“Season four’s masterstroke – the element that welds the show’s extreme self-consciousness and (yes!) cornball sincerity — is its decision to build our fears and anxieties about a resurrected Arrested Development right into the master narrative…It’s all about elapsed time and lost opportunities, and how families grow apart geographically and emotionally, and make peace with their personal limitations (and their families’), or continue to live in denial, or force some kind of confrontation, or stumble into one, and end up taking baby-duckling steps toward enlightenment. That’s why so many people have described it as sad, or dark, or depressing: It has a heart, but you can see how bruised it is.”
At Vulture, Matt Zoller Seitz sings the praises of Netflix’s Arrested Development revival. “Like The Godfather, Part II…season four of AD manages to be true to the spirit of the original while tinkering with its structure, rhythm, and themes. It’s very different from yet artistically equal to the show’s first three seasons.”
Having watched Season 3 (again) and Season 4 this past week, I’m much closer to Seitz’s awed appreciation of the Bluths’ return than, say Alan Sepinwall’s more disgruntled view. Although admittedly it takes an episode or three to vibe into what Hurwitz et al are doing, take away the rosy retrospection and Season 4 seems very much on a par with the first few seasons. I for one was increasingly impressed, and amused, by the recursive, Mobius strip intricacy of the whole proceedings, and, as you might expect, there are a lot of very funny lines throughout. (“Handcuff the King of the Jews!”) Also, since it’s already supercutted, the Sound of Silence bit made me laugh every time.
“I’m a HUGE fan of Arrested Development. Once I heard that each episode in the new season was going to focus on a different character, I thought it would be fun to create a series of art doing the same.” In anticipation of Season 4, artist Josh Cox creates a series of Arrested Development throwback album covers. I probably would’ve more explicitly riffed off this for the above one.
“Greater risk of wildfires, fewer OSHA inspections and a risk of more workplace deaths, 125,000 people risking homelessness with cuts to shelters and housing vouchers, neglect for mentally ill and homeless Americans who would lose services, Native Americans getting turned away from hospitals, cuts to schools on reservations and prison lockdowns. There’s also a higher risk of terrorism with surveillance limited and the FBI potentially unable to disrupt plots, closed housing projects, and 600,000 women and children thrown off WIC. In short: Unless a budget deal is cut, the country will be in deep trouble.”
In short, this lousy sequester is the GOP’s baby, yes. But it’s also the ultimate consequence of both parties trafficking in unresponsible hysteria over a phantom problem for years one end. Now the chickens have come home to roost, and our fragile economic recovery, weakened by several years without any serious stimulus, faces a real crisis. Let’s be clear: This crisis was not caused by the illusory danger of deficits, but because Republicans and the administration both, when the chips were down in August 2011, elided over basic economic sense and instead embraced the nonsense of austerity.
“It’s true. We will do 10 episodes and the movie. Probably shoot them all together next summer for a release in early ’13. VERY excited!” Never mind Harold Camping getting it wrong…again: The biggest news of October 2011, as everyone knows, was official word that Arrested Development is returning for 10 episodes and a movie, due out in 2013. Apparently, Michael Cera finally needed some quick cash. (I kid, I kid. Says show creator Mitch Hurwitz: “‘I thought it would be funny [to put that out there]… but it really turned ugly. For those of you have been following this saga, Michael’s been great and he’s always been game.“)
In related Game of Thrones fun, see also: Stupid Ned Stark and One and a Half Man, the buddy-movie version of the story. As an aside, I think I’m going to continue into Season 2 without reading the books (or without reading past the first book, at any rate.) As someone who’s usually entering into these sorts of genre properties with full knowledge of the backstory and reams of preconceived expectations, it feels mighty strange to be on the other side of the fanboy/general audience divide for once, and I think I kinda like it.