binge-watch (and plan to rewatch in a more leisurely manner later), but I got a bit lost in trying to keep track of all the who-when-where stuff. Not a complaint, because I enjoyed the way layered the season was written, once I understood the format. But the "moments later and earlier" caption in ep 13 made me laugh in a meta way, because by that time I'd given up on trying to keep track of timelines.

And I'm relieved to know I'm not the only one who was unsure of why Lindsey looked different. I thought it was the wig, too, at first -- but I'm convinced it's her eyes. Although, the OMG THEY LOOK DIFFERENT SOMEHOW was immediately apparent for everyone since I'd spent the week prior doing a binge-watch of the first three seasons. (I will say, though, Liza looks amazing in season 4.)
posted by paisley sheep at 3:15 PM on May 28, 2013


I'm pretty sure the joke with Seth Rogen is that they open the show off with a celebrity superstar cameo and then have him not even bother to try acting. Something about how deadpan bad he is is really hilarious.
posted by Rory Marinich at 3:15 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Lindsey looks much more like the old Lindsey when she has the short hair, so I am on board with that bad wig idea.

Speaking of aging poorly, how about Steve Holt!
posted by smackfu at 3:16 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I DID NOT RECOGNIZE STEVE HOLT EVEN A LITTLE BIT
posted by shakespeherian at 3:17 PM on May 28, 2013 [10 favorites]


ARVGURE QVQ TBO.
posted by elsietheeel at 3:18 PM on May 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


As an arts critic, I am literally unwilling to tackle this at the moment. The show was about five minutes into the future when it came out -- its endless in-jokes were best enjoyed if you TiVod the show and watched it repeatedly. This version actually seems intended for binge viewing followed by repeated viewings, and expands on the third season's conceit, in which the show was also a metacommentary on the show. This version is not just a metacommentary, but also, in some ways, fan fiction about the first show.

Trying to criticize this show after one viewing is like offering a response to Ulysseses after skimming the book. I don't know if doing so will produce anything of value. I'm not even sure I will understand what's being done with this show for a few years.

I do sort of think this may be what the future looks like.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:19 PM on May 28, 2013 [11 favorites]


smackfu> Speaking of aging poorly, how about Steve Holt!

Perhaps not coincidentally, he's the only character that managed to grow up in the intervening years.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 3:19 PM on May 28, 2013 [12 favorites]


The future is one bleak manic disaster after another?

I can see it.
posted by The Whelk at 3:20 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wanted more Buster. But other than that, I liked the season, which I totally binged on, and will rewatch in more individually-sized servings. Loved the Maeby storylines, and among the non-Bluths, I was very happy with Lucille 2, Sally Sitwell, Ann (her?), and Tony Wonder.
posted by julen at 3:20 PM on May 28, 2013


fan fiction about the first show.

I mean so were a lot of earlier seasons too in many ways, especially all the cancellation jokes.

I don't find the show bleak at all, I find it joyous. Do you find Bugs and Daffy bleak? Don't answer that.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:21 PM on May 28, 2013


I do sort of think this may be what the future looks like.

Yeah the AV Club review made a pretty solid point about this, that seven years out from here there will be an enormous media landscape with this thing as its clear forebear.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:21 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Perhaps not coincidentally, he's the only character that has managed to grow up in the intervening years.

Remember, though, he was a senior in high school for a lot of years. (It runs in the family.)
posted by Sys Rq at 3:22 PM on May 28, 2013


forebear

Rar!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:22 PM on May 28, 2013


I think there's a near-confirmation of the Tobias is black theory when Lindsay says that Herbert Love reminds her of Tobias when they first started dating.
posted by elsietheeel at 3:25 PM on May 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Bear claw! Raaar!
posted by The Whelk at 3:25 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm probably going to confirm some of your worst theories here, but I have to say that I never enjoyed a moment of the original Arrested Development - I'm not even sure why it's supposed to be funny.

There are also some mannerisms in the original production that turn me off - particularly the relentless use of deliberately extra-shaky hand-held cameras.

What's that all about anyway? It kept shaking me out of any suspension of disbelief I might have had - "Wait, is this a fake documentary? No, guess not. So, who's running the camera?"

But my main objection is that, rather like Seinfeld, I didn't like any of the characters. Now everyone tells me that's the point - but where's the fun in that?

Glad it came back for y'all...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:25 PM on May 28, 2013


I think there's a near-confirmation of the Tobias is black theory when Lindsay says that Herbert Love reminds her of Tobias when they first started dating.

Having recently shotgunned the first three seasons over three days, I can confirm that this is in fact a runner, although not as prominent as many others on the show. But I'd put its frequency up there with Lupe-Wears-Hand-Me-Down-Sweatshirts-From-Two-Holidays-Ago.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:27 PM on May 28, 2013


I'm probably going to confirm some of your worst theories here, but I have to say that I never enjoyed a moment of the original Arrested Development - I'm not even sure why it's supposed to be funny.

I'm never one to tell somebody that their personal tastes are wrong and should be reconsidered.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:30 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's funny, I loathe Seinfeld, if only for the smirking main character and the idea were supposed to sympathize with this doofus.

Everyone on AD is ragingly monsterous, so you can watch them destory each other with glee. It's like Ab Fab, and you see why it's spiritual successor is Archer, everyone everyone is both over the top and Gleefully, passionately horrible. It's delightful how much they enjoy being awful.
posted by The Whelk at 3:30 PM on May 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


Curb Your Enthusiasm is a much better distillation of the Seinfeld concept.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:31 PM on May 28, 2013


My favorite quote from this season:

George Sr.: How many Mongolians did we hire?
GOB: We hired a horde. You can't get anything smaller than a horde.
posted by bendy at 3:33 PM on May 28, 2013 [17 favorites]


Curb Your Enthusiasm is a much better distillation of the Seinfeld concept.

Yeah but Larry David makes me extremely uncomfortable for some reason. Like I don't like looking at his face for any length of time.
posted by The Whelk at 3:40 PM on May 28, 2013


What's that all about anyway? It kept shaking me out of any suspension of disbelief I might have had - "Wait, is this a fake documentary? No, guess not. So, who's running the camera?"

In all honesty, I think that's (possibly the only?) element of the show that's already very dated. The idea being This Is Different than everything else on TV.
posted by graphnerd at 3:48 PM on May 28, 2013


Jura V fnj gur funzna, fbzrguvat frrzrq "bss" naq V xrcg pbafvqrevat juvpu pnfg zrzoref vg pbhyq or va qvfthvfr, qvfzvffvat gurz nyy va ghea, vapyhqvat Znrol. Jubbcf!
posted by jason_steakums at 3:52 PM on May 28, 2013


It's got steadier camerawork then most " hand held conceit" shows
posted by The Whelk at 3:53 PM on May 28, 2013


Hands-down my favorite one-liner: "Znxr zr pel!" "Lbh'er n greevoyr zbgure!"
posted by jason_steakums at 3:59 PM on May 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


So the show was canceled, how long ago? And then they brought it back after everyone had moved on with their careers. I doubt this is the way the writers wanted to have the 4th season but if you can only get Cera for a 3 day filming session, for example there ya go.

Didn't think the first three seasons were funny, and it seems that after so many years no one else does either.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 4:03 PM on May 28, 2013


Thank you for your vital input.
posted by The Whelk at 4:07 PM on May 28, 2013 [27 favorites]


I've probably watched every episode from the original series in the high double or low triple digits, so I consider myself a fan. Not a superfan, perhaps, although probably not far off either.

I think Mitch Hurwtiz (and Bateman too, actually) both noted that this "season" is actually the first act of a movie, or something like that, and it really shows. We start from a thematic and emotional point of complete fracture, disintegration, confusion; even degradation, for the characters, which was honestly a little upsetting for me. We don't really want to see these people fail, or be mistreated, or flounder too badly in life: their almost-failures and cute disasters help to establish the distance between comedy and tragedy, and help the audience know which is supposed to be happening. The wit of the writers is exceedingly sharp and dark, and that's only transcendently funny when it's deployed with a delayed but ultimately unbreakable commitment to the characters' basic worth, decency, and the nobility of their love for each other; the comedy in the original show comes from the characters not understanding themselves, others, and the world around them, and thus sometimes not knowing what their own true worth or competence or value is, or wanting it to be something else. But they can't be too degraded or the feeling is totally off, for me. Maybe I should just stick to the old series, in a somewhat unfortunate recapitulation of the show's title...
posted by clockzero at 4:10 PM on May 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


George Maharis.

While that link mentions that George Maharis was arrested for "public indecency" (which is funny given the reason that George Michael hates his name), it doesn't mention the name of the man he was caught with, which is... oh, perfect.
posted by painquale at 4:11 PM on May 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


Oh, perfect indeed :)
posted by jason_steakums at 4:15 PM on May 28, 2013


I doubt this is the way the writers wanted to have the 4th season but if you can only get Cera for a 3 day filming session, for example there ya go.

I'm not sure this was exactly a problem for every actor -- cera _was_ one of the writers for the season.
posted by advil at 4:20 PM on May 28, 2013


@jason_steakums, re that ending theory: Pbhyq vg unir orra Trar Cnezrfna jub jrag vagb gur fubc nsgre TBO obhtug uvf sbetrg-zr-abjf? Znlor Trar jnf ohlvat fbzr bs uvf bja?
posted by old_growler at 4:24 PM on May 28, 2013


old_growler, V gubhtug gung jnf Trbetr Fe.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:26 PM on May 28, 2013


...bs pbhefr, ur VF n znfgre bs qvfthvfr.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:26 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I had the same reaction progression as many: was a bit disappointed by the first couple episodes, but soon realized how incredible it was getting. Love the experimental pseudo-parallelism perspective.

Totally lost it during Gob's first episode, especially for "And As It Is Such, So Also As Such Is It Unto You"
posted by captain cosine at 4:28 PM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's fun to read ROT13 out loud.
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:28 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bu, naq jub fnobgntrq TBO'f rfpncr jvgu gur pebff wnzzrq vagb gur gval qbbe? Unir gb tb onpx naq frr jub jnf jrnevat n pebff naq gura jnfa'g.
posted by old_growler at 4:30 PM on May 28, 2013


Cnfgbe Irny! V guvax. V arrq gb erjngpu naq frr ubj sne ur tbrf vagb gur pnir.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:31 PM on May 28, 2013


Bar bs zl sevraqf erzvaqrq zr gung Znrol erznexrq ba Naa'f ybjrepnfr G arpxynpr va na rneyvre frnfba, ohg lrf, gung'f bar bs gur fprarf V jnag gb tb onpx naq erjngpu.
posted by ckape at 4:33 PM on May 28, 2013


I love how ridiculous this plot can get from here due to the fact that we have Trbetr naq Bfpne fjvgpuvat ebyrf zber guna rire, yvsryvxr zntvpvna znfxf naq gur pbaprcg bs gur Ebbsvr Pvepyr abj.

Another theory from the same friend! He's been texting me this stuff all day: Erory vf npghnyyl gur qnhtugre bs Eba Ubjneq naq Genpl Oyhgu (fur ybbxf whfg yvxr ure!).
posted by jason_steakums at 4:38 PM on May 28, 2013


V unqa'g pbafvqrerq gur Cnfgbe! Naa frrzrq yvxr gur zbfg yvxryl phycevg, ohg V qvqa'g rknpgyl haqrefgnaq ure zbgvingvba. Lrf, Znrol nfxrq va n cerivbhf rcvfbqr jurer fur pbhyq trg n G arpxynpr yvxr Naa'f. ("Vg'f n pebff." "Npebff sebz jurer?")

Erory orvat Genpl'f qnhtugre vf vagrerfgvat. Gung'q znxr Trbetr Zvpunry or va lrg nabgure vaprfghbhf eryngvbafuvc. V jnf ernyyl fhecevfrq gung gurl fubjrq n ivqrb bs Genpl.

Naq lrnu, gung jnf Trbetr Fe. tbvat vagb gur obqrtn nsgre TBO yrsg. Ur jnf ohlvat zntnmvarf sbe uvf gevc gb gur Vzntvat Pragre.
posted by painquale at 4:45 PM on May 28, 2013


It's like this entire thread had a stroke.
posted by The Whelk at 4:49 PM on May 28, 2013 [25 favorites]


Ah, right. Thanks, @painquale.
posted by old_growler at 4:49 PM on May 28, 2013


Question:

Bxnl, qbrf Ohfgre fnl fbzrguvat yvxr, "Bu, V'z va gur zbivr!" evtug nsgre Yhpvryyr2 qvfnccrnef ba gur fgnvef?? Jung qbrf ur fnl, vs abg gung?
posted by MoxieProxy at 4:49 PM on May 28, 2013


I wonder what the traffic statistics for rot13.com are going to look like for this week...
posted by midmarch snowman at 4:52 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


spoiler: Snape kills Kitty.
posted by The Whelk at 4:53 PM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


MoxieProxy, closed captioning reveals that you're right. But I think he just says that because ur ernyvmrf ur'f orvat svyzrq.
posted by painquale at 4:54 PM on May 28, 2013


BX, V qba'g unir nal gurbevrf gb vzcneg be nalguvat, V whfg jnagrq gb trg va ba gur pbby EBG13 npgvba.
posted by Fnarf at 4:57 PM on May 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


Moxie: I was pretty tired during the second half of the season but it could be vg jnf n zrgn ersrerapr jurer Ohfgre'f punenpgre erpbtavmrf gung fvapr uvf cybg nep vf yrsg haerfbyirq ng gur raq bs gur frnfba, be fvapr ur'f tbvat gb or vaibyirq va gur gevny sbe Yhpvyyr2'f zheqre/qvfnccrnenapr, ur'f thnenagrrq n fcbg va gur (nffhzrq) hcpbzvat NeeQri Zbivr.
posted by midmarch snowman at 4:57 PM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's like this entire thread had a stroke.

It makes the entire thread essentially unreadable. In fact, this has come up before and the issue of using rot13 for spoilers was previously discussed in MeTa.
posted by xchmp at 4:59 PM on May 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


V svther Cnfgbe Irny unf gur orggre bccbeghavgl, ohg ol qrzrnabe Naa vf gur bar zber yvxryl gb fnobgntr, vs bayl orpnhfr fur'f fcrag gbb zhpu gvzr nebhaq Oyhguf.
posted by ckape at 4:59 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


but it could be vg jnf n zrgn ersrerapr jurer Ohfgre'f punenpgre erpbtavmrf gung fvapr uvf cybg nep vf yrsg haerfbyirq ng gur raq bs gur frnfba, be fvapr ur'f tbvat gb or vaibyirq va gur gevny sbe Yhpvyyr2'f zheqre/qvfnccrnenapr, ur'f thnenagrrq n fcbg va gur (nffhzrq) hcpbzvat NeeQri Zbivr.

I shpxvat love that!! I hope that's it. I was thinking it was some sort of pre-call-back (foreshadowing? set-up?).
posted by MoxieProxy at 5:00 PM on May 28, 2013


Weird, I really like the new series, and I'm now up to episode 9 or 10. It took a few episodes for the construct to become clear, that they were playing with timelines and the thing turned into one mega episode of every character's perspective. It reminds me of the episodes of Community when the roll the die for different scenarios.

For people that watched all 15 episodes, did they run out of characters to focus on? Are the last few episodes moving the timeline forward or is it rehashing events through all 15 from each character's perspective?
posted by mathowie at 5:02 PM on May 28, 2013


I thought the show was just fine. It's not the same as the original seasons. It can't be. The format and pacing has to change as a result of budget and writing concerns. So it's a little longer, it's not as snappy, and there are scenes that kinda meander.

That said, the acting is still on point, I still laughed hard (several times) at every episode, and I was just glad to see everyone back and seemingly having a good time.

I'll call this a success, easily the best TV revival in recent memory, and I hope they iron out the kinks for the next season/movie/whatever.
posted by HostBryan at 5:02 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


[Folks, it's probably best to trust people who don't want to read AD spoilers to make the effort themselves to avoid the thread explicitly about the new AD season, and just carry on discussing stuff in plain text; making everybody run portions of a lot of comments through rot13 creates some serious extra friction in the thread.]
posted by cortex at 5:05 PM on May 28, 2013 [13 favorites]



It makes the entire thread essentially unreadable. In fact, this has come up before and the issue of using rot13 for spoilers was previously discussed in MeTa.


Thanks for the link, xchmp.

Yeah, the unfortunate by-product of this "release everything at once" distribution model is there is a wide disparity between where people are in their progress through the current season. Even though it's only been out for a few days, it seems like most people are half way through, a chunk have finished it, and if you want to discuss it with people who are also fans you really have no choice but to binge.

Perhaps Reddit is the better location for spoiler discussions and fan theories (they already have a ton of threads about Season 4). We can keep this place spoiler (and ROT13) free, so we all have one nice, non gibberish-laden place to share our excitement for ArrDev finally being here.

edit: or what cortex said
posted by midmarch snowman at 5:07 PM on May 28, 2013


Thanks for the ROT13 heads up! I've seen it in many threads before but somehow missed the push against it and towards just dumping spoilers in plaintext, let the user beware. Tried to err on the side of caution.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:10 PM on May 28, 2013


They really need to make a movie or another season, if only because I didn't get the ending that I wanted: a post-credits stinger of Kitty looking straight into the camera and saying "Say good by to THESE!"
posted by ckape at 5:10 PM on May 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


OK, how about using abbr tags? It's no good for people using touch devices, but might be better than nothing.

So, I just noticed something mysterious. MOUSEOVER FOR SPOILER.
posted by painquale at 5:14 PM on May 28, 2013


All 4 seasons were leading up to that last scene, he's had it coming since day 1.

Portia had the bags under her eyes removed and probably her forehead botoxed/lifted.
posted by Mick at 5:26 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Matt, it was brought up in the other open ArrDev thread that this was similar to the structure of Rashomon, except that in Rashomon the different stories are contradictory to each other instead of reveal additional facets of eachother. In addition to the community episode, there's also a HIMYM episode ("Burning Beekeeper") and two Always Sunny episodes ("Who Pooped the Bed" and "Who Got Dee Pregnant"), but there are probably countless other examples.

I originally commented that it was interesting how they were doing a Rashomon style over the entire season, ( with one major over-arching plot device arguably adding to the tension of the whole season feeling kinda like a single movie). But in retrospect it's arguable more impressive that they used this structure to compensate for the fact that they there were so many irreconcilable scheduling conflicts among the actors. If you notice the main scenes that get repeated are really the only scenes where the entire ensemble are together, and they are only in three different settings (when Lucille is arrested after returning with the QM, when everyone is in Lucille's apartment the "last" time Micheal tells everyone he's forsaking the family, and the Cinco de cuatro celebration).

By revealing additional features of the scene each time, they stay relatively fresh each episode, and also the fact that most characters are absent from each episode is less noticeable because we get to seem them when something is revealed from one of those "main events." Pretty slick.
posted by midmarch snowman at 5:26 PM on May 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Still a little sad about the lack of Franklin.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:29 PM on May 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Also, they repeat a couple characters (Micheal, George Micheal and...George Sr?) in general by dealing with subplots that are less connected to Cinco de cuatro.... and some repetition... i think, second half of the season still kinda sketchy... I was tired.
posted by midmarch snowman at 5:30 PM on May 28, 2013


Tobias and GOB being legitimate friends when everyone else is away was one of my favorite scenes. Geez, so many things to unpack after marathoning this show, every time I think of one a dozen more come back to me.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:33 PM on May 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


I just finished this show and I gotta say, it was amazing.
posted by rebent at 5:43 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]



Still a little sad about the lack of Franklin.

Actually, I was pretty damn happy that they choose not to resurrect every running joke from Seasons 1-3. There was one gag that was referenced some but only indirectly, that I appreciated the restraint. Some of the ArrDev in-jokes were getting kinda onerous and it gets to the point where repeatedly bringing them out counts more as fan service than being clever or referential.

There are some other gags that I'm glad didn't get trotted out for no reason....
posted by midmarch snowman at 5:43 PM on May 28, 2013


junco: "Am I the only one that thinks it's better than the original series at times? Maybe not on average, but there are some heights of hilarity in the new series that surpass any of the gags in the original run (excepting maybe Tobias and George Michael's inadvertent destruction of Tiny Town.)"

Totally loved season 4 from the first episode on. I agree, thought in some ways it was better than seasons 1-3, but it wouldn't have made any sense without them. I especially loved the fact that each episode was 30 minutes with no advertising, in contrast to the standard network television sitcom 22 minute time, which has been gradually reduced over the years to allow for more commercials.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:43 PM on May 28, 2013


midmarch snowman: "There was one gag that was referenced some but only indirectly"

Not just one ... Her?
posted by krinklyfig at 5:44 PM on May 28, 2013


Actually, I was pretty damn happy that they choose not to resurrect every running joke from Seasons 1-3.

Me too, it's just that we've all got our preferences for which jokes they should have left out and which they should have brought back :) I'd trade Franklin for Mr. F or sad Snoopy walk.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:45 PM on May 28, 2013


Haha, yeah that too Kirnkly.

Though, to be fair, although it was indirectly referenced, they did use 30 foot tall letters..
posted by midmarch snowman at 5:46 PM on May 28, 2013


One dropped joke I loved was the switch from "I've made a huge mistake" to "The Sound of Silence". So good. And the way they got all possible mileage of out "Shou.. shou.. should the guy in the... sh! shou! shshhshh!" in one go. Actually, a good portion of the old jokes only came back with another angle, which was really appreciated.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:50 PM on May 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


This guy's been collecting a list of some of the subtler jokes and references: 1, 2. There are some really great nuggets in there! Also, for people wondering about that weird disappearance at the end of the Cinco festival: video time stamps are important.

Midmarch snowman, Tobias did say that he blue himself. He apologized to some guy for making a mess in the bathroom because it was the first time he blue himself in five years.
posted by painquale at 6:09 PM on May 28, 2013 [16 favorites]


What is this obsession people have with having contemporaneous discussions of television shows with thousands of other people via the internet? I watched The Wire on DVD well after it aired and didn't feel any poorer for the lack of online interaction and AV Club reviews. Given the density of the material I was happy that I was able to watch it at my own pace without having to remember what happened a week ago (generally watched an episode every 1-2 days).

Controlling the speed at which you wish to watch a show is an overwhelmingly good thing. I doubt I would have continued watching House of Cards week to week for three months.
posted by smithsmith at 6:10 PM on May 28, 2013


What is this obsession people have with having contemporaneous discussions of television shows with thousands of other people via the internet?

What a weird question. Do you not like having conversations about things that you're enthused about?
posted by painquale at 6:13 PM on May 28, 2013 [9 favorites]


Read that quote again (the keyword is contemporaneous). I don't believe the content needs to have necessarily just been released in order to undertake meaningful and enthusiastic discussion of that material.
posted by smithsmith at 6:34 PM on May 28, 2013


This guy's been collecting a list of some of the subtler jokes and references: 1, 2.

Nice! He picked up on a lot I missed, and now I'm proud of at least one I caught that he didn't. Michael in the Street View car: "I'm actually working in high (tall) tech. But it does collide with real estate." (immediately takes out a sign with the tall camera)
posted by jason_steakums at 6:37 PM on May 28, 2013


Read that quote again (the keyword is contemporaneous). I don't believe the content needs to have necessarily just been released in order to undertake meaningful and enthusiastic discussion of that material.

It does facilitate it. Someone watching the shows six months from now will have a harder time finding enthusiastic online discussions. You didn't write, in your quote, that you value meaningful online conversations and that you find it easy have them long after a show's release -- quite the opposite, you wrote that you lacked online interaction after watching The Wire but that you didn't feel poorer for lacking interaction. For people who value the online interaction, there's some value to getting on board early.
posted by painquale at 6:54 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


This exchange from episode 12? MIND = BLOWN.

Maebe: With a litle help from a wealthy benefactor, Lucille 2.
George Michael: Oh, Gangie.
Maebe: No, Lucille 2. Austero?
George Michael: I don't know who that is.
Maebe: You don't?
George Michael: I never met the woman.


"Oh, also, this came up in the old thread, but it's worth mentioning: George Maharis."

Ron Howard's narration in that scene: And that's how George Michael finally got that new name. It felt like a good fit: strong, rugged, untainted.

On preview:

I watched The Wire on DVD well after it aired and didn't feel any poorer for the lack of online interaction and AV Club reviews.

A couple of years ago I finally watched The Sopranos, a decade after the show ended, and I was bummed there was no one who wanted to talk about the show anymore. I didn't feel the same way when I watched The Wire. Some shows are water cooler shows, but most are not.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:55 PM on May 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Steve Holt!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 6:59 PM on May 28, 2013


painquale: "This guy's been collecting a list of some of the subtler jokes and references: 1, 2.

Here we go:

George Michael changes his name to avoid comparisons to the singer and rejects a new nickname (Boy George) for the same reason. His biggest impetus is those singers being caught soliciting sex in bathrooms. He changes his name to George Maharis, which is the name of a singer who got caught soliciting sex in a bathroom from a man named…Perfecto Telles.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:01 PM on May 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


This exchange from episode 12? MIND = BLOWN.

Yeah, that was surprising! In the season 3 finale, they put in a scene with Maeby and Buster talking to one another, because the two had never done so on screen. I thought that was the last of the major missing interactions.
posted by painquale at 7:01 PM on May 28, 2013


I'm straining to recall interactions between George Sr. and Maebe.
posted by kewb at 7:06 PM on May 28, 2013


A couple of years ago I finally watched The Sopranos, a decade after the show ended, and I was bummed there was no one who wanted to talk about the show anymore. I didn't feel the same way when I watched The Wire. Some shows are water cooler shows, but most are not.

Me personally? I would've appreciated a 500% increase in conversations about Omar Little when I was watching the Wire this winter. Sadly most of my friends finished the Wire years ago and weren't able to offer more than "Omar? Yeah, he comin" which was disappointing. Thankfully there are so many Omar references on other TV shows.
posted by midmarch snowman at 7:08 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm straining to recall interactions between George Sr. and Maebe.

Maeby visits George Sr. in prison when she sees Oscar on the streets and starts thinking that something is up. This episode.
posted by painquale at 7:13 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


\o/
posted by birdherder at 7:20 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


If I hadn't looked up maca root and learned it was considered a fertility and hormone booster, I wouldn't have worked out the George Sr./Oscar plot.
posted by kewb at 7:29 PM on May 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


The more I rewatch, the more I think Marky Bark is the thing I like least about the season.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:39 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm still only on episode seven so maybe it's obvious later on, but is Lucille's jail number a shout-out to Annyong?
posted by bondcliff at 8:02 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


mods - pony request: a MIDI of Europe's "The Final Countdown" for this thread?
posted by porn in the woods at 8:04 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


is Lucille's jail number a shout-out to Annyong?

I knew I wasn't the only one who noticed this!
posted by bookwibble at 8:05 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


"So, how did you like your egg?" "I said you were fine."
posted by ckape at 8:10 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


"You know what else would be funny? If I ripped that red rug right off your head and turned you into Ron Howard."
posted by jason_steakums at 8:12 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just got one more subtle joke: throughout the season, the "forget-me-now" pills consistently fail to erase characters' unpleasant memories: they're a "fake" (memory) block.
posted by kewb at 8:22 PM on May 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


If I hadn't looked up maca root and learned it was considered a fertility and hormone booster, I wouldn't have worked out the George Sr./Oscar plot.

That explains the change in Oscar, but not so much the change in George. I've seen speculation that John Slattery's character is drugging the lemonade for some reason.
posted by painquale at 8:24 PM on May 28, 2013


"Weirdly, it's like the Jane Campion miniseries Top of the Lake, which ended its run on Sundance last month."

Wow.

I — no exaggeration at all — had started reading this thread earlier tonight because I finished AD4 last night, but stopped reading and left the browser tab open to watch the last episode of Top of the Lake. With that episode done, I resumed reading this thread and your comment was the fourth one I read. Within less than one minute after I finished TotL. In an Arrested Development thread. And, other than the point you're making (it works as a whole), I can't think of two things more different.

That's just weird.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:24 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've seen speculation that John Slattery's character is drugging the lemonade for some reason.

That sounds like something he'd do when he's got his thinking cap on.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:26 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's not the funniest joke but I especially liked that the narrator refers to 'that Vince Vaughn movie Psycho.' The Gus Van Sant remake was produced by Imagine Entertainment.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:36 PM on May 28, 2013 [10 favorites]


One favorite little nugget I noticed was the Leroy song Get Together playing during a scene with Maebe and Perfecto. That's the song that played whenever George Michael and Maebe had a "moment" and is a fantastic song on its own.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:37 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


MoxieProxy: "what is ROT13??"

I don't understand the question, and I won't respond to it.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:38 PM on May 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


Ivan Fyodorovich: What would have been really weird is if right after that happened an ostrich sang "coincidence" and then a lady made out with a monkey that bit off her face.

(Never thought I'd make a Top of the Lake/Arrested Develipme crossover joke. Also, in case it wasn't abundantly clear, these programs have NOTHING in common except for the point I made earlier. And even that was a "are you trying out for the AV Club?" stretch in hindsight.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:38 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


okay, I've watched the first eight minutes of episode 1 ... and is it just me or does everybody feel older somehow?
posted by philip-random at 8:51 PM on May 28, 2013


I honestly thought Marky Bark was supposed to be Tom Jane but they couldn't get the actor back or something.
posted by The Whelk at 8:55 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


But Tom Jane doesn't have face blindness.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:00 PM on May 28, 2013


Rory Marinich: "I'm pretty sure the joke with Seth Rogen is that they open the show off with a celebrity superstar cameo and then have him not even bother to try acting. Something about how deadpan bad he is is really hilarious."

Yeah, I figured as much and saw that as a sign that it was more important for the show to be funny than to be authentic. But Kristen Wiig was surprisingly authentic and funny. Also, I totally missed the fact that the Showstealer Pro watermark was a joke at first. I think it's a safe bet, when in doubt in season 4, to assume it's written that way on purpose.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:05 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Who?
posted by The Whelk at 9:05 PM on May 28, 2013


When GOB is trying to forget-me-now Michael, he's muttering to the tune of "It Ain't Easy Being White."
posted by Sys Rq at 9:06 PM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Hmm. Pastor Veal wasn't wearing a cross necklace/pin/anything and he didn't go far enough into the cave to place it during the wedding. Ann didn't have a necklace in the wedding scene or just before it, but she had a cross necklace earlier on And As It Is Such, So Also As Such Is It Unto You. Her mother was wearing a necklace in the wedding scene, but it was tucked into her shirt, so you can't see if there is or isn't a cross.

SO MANY MYSTERIES
posted by jason_steakums at 9:25 PM on May 28, 2013


The first few episodes of Season 4 aren't as funny for the same reason the first few bars of a fugue aren't as complex. I'm convinced that most of the critics watched three or maybe four episodes, then wrote their reviews.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:38 PM on May 28, 2013 [12 favorites]


I think looking back, one of my favourite jokes from the entire season is that while George Michael does genuinely have an incredibly consistent internal 'tick', it was created by a George Sr. product and is therefore a little off the actual second.
posted by emmtee at 1:00 AM on May 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


FcbvyreQrpelcgre Ceb (Gevny Irefvba)
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:12 AM on May 29, 2013 [10 favorites]


That explains the change in Oscar, but not so much the change in George. I've seen speculation that John Slattery's character is drugging the lemonade for some reason.

Or that Oscar sweats the impurities out in the sweat lodge.
posted by jontyjago at 5:37 AM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


With this, with House of Cards, with all Netflix's new series - I think it's a huge mistake to release them all up-front for binge-watching. All the hype is used up at once, and if you don't binge alongside the fanatics, you're "left behind" in conversations. I'd much rather see this stuff released on, say, a weekly schedule - let the hype build, have a chance to jump in after a couple of episodes alongside the fanatics.

Completely disagree. If you want a weekly schedule, you can do that yourself. I'm happy that Netflix isn't concerned with building hype in the traditional sense, and I really don't even know what sort of hype they need to build that would be any different than the hype of an episode per week. As for being left behind, it's not a concern that broadcasters should worry about managing the discussion patterns of the audience.
posted by juiceCake at 6:12 AM on May 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I would totally have gay sex or whatever with this thread, but I just drank a lot of water.
posted by en forme de poire at 6:17 AM on May 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


Okay comedy of ethics theory go! (Take 4 I think. Grab yourself a stiff drink.)

The thing that puts Arrested Development's sense of humor a notch above other fast-paced single-cam comedies, like 30 Rock or early Community, is that in those other shows characters recite jokes like they're, well, jokes. Even if a character's a butt of a punch line, the line is delivered as if the actor in question is telling a joke about their own character. (Joel McHale in Community and Jane Krakowski in 30 Rock are particularly noticeable offenders.) Arrested Development is fast, but it was modeled in large part around the UK version of The Office, where the humor comes from the characters' self-delusions. The writing is clever in a way that's more than witty: jokes aren't just funny because they're smart, they're funny because there's a level of irony inherent in their telling.

When GOB or Lindsay (for instance) fire off a fast-paced one-liner, it's obvious that in their minds they're saying something utterly smart and devastating. But what they're really doing is revealing how delusional their worldview is, that they could possibly think what they're saying is the right thing to say. And like The Office, AD uses this technique to both condemn its characters thoroughly while still making us utterly sympathetic to them. In each character's mind, they're the ones being wronged, and nearly every character on AD is close to being miserable at all times.

GOB, for instance, is completely and loudly committed to screwing various family members over at pretty much all times, he blatantly attempts to cock block Michael pretty much any time Michael's hoping to, you know, connect to somebody after losing his wife to cancer, he's an arrogant and incompetent musician who uses his magic act to cheat on his girlfriend. Yet we know that his parents hate and disrespect him, and his magic act has brought him no success. He's pretty much a puppy looking for somebody who'll love him despite his habit of peeing everywhere to mark his territory. So when Michael, completely fed up with his whole family by Season 3, doesn't take GOB up with him to the cabin, there's some genuine pathos to GOB's sorrow. It's also completely absurd, to the point of surrealism, and that's the thing Arrested Development does that The Office never quite did. The characters aren't responding revealingly to realistic situations, they're responding revealingly to the absurdist world of Orange County, where it never shows for Christmas, banana stands are normal fixtures, and cornballers/Gene Parmesan/Tom Jane are so well-known that characters can shoot off snappy lines like "Cool it, Tom Jane" without anybody going "Who?"

It's a set-up that allows the show to do virtually anything without ruining its core characters. Community lost track of who its characters were supposed to be a season or two in, and it hurt the show going forward; 30 Rock ran on for an abominably long time despite the fact that its characters were never more than vessels for jokes, and it had a couple of wretched seasons because nobody in the cast had anything left to say after, like, the midpoint of the first season. Arrested Development had a crazy amount of plot development in its first three seasons—in six episodes of Season 2, George Bluth goes from escaping to Mexico to killed in Mexico to escaped and hiding in Michael's attic. And in those same episodes Maeby becomes a film producer, Oscar is revealed as Buster's father, Michael is arrested, GOB hires a bounty hunter, Lindsay tries aggressively to sleep with that bounty hunter, Buster tries to flee the country, and Plant really anns when she's left behind in Mexico. I've probably missed a bunch of things, right?

The characters' delusions, combined with their misery, give them a strong enough emotional core that you can put them in nearly any situation and they still remain recognizable. And as much as critics tend to write as if Arrested Development's surprisingly strong, memorable characters just happen to be incidental to the level of clever plotting in the show, it's their strength that allows the show to be so complex. The complexity allows the show to be as inexhaustible and perpetually rewatchable as it is: the plot can be surprising and fast-paced and parodic/satirical all at once, and still never get in the way of the comedy because the characters will take us through any absurd situation believably. As demonstrated best in "Mr. F", which takes us through an absurd level of plot (Japanese investors, jetpack escape mechanism, FBI gym buddy, surrogate George, overworked George Michael, tension between Buster and GOB, misunderstanding with Rita's uncle as a red herring, and again I'm missing something) to end us up with a Jetman vs. Mole fight in a fake town as a bunch of Japanese onlookers stare in shock and George's surrogate saying, "Who will save our tiny village?" This in an episode that also has a combat-by-train that ends with a guy falling into a boiling cauldron of water, a marriage proposal, and the reveal that the woman thus proposed to is in fact an MR F. It works because we know how much Michael cares about his son but also about finding love, how much GOB wants his father's attention and Buster wants GOB's, how badly Tobias wants to be an actor (and how much he likes gym buddies), and how crooked and ingenious George is. For my money, it's a cast with no equals in comedy television.

Here's where the ethics come in.

Each character's core beliefs are twisted versions of various American mentalities. The parents, George and Lucille, are the simplest to understand—they're virtual sociopaths who have no concern for anything but their ambition. For George, the drive is pure capitalism: anything that gets him more money, and especially anything that will prevent other people from having the same. For Lucille, it's status—I'm tempted to say it's Manifest Destiny but that's rather lofty. Lucille deserves nothing but the best, not because she's done anything to deserve it but simply because she wants it. Like George, she'll screw over anybody that gets in her way; unlike George, she's actively vicious, ripping into her children and neighbors and really anybody else who comes close by. Of all the characters, Lucille is made into punch lines the least; she's the least deluded character, for all she's terribly racist and classist and drunk. There's a moment in season 4 where she's belittling Lindsay by telling her how hard prison life is and a man comes up telling her that her massage or something is ready; for another character that would lead to an awkward pause, a grimace maybe, as the character realized they were caught up in a lie; Lucille just looks smugly at Lindsay, like she doesn't even have to bother proving her point. Why would she?

George, meanwhile, is one of the weirder and more varied comic figures, because for all his love of business and money and sex he's pretty much apathetic about everything else. Every one of his children has some sort of father complex, except maybe Buster, and in turn he just doesn't give much of a shit about them. Except maybe for when they're getting involved in the family business, at which point he treats them like the rest of his employees and rides them hard. His identical twin Oscar, meanwhile, is the exact opposite of him: completely unconcerned with money, and completely devoted to Lucille (and while Lucille hates George for his absent-ness, she hates Oscar for his obsession). Oscar is one of the few characters that's not completely self-interested, though you can argue that he's just single-mindedly devoted to being laid-back and care-free, and that as long as other characters are trying to cause strife for him it makes the most sense for him to passively let them have what they want.

The children of George and Lucille are each driven by aspirations, and each aspiration mirrors a "career path", so to speak. GOB aspires to be an executive and a celebrity—the shallowest dreams there are. He's terrible at getting both, because he emulates the behaviors of the people he wishes to become without mimicking their intelligence. As a CEO he's wasteful, vain, perpetually trying to get into his secretary's pants (just like Daddy!), and as a magician he attempts all the pompous show-off-y moves without making any efforts to pull off his tricks correctly. That's how it goes, right? Everybody wants to be successful and famous. Nobody cares about what it takes to become either thing. The fantasy of being a superstar doesn't involve 8 hours of practice a day. The fantasy of being at the top of the corporate ladder doesn't involve understanding a company from the ground up. What GOB wants are illusions, not the real things.

Lindsay, meanwhile, the "rebel" of the family, aspires to be the sort of person that her family would hate. She wants to be selfless, generous, compassionate, giving. But like GOB, she wants to appear to be these things without actually being them. She's insecure and attention-needy, incapable of caring about how other people feel because she lacks perspective on their lives; as long as she's miserable, she doesn't have to care about anybody else, because of course she has to care about herself first. She marries a "well-educated" man who has no interest whatsoever in the family business, and then sticks to the marriage because she thinks it's the right thing to do (but attempts to cheat on him constantly). My favorite Lindsay plots involve the ones where she manages to delude herself into thinking that she's still doing something good for her causes, even after she's blatantly turned them into more navel-gazing. Like the one where she ends up pole dancing in the "free speech zone" to protest the war. She's the one who reminds me the most of people I knew in college, all ideas and navelgazing; she's also the one that I most worry about turning into (or already being, rather).

Tobias is the one who believes the "just follow your dreams" line that MeFites always rip into every time its variant gets posted here. Unlike all the other characters in season 4, who are each given moments where they examine themselves and ask whether or not they really are who they think they are, Tobias doesn't have a moment of doubt—because his ethical stance is entirely that you should persevere at doing what you want to do despite every sign that you should not be doing it. Instead he's given chance after chance to come to his senses, all of which he declines. Even when it means that his pursuing his dreams means that his new love will have to sell herself on the streets, or possibly die of a drug overdose, he keeps on at it. I've noticed that his storylines sometimes have the darkest underbellies of the show, whether it's him selling dangerous medications through song or getting a bunch of guys shot by having them tap dance in front of a gang. He's unwilling to let go of his dream even if it means hurting others in the process. I worry about becoming him too.

Buster Bluth wants shelter, and freedom from responsibility. So he clings to his mother – "The doctor said there were claw marks on the walls of her uterus" – and drinks his juice and enters a relationship with the woman that used to change his diaper. There's a reason he's so damn creepy: GOB may be a predator, Lucille utterly controlling, Tobias inadvertently molesty, but Buster needs other people to take care of him. He's parasitic. And the show thrills at throwing him into situations that require him to "act like a man" and take responsibility for his actions, first by enlisting him in Army, and then by replacing one of his hands with a hook that he inadvertently cuts people up with. Every time that his mother leaves him, he tries to attach himself to one of his brothers and rely on them instead.

And Michael, of course, wants to be the "good man". That's literally the opening line to the show (in the extended pilot, at least): "This is Michael Bluth. He's a good man." He wants to take over his father's business, which he's been preparing his whole life to run; he wants to raise his son to be as exemplary as he (feels he) is; and he wants a wife he can love and cherish and ravage and all that. But like Lindsay and GOB, Michael doesn't need to actually be good. All he needs is for people to think he's good. And like Lindsay and GOB, he's always looking for the lazy way out; he breaks up with one girlfriend to avoid talking to George Michael about her, he lies to Marta and then GOB about the whole Marta complex; he berates George Michael for not confiding in him then ignores GM when he does; he repeatedly returns to his family just to tell them that he's leaving and that they can't survive without him. That's the show in a nutshell: people don't want to be things, they want to be seen as things. They never grow up because they never do anything. It's arrested development.

George Michael is young enough, and deluded enough, that he still respects his elders, and believes what they tell him. He wants to do well in school, get into a good college, all that. He's neurotic about it, and that neurosis is almost the whole of his character. Except that he's also in love with Maeby, who's the exact opposite of that in every day. Maeby has no respect for anybody, because her parents are overtly the shittiest parents in existence, so she cheats and messes with people and occasionally tries to figure out just how deep her parents' lack of interest in her goes. And because she's so amoral, she meets with the sort of success that every other character on the show wants, the sort that requires no effort other than deluding people into thinking you're important or famous or powerful or what-have-you. Maeby in turn relies on George Michael, who's competent and earnest and hard-working enough to do all the things for her that she needs to get done, down to their very first meeting (where she plans on using his respectability to get the attention of her parents with a kiss).

In some ways the two kids are the keys to the whole show, because they're the ones most overtly doing exactly what they're raised to think they should. George Michael is the American dream as it's taught in schools, and Maeby is the American dream as it's understood by cynics; their incestuous relationship keeps up because each needs the other—if Maeby doesn't have George Michael, she can't get away with nearly as much, and if George Michael doesn't have Maeby, he'll end up like his father but even worse, because Michael's as bad a man as George with but with the added crappiness of he's deluding himself into thinking that he's not. They're each adorably naïve, and they have a cute chemistry that comes from GM being aggressively, creepily obsessive, and from Maeby pretty much not giving a shit. But they're still both so ridiculously innocent that it sometimes feels there's a lot more riding on this relationship than just whether or not George Michael's gonna finally get to second base. They're each other's best hopes for normalcy, and they're young enough that there's still hope for them.

Which brings us to season 4 (spoilers from here on out). The season's biggest "twist" is the reveal that Rebel Alley's "George Maharis" is George Michael, not GOB, and that reveal takes advantage of our still thinking of George Michael as the 14-year-old boy he was at the show's start. That's definitely how Michael sees him, right from the opening scene of his getting into the shower with GM, and it's the notion that the show's most concerned with dispelling, right down to the literal last "punch line". And the other driving force is that Michael's beginning to fall apart, that without his family he isn't a good man, he's just a narcissist with nobody left to support his delusions. Which is why he forces himself upon his son, constantly sticking around to be the good father even when it's obvious he doesn't understand George Michael's world well enough to give any sort of advice, and which is why he latches onto Rebel Alley in his usual "goan' find myself a wife" tradition. He's desperately empty this season, and his son and this woman who ends up dating his son are the only two hopes at attachment he's got left.

There's a recurring theme throughout this season that Michael refers to himself and George Michael as "twins". And in Michael's mind, this is true: they were both encouraged towards the same thing by their fathers, they're both desperate for the same sort of success (as evidenced by Fakeblock!), and in the end, hell, they even like the same woman! In Michael's mind, his stumbling upon the photo booth picture of George Michael and Rebel is exactly the same as George Michael's concealing who his girlfriend is from Michael—never mind that George Michael didn't know his father was Rebel's other man until he stumbles upon Michael walking in at the very end, and that even then Michael's trying to conceal that fact from him.

George Michael, meanwhile, is trying pretty hard to escape his father's legacy: he wants to become a musician, he's building software not to compete with Facebook but to give himself a useful wood block synth, and his thing with Rebel is just his trying to be a decent boyfriend (which Michael never was). So when Michael tries to dismiss his snooping around and manipulating his son's life with a "We're just like twins!", George Michael clocks him in the face. Cue credits.

It'll be interesting to see what both Michael and George Michael get up to, the next time an Arrested Development thing comes out. This is maybe the first real dynamic relationship the show's ever done; the adults of Arrested Development are pretty much incapable of change, is the thesis of pretty much the whole show (ignoring George's hormone thing), but Michael's hit rock bottom just as his son is trying to come to terms with being a responsible adult on his own. George Maharis is quite the liar when he's given a chance to be one, but clearly he's less comfortable with lies than his own father is. Does he embrace his family's tendencies, like Lindsay has? Does he reject them and attempt to be an honest man? Just like Michael was introduced at the start of the show as "a good man", George Michael was introduced this season as "a good kid", when he's neither entirely good nor entirely a kid anymore. If this truly was intended as the first act of a three-act story, as Jason Bateman claims Mitch Hurwitz intends, then there's gonna be some more spiraling downward on either Michael's or George Michael's part, and I'm curious whether the intended resolution will be heartfelt or farcical or a mixture of the two.

So, yeah. Arrested Development is a show about conflicting ethical worldviews, and about why, as David Foster Wallace put it memorably, anything you worship will ultimately end up eating you alive. Even Maeby, whose opportunism let her get away with everything but murder in the original series, is here betrayed by Kitty in the dog-eat-dog environs of Imagine Entertainment, and winds up in the same roofie circle as everybody else, doing the same thing over and over without any seeming hope of change. What's the only way out? "Love each other," as repeated once more in the show's final lines. We haven't really seen love change anything yet, but that's only because there hasn't been any actual love. It feels like this might have all been building up to actual character growth, which is really neat. I wonder also if that's where the show would have gone had it been left to run indefinitely, or if this development only happened because the show was arres... ahem, canceled and left to stew for seven years.

Upon rewatch, this season was definitely missing the manic intensity of the original, where the question was always "how many plots can we throw together in 22 minutes' time?" It's a much less intense show minute by minute. But now it seems to be testing how much story its characters can hold together, and I think that for all its flaws the show managed to give each of its characters a fairly involved story without ever breaking them as people. Each character's core more-or-less held together. So given that, and given that now the show's format is way freer and more acclaimed than it used to be, I'm hoping they'll find new ways to reach that intensity again, to use all the time they've now been given to figure out exactly what it is that they can get away with.

This season's something new, both for TV in general and for Arrested Development in particular. I hope it can bring back more of the old magic but use it in new and original ways. I'd be disappointed if the show moves too strongly towards being something heartfelt and character-driven, and think there's a risk that the show is concerned so much with individual character that it stops going for nonstop madcap insanity. But it's great to see it flex its muscles, and I think they've got a strong enough cast that they could take this show in a lot of directions and succeed with any of them. It'll be fun to watch what it does next.
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:38 AM on May 29, 2013 [75 favorites]


That is a brilliant analysis of the show, Rory. Well done. The only thing I'd point out is that this is at least the second time they like the same woman (we see them both after Heather Graham's Ms. Baerly in the first season) and now I'm trying to decide whether that's just tidy parallelism or whether there's a thematic connection between the ethics teacher and Rebel Alley.
posted by gauche at 7:06 AM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


They both have red hair like Tracey.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:26 AM on May 29, 2013


No, Ms. Baerly was blonde.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:51 AM on May 29, 2013


Her?
posted by shakespeherian at 7:55 AM on May 29, 2013


"Also to post this gem from Yahoo Answers:

What the heck is "Showstealer Pro Trial Version" and why does it keep showing up as a watermark in the middle of the screen when I'm watch the new season of Arrested Development? It's super annoying and I don't want to watch anymore.)
"

from the link:

"I believe they also made a pun where any footage shot before the Queen Mary sunk in the water would be "watermarked". Get it?"

Holy shit that is genius (and totally why AD has such rabid fans).
posted by Eideteker at 8:00 AM on May 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


That one is pushing it.
posted by smackfu at 8:46 AM on May 29, 2013


Her?

I think that's the lighting in that photo. Here's another from that episode and her hair looks, at best, like it's on the blonde side of strawberry blonde.
posted by gauche at 9:07 AM on May 29, 2013


Oooh, the watermarked pun is amazing!

NPR had an infographic of recurring jokes from the first three seasons, and there's another take on that.

I'm only a couple of episodes in so far.
posted by Pronoiac at 9:21 AM on May 29, 2013


At its core, Arrested Development is a farce, and the main thing that drives a farce is the fact that characters inside the story are making decisions that we in the audience can see are ill advised and destined to end poorly but which the characters themselves are quite optimistic about. Farces require irony to thrive. The problem with the new season of Arrested Development, then, is that because of the way the show is structured and edited the audience doesn’t know what choices the characters have made half the time, either because the character entered into a scene cold – with the context for their arrival put into a completely different episode – or because we don’t understand their rationale for making their choices because the chronology has been chopped up or distorted to make way for big reveals at later dates. That sort of decontextualizing can work wonders in something like Memento, since it adds layers of mystery to a mystery, or it can work in something like Kill Bill, where the extra details we are given at later points in the story deepen our interest in the character but aren’t necessary to know in order to feel connected to the main drive of the plot. That sort of decontextualization, however, doesn’t really work in a format that requires irony to function.

It seems like the shows creators assumed that viewers would be willing to watch all 15 episodes of the show in order to get the joke, and then to rewatch it again in order to find it funny. Given their target audience, that seems like a fair assumption. But personally I find that very unappealing. There are comedies I like which require work on the part of the viewer – I would put most of Charlie Kaufman’s scripts in this category – but they get at something existentially deep which cannot be arrived at without work; I don’t think this new season of Arrested Development is going to try to say something about the nature of life. If you are ultimately going to deliver silly jokes about humping MRI scanners and how stupid it is to cart a hive full of bees in a limo, then you are ultimately presenting something that aims to be diverting. Which is good; comedies should be diverting. It’s a good way to relax. But I don’t get asking someone to juggle so many plotlines that are revealed so clumsily at such an uneven pace in service of something that I think is ultimately meant to just be a diversion. It’s like putting the cart before the horse, then killing the horse and beating it a few times.

Underneath every good story there needs to be a skeleton that’s solid. I’m six episodes in and I honestly can’t yet tell whether the skeleton of this season is solid. But they keep showing me that the elbow-bone is connected to the skull-bone, and I can tell you that’s not right.
posted by Kiablokirk at 9:23 AM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's a recurring theme throughout this season that Michael refers to himself and George Michael as "twins". And in Michael's mind, this is true: they were both encouraged towards the same thing by their fathers, they're both desperate for the same sort of success (as evidenced by Fakeblock!), and in the end, hell, they even like the same woman!....George Michael, meanwhile, is trying pretty hard to escape his father's legacy:....George Maharis is quite the liar when he's given a chance to be one, but clearly he's less comfortable with lies than his own father is.

However, every one of George-Michael's efforts to move away from being like his father slowly turns him into his father. The most literal example is his new alias, which drops only his father's name in favor of "Maharis;" yet that is the impossible-to-sustain lie that he chooses to spin all the way out so that he can keep Rebel. (Indeed, George Maharis isn't too far from Chareth Cutestory as false identities go.) Remember, Michael was uncomfortable lying to people too, such as when he confesses his identity to Maggie Lizer during the time he still thinks she's blind. But he and his son both resort to lies first and foremost when what they want is in front of them.

Similarly, when George Michael imitates his father's lie about the traffic jam, this lie is what gives him the opportunity to hook up with Rebel. Thus both he and his father do end up in the same photobooth with the same woman on the back of two structurally similar lies about their professional status. Michael Bluth isn't entirely wrong in that final sequence. By the end, George Michael is living in the same model of house his father ended up in, having been voted out of the dorm in much the same way his father was in the very first episode.
posted by kewb at 9:36 AM on May 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Or that Oscar sweats the impurities out in the sweat lodge.

Maca root (allegedly) makes you more virile, not less.
posted by painquale at 9:45 AM on May 29, 2013


Right, but the corrupted root full of impurities because it's downhill from the port-a-john....
posted by kewb at 9:51 AM on May 29, 2013


Rory Marinich -
Tobias is the one who believes the "just follow your dreams" line that MeFites always rip into every time its variant gets posted here. Unlike all the other characters in season 4, who are each given moments where they examine themselves and ask whether or not they really are who they think they are, Tobias doesn't have a moment of doubt—because his ethical stance is entirely that you should persevere at doing what you want to do despite every sign that you should not be doing it. Instead he's given chance after chance to come to his senses, all of which he declines. Even when it means that his pursuing his dreams means that his new love will have to sell herself on the streets, or possibly die of a drug overdose, he keeps on at it. I've noticed that his storylines sometimes have the darkest underbellies of the show, whether it's him selling dangerous medications through song or getting a bunch of guys shot by having them tap dance in front of a gang. He's unwilling to let go of his dream even if it means hurting others in the process. I worry about becoming him too.

[...]

Maeby has no respect for anybody, because her parents are overtly the shittiest parents in existence, so she cheats and messes with people and occasionally tries to figure out just how deep her parents' lack of interest in her goes. And because she's so amoral, she meets with the sort of success that every other character on the show wants, the sort that requires no effort other than deluding people into thinking you're important or famous or powerful or what-have-you. Maeby in turn relies on George Michael, who's competent and earnest and hard-working enough to do all the things for her that she needs to get done, down to their very first meeting (where she plans on using his respectability to get the attention of her parents with a kiss).
It's interesting to me that Maeby and Tobias are the two members of the family who show no change and learn absolutely nothing this season. Maeby's rebellious against her parents, yes, but more so against her mother - she actually grudgingly bonds with her father sometimes (on the studio lot) or just generally ignores him. She's got a blind spot there because she doesn't realize how much she takes after him (like a more subtle Michael/George Michael relationship). Neither of them even have the concept on their radar of questioning their worldview or actions, it's a completely foreign thing.
For Lucille [...] she's the least deluded character, for all she's terribly racist and classist and drunk.
I actually don't think so - Lucille thinks that she's a good mother and she doesn't grasp that she's responsible for her actions, or that she's even wrong to act like that in the first place. To her it's always the fault of those around her. See her Cinco de Quatro revelation, that she's not the villain, she's the invisible girl. It's not her choices and actions that caused her family to ignore her, in her mind it's the fact that they ignore her that's the problem, and she's the victim.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:02 AM on May 29, 2013


Thank you Rory, that was great.

You don't get into it much, but I've long felt that the character of Lucille is rather 'underspecified' compared with the other characters (Jessica Walters' performance really makes up for this). Consider George's resentment of Oscar which has been simmering for a long time. It seems to me that George's actions emerge from his own desperate quest for approval from some absent person,that Oscar either got, or found some other means to get. It really bothered (well, annoyed) me at the end of season 3 when Lucille got positioned as evil mastermind of everything (although it's a likely a collusion of resentment from George Sr. and Michael). One missed opportunity might have been to expand the character and relationship of "Nana" with Lucille which could reveal Lucille's character and trajectory better.

I love the new season and think it's a really bold experiment with the medium. For me, it succeeds marvelously and even where it seems to stumble, it's worth studying and learning from. I got to watch the first few seasons with a bunch of other people and after each episode we would backtrack and talk a little bit about what we saw and thought about (also look up references on the internet). This was a great experience and seems like a great setting to watch the show in and recommend it to everyone. I look forward to watching it again.
posted by wobh at 10:06 AM on May 29, 2013


I'm not exactly sure how closed captioning works, just that sometimes it's not always accurate. This isn't one of those times:

Lindsay: My life is a fallacy.
Tobias: ♪ Is that a gal I see? No, it's just a phallus... eee! ♪
posted by Room 641-A at 10:07 AM on May 29, 2013 [12 favorites]


Also, as far as comedies of ethics go, I recommend at least the first few episodes of Better Off Ted which tried to make this a theme of the show before being diverted into a romantic will-they-or-won't-they (it was still pretty good, afterwards, and had Portia de Rossi doing pretty great stuff in her role.)
posted by wobh at 10:13 AM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Related to my need for a Haliburton Teen t-shirt yesterday, there is a site for ShowStealer Pro with the testimony:

"When my editing team told me they had a way around the rights issues with Fox to old episodes, I just told them, 'Go for it.' Was that bad?"
- Mitchell Hurwitz, executive producer, Arrested Development Season 4


There's some funny stuff there that isn't really spoilery. And you can buy a shirt.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:32 AM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Better Off Ted is one of those shows that I keep asking myself why I like it so much, because the jokes are super obvious and the characters are super rote, but everybody's having such a fun time doing it that I ultimately don't mind whatsoever.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:35 AM on May 29, 2013


It's essentially the same show as Andy Richter Controls the Universe and it looks like the showrunner of both is getting a new go at teevee that will inevitably be canceled after two seasons.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:39 AM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


shakespeherian: "It's essentially the same show as Andy Richter Controls the Universe"

Thank you. I don't know why more Better Off Ted fans aren't into Andy Richter Controls the Universe. (I have a theory that BOT scripts are really unfilmed episodes of ARCTU.)
posted by Room 641-A at 10:51 AM on May 29, 2013


I really like that the writers felt free to show Michael as much more overtly flawed. Wondering if that's not something they felt they had to hold back on during the network days, since (based on the self-referential comments surrounding the S.O.B.'s episode) one of the apparent complaints about the show was the characters were unsympathetic/unrelatable (didn't watch the show at the time, couldn't say, personally)? I liked that we saw GM becoming more Bluth-y, too. The whole season was really rich for character arcs. Even Tobias, who I can seldom stand and whose jokes are the most forced, was enjoyable (thanks, Maria Bamford!).

My least favorite arc was GOB's, and not because of Arnett. It's like "bisexuality" as a thing doesn't exist in AD, y'know, for comedy (like, people behave bisexually, but apparently no one has ever heard of it? Tobias is "gay" despite the majority of his relationships being with women, incl. his kinda sorta sweet one with MB). Like, I get it, but it was still grating. AD is kind of like SOAP! in many ways, but then SOAP! had an openly gay character and handled that pretty maturely. Here, the gay/straight binary is treated kind of soap-operaish (but if he finds out I'm NOT gay but he's also not gay, then... *dramatic sting*), but I sure could use an in-universe wink from the creators that the characters are being really silly and missing something totally obvious (which is kind of AD's whole thing, ya know?).



The Michael plot resonates for me, because as much as my father wanted to distance himself from his father, he wanted us to be best pals (for example: how delighted he was when he found out he and I were the "same" Myers-Briggs type—twinsies?). Totally oblivious/helpless/whatever to all the pain and deception he sowed. I've had that moment where I thought we would come to blows. And I know if he'd had a moment with his dad where gramps had said, "You're just like me!" (Dad LOVED Star Wars, btw; so picture a Vader/Emperor - Luke dynamic in his paternal relationship), he would have cold cocked the old man (and poss. thrown him down a reactor core or whatever). "We're so much alike!" is sometimes the most painful thing a father (parent?) can say to his son (child?). I guess because search your feelings, you know it to be true?




"Because then we would not get Kristen Wiig's pitch-perfect portrayal. The greatest thing about that portrayal was that she was obviously doing a young Lucille, but she felt a lot like Lindsay too. You really got a sense that Lindsay was Lucille's kid."

Which, given Lindsay's arc (embracing her dark side/Lucille-ness), is really crucial. I know a lot of people (based on my conversations with friends so far) enjoyed Lindsay's arc the least, I thought it was really well handled.

Vulture's insta-recap (I guess they will be doing longer ones in weeks to come?) also sheds some light on aspects of Buster's arc that I missed. "...a fine showcase for Tony Hale that not only allowed him to show off many different shadings of Buster's oddness[...], but also show some new sides to Buster in a way that seemed natural — which is no small feat for a character who is designed to remain permanently childlike." + "Buster decides to get revenge by bringing Lucille 2 the photos of Herbert and his sister (unbeknownst to him). Lucille 2 tells Buster she's surprised that he would do this, as "I've never known you to want to hurt anyone," which seems like the most important moment in the episode. Baby Buster might have grown up a little, but like the rest of the Bluths, he's finally becoming corrupted by the outside world." [emphasis mine]



From painquale's link:

"There are hints throughout that DeBris [sic] might be a sixty-one year old trans woman."

What? I totally missed that. (I assumed the teeth falling out was due to her drug use, but trans?)

I did love that the Fünke's basically swapped partners at Swappigans. So many subtle jokes, I can't wait for a rewatch (of Season 4, then of the WHOLE SERIES).
posted by Eideteker at 11:17 AM on May 29, 2013


(I have a theory that BOT scripts are really unfilmed episodes of ARCTU.)

Except Better Off Ted doesn't have a racist ghost or Conan O'Brien as a crazy CEO who makes people jump out of an airplane as part of marrying him.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:18 AM on May 29, 2013


What? I totally missed that. (I assumed the teeth falling out was due to her drug use, but trans?)

When she's being rushed into emergency care in the hospital, one of the doctors says, "61 year old male in cardiac arrest coming through!" Speculation at Reddit.

Another joke not mentioned on that page: in the pilot episode, they ask Buster to pilot the boat away from the cops, and before having a panic attack, he says, "OK, the blue part here is probably land...." In the new season, the map of the border between California and Mexico that they keep showing us (and that turns out to be drawn by Buster) has Mexico colored blue and the ocean colored green.
posted by painquale at 11:24 AM on May 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


The first three seasons have trained me to look for anything as being a joke, or part of a joke, or foreshadowing of something. Last night I watched an episode and there was a scuffle in front of a dumpster that said "debris" on it, but someone was blocking out the "de" so it just read "bris" and now I'm expecting a circumcision in an upcoming episode.

Up to episode 9 and I'm starting to really enjoy it, though sometimes I can't really tell what the hell is going on.
posted by bondcliff at 11:25 AM on May 29, 2013


I finished the whole season by Monday afternoon, then started an (intended to be slower) rewatch last night.

With the last episode and the first so close together in my mind, it really looks like Michael at least thinks he killed Lucille 2.

But GOB Forget-Me-Nows him, so it's not like he's walking around with that on his shoulders when he shows up at Rebel's house the next morning.

Did anyone else see something that would negate that idea?
posted by The Noble Goofy Elk at 11:28 AM on May 29, 2013


When she's being rushed into emergency care in the hospital, one of the doctors says, "61 year old male in cardiac arrest coming through!"

I thought this was just a crack at her looking so haggard from her addiction.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:35 AM on May 29, 2013


Visual timeline of events.
posted by painquale at 11:37 AM on May 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


My favorite part that I've picked up in rewatches is that when Lucille is about to have a breakdown in front of Tobias she's about to say something about hiding under the porch of her mom's house and finding the body of her favorite ostrich.

Lucille was a truck stop waitress before George Sr. got her pregnant with GOB, indicating that she probably came from circumstances.

Marky Bark's mother is an ostrich farmer out in the middle of nowhere Mexico.

How funny would it be if Marky Bark's mom was an estranged sister of Lucille, thereby not only making Marky and Lindsay sort-of cousins, but also Lucille possibly Mexican?

It's such a tempting part, that's just dangling right there in front of your face... almost like you can reach out, and get a really firm tug on it. But there's also the possibility that it might just be a fallacy...
posted by codacorolla at 12:46 PM on May 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


Lucille was a truck stop waitress before George Sr. got her pregnant with GOB, indicating that she probably came from circumstances.

She was also in the USO, though, which is how she met whatshisname the army guy played by J. K. Simmons.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:52 PM on May 29, 2013


Regarding Debrie's gender, there's also the way references to famous musicals are thrown around -- and "Debrie" could therefore be a reference to "Roger De Bris," the stereotypically camp musical theatre director from The Producers.

AD sometimes goes transphobic for its jokes and has conflated homosexuality, transgender, and cross-play in the past; so I suppose it's a problematic possibility.
posted by kewb at 1:25 PM on May 29, 2013


What To Watch After Your Arrested Development Binge
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:28 PM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


What To Watch After Your Arrested Development Binge

By Metafilter's own Lore Sjöberg! It's too bad Netflix doesn't have The Larry Sanders Show anymore, that would be the perfect Tambor recommendation.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:48 PM on May 29, 2013


A pretty funny and relevant Onion article.
posted by codacorolla at 3:45 PM on May 29, 2013


That airport mural at the very end of episode 1 is wonderful.
posted by spanishbombs at 4:46 PM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Even Maeby, whose opportunism let her get away with everything but murder in the original series, is here betrayed by Kitty in the dog-eat-dog environs of Imagine Entertainment, and winds up in the same roofie circle as everybody else, doing the same thing over and over without any seeming hope of change."

Right. GOB's use of Forget-Me-Nows is a metaphor for the essential character flaw of the entire family — a willful, self-serving lack of self-awareness that prevents growth because growth would interfere with the narcissistic, developmentally arrested infantile stage that expects the rest of the world to meet all emotional needs.

As you wrote, it's all about seeming, and for these narcissists, seeming is conceptually, emotionally identical to being because they haven't outgrown the infantile expectation that needs will be met by others as the simple and immediate response that they have some need which must be met. They expect to be loved because they need love, they expect to be admired because they need admiration, they expect to be happy because they need happiness, and it's only a matter of finding the right posture to signal to the faceless people around them that they're to do these things for them.

The roofie circle isn't a bug, it's a feature, because breaking the circle would require growth into a world of emotional self-responsibility. And these characters deeply, fundamentally, don't want that. Buster is the overt example of this; but he's no more infantile than anyone else.

What's farcical about this, as opposed to familiarly tragic and horrifying, is that most of these characters, with the exception of Lucille, are usually ineffectual as narcissists because they keep trying to use other narcissists to meet their emotional needs. They only rarely find a primarily codependent candidate who would be much more useful to them — when they do, they invariably cast them off later.

Oscar has been used by both Lucille and George in this way; Buster and Lucille (dys)function in codependent narcissism (and so that's been a stable relationship which each perceive as being in some sense emotionally satisfying, though clearly it's not); George Michael serves this function for Michael (and that this is less the case now that George Michael is an adult looms large in Michael's downward spiral); Debrie for Tobias; Ann for GOB; Steve for GOB.

Again, they almost always abandon the willing codependents they find and I think this is revealing — coming from an entire family of narcissists, what they really want is for these other narcissists to meet their emotional needs and so the willing codependents they find are not good enough, they're not the "right" kind of person.

Basically, they're all overgrown, narcissistic neglected infants, hoping that the negligent caretakers will finally respond to their crying and make everything better. Which never happens because none of them are even responsible for themselves, much less anyone else. They don't want to know this about themselves and, in their repetitive exchanges wiith each other, they're in a roofie circle of another kind, too.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:51 PM on May 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


Was anyone else deeply confused by how touching they found Gob's " falling in love" bits? Gob is not a character I expect to have any kinds of emotional attachment to but he just seemed so freakishly vulnerable.
posted by The Whelk at 5:05 PM on May 29, 2013 [12 favorites]


This thread has been an oasis in the desert of kneejerk Internet crappiness about this national treasure.
posted by gerryblog at 5:44 PM on May 29, 2013 [12 favorites]


"Gob is not a character I expect to have any kinds of emotional attachment to but he just seemed so freakishly vulnerable."

I've found this to be true of both fictional and real-life narcissists.

I really think that narcissism is (popularly) wrongly understood as "self-love" when what it truly is, is an arrested stage of development, at just before the toddler stage where healthy children begin to learn emotional self-hygiene/self-responsibility, but narcissists don't. Narcissists see other people primarily as the means to the end of meeting their own emotional needs, but because they're adults and not infants, they end up constantly manipulating and tricking others into this and otherwise spending a lot of time and effort on it. It's their primary activity. And they resent it, because by their lights, people should be meeting their needs in the first place, isn't that what other people are for?

Underneath the preening and manipulation and all the other more obvious stuff, there's actually a consuming unmet need, in some deep sense they're sad and vulnerable, quite like neglected children. So, those of us who aren't narcissists see these people who are quite like neglected children, and we find ourselves, often despite ourselves, responding to their need. We want them to not be so empty and needy. Of course, they prey upon this response, they learn to trigger it, one way or another.

GOB is unusually childish in this group of children, his monstrous selfishness is the child's version of monstrous selfishness, there's a sense that somehow he could mature under the right circumstances, where I don't see that in Lindsey or George or Tobias. That's probably an illusion; indeed, it may be the result of GOB's particular strategy as a narcissist. And Tony is really just like GOB — so, as the narrator makes explicit, GOB isn't likely to grow as a result of his relationship with Tony because for both of them it's really explicitly narcissistic in the classic sense.

And Rory's comparison of Michael with George Michael was quite apt — both are not full-blown narcissists, it's more that they have narcissistic tendencies because they grew up within a bath of constant narcissism. In this, they're emotionally damaged and bad habits come to them easily. So, for both of them, adulthood presents a challenge of choosing to become either emotionally mature and healthy, or to become like their family.

Most of these people have attachment disorders, as narcissists usually do. Michael and George Michael are anxiously attached, wanting and seeking emotional connection and love but also fearing it, prone to chasing and retreating, seeking connections and then cutting them, in response to a heightened sense of the necessity of self-preservation.

Maebe, on the other hand, is mostly avoidant, as is Lucille. Maebe wants the attention of her parents, but that long ago became more of a sort of game than it was any real expectation that her parents will ever, could ever, be parents to her. Maebe and Lucille tend much more to the sociopathic direction of mostly attempting to divest themselves of the idea they have emotional needs for other people. They see other people as materially more useful than they do emotionally useful.

In all this, Arrested Development is a "comedy of ethics" in, for example, how narcissism intersects Kant's Categorical Imperative. Narcissists in some deep sense don't recognize others as being anything more than agents who exist to meet the narcissist's needs, in this they violate the CI and they do moral damage. It's a comedy of ethics in an Aristotelian sense — these are characters whose moral deformities are expressed as farce, there can be no catharsis because there is no growth, can be no growth, and they are monstrous and in this sense not quite human, so we can laugh.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:26 PM on May 29, 2013 [16 favorites]


Doesn't the narrator say that what GOB and Tony feel for each other isn't infatuation, but friendship? Neither of them have ever had friends (this is said of GOB a few times in the previous seasons). They're so caught up in their delusion of superiority that they can't recognize their tenderer feelings of friendship as anything but 'gay'.

With each convinced they can ruin the other, they go through with the most contemptible thing they can think of. It's a weird kind of mutual rape. They're not homosexual, just narcissists. Once again, narcissism subsumes all.
posted by wobh at 6:32 PM on May 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Was anyone else deeply confused by how touching they found Gob's " falling in love" bits? Gob is not a character I expect to have any kinds of emotional attachment to but he just seemed so freakishly vulnerable.

I was! I think Will Arnett did an amazing, hilarious job showing how confusing GOB found that too (that perfect, flawless way he delivered the line about having feelings). However, the masks really creeped me out until I remembered that he and the other party are half making real friends for the first time ever and half falling in love with themselves all over again.

Also, GOB is arguably the most emotionally open Bluth, but since his most intense feelings are always either directed at Michael (who is not comfortable with GOB's sudden emotional storms and pushes him away, both literally and figuratively) or George (who disdains him utterly), he never gets any reciprocation for those emotional peaks, with the possible exception of Steve Holt, but since GOB himself can't actually handle being loved back unless the person loving him is exactly like him, he has to avoid Steve.

I thought GOB's romantic arc was perhaps a somewhat acrid musing on a stereotype of gay people finding mates who, like, resemble them. Maybe not.
posted by clockzero at 6:38 PM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Except Better Off Ted doesn't have a racist ghost or Conan O'Brien as a crazy CEO who makes people jump out of an airplane as part of marrying him."

And Jonathon Slavin's character understands how pants work!
posted by Room 641-A at 6:51 PM on May 29, 2013


Hey, remember the end of Archer S01E01, when Cheryl sees Mallory as an ostrich?
posted by Sys Rq at 7:04 PM on May 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


G.O.B: What is this feeling? It's not hungry, it's not angry...
Michael: I think it's love, Gob
G.O.B: I know what an erection feels like, Michael!

In more crazy speculation news, note that Buster and Gene Parmesan both have a scene in which they get queasy while looking through binoculars in a moving car. In this show, parental relations have been established on less.
posted by painquale at 7:08 PM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Last night I watched an episode and there was a scuffle in front of a dumpster that said "debris" on it, but someone was blocking out the "de" so it just read "bris" and now I'm expecting a circumcision in an upcoming episode.

No, that was DeBrie, lying in debris, blocking the "debris" sign.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:51 PM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


No, that was DeBrie, lying in debris, blocking the "debris" sign.

Yes, I know, but it reminded me of Buster sitting on the "Army Officer" bench in such a way that is said "Arm Off" shortly before his hand was cut off. They did the same thing with "Wee Britain/Brain."

Really, the show has conditioned me to look for jokes everywhere.
posted by bondcliff at 6:21 AM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


(I meant Archer S04E01, obviously. The Bob's Burgers one.)
posted by Sys Rq at 7:41 AM on May 30, 2013


They're so caught up in their delusion of superiority that they can't recognize their tenderer feelings of friendship as anything but 'gay'.

The sad part is that I have seen this pathology in guys I've met in RL, part of the driving force that makes so many men behave like assholes.
posted by aught at 8:58 AM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just finished the season and thought it was amazing. The first three seasons were (for me at least) the best sitcom ever made. This was something else. I think it was something new. The darkness in tone was a great way of capturing the difference between America pre-Great Recession and America now. We've gone from horseback rides and body chocolate to mustard and Parmesan. Terrible things happened in the first three seasons but there was this underlying optimism, an unspoken assumption that deep down we are untouchable, that is gone from this season.

Someone above mentioned that the first episodes don't seem very good because you are listening the opening bars of a song. Until you hear how those bars fit in the overall context of the song as a whole you don't understand what you are hearing. It is like when you play a favorite song for someone and you find yourself telling them "just wait, its about to get good" because you know that the long droning note just shy of unpleasant really accentuates the hook just around the corner. They have made something so dense and interconnected and layered that it absolutely requires repeated viewings. Watching it only once would be silly. You aren't going to really see it until the second viewing.

It is very Lynchian in a lot of ways. Colonel Mustard and Gene Parmesan. "I keep saying we're like twins." Dale Cooper going into the lodge in Twin Peaks and coming out as his dark twin. Andy Richter is Donny is Emmett is Rocky. Lucille and Lucille 2. George and Oscar constantly switching back and forth and in this season becoming each other. Micheal is unable to face his own mortality personified in George Micheal becoming a man. Micheal has to stop George Micheal from doing that. He has to arrest George Micheal's development because the alternative is facing the fact that he is aging and will one day die. He has to kill his son so that he can live forever. He has to betray his son by having him sign over his "life rights." Ron Howard tells Micheal the movie is about a son escaping the shadow of his domineering father. Face blindness. The characters can't see other human beings. They only see vessels for meeting their needs. They are all face blind. Tobias is black and they can't tell. Ann? Have I met her? You were just talking to her. She is sitting right there. "I'm the invisible girl." They also can't speak. Gob has that breakdown while trying to talk to Ann that calls back his "Come on!" lines, George Micheal can't decide whether its serious or seriously, Micheal can't find the right words when talking to George Micheal at the end of the season, Tobias's long "eeeeennnnnnnhhhhhh, no" answer to Lucille 2. They can't see each other. They can't communicate with each other. These characters are so completely alone. They are totally cut off from the rest of the world. No touching!

Like an addict who keeps making you think he is going to change and keeps relapsing, all of the characters have moments of what looks like it may be growth but then they go back to being what they were. George Micheal and Rebel in the bed at the end of Season 4 are the exception. They really do make a commitment to real change. And that is so true to life. It is always the young and in love who make the futile attempt to actually break the cycle and change. And the crazy thing about love (love each other) is that against all odds sometimes it really does work. For a brief moment true love allows real change. But then the day to day intrudes and reality and money and family and all of the sudden you are on the bus ride driving away from the church and the reality that no real change is possible sets in and you realize you will forever be stuck in the same hell you have always been in and your entire family has always been in and all humanity has always been, in, alone forever. "Hello darkness my old friend."
posted by ND¢ at 10:26 PM on May 30, 2013 [16 favorites]


FINALLY through.

I didn't notice it until the fifth or sixth episode, perhaps, but they kept adding elements to the theme song each episode.

The original theme song was mostly unchanged through the three years (I've not seen it lately). But I began noticing that not only was the theme song somewhat different while being extremely similar to the original, but more instruments were added each episode.

I'll have to go back and listen to each again.

There were a lot of "sounds like" music bits in there; recurring themes aside from GOBs Sounds of Silence (even reading the spoiler I didn't get it until the last instance). I'll have to go pay more attention to each character and their themes as well.

I'm delighted I guessed on the Guru correctly straight away, though.

Seems like a plot hole at first, but laying a link at the end - I thought Maeby did have all the rights from the family, Kitty was simply lying.
posted by tilde at 6:00 AM on May 31, 2013


I think Ron Howard might be satan. He is the one encouraging Micheal to sell his soul by betraying George Micheal and when Micheal refuses he resurrects Micheal's dead wife (Micheal tells George that she IS Tracy) to seduce him into doing his bidding. He faked the moon landing, he celebrates Buster's apparent murder of Lucille 2, he denies Tobias his dream come true just cause he feels like it, and he acts like an utter asshole throughout the season. Also his barber (who he calls Floyd) is the Bluth's former lawyer, Barry's father, but hasn't aged since the 1980's. Did he sell his soul to Ron Howard in exchange for immortality but as a consequence has to serve the devil for eternity?
posted by ND¢ at 6:05 AM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Apparently the dress that Ann wears to her wedding with GOB? The one that's got the ropes around it? That turns out to be the outfit worn by the Daughters of Job.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:25 AM on May 31, 2013 [7 favorites]


Favorite blink joke: Maeby's series of steadily more depressing personas revealed through the yearbook quotes.

I also, for whatever reason, like to think someone staying in High school over and over again is a Twilight dig.
posted by The Whelk at 8:14 AM on May 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also, Lindsey's politics being a literal " red hairing " that she takes off and in like a wig.
posted by The Whelk at 8:29 AM on May 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


I didn't notice it until the fifth or sixth episode, perhaps, but they kept adding elements to the theme song each episode.

Close... each character has their own flair that they add to their episode's opening. Buster has an accordion, George Michael has a woodblock, Maeby scats a little. Then, in the final episode, they combine them all together. You can compare them on youtube here.
posted by painquale at 8:46 AM on May 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


A crazy, computer-illiterate, untrue theory: the Fakeblock lie will inadvertently be continued *because* Anonymous opposes it. Anyone who uses Fakeblock will be targeted by Anonymous; but because they retaliate with DDoS attacks, theywill simply prevent anyone from accessing the Fakeblock user's content.
posted by kewb at 5:07 PM on May 31, 2013


So, about GOB not recognizing friendship with Tony and mislabeling it, I know that's stated outright by the narrator, but he's also got such a weirdly normal friendship with Tobias all of a sudden - the only normal friendship in the series that I can think of! - that I don't think it's necessarily a settled matter. I can still see them actually falling in... weird deluded fake love with each other because they're essentially the same (SAME!) person and so totally self-obsessed.

I'd love it if GOB and Tony end up being a happy, well-adjusted couple at the end of the series, keeping their relationship going by keeping the lies and obliviousness going so they can each get the happiness they want out of it which is coincidentally the happiness the other one wants because they're the same dysfunctional person.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:16 PM on May 31, 2013


Also, they'd definitely keep using the masks.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:18 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Splitsider has compiled An Encyclopedic Guide to the Best Callbacks, Running Jokes and Hidden Gags in the New Season of 'Arrested Development'.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:47 PM on May 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


I never noticed this in seasons 1-3, but "Tracey Lane" - the street is named after Michael's dead wife.

The Forget-Me-Now/roofie circle meditation in this season feels particularly strong, reminding me of the repetition in The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin -- if you love the deepening running jokes and melancholy of AD, check out this three-season Britcom so, like, 15 episodes. In both series you see people who swing between super grudge-holding refusal to change and claw-at-anything desperate attempts at escape. Neither works. To both retain awareness of the past and to change by learning from it is nearly impossible for sitcom characters -- the form's constraints discourage that. In exploring that trap, I feel like AD and Perrin do in sonnets what Seinfeld does in free verse.

The Whelk: Was anyone else deeply confused by how touching they found Gob's "falling in love" bits? Gob is not a character I expect to have any kinds of emotional attachment to but he just seemed so freakishly vulnerable.

I am 100% right there, although my heart really went out to Tony Wonder. His magic act made me cry, which was bewildering, and then I felt betrayed at the sham. But still -- watching them struggle like Huck Finn with his letter tugs at my heartstrings. GOB has done despicable things, and Tony's not innocent, but there is nothing like watching people get surprised by joy.

But still: the show moves you with the GOB/Tony plot, and that confuses you -- just as GOB is confused by his own earnest emotions. *the sound ..... of silence*
posted by brainwane at 7:52 PM on May 31, 2013


If the Bluth's represent America...then are P-Hound (Paul Huan) and Annyong represent the recent rise of China and Korea? And the friction between the Bluth's and them are representing the rivalry between the US and China and Korea?

Or maybe I'm over reading it now.

But, I just finally figured out that...Spoilers


Sally Sitwell is involved in Austero's incident in the finale.
posted by FJT at 8:35 PM on May 31, 2013


Oh yeah, and the Bluth Banana Stand is coming home to Balboa Island on Sunday, June 1!
posted by FJT at 8:42 PM on May 31, 2013


Here are a few more jokes and observations that haven't been mentioned in this thread. These are mostly culled from reddit.

* George Michael has a reversed version of the old Bluth model home. The piano has the low notes where the high notes would be. But better still, check out Michael's shirt when inside the house. (It's not just a reversed image: note the pocket!)
* In the pilot episode, the family lets Buster direct them when escaping the police boats. He takes the map and says, "Obviously the blue is land..." In the new season, when we are shown the map of the border between California and Mexico (later revealed to be drawn by Buster), the water is green and Mexico is blue.
* Lindsay makes Lucille 2 a banner on the back of a one from a previous season that says "You're killing me, Buster." Lucille 2 hangs it on the inside bannister of the stair car. When Buster finds her body, it has fallen and he's standing on it, "You're killing me, Buster"-side-up. (I wonder if this was planned long ago.)
* Rebel and Ann have the same nanny for their kids.
* The government is spying on either Lucille 2 or on Michael at the Balboa Towers... there's a Blendin maintenance guy in Buster's episode at about 11:50. Blendin is the fake name the authorities use to spy on the Bluths in previous seasons.
* Barry Zuckercorn defends himself by showing that he's too short to reach over the gate to the school. In another scene, we see him buying a small stepladder.
* I find this theory about who is wearing the Thing costume during the musical pretty plausible. Michael's gotta do something to keep Argyle happy.
* I also like the theory floating around that although Lindsay was adopted, she's still Lucille's natural born daughter.
posted by painquale at 11:54 PM on May 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


"Oh yeah, and the Bluth Banana Stand is coming home to Balboa Island on Sunday, June 1!"

I'd go, but I just can't be bothered to drive down to Orange County.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:28 AM on June 1, 2013


You mean the OC?
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:28 AM on June 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't call it that.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:09 AM on June 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd go, but I just can't be bothered to drive down to Orange County.

It was in Culver City a couple of weeks ago.
posted by FJT at 12:21 PM on June 1, 2013


FJT: "I'd go, but I just can't be bothered to drive down to Orange County.

It was in Culver City a couple of weeks ago.
"

That's the reason Ron Howard gives for why Maeby's A-list friends didn't go to the surprise 16th birthday party that George Michael threw her (S03 E12).

Narrator: Due to the horrible traffic on the Westside, Room 641-A also couldn't be bothered to drive to Culver City.

posted by Room 641-A at 12:55 PM on June 1, 2013


My only disappointment was the failure to work in this song, but "Getaway" worked but I suppose the timing was off from the chrono perspective ...
posted by tilde at 3:18 PM on June 1, 2013


Heh, that's Michael Rooker driving the truck in the episode where GOB (almost) marries Egg. Betty, from "As it is such as..." tells him to take the fake boulder that GOB is hiding in away because 'if he comes back from the dead we can get him a new one'. Rooker plays Merle Dixon in The Walking Dead, where he's killed and comes back from the dead. And of course, he was Henry in Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer - who had a knack for hiding bodies.
posted by Elmore at 4:34 PM on June 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Holy cow, Elmore, great catch!

From that same episode, when we see GOB taking the forget-me-nows there's a note on the medicine cabinet, written in lipstick:

Joe
withabee
Fun nite
PS: I have siifulus
posted by Room 641-A at 5:35 PM on June 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hahahaha I just got the "Joe with a B" = GOB reference... More narcissism!
posted by en forme de poire at 6:45 PM on June 1, 2013


How Arrested Development Saved My Relationship
It had been cancelled, but, like everything that’s gone, it lived on in memory — in this case, through DVDs and, eventually, Netflix. Deprived of new episodes, we became students of the existing ones. Over time, we adopted a lexicon based on Arrested Development. Certain phrases worked their way into our conversations. Some of our adopted lines were merely a fun way to interact, to inject levity into the mundane: “You have to be some kind of She-Hulk” was a line we used whenever one of us tried to do something that ended up being a lot harder than anticipated. “Hot ham water” became a term for any new culinary experiment we were trying out for the first time. A variety of crazy chicken clucks seasoned our daily badinage.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:55 PM on June 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Apropos of nothing whatsoever, other than watching AD and Orphan Black pretty recently...last night I dreamt that Ann was a clone. And then I kept thinking, "Who the hell would want more of Ann?"
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:36 AM on June 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Completely and totally o/t: i'm still too new (read: cowardly) to start a thread, but someone should start one on Orphan Black! Not just because it's a great show, but because it is so easy to forget that it's the SAME actress playing all those roles.
posted by MoxieProxy at 11:48 AM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Someone Has Already Started Chronologically Editing ‘Arrested Development’ Season Four
posted by Room 641-A at 6:11 PM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


I finally watched all of season four.

It's like the original series filtered through Umberto Eco's alternate reality career as a comedian. Takes a while to shift your frame of reference as a viewer but eventually it clicks. I really like it and I'm glad they did what they did with it, even though I was looking forward to three generations of Bluth men on an island.

Hope they do season five / can keep it up. Going to bed now. Can't wait to read fan theories.
posted by postcommunism at 8:26 PM on June 2, 2013


Also, I too hope that Gob and Tony Wonder end up as a stable couple while everything else goes bananas.

Two weeks ago I could not imagine a scenario in which that would be available as an outcome.
posted by postcommunism at 8:29 PM on June 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


I've been avoiding this thread as I'm a bit behind, just about to watch Episode 6. And I've gotta say, I love it. Better than the earlier stuff? Maybe. The way a novel can be better than a collection of "related stories", because it can keep building momentum. Which is what's so great about the Netflix release-it-all-at-once format -- it really does unfold like a dense and complex (and hilarious) novel. Kudos to the various creators for recognizing this "new form" that the evolutions in media have allowed.
posted by philip-random at 11:27 AM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


You know, as much as Bruce is my favourite, the sidekick on And As It Is Such, So Also As Such Is It Unto You really should have been Dave Foley.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:24 PM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


The finale song, Boomerang, is stuck in my head.
The single is the first from Schwartz’s upcoming album Timekeeper, due August 6. And if you’re wondering how her song ended up snagging the high-profile spot in the show’s finale, well, it seems that AD creator Mitch Hurwitz is a big fan. “Lucy’s latest album is her Sgt. Pepper,” says Hurwitz. “Unbelievable. I can’t stop playing it or thinking about it. So brilliant and amazing.”
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:24 PM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


A completed chronological edit of Season 4 from reddit user morphinapg. Different from the one started by user Clawtrocity, described in Room 641-A's link above; also some discussion in the comments between morphinapg and Clawtrocity about their different approaches.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:59 PM on June 5, 2013


So, Michael and George Michael, the final moment of the season, the punch in the nose. Has anyone noted that the very last thing that we see the son do is literally pop Pop?
posted by cortex at 10:19 PM on June 5, 2013 [16 favorites]


Congratulations cortex. You get a treat.

(If only they had been in an attic.)
posted by wobh at 8:37 AM on June 6, 2013


In "A New Start", Debrie tells Tobias he reminds her (him?) of a drug dealer named Billy Crystal Meth. In the credits for that episode, an actor named J.K. Baker is listed as playing Billy Crystal Meth. J.K. Baker's IMDB page lists just two roles: Billy Crystal Meth, and an appearance in Scrubs as "Maintenance Man #2".
posted by future buttmind at 9:39 AM on June 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Finally finished. Wow. Have to rewatch.

I love that the news crawl at the bottom of the Imagine News Network's reporting was something reminding Ron Howard that he had a dentist appointment at 5.

And for all the high-flown assessments that that last punch is GM's finally standing up for himself (which okay, I also agree with), is the simple fact that since GM had an injured nose from the basketball (and still had the bandaid on his nose at the time)... maybe that was just one more way that in the end they're actually, um, just like twins.
posted by Mchelly at 9:02 PM on June 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Just in case you hadn't noticed, cortex et al., the punch is not actually the last shot. There's more after the credits.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:49 AM on June 7, 2013


On the second time through I noticed the bartender in Maebe's episode also played Dean Spreck in Community. I also misremembered the name of Ann's church. And that isn't Michael Rooker driving the truck.
posted by Dr-Baa at 7:50 AM on June 7, 2013


"Just in case you hadn't noticed, cortex et al., the punch is not actually the last shot. There's more after the credits."

I've been wondering if people had missed that post-credits stuff. I'd intended to bring it up earlier, but I forgot.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:39 AM on June 8, 2013


I am sure we let it run out, if only because we were immediately talking about it with each other and we basically never cut something on Netflix off before the credits reel out anyway because that takes more effort than not. But I don't remember offhand what was in 'em.
posted by cortex at 7:23 AM on June 8, 2013


The main thing is that Buster gets (wrongly?) arrested for the murder of Lucille 2, revealing the whole season to be a whodunnit.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:33 AM on June 8, 2013


And the weird scene of GOB shaving that I don't quite understand.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:43 AM on June 8, 2013


Tony forget-me-now'd away the memory of the night Ann tricked him and GOB into having sex, but GOB still remembers. Tony calls GOB to set up the "date" he doesn't remember having, and knowing what he knows from the first time around, GOB could easily walk away from the situation. He appears to be on board with a repeat of the date, or at least strongly considering it, judging by the looks he gives in the mirror.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:35 AM on June 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ah! Thanks!
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:57 AM on June 8, 2013


Ybir rnpu bgure.
posted by Cookiebastard at 3:30 PM on June 10, 2013


The imdb user ratings of all the AD episodes are kind of interesting. Almost without exception, episodes from the first half of season four are the lowest rated of the series, and almost without exception episodes from the second half of season four are the highest rated in the series. I think ratings for new things tend to be more extreme (more 10s and 1s), so it will be interesting to see how these scores settle with time.


4.11 A New Attitude 9.1
4.15 Blockheads 9.0
4.13 It Gets Better 8.9
4.14 Off the Hook 8.8
4.7 Colony Collapse 8.8
4.12 Señoritis 8.8

....

4.1 Flight of the Phoenix 8.1
4.6 Double Crossers 7.8
4.2 Borderline Personalities 7.6
4.3 Indian Takers 7.5
posted by dgaicun at 11:07 PM on June 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


People keep saying this is because the early season 4 episodes require more viewer adjustment to the new structure. I don't think this is the case. I just don't think they are as funny or entertaining. The two George Sr. episodes ("Borderline" + "Double") in particular, really are convoluted and difficult to watch. It's not surprising to see them at the bottom.

I also wouldn't argue that the later episodes are some of the best.
posted by dgaicun at 11:17 PM on June 10, 2013


Er... I wouldn't argue with the claim...

I meant the opposite of what I said. The second part of season 4 is strong.
posted by dgaicun at 1:19 PM on June 11, 2013


Good news: the master recording for Getaway was made available by its composer. Unfortunately still just a snippet, but longer than we were given on the show.
posted by codacorolla at 11:30 AM on June 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


But I had just got it out of my head!

(Such a fantastic parody of a bad pop song that it has the earworm powers of a good one.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:51 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


BluthFighter
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:11 PM on June 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm wrapping up another rewatch, and it just hit me: if Lindsay is going to become a Republican politician, Tobias is totally going to be her Marcus Bachmann.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:17 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


« Older Shut Up and Listen...  |  Russian scooter driver has a p... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments