'Arrested Development' TV Review: Not The Same, But Still Satisfying
Like every other die hard Arrested Development fan, I couldn’t wait to be reunited with my beloved Bluth family. I even went as far as setting a countdown on my phone for the long-awaited premiere on Netflix. So it’s safe to say that I, like so many others, spent my Memorial Day weekend devouring episode after episode of the much-hyped fourth season. As expected, the cult comedy revival asks fans and critics to question whether or not the show is the same as before it was cancelled, if it’s better than it ever was, or if it even matters.
The honest answer to the first two questions is, "No." But after seven long years Arrested Development, starring Jason Bateman and created by Mitchell Hurwitz, is finally back, so who cares if it isn’t exactly the same? With such a long hiatus the show was bound to be a little different, and what’s most noticeable is the new format. Each of the 15 episodes is centered around a specific character, and because of this, the first couple of episodes do seem to drag on and aren't jam-packed with laughs. The slow start and new format is slightly annoying because Arrested Development features one of the best ensemble casts to ever be on television, and you rarely get to see everyone together at the same time in the new season. On the flipside, though, the idea of each episode focusing on one character is genius because it highlights how each member of the Bluth family is unbelievably self-centered. Essentially, each episode is a puzzle piece to a bigger story as the season unfolds, and the cliffhanging finale hints at more Arrested Development, possibly in the form of a movie.
I don’t think many people will argue against the fact that it’s very satisfying seeing the Arrested Development crew back together, and the new season is pretty good, but there were times when I caught myself getting distracted and even losing interest in some episodes. This isn’t because the writing isn’t good, or the actors have lost their touch, but mostly due to the absence of the other characters in the individual story lines (not everyone has the same level of attachment to every Bluth family member), and the numerous celebrity cameos. It really shows how popular Arrested Development was and how it’s lived on even after getting the axe, because I was not expecting all of the random celebrities who popped up. Isla Fisher is a surprising season regular playing the love interest of two Bluths, while John Slattery, Jonah Hill, and the hilarious Kristen Wiig (who plays a wickedly good younger Lucille Bluth in flashbacks) are just a few of a longer list of celebs who show up in the season.
Alas, I am proud to say that Arrested Development, though lacking constant laughs like its previous seasons, does deliver a long-awaited good time. From Jason Bateman not missing a comedic beat, to the numerous puns, revisited jokes and misunderstandings between characters, the show really does satisfy those who cried themselves to sleep at night over missing Buster’s (Tony Hale) screams of terror every time someone said the word ‘seal’. The producers of the show proved to be ambitious by implementing the new format (introducing us to the change with some hilarious throat-clearing by the narrator, Ron Howard), but Arrested Development is back from the dead and I couldn’t be happier.
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