Arrested Development Season 4 Review
After seven long years, petitions that seemingly went ignored and a bevy of will-it or won’t-it return rumors, Arrested Development debuted 15 new episodes exclusively on Netflix on May 26th. By now, it doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of the show or not, the hype has been too great and the news coverage too in-depth to ignore the return of the Bluth family. For better or worse, ‘Arrested Development’ is back.
As a general rule, you should never binge on a comedy. I don’t care if you’re watching ‘Seinfeld’ or ‘The Simpsons’, watching 15+ episodes of any comedy in one day is tough. Most comedies have their own niche brand of humor and Arrested Development took that niche comedy shtick to the extreme. So this is where I would caution you not to watch every episode in one sitting. However, the fourth season of Arrested Development is structured almost so you have to watch every episode in one sitting since each episode builds off the last and references earlier seasons. Each episode in the season is told from a different character’s point of view (some more than once) so the same events are covered several times. As you start to get the full 360 degree view, you actually find yourself looking back on earlier episodes more fondly than you did when you first saw them. Although I have yet to watch the fourth season a second time, I’m betting that I’ll get even more out of it when I know what to look for.
Truth be told, the first few episodes are slow. Things pick up when Tobias gets his episode and hit their peak when George Michael gets his. So you have to stick with it. But if you do, the season will redeem itself and reveal it to be the brilliant Arrested Development of old. Remember; creator Mitchell Hurwitz is trying to explain over five years’ worth of time off in 15 episodes and still develop the characters that we know and love. The characters that we fell in love with so many years ago have changed. Everyone is just a little more serious and a little more depressing, which changes the humor a little bit. It’s also disappointing at times that we don’t get enough of our favorite characters. We needed more Buster and George Michael and less George Sr., but when your favorite character gets their own episode, the payoff is worth it. But I can’t help but think that Tobias, Buster and Lucille in small does is more efficient than focusing on them for a full thirty (or more) minutes. With all of that said, Gob does his Final Countdown routine, George Michael is still into Maebe, Buster is still too attached to Lucile and all of the inside jokes we liked before are referenced again in the fourth season.
Fans of Arrested Development will once again fall in love with the Bluth’s. The season’s shortcomings will be forgiven and they’ll be thankful their beloved show beat the odds and managed to come back to life. But I don’t think this season will bring in any new fans. If the show was too sophisticated or offbeat for someone before, then a steroid induced season is only going to make it worse. I’m not sure how Netflix is going to gauge the show’s success. I’ve read they hold “binging” (watching the whole season in one sitting) in high regard, but that’s not realistic with this show. They’re going to have to find another way to measure it and whatever they choose, I hope they’re able to prove it a success. Now that season 4 is over, let’s start the petition to get a fifth season. Because the fourth season of Arrested Development is still brilliant, even if it doesn’t quite live up to the insanely high standards of the first three seasons.