Thursday, July 31, 2008

Alphabeticals: A is for Arrested Development

If you've never seen Arrested Development I'm telling you now, there is a gaping hole in your pop-cultural education. It's one of those shows that shines in every way, whether that's writing, plot development, characterization, acting, continuity...even narration. It's a show that is so perfect, so flawless, that it only ever managed a cult following (and the heaps of critical adoration that tend to accompany those things followed by cults). What it is, at its most basic, is pure brilliance in half-hour mockumentary form. Like The Office only really really not.

The basics
A family of odd-balls (GOB, the lazy older brother; Buster, the socially awkward younger brother; Lindsay, the socially conscious--so long as it's convenient--sister; Tobias, her analrapist-turned-actor husband; Maeby, their rebellious daughter; Lucille and George, the white-collar-criminal parents; George-Michael, the geeky teenager; and Michael, his father, the straight-man holding the whole family together), the Bluths, are falling apart at the seams when George gets arrested and Michael takes over the company. They all come together in a poorly constructed Model Home while Buster (sort of) grows up, George-Michael battles incestuous feelings for his cousin, no one except Maeby gets a job and Michael struggles to remain sane amidst it all. Plus, it's all narrated by Ron Howard.

Yes. That Ron Howard.

Why You Should Watch
1. The entire cast is excellent, but David Cross as the brother-in-law with acting dreams and an unclear sexual orientation is especially hilarious (an impressive feat with such stiff competition).
2. Pre-Superbad Michael Cera, baby fat and all, was just as good at the awkward pause then as he is now.
3. Cameos from James Lipton, Julia-Louis Dryfus, Scott Baio, Liza Minelli, Martin Mull, Henry Winkler, Harry Hamlin, Zach Braff, William Huang and several other random celebrities.
4. It's a show with undeniable foresight. Watch it and then rewatch it...there's foreshadowing for events in season 3 from the very beginning.
5. The best running jokes on television.

7. Mostly, though, it's a show you'll still find funny on the twelfth or two thousandth viewing.

No comments:

Post a Comment