Television Corner: Arrested Development – Season 4

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Arrested Development is back! After being cancelled seven years ago, it’s now been resurrected by Netflix. Fifteen new episodes make up season 4 and are all available instantly. So are they good? Do they live up to the classic previous seasons? Is that Gene Parmesan standing behind you? You’re about to find out!

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I won’t even attempt to explain this

If you’re new to Arrested Development I’ll give you some time to go and watch seasons 1-3…….OK you’re back, that was great wasn’t it? If you’re like me (which is officially the right way to be) you’ll love the story of a rich Orange County family who collide after the businessman father is jailed for a variety of crimes including treason. It’s one of, if not the best, television comedies ever created and season 4 gladly turns out to be a mostly worthy successor to it.

If you haven’t watched all the seasons then the rest of this article might read like a cartoon character’s acid trip. Season 4 takes a hugely ambitious risk by focusing on a different character in each episode meaning the entire season should be viewed as one massive nine hour movie. It’s the definition of box set viewing. This means that the first six or so episodes lack a certain immediate impact. These episodes are the set up for a ridiculously intricate plot that spans the entire series. I could try to explain it but I’d be prone to scrambling my own tiny brain. So I’ll just throw out some storyline crumbs that fans of the show can chew on.

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Obviously GOB makes a huge mistake

As I’ve mentioned each episode of season 4 revolves around a different character over the same six year period from when we last left the Bluths. Michael (Jason Bateman) is trying to romance Ron Howard’s daughter, George Bluth Snr (Jeffrey Tambor) is caught up in a plan to build a wall between the US and Mexico, and Lindsay (Portia De Rossi) is in a relationship with a married politician. These storylines are the foundation of what becomes the biggest farce ever attempted on TV and lead to some of the funniest situations in Arrested Development history. The best episodes revolve around George Michael (Michael Cera) starting a Zuckerberg style internet company, GOB (Will Arnett) marrying Ann Veal while trying to resurrect his magic career, and Buster (Tony Hale) getting a new hand. Mere words can’t convey how silly the whole thing is so it needs to be seen to be believed.

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Tobias before he blew himself

There is a definite feeling of disappointment when you view the first few episodes but stick with it and it reveals itself to be an unbelievably intricate puzzle that gets funnier and funnier. It’s the Marx brothers doing Rashomon and by the time you get to the last episode you’ll be desperate for more. The creators took a bold and dangerous risk but ultimately it pays off and you’re left with a true original – a stupid, silly, raucous comedy that’s the smartest piece of entertainment you’ll see until it (hopefully) comes back. If you like the idea of Tobias Funke (David Cross) being arrested as a sex offender while dressed as The Thing from the Fantastic Four then get your ass to Netflix now you ANUSTART!

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