The Arrested Development send-off

Fox did their dump-the-last-four-episodes-against-the-opening-of-the-Olympics Arrested Development event on Friday, a minimarathon which both reminded us why we liked the show and also why it might not have caught on with everyone. This is a show that rewarded paying attention, with a lot of the extra laughs coming from references to other episodes, or even to knowledge of trivial matters beyond the show. So a real portion of the humor of the episode “Family Ties” (which is a title that made conceptual sense but was only a joke if you recognized that the actress who played the, ummm, consultant was one of the stars of the TV series Family Ties) depends on recognizing that the guest actress really is the sister of series star Jason Bateman. Dialog in the final episode that mirrors dialog from the first. A character reappears at a key time who was not, if I recall correctly, seen at all this season. A newby sitting amidst a gang of Arrested Devotees would likely seem confused, particularly by the laughter arising from his companions. (It does make me wish that there was a close captioning track on the DVDs to explain the gags; certainly, there were allusions that I only caught on the second viewing of an episode. I haven’t noticed anythings that were obvious gags which I failed to understand, but that may be more a case of them doing a good job of not having the reference interrupt the flow, rather than some encyclopedic knowledge on my part. If I hadn’t noticed the photo of the current California governor on the marriage certificate, for example, I wouldn’t have thought I missed something. And is it a hidden gag or mere coincidence that the gay male/straight female couple in the series is played by a straight male and a gay female?)
There are those who have griped about how Fox abused this series; that I don’t understand. They gave this series air, and kept it going for, oh, 53 weeks (if I trust the allusion made by George Michael). Surely more than the ratings ever called for.
Oh, I feel I should be making some deeper, more insightful comment here, but I’m simply glad that this series was around for as long as it was.

Published in: on February 13, 2006 at 12:09 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. A character reappears at a key time who was not, if I recall correctly, seen at all this season.

    I can’t recall if it was this season or last but that character did make a very breif appearance in the “secret room” working some kind of transmission device (which was probably foreshadowing).

    I’m simply glad that this series was around for as long as it was.

    That’s the sentiment I try to hold onto with most of Fox’s spectacular failures. I mean, at least they got on they air and had a few episodes made… and Fox has taken more risks on shows like Action, The Tick and Wonderfalls than the other networks. (Then again when Fox takes a risk there’s a decent chance we’ll get Wonderfalls. When other networks take a chance, we often get The Book of Daniel — shows that never quite get that payoff.)

    Sigh, I only wish Lookwell could have gotten a six week run on Fox…

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