I, just like many other people, have been waiting for this new season of Arrested Development since the live ending of the last season. So I chose to sign up for the free trial and devour the whole season within a week. After about 3 episodes, I would have given it 4 out of 5 stars, but then a stroke of brilliance in the filming and writing hit me and I had to bump it up to 5 out of 5!
First, my opinion of netflix. I was actually a member back in 2002 and enjoyed their home delivery service. I eventually cancelled when a few discs were lost in the mail or I no longer had the time to watch the movies I rented. A few years back, I tried their streaming service but they didn’t have many good movies to stream. So I didn’t expect much when signing up, other than the new season of Arrested Development. Looking through the streaming movies, it looks like the same old indies and tv, so I am not really impressed. I will have to congratulate the individual who suggested to the higher ups that a new season of Arrested Development would bring in thousands of new people. Whoever you are, thank you immensely!
Now for AD. This is season four and if you are unfamiliar with AD, this show is a twisted comedy filled with intelligent, fast humor. A prime example from the first episode: Lucille (the matriarch of the family) and her adult daughter, Lindsey, are on a boat watching another boat go by that has flamboyant gay men on it. The daughter says, “I have that same blouse…” and the mother quips, “It looks better on him.” The show is filled with surprises and tongue-in-cheek stabs, but in the end, it’s always the same message-no matter how bad you think your family is, they are still your family and you should love them. A little history on the show-season three, the last season, was their last season as they were notified they were going to be cancelled. So, they wrote into the script little hints at Showtime and HBO to pick them up. Well, maybe not so little hints… BIG hints. This was part of the intelligent humor.
The final episode was promised to be a live ending and here’s what they did(according to my wavering memory): all throughout the show, they kept saying, “stay tuned for the live ending”… pretty soon, it was so close to the end that you started wondering when it was actually coming. At the last minute, the show had someone ask a question to Lucille and they went live and she said, simply, “yes”. The live cast and crew went crazy with applause. Classic!
The new season started out with a feeling of seeing old friends. Surprisingly, the ENTIRE cast was back! Even Liza Minnelli! I thought for a few minutes that Lindsey (Portia de Rossi(sp?)) was someone different, but it appears that Ellen has been starving her. I was concerned at her weight but delighted that they mentioned it and took jabs. I didn’t find too many laugh out loud moments but part of this kind of show is major storyline, so I allowed some time for that. I love it when shows break the fourth wall and they did this so many times. Especially with Liza!
Now for what changed my mind about the show. A few episodes in, I noticed that they were spotlighting an individual character in each episode. Good idea. Then I noticed something… each episode is actually tying into the others. Very clever. Then the kicker. Each episode is going on in the same time frame. Extremely interesting. Then, I realized that it was all tying in to being filmed at the same time, different places, characters going in and out of scenes from one episode to another. Things that mean something in one episode meant something different in another. It’s hard to explain, but I will give an example. Michael was almost hit by a limo in one episode. In a following episode, the limo turns out to have been driven by his brother Gob. Going back over these, the filming appears to have been done with a thousand cameras!
Ben Stiller shows up as a gay magician and the storyline between he and Gob was extremely touching. I wanted so much more, but I will have to wait for the next season, which was probably filmed at the same time, seeing how brilliant the writers and actors were.
I have to mention Liza once more. A new character, her brother on the show, was introduced. The actor was Tommy Tune. I am not too familiar with him, but I know he’s a big broadway star, which made the fourth wall crumble! They mentioned in one of the last few episodes that Liza(‘s character) only used her car to get to hip replacement surgeries, which made me laugh out loud. They also brought up something-Michael Cera (Michael’s son on the show), had never met Lucille2 (Liza). On the show, she lives across the hall from Lucille and has been involved with them a long time, apparently. This was a fourth wall reference, as he had never had any scenes with her on the show. Liza looked good, by the way. At one point, they showed her shoulders and damn are they wide! I couldn’t stop staring at them! If you have an “in” with Liza, please tell her I would like to court her! 🙂
So I will have to give this season 5 stars, not only for the acting, but for the storyline which had to be a nightmare to integrate! I can now forgive the long wait as it was absolutely perfect as a whole!
“Hello darkness, my old friend….”