Arrested Development/Netflix

Last week at this time, everyone on the internet was freaking out about Arrested Development. We over here at KQED Pop were freaking out about Arrested Development (when they tweeted us our heads almost exploded). It seemed magical that this thing we had all loved so long ago, in the early 2000s, in our youth– this thing that we had mourned for dead– could come back to life. It was like your lost dog returning after you had moved to a different state or finding your keys in the sand at the beach. These things don’t happen and when they do, you kinda believe in miracles. However, by Sunday afternoon, you could hear the sighs throughout the land. “It’s just not that funny,” people were saying to each other on the phone. “I haven’t laughed once,” read the text messages.

Yesterday at lunch a bunch of my coworkers brought it up. Out of the five of us who were watching the show, all of whom purported to be True Arrested Development Fans, only two of us had gotten past Episode Three. I realized right then and there that I had to do something. What follows is a message to all Arrested Development Fans who haven’t gotten past Episode Three of Season Four of Arrested Development:

Stop whining. Do you remember when the show first came out? You probably don’t. Everyone was confused because the title made it sound like it was about that band that sang “Mr. Wendal” and the camera work was weird, not to mention that when you just tuned in and hadn’t seen every other episode, you had no clue what was happening. You probably don’t remember because when the show first came out, nobody watched it.

It took three seasons for this show you’ve been calling your “favorite show of all time” since college to gain any momentum with viewers and then it wasn’t enough and the show got canceled. For seven years you’ve been using that cancellation as an example of what’s wrong with television and by extension, what’s wrong with the world. And now, in a truly unprecedented gift from the gods of entertainment and Netflix, the whole cast, the writers and the creator have been reunited FOR YOU, and they have created a fourth season that stays true to the tone, the spirit and the world of the show while acknowledging the passage of time and what that would mean for the characters lives. This is an amazing gift. And you’re going to stop watching because you didn’t LAUGH ENOUGH IN THE FIRST THREE EPISODES?

This is like if your mom got lost at sea and then seven years later returned to you unharmed but tired and you were like, “Um, she didn’t make me a grilled cheese sandwich right away so, whatever, I’m over it.”

Have iPhones and a non-George W. Bush president made us this lazy? Are we a group of such ungrateful jerks that we can’t give it a second while our television idols ramp up to the laughs and set up a bunch of great jokes while giving us the back story we most definitely want? IS THIS WHO WE’VE BECOME?

Friends, I want to implore you to keep watching Arrested Development Season Four. I just finished and I can tell you without a doubt that a) it is awesome and worthy of those years we pined for it and b) it isn’t over. If you all can stop turning on everything two seconds after you say you love it (see Anne Hathaway) and develop a little patience, I think we will live to see a future with another season of your favorite show of all time. Maybe even a movie. But this means you can’t give up now. You have to turn off the haterade and start watching. Tell your friends to watch. Show Netflix you love it and you don’t want to lose it again. Because you don’t.

We will never go back again to those salad days of 2003/4/5/6 so of course this iteration of the show is different. The whole world is different now than it was then. In some ways darker, in some way lighter and in all ways older. But the new Arrested Development is just as smart and tight and funny as the old and if we are lucky and supportive, we can do something even better than going back (because really, none of us want to be 23 again): we can grow up and watch our favorite show of all time grow up right along with us.

And also this: it does get a whole lot funnier. I promise.

So stop complaining and start watching. This is happening. Taste the happy Michael. Taste the happy.

Arrested Development Fans: Do Not Give Up On Season Four! 31 May,2013Lizzy Acker

  • Nattie Ice

    Amen, Acker!

  • Lisa Brennan

    One word: episode 11… uh, two words.

    • geo

      7,11,14,and 15 made the whole trip worth it for me.

      • Lisa Brennan

        That’s ALMOST the same list my pals and I came up with. But wth, I’ll agree with it fully. SAME. : ]

  • Palo Jon

    Why, one wonders, is Lizzy such a fawning shill for this program? If the program is not worth the candle then its time to move along to some better use of our limited time. The “this marriage can be saved” energy seems strange without some paid endorsement backstory – or was it that head-exploding tweet mentioned in the first paragraph.

  • jkaw

    No offense, but comedy shows are supposed to be funny. It’s not supposed to be some epic Tolstoy novel that unfolds into a somewhat clever gag after 11 hours of viewing. The best comedy shows are funny all the time and don’t really require too much serious investment. Even after watching the whole season, I was pretty let down.
    As a big fan (who was a fan of the show way back in 2004, by the way), season 4 was a bust for a number of readily obvious reasons:
    – character-centric episodes, rather than ingeniously plot-driven episodes (eg “that’s why you don’t teach lessons”)
    – a limited amount of interaction amongst the main characters, which is a well-documented effect of Netflix’s/the writers’ inability to effectively coordinate schedules
    – a vomitous amount of celebrity cameos, interlaced with a bunch of unfunny inside jokes (nobody cares about the inner workings of Imagine Entertainment, trust me) that ultimately amount to way less than the sum of its parts
    – a focus on rehashing old jokes that is so brazen it results in the main characters are ridiculous caricatures of themselves from the first three seasons
    All in all, a huge disappointment in my view. After 7 years of waiting, the world could have waited a little longer for a show that didn’t cut corners and shoehorn awkward plotlines due to behind-the-scenes logistical issues. And the tarnish the show has now won’t wear off anytime soon.


Lizzy Acker

Lizzy Acker’s work has been published in Nano Fiction, Fanzine, Joyland, Eleven Eleven and elsewhere. She has read with Bang Out, RADAR, Quiet Lightening and others. Her first book, Monster Party, was released in December of 2010 by Small Desk Press.

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