Arrested Development (Series Review)

I never saw Arrested Development when it originally aired. In fact, I only started watching it recently. As a result, the 4th season of Arrested Development was a blessing and a curse as I took the liberty to binge watch all seasons back to back.

For weeks (days) I simply could not bring myself to do much, or rather, nothing else.

Normally of course, I would not dream to give in to this sort of luxury – alternating between lying and sitting on the couch to watch yet another episode of the Bluth family’s shenanigans.

Therefore one can only imagine my utter frustration……but it was a sacrifice someone had to make.

Season 4 of Arrested Development is not my favourite one. For starters, the format is different and the pace of the show much, much slower. In fact, I nearly gave up watching as I was not nearly enjoying it as much as I was previously. No Blue Man Group, no ‘there’s always money in the banana stand’ and no ‘Her?’ comments when referencing to George Michael’s unfortunately bland girlfriend.

I’m glad I stuck with it though, because nearly halfway through the season, the plot became a bit more interesting and recaptured my attention.

This long awaited season does not standalone and to fully understand and appreciate the brilliance of the show, the previous seasons should be viewed. Otherwise you would literally not have a clue.

Each episode has one central character, showing their point of view. Maybe it just didn’t work as well as the Bluths are far funnier together than they are alone. They bounce off each other I suppose.

But that is not the difference. Michael Bluth, ‘the one son who had to keep them all together’, is less likeable. He seems more selfish, more self-absorbed and narcissistic. He is more like the rest of his family which means the dynamic between the characters has changed – and unfortunately, for the worse.

Analrapist Tobias and Magician (and this term is to be used lightly at best) still deliver though. Both blissfully unaware of the world around them, they made up for the moments the other family members could not evoke a smile.

As a whole, season four feels very much like a set up for the rumoured Arrested Development feature length and left me seriously wondering how the whole story would eventually pan out. Ron Howard is in his element as the narrator and as brilliant as he is, I find him less amusing as himself. It’s a clever move though.

The forced stop did not help Arrested Development but it’s certainly not hopelessly hopeless and I suspect most shows would lose their momentum under similar circumstances.

In short, it’s still comically brilliant, highly entertaining, fresh and worth waiting for. Hopefully just not another 7 years.

Ebony Hasselbaink