Wednesday, October 03, 2007

You're Under Arrest

I finally finished watching Arrested Development. Every episode from every season from start to finish, in chronological order. Arrested Development is a show that either you've never heard of or you've seen every episode multiple times. I'm proud to consider myself a member of that second group. It's a little late in the game for me to declare the show's brilliance. I'm still not sure why I didn't get into this show when it was on the air. I do remember watching a few episodes early on and thinking that it was pretty good, but I never really gave it much of a chance. In all fairness, Arrested Development is a lot easier to enjoy on DVD. Still, I think that it has a lot to do with the fact that until very recently, I assumed that every show on TV was junk until presented with massive amounts of evidence to the contrary. I don't know if TV has gotten a lot better, or I've recently entered the sweet spot of the network's primary demographic target, but today I feel like there are more good shows on network/basic cable/premium cable TV than I could ever hope to watch on a regular basis, and I certainly didn't feel that way as recently as a year or two ago.

I enjoyed the first two seasons of Arrested Development more than the third, though I'm sure that the third season could have been as good if it was given a full run of episodes. Like most viewers, I was initially drawn to arguably the two most outrageous characters, Gob and Tobias, but I think that in the end, my favorite character was George Michael. What can I say, he reminds me of myself at that age, to a certain extent. The reason Arrested Development is so funny (and the reason it did so poorly in the ratings) is the continuous structure of its narrative. Unlike most sitcoms, which have an implicit reset back to normal at the end of every episode, Arrested Development continued every absurd plot detail from episode to episode (and from season to season). The writers not only made each episode of the show more ridiculous than a typical sitcom, they did so knowing that they were going to have to sustain nearly every single plotline throughout the life of the series. I'm sure that had the show continued on, it would've eventually collapsed under the weight of itself, so in some ways, it's good that it had an abbreviated life, but I think that it still could have continued at a very high level of quality and humor for one or two more seasons.

3 comments:

Greg said...

While I'm disappointed that the original title of the post isn't "You're under Arrest, Sugah," I wholeheartedly agree with you about the state of television today. Arrested Development was one of my favorites when it was on the air. Like you, my favorite character is George Michael, but I have a soft spot for Franklin Delano Bluth as well.

Alan said...

Hey Hermano,

Glad you enjoyed Arrested Development as much as I did. I think I deserve at least partial credit for getting you hooked.

Have you seen Superbad yet? I know it has been out in the States for a while but it just came out in the UK. If you haven’t you definitely should – stars Michael Sera essentially playing an extension of George Michael.

dhodge said...

You definitely were the final piece of the puzzle as far as getting me hooked on Arrested Development is concerned. I haven't seen Superbad yet, but I really want to.