Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Arrested Development. Originally on FOX. Originally...unwatched by me.
I know! This is one of those stories -- like Going Bovine -- where I heard the description, thought "too wacky for me" (ignoring all the evidence that I love wacky) and didn't watch. Then I listened to those who said I'd love it, got the DVDs thanks to Netflix, and I watched it and guess what? I DID LOVE IT.
The Plot: Wow. This is hard. It's about the Bluth family, a wonderfully dysfunctional, functional family. The father (and head of the family company) was just arrested and is in prison, good son Michael is trying to keep the family, the business, and the finances together. It's a bit hard because his family is out of control. And they are so over the top that words fail me.
The Good: Saying words fail me is a bit sad, isn't it? I mean, this entire blog is about having the words. So big brother Gob is a magician who thinks he's the best thing since sliced bread -- and somehow everyone else agrees. Even as his magic tricks fail spectacularly over and over. Younger brother Buster has been kept in the baby brother mode for so long that he's an amazingly stunted individual whose relationship with his mother involves matching outfits (and that's the healthiest part). Sister Lindsay is married to an ex-doctor, now wannabe actor and has a cynical daughter Maeby, a high school student who moonlights as a studio executive. Michael's son George Michael is in love with his cousin, Maeby.
It's zany and over the top and sometimes just doesn't make sense. But it's like a roller coaster; strap yourself in, trust in the track, let yourself go. Don't let logic ruin it.
Zany isn't enough to keep you going three seasons. Part of what helps is Michael, who looks like (and thinks he is) the Marilyn in the Munsters Family. The normal one. Except what is awesome is Michael is just as looney tunes as the rest of the family. All of them have a distorted view of themselves and their world and their place in it. While Michael sees how wrong his mother's relationship with her youngest son is, Michael and George Michael's relationship isn't much better.
And the story lines... the places this series goes. Michael dates a blind attorney and every. single. joke a person would think yet never say about a blind person? It goes there. There are no sacred cows, "oh no we cannot" in Arrested Development. People behave badly over and over. Add to it some off the wall plot lines that tie it all in together -- because OF COURSE the blind attorney that Michael is dating? Turns out to be prosecuting Michael's father! Except Michael lied about his name at the bar where he picked up the woman during an intended one-night stand. And Michael doesn't realize until the next day that the woman is blind and suddenly finds himself in a relationship (under an assumed name and made up career) because you cannot dump a blind woman! And his family finds out and realizes this is the perfect chance to sneak into her house and read the files she has on the Bluth family! And decide to do it while she's at home because, you know... blind. And all that is in one episode, with other things going on, and its amazing and beautiful and hurts from laughing so much.
And what is even better? People, plots, throwaway lines don't disappear when one episode ends. In other words? That blind attorney is going to reappear. Actually, the way things pop up again or get worked in? I think this works better in a DVD set, where you can sit back and watch several episodes in a row because that way you pick up on the little things. Waiting a week, I think you'd miss those little details. Also, because sometimes this show is so quick, and so jam packed, you want to rewatch an episode or a scene right away to get the full, rich experience.
And if you're not going to watch it? You're a CHICKEN! And I will chicken dance at you!
Arrested Development Chicken Dances - Watch more Funny Videos
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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy