With the incredibly over-hyped return of Arrested Development on Netflix, something I had been waiting for with extreme anticipation for over a year, what can be said about its triumph…ugh…gran…its come back?
Ok, so I’m guessing by now you’ve realized how this review is going to go. For those of you who have already assumed the worst and think I’m going to totally trash the return of what is my favorite sit-com of all time, just read on. You might be surprised.
There is plenty good to be said about the show’s return. For starters, they got the original cast back. There was a lot of rumors that the show wasn’t going to happen due to conflicting schedules among all the actors. I don’t know how they did it, but it was great to see the original Bluth family together. If it’s one thing I really can’t stand it’s when actors get replaced mid-franchise or upon a show’s return.
The writing is well-kept. Things that don’t make sense to you at first eventually become more clear. Everything gets explained and reasoned through in the Arrested Development style you all know and love… almost.
The pacing is slow. I mean slow. A lot of the times with the running gags they give you the punchline first without even telling you, only to have the setup come later. I know what you’re all thinking, and yes that is the only way I can describe it.
There are 15 new episodes and it takes about half way till the gags start making sense and things come together. The show seems to treat itself more like a mystery show than a comedy. It would work better if the jokes landed, but sadly some of them (even after they’ve been explained or just didn’t need to be) don’t. The show that once had me laughing on the floor like I did watching Bugs Bunny cartoons as a kid just doesn’t have that pizzazz anymore. The big problem is that the whole plot of the season just is constantly repeating itself.
Whatever running gags the show establishes off the bat just feel forced. A lot of things feel forced. Namely, there are points when the narrator just won’t shut up. It’s as if the show really does feel we won’t get the jokes; and often times the constant blabbering of Ron Howard leads to no pay off. It’s pretty much not the way comedy is supposed to be.
Everyone has become despicable. Now let’s get one thing straight, yes, some of the characters were jerks, but in more of an oblivious to what they are doing kind of way. Before everyone was out to make their own ends meet, but it was more along the lines of spending money they didn’t have. Now, they’re all out to screw each other for incredibly petty reasons. It just doesn’t feel right. It had a much better feel to it when everyone was just a complete idiot ruining the family name while Michael was a partial idiot trying to save the family name and company.
Look, I know this review might seem harsh, but the show does have its moments. The episode that featured Buster had me laughing my guts out. However, this season has plenty to enjoy, but not much to love. Look, if you’re an Arrested Development fan and have seen every episode then you owe it to yourself to watch these. Especially considering they are making a movie that these episodes help set up.
Take a Drink: every time you see the Ostrich
Take a Drink: every time they show a clip from the show’s original run with the text on it (you’ll see what I mean).
Take a Drink: every time they mention a running gag from the original run.
Take a Drink: whenever a joke gets explained.
Take a Drink: every time you see the boardwalk getting destroyed.