The following are my impressions for the new season of Arrested Development, Season four, it includes spoilers. Use the above link to skip to my favorite episodes.
Season 4 Impressions
This week, my favorite show returned from the grave. It was dead, I mean really dead but thanks to the magic of the fans, crew, producers, and powers that be at Netflix, the revival happened. I couldn’t have been more excited for it. I stayed up until it came out at 3:01 EST and watched with my writing partner, Matthew. I think the premiere was solid although it presented my favorite character in a negative light. I liked him a lot in the original run and wanted him to do really well. The rest of the episodes played out and I enjoyed them all in varying degrees. I would give this season an overall grade of a B+.
The show was really enjoyable and at many times featured some great sequences. How could you not enjoy the To Catch a Predator and The Social Network/Facebook parody or the numerous callbacks to previous gags? These things made it feel like old school AD. The change came in the form of the pacing. Instead of the rapid fire pacing of the previous seasons that were required to be 22 minutes, due to network restrictions, we got episodes 30+ minutes. This more time allowance facilitated the new storytelling focus of these episodes but as a consequence but you lose the lightning fast, joke after joke after joke pace that the show had before. I think this hurt the episodes somewhat as some of jokes didn’t work well and even some that did work, ran a little long.
The stories themselves were really intricate and presented in a really interesting manner. The way the show was formatted is kinda neat. I like the way they handle everything. The cameos and guest stars were numerous because of the fact that all of the regular cast members could not film their scenes together like normal. I liked a lot of the additions to the cast. Personally one of my favorite reveals this season was Michael’s wife Tracy. It was cool to see her briefly even though I really want to learn more. I am excited to rewatch this season as there is always a lot of neat hidden jokes to enjoy on the second viewing.
- Favorite Scene: – Lucille-“So you fell out of a chair and for this the government gives you applause?” Buster-“No, a big hand” ::Buster shows Lucille his new over-sized hand. Lucille-“I thought I recognized that son of a bitch!” I love the literal doctor.
- Things that worked: the song “Getaway”, the callbacks, Herbie Love, Fakeblock
- Things that didn’t work: Marky Bark and DeBrie, The Fantastic Four play.
The following are my top 5 favorite episodes from Seasons 1 – 3:
1) Pier Pressure-Season 1
Buster convinces his nephew, George Michael to get medical marijuana to help with Lucille 2’s vertigo. After finding out Michael tries to teach his son a lesson.
There are so many great jokes in this episode. Gob-“Save this lecture for your son…If he can remember them.” Maeby-“C Minus, C M-I-N-E-S”. Lindsay-“I know you got a crocodile in spelling but this has gone too far.” George Michael berating himself over his homework was so funny. Teaching a lesson, not to teach lessons is hilarious.
2) Afternoon Delight-Season 2
Gob is really starting to alienate some of the employees at work and looks to raise spirits with the Bluth Company Christmas party. Michael and Maeby spend time together when they both feel abandoned by George Michael and Lindsay respectively. Buster plays hooky from the army and gets REALLY good at the skill crane game.
George Sr’s ‘Black Friday’ is messed up but really funny. Bluth employee-“When are we going to see our new fancy office?” George Sr, “As soon as you get your new fancy job, you’re fired.” Oscar’s 420 mile pilgrimage, which Lucille described as “an excuse to score his weed and waggle his pickle at coeds.” Buster’s awards for army were great.
3) Altar Egos-Season 1
Michael attempts to have a one night stand with an attorney that he finds out is blind, she also happens to be his father’s prosecutor. Gob gets married on a dare and George Michael finds out about Maeby’s alter ego Surely.
It is hilarious how Michael missed the non sequitors from Maggie Lizer. Chareth Cutestory is a great fake name. Gob getting married on a dare is classic Gob. Lindsay and Tobias hiring George Michael to tutor Maeby was hilarious. Gob-“Boy, you really had to work hard to bag this blind girl, huh?”
4) Storming the Castle-Season 1
Michael tries to break up Marta and Gob, while Gob tries to get back in the Magician’s Alliance. Lucille and Buster clash over his girlfriend, Lucille 2. Maeby tries to protest against her mother by going pro leather.
This episode has my all time favorite line in the show: Michael-“I’m a saint, a living saint and I get absolutely nothing out of it.” The mix up with the Gothic Castle and Tobias being a real leather daddy. I really loved Michael’s plan to break up Marta and Gob and it almost worked.
5) Fakin It’-Season 3
The Bluth family stage a mock trial with Judge Reinhold presiding. Buster fakes a coma to get out of testifying and George Michael and Maeby participate in a mock wedding.
I love that Franklin is Nellie’s pimp. The joke about Tobias being a real “Nellie”, Lucille-“It’s so fun to talk like this.” The best scene however is the stuff in the hospital with George Sr. talking about Shrimp Fest, and George Michael’s rambling about wanting to do the wedding with his cousin.
Even though as Tobias says, “There are no…right or wrong answers…” Honorable Mention goes to S1’s Bringing Up Buster and Top Banana; Season 2’s Good Grief! and The One Where They Build A House; and Season 3’s finale, Development Arrested. All of the episodes are great but these are the standout episodes in an amazing show in my opinion.
Season 4 provided some excellent episodes and one of them might end up in the show’s top five, until then my preliminary season 4 top 5 is: Flight of the Phoenix, Senioritis, It Gets Better, Off The Hook, A New Start. Some of these could work their way into the Top 5 one day.
You can make a case for all of the episodes, please do so in the comments. What are your 5 favorite episodes of Arrested Development? Think it over and rewatch them all on Netflix.