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Very funny
Snoopy19 August 2004
This show takes a few episodes before you *really* GET it. And once you get it, you'll realize why everybody thinks it's one of the best sitcoms ever.

Each character is really defined and original...with real, unique personalities. All of the actors have fantastic chemistry, making for really great interactions and relationships within the show.

The writing for this show is great, and the plots are so absurd that you can't help but find them funny.

A refreshing change in a world where people like reality's the only good sitcom left.
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The smartest thing Fox has done yet
AlphabetCity14 December 2003
This is the funniest show currently on television. All you need to enjoy this show is an appreciation for high-quality acting and incredibly hilarious writing. Jason Bateman as Michael Bluth is perfect as the under-appreciated do-good guy who's just trying to keep his family together and himself sane. Other highlights of the show include Will Arnett as GOB (George Oscar Bluth II), Michael's lame-excuse-for-a-magician brother; Jeffrey Tambor as George Sr., Michael's incarcerated father (he was jailed for "shifty accounting practices"); and Michael Cera as George Michael Bluth, Michael Bluth's perpetually nervous 13-year-old son (who just happens to have a strange infatuation with his cousin, Maebe, played by "State of Grace"'s Alia Shawkat). All in all this show is sure to be a hit, at least with those people whose level of understanding of comedy is above slapstick and bathroom jokes. TREMENDOUSLY hilarious writing and outstanding performances by the whole cast will have you laughing the whole time. Ten out of ten!
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Great TV
metalgoth8 December 2004
Strange, Fox's promos almost made me miss out on this whole thing.

It's a sit-com made with very high standards, it's a career revival for Ron Howard, Henry Winkler and Liza Minelli, and it's a show that puts Fox's profile into HBO territory. "It's Arrested Development"

"In fact...", a Ron Howard quote that has become a cliché around our house, in fact, it's all those things and more. The writing is as good as everyone says it is, the cast is on par with that of Seinfeld or Roseanne. (Say what you will about her, that was a dream cast) Whenever new characters appear, they are inevitably played by people familiar to fans of edgy, intelligent humor. People like Jeffrey Tambor and Jason Bateman are dependably good, Michael Cera is a standout, and David Cross is finally being seen for the talent that he is.

The strongest thing I can say about this is that I find myself repeating various running gags, things that, like "In fact...", have become clichés. "I've made a huge mistake." "I'm having the time of my LIFE in here!" "surprisingly cat-like" "Take a powder, willya fellas?"

This last one, uttered by Liza Minelli as Lucille Austero, sticks with me especially, and I hope that Liza stays with the show longer. As good as the principles are, she manages to outclass even them. The same with Henry Winkler, whose Barry Zuckercorn is the sort of lawyer television's been dying for. Among those main players, Lindsay and Tobias are pretty strange characters to begin with, but when you consider that they are an old married couple, that crosses the line into the bizarre. This show is full of people and situations you just won't see anywhere else, at least until other derivative shows start appearing.

Watch carefully, as there are many bit and pieces lingering in the background that you might miss. Recently, George Michael was dumped by his girlfriend. As he trudged home in a state of misery, you could hear sad Charlie Brown music. In the background, you could see a real - but bright red - dog house, with a real dog lying on top of it. It's things like these that tell me that the creators are just pleased to be doing this show for it's own sake, and that kind of love of the work shows through in the end.

Who knows if this show will last? There's an audience out there for this sort of thing, but they've generally settled into the Sunday night HBO schedule. Hopefully the Emmys, the word of mouth, and the critical raves will draw attention to this show. If not, we'll just have our A.D. dvds to keep us warm, and thank God for 'em!
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nightswatch10 October 2006
You've doubtless heard fans rave and rave about this show, and may have even checked it out. The camp is sharply divided, people either absolutely love it, or tend to just "not get it." In that sense it may not be for everyone (great television, and great art in general, rarely is), and to each his own. But after watching each season multiple times, I can easily say that it is the funniest show that I have ever seen by an ENORMOUS margin. Even after many repeat viewings, I still end up in tears all the time.

DVD treats this series well simply because it suits itself to rapid digestion (and after getting hooked, you won't be able to get up). The writers include many, many running gags that persist through entire seasons, or even the entire series ("I've made a huge mistake." "Her?"). The entire cast is extremely WELL cast and everyone's comedic timing is spot on. The real stars are David Cross as Tobias, and Will Arnett as GOB. Their physical comedy is drop dead hilarious as well. But Jessica Walters and Jeffrey Tambor are phenomenal, the former most especially in the third season.

As others have stated there is no laugh track and this is part of what throws some of the "we don't get it" camp off. The humor is very fast paced as well, and many of the biggest laughs are very subtle physical comedy, or a line of dialog that is dropped in the midst of a conversation. Some of the music that was written for the show is absolutely hilarious as well, especially the song that plays often when George Micheal is put in an awkward (sexual) situation ("whatcha trying to say to me??").

Start with season 1, give it 4 episodes (go through at least the episode "key decisions" which I believe is ep 4). If you're not hooked, or at least intrigued by then, its likely you wont be at all. But if you're like me, and MANY others, you'll find that you've just stumbled upon one of the greatest shows ever made. VERY highly recommended. 10/10
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best comedy on TV today
xircso21 October 2004
this comedy is smart where so many others are not. its one of the few shows on today that you find DO NOT have a laugh track which alone makes it unique, but with the excellent writing and acting make it a refreshing and hilarious change. after a few episodes, it all makes sense and is that much funnier once you know the characters and their very individual quirks.

this show deserved all of the awards it won plus a few more just to make sure it gets noticed. its been voted TV-lands "future classic" after only a single season if thats any clue to those who haven't seen it yet. the dry acting of jason bateman and the voice over by ron howard are both stellar and add greatly to the shows overall style.

watch this show as soon as it begins again (nov 7, 2004 after the simpsons) you wont be sorry.
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HI-Larious as Well As Intelligent
Nicholai7 November 2004
In this age of lazily-conceived, hastily-produced, fill-in-the-blank reality shows that the FOX network seems to corner the market on, it's refreshing to see them invest in a show that doesn't fit a clichéd formula and challenges the audience's intellect with hilarious results.

Previously, I had written off this show without giving it a chance, assuming that it's just another show about rich people with problems, a la "The OC". It's too bad I didn't give it a chance because I just happened to watch a random episode right while waiting for "Malcom in the Middle". Little did I expect to laugh so hard at George Michael continuously wearing a muscle suit just because his COUSIN. Maebe, gave him a passing compliment. And the absurdity of the situation was amplified by Ron Howard's deadpan narration of the episode, giving it the seriousness the situation doesn't deserve.

The show was still confusing because I wasn't clear on all the relationships and the origninating humor that the episodes look back to. Good think FOX did a marathon of the show in order to set me straight.

Bottom line, this show did not win all those Emmies for nothing. It could give Frasier, Friends and Seinfeld a run for their money any day. Let's hope the Emmys shielded the show from the FOX cancellation bug that afflicted other good shows such as "Action", "Titus", "Greg The Bunny" and ESPECIALLY "Family Guy".

**** out of ****
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Hilarious comedy!
Chuck Rothman (crothman)25 November 2003
Probably the best show of the 2003 season, and the best new comedy in years. It's very hard to describe, since the comedy is entirely character-based, not plot- or wisecrack-based.

Basically, it's the story of the Bluth family, developers who are in bankruptcy with the father in prison for fraud. One son, Michael, tries to be responsible and keep things going, while the rest of the group is entirely self-centered and can't seem to focus on the fact they are broke and in disgrace.

The various family members go off in various directions: George (GOB) fancies himself a magician, Buster is a momma's boy, Lindsay goes off supporting odd causes, Lindsay's husband Tobias fancies himself an actor. It's a show you need to watch closely, but the laughs are all over the place, from unexpected directions.
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Am I watching the same show you guys are watching?
rdatsun28 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
OK, seriously, after reading the recent past reviews of the show am starting to ask myself if you people are even giving the show at least five minutes of your time before rushing online to bash it. You guys are saying that season 2 is going downhill yet your not even explaining why the this season is so inferior to the first. I've seen the second season and I have to say it right on par with the first with more funny twist and situations that Michael and the Bluths have to deal with. Yes they changed some of the story lines now (George Sr. on the run, Gob taking over the company, Buster threating to join the army, and so forth) but THATS HOW SEASONS GO. If they kept the same storyline from the first the show would've haven't gotten repetitive before the first two episodes. And beside the show still retains it wit and subtle humor from the first show while continuing storyline from previous episodes. So really whats the problem with the second season? Cause all am hearing is whining and undeserved bashings from folks with short attention spans.
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Putting the "vision" in television.....
Jolleyism12 October 2006
There was a time during what is commonly known as The Golden Age of Television when the medium was used to communicate. It was used to entertain, inspire, and evoke a connection with the people. There was time in television when the programs would challenge not only the standard, but also the viewer. It started with things like Sanford & Son and All In the Family. Then the Richard Pryor Show shook people to the bone. From these gems came further explorations of the comic genre. We were treated to things like The Simpsons, Married With Children, and Seinfeld. Shows that broke the mold of the typical sitcom formula. They found their actors and made them stars. They didn't take washed up has-been film actors and try to turn them into the affable characters that they obviously were not. They simply took fresh talent and gave them the environment to get better and eventually captivate.

Then something terrible happened in 1993. A show, on what was supposed to be a music video network, got the idea to film real people living together in a house. From the first episode of The Real World, the Golden Age of Television was over. From this little show spawned a countless number of reality TV Shows that have paved the way for mind numbing experiences of watching people acting "real" while they are being filmed. It showed us all that not only is this medium of television completely unoriginal, but that it also provided people with insight into just how far somebody will go to get themselves on the airwaves. In 1994 something else happened. A little show called "Friends" hit the desk of the execs at NBC. From that we now have an endless string of formulaic, hokey, poorly written buddy sitcoms, all focusing on the same issues that plague the "poor" yuppie world that these people all seem to inhabit. Gone was the time when you didn't really need the laugh track; gone was the time of multi-plot line programming.

And then, something truly amazing and inspiring happened. In a collaborative effort from the Hurwitz Company and Imagine Entertainment came a brilliant piece of intelligent programming; a show that had no precedent. A truly talented ensemble cast, a brilliant writing team, and an amazing staff of directors and photographers that changed the art form like never before. Gone were the days of traditional, canned laughter sitcoms. It seems that we had all been saved from another infinite line of weak programs, and by whom? The FOX Network. Who would have thunk it? But then again, it made perfect sense. FOX brought us The Simpsons, Married With Children, and Family Guy. They had been known to challenge the bar that was set by regular programming. But instead of living on with those classics, it was forced to willow away in the doldrums of cancellation alongside other brilliant yet failed shows, like Action, Titus, and Greg the Bunny. Some people like to watch clichéd, overplayed, over done formulas every week. Some people like the safe humor, the one-two camera angles, the boring sets, and the canned laughter. Some people just don't want to think. The rest of us…the rest of us watch Arrested Development.
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First Season on DVD Disk 1 - Highly Recommended!!!
kd4ml21 October 2004
We enjoyed re-discovering the amazing antics of the Bluth family and preparing ourselves for the much anticipated second season. Arrested Development is my kind of situation comedy. No laugh tracks, thank you for respecting our intelligence! When it's funny, we know when to laugh. There are lots of surprises, special guests, great acting and excellent writing. Ron Howard's narration is a bonus. When someone asks me what it's like, I compare it to "Scrubs" but less mean spirited and more family values. I hope it represents the beginning of a trend toward great but gentle humor. I'm just about fed up with "reality" programs. Thank you very much. Keep up the good work.
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Funniest Show in Television- Brilliant!!
Lynnie-328 March 2004
Annyong (Hello)! I absolutely love this show and so will you! If you haven't seen it- give it a second week and you will be laughing at all the subtle things and be caught up on the storylines. I usually tape it and watch it a second time with friends so I can catch the things that I missed the first time around or just because I like to watch it again! Yes, that is Ron Howard narrating the show. In an early episode the did make an Opie reference and last week Henry Winkler did a trademark Fonzie move in front of a mirror when they were combing hair. Don't let FOX cancel another brilliant show! P.S. Annyong is the Korean boy that Lucille adopted because Buster would not eat his cottage cheese (it might be one of those had to be there to understand)! His name really is not Annyong- Annyong means Hello in Korean!
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writing as complex as DNA
Big Cloits28 August 2009
You know how Pixar movies are sprinkled with growed-up jokes that the kiddies won't get? But there's lots there for kiddies, too?

Arrested Development is like that, except that the episodes are sprinkled with jokes that geniuses will get, but there's lots there for normal people, too. AD is rich with layers that I have missed 3, 4, 5 times only to finally "get it" on the 4th, 5th, 6th viewing.

For instance, I can't quite get over how the show is riddled with jokes that depend on stuff that hasn't happened yet. That's absurdly difficult writing. It's like comedy the way God would write it, full of double and triple meanings, palindromic, executed with an masterful awareness of the whole project. It's ridiculous. As a writer myself, AD makes me want to sit in a corner and weep, because I have no hope that I will ever write anything this good, or even this complex.


I'm glad someone else did, though! Great stuff!
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The Greatest Comedy on TV "nobody" saw
dankott24 September 2006
I think this was greatly overlooked by the viewing public primarily due to it's layered humour, and self-referencing. In the vein of Seinfeld (but much better), it staged jokes woven within jokes that often had to be caught by the perceptive viewer. Coincidences were fashioned together to great hilarious plot elements and numerous sight gags are incorporated to emphasise the jokes. The narrator carries the story forward and often adds amusing commentary with sarcastic wit.

A must see and highly addictive! If you liked Seinfeld, The Office, Curb your Enthusiasm, you'll love Arrested Development. It will sorely be missed.
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Great Comedy Show
Visual_junkie24 October 2006
This is a very well written and well acted show. The characters are very well thought out and interact in the best ways possible in order to create priceless comedy.

I think it's too bad that the type of comedy in this show isn't valued very much by the American public. Here in Europe everybody loves and watches the show. In Great Britain it was a hit.

I'm still hoping they make another season. Even if they have to find a new producer. Fox just dropped the show, as they do most good TV shows that come to surface. All in all it's worthwhile to buy the show on DVD! Great DVDs to have!
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A Trainwreck Worth Watching
yurfrendenme27 May 2013
The best way to describe the new Arrested Development season is this: You are all excited about taking a train ride with friends that you haven't seen in nearly 10 years, to somewhere, maybe a vacation of something. After the first hour of the train ride together you realize how slow trains are and start to get bored. By the 4th hour though something changes. Whether it be a loose bolt on the tracks or a penny on the rails, the train begins to crash. Everything is in turmoil, the one exception is your seat. Your one seat seems to be the only constant on this engine of turmoil and destruction. And you can't. Stop. Watching. By the last 3 hours of this you have completely forgotten about the slow and subtly boring start. You remember that in order for their to be a payoff, there has to be a set up. And it's at about this time that you stop panicking about the series being ruined and the 4th season being a failure. You finally get to appreciate all the set ups, all the subtleties, and you hold on for your life as the story comes to it's highest points. When it's over, you are left with a sense of euphoria and just a little bit of "What the hell just happened". The best part is that once you finish the season, it isn't over. The first episodes become more in depth and clear and are an entirely new experience to watch. You can basically watch the season twice and have two different experiences. The only constant is you, sitting in the middle of a train wreck, with your eyes widened in horror and delight, and you can't. Stop. Watching
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Brilliant Comedy.
whowhatwherewhenwhy3 February 2007
Arrested Development is a half-hour comedy that focuses on the Bluth family; a very affluent southern-Californian family who are forced together when their father George (Jeffrey Tambor) is arrested. Michael (Jason Bateman), his son, is ostensibly the protagonist, and he is the only one in the family who is by any definition "normal". Michael, a widower, is the only one with a job; he runs the Bluth Company in his father's absence in his own compulsive way, and is constantly thwarted in comedic ways by his family. Michael's older brother Gob (Will Arnett) is a magician - sorry, an ILLUSIONIST, who takes himself very seriously. Unfortunately for him, nobody else does. His botched attempts at performing his illusions are always hilarious, and always preceded by one version or another of the opening melody of Europe's "The Final Countdown". Michael's younger brother, Buster (Tony Hale), is a 30-ish mama's boy. He is socially awkward to the point that he fits the profile of a serial killer. Buster has no job, instead going to school after school to pursue various interests as strange and unrelated as Native American drumming and cartography. In the pilot episode he mistakenly identifies the blue area on a world map as the land. Lindsay (Portia de Rossi) is Michael's twin sister, an extremely vain, self-centered and sexually frustrated woman whose loveless marriage to Tobias Funke (David Cross), a frequently unemployed ex-psychiatrist/wannabe actor, is precariously balanced, to say the least. Tobias is a "never-nude" who wears cut-off jean shorts into the shower. Needless to say, this puts a strain on their sex life, and the couple are never happy; always in one form or another of therapy, or trying an "open relationship" and racing to entice members of the opposite sex into trysts that, for one reason or another, never work out. Lucille Bluth (Jessica Walter) is the matriarch of the Bluth family. She is rarely seen without a drink in her hand, and her biting wit and cruel barbs toward her children are doled out relentlessly. She is shrewd and manipulative, Michael has to work hard to stay ahead of the various plots and scams she is always concocting, which usually center around money and keeping her public image up to par. Michael has a son named George Michael (Michael Cera) who is studious and naive. He is wholesome and quite awkward, constantly striving for the approval of his busy father with his intense work ethic, and trying his best to suppress his lust for his cousin, Maeby (Alia Shawkat), the trouble-making daughter of Lindsay and Tobias.

The central plot point in Arrested Development is the imprisonment of George Sr. and the legal and financial problems the company encounters in his absence, but there are always so many subplots that there is something new and engaging happening in every episode. Nothing feels forced, in fact everything feels as if it was planned from the very conception of the show, though there is enough improvisation from the actors, particularly from comedian David Cross, to strongly suggest otherwise.

Arrested Development is, without a doubt, one of the best television shows that has ever aired. Every actor is perfect in his or her role, the dialogue is fantastic, the cameos and guest appearances are well cast and never lack substance. The narration by producer Ron Howard is always excellent and ties the story together expertly. The show is filmed in a natural, mockumentary style, usually with one camera panning from character to character rather than several cuts, in the vein of The Office. There is no annoying canned laughter, and the humor is cutting edge and sophisticated. There is a joke for everyone, nothing is taboo and nothing is wasted.

Despite it's overwhelming popularity, critical praise, and enormous fanbase, Arrested Development was canceled by Fox at the end of its third season, even having to cut it short by several episodes, due to poor ratings. It's cancellation is a testament to how out of touch Hollywood executives are. Everybody Loves Raymond can air for 10 years of formulaic mediocrity, but a show as brilliantly witty, daring, and relevant as Arrested Development can be cancelled after only 3. It's a travesty, and one in which the pain can only be lessened by repeated viewings of the old episodes on DVD. Do yourself a favor and buy the entire collection, it has great replay value and the joy of showing it to people who have never seen it cannot be stressed enough.

This is a superb show, down to the last detail, and deserves every ounce of praise lavished upon it. What are you waiting for? Go and watch it!
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Nice... very nice
ckmec-113 January 2005
During the show's debut in 2003-2004, I would quickly turn off my television set when that ukulele started to strum at the opening credits.

I was dead wrong at what I would eventually envision.

After viewing several episodes, I found this to be a witty, and sometimes delightfully funny program. Droll, hardworking, and recently widowed Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) has to endeavor with his father's (Jeffrey Tambor) imprisonment (in part to his real-estate company trading practices) his pampered mother Lucille (Jessica Walter), twin sister Lindsay, younger brother Byron "Buster" Bluth and his out-of-work oldest brother magician GOB. (or George Oscar Bluth II, pronounced "Jobe"). After George Sr. is sent to prison, the unbearable family members turn to Michael to head the corporation and handle their funds. Through it all, Michael has a son, George Michael, a timid and rather confounded young man who idolizes his daddy, has a mild infatuation with his only cousin, Maeby (Lindsay's daughter), and is in charge of the semi-popular Bluth frozen banana stand at Newport Beach's Balboa Island.

Not to mention the unexplainable Carl Weathers guest appearances, Ron Howard's uncredited narration, and brother-in-law Tobias' acting attempts, this program deserves its merit.
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Like a Sitcom From God
emeriboy7 August 2006
Everyone like sitcoms in California. And since Arrested Development is based in California it's already won half the battle. But it still sticks out as quite probably one of the best sitcoms any of us are going to see, right up in the ranks of Seinfeld.

Although unlike Seinfeld, it has a plot. Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) is naturally, unfairly put in the position of having to take care of his rather incapable family, as well as his own son, his father's housing business and his own problems. Each episode generally exists around a core conflict between one of the many cast members, either a family member or a family friend. As expected in any great sitcom, story lines weave in and out of episodes and fresh new material is put in to the show. The writers quite simply; extremely good.

Each and every character has their own personality and they feel, look and act real. Every character is just as spicy and well-developed as the next. Even the narrator is as heart-felt as the characters. The conflicts range from your typical comic plots to a few things that just might take you by surprise.

-- One thing that does stand out the fact there is no laughter audio in the background. Something that seems like a really good move and gives the show a distinct, more personal feel. It fits perfect in with the type of humor the series delivers. One more trademark is the re-run value. There are a bunch of things in the episodes, from props to lines that'll take a few viewings to actually notice they were said, making you maintain a level of interest on the show whenever you watch it again.

So all in all, Arrested Development is one of those shows that anyone can enjoy, whether you like this kind of thing or not. . . Not to be missed by anyone.
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Cancellation the worst decision FOX made
deseosa9 November 2006
Furthermore, an even worse decision was show writer Mr. H's refusal to stay on so that the show could be picked up by Showtime. I was willing to buy Showtime just for this show. This show was a breath of fresh air among cookie-cutter sitcoms, mind numbing reality shows and overdone law/medical/forensics shows. Who are these people with the Neilson boxes and what are they thinking? How many Law & Order and CSI spin-offs/ clones are they going to make? I hated the originals! Reality shows lower your IQ by two points with each episode, and very few sitcoms are truly funny or original anymore. This was one of the few. The writing, direction, production, acting, and every aspect down to the music and camera-work were all top notch. Despite FOX's lack of advertising, this show won 6 Emmys on its first season. I didn't even know about the show until Season 2 was out on DVD. I bought Season 1 based on word of mouth (and immediately went out and purchased Season 2 after watching only four episodes of Season 1). I wondered how I had not heard about such a brilliant show through 2 whole seasons. It was as if FOX wanted it to fail. I learned FOX kept cutting the seasons short and bounced its scheduling around putting it in the line up against other networks power shows- it even put it up against Monday Night Football- then wondered why the ratings were poor? This show was destined to be another 'Cheers', a show that had poor ratings during its first seasons then went on to become one of the longest running hits of all times. It makes me want to cry that such a truly genius show won't continue. I purchased Season 3 on DVD and watched the entire two-disk set, all the extras and episodes with commentaries a second time in one sitting. This show is that good! The clerk at the store from which I purchased the DVD even commented on what a smart purchase I was making, and then we discussed how saddened we were that it was canceled. I pray DVD sales will force FOX or Mr. H to reconsider, and if there is a God, he will bring this show back from the dead.
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really is as good as everyone says
dreamlogic335 October 2006
Few things are funnier than really smart people acting really silly, and that pretty describes everyone involved with Arrested Development, from the cast and writers down to the cameramen and editors. It's a show that contains some very witty, complicated and obscure humor but also gleefully dives into slapstick, goofy visual gags and general absurdity. Rather than feeling like a clash of different comedic styles however, the different elements mesh into a completely unique brand of humor. It may take a few episodes for you to get into the tone of the show and learn the quirks of all the individual characters but once you do the laughs are pretty much nonstop.

Speaking of the characters, they are by far the best thing about the show. The whole cast is great, and they all work together flawlessly. If I had to choose a favorite it would be Jessica Walter as the mom, Lucille Bluth. Every line she says is clipped with the perfect degree of icy rudeness. She's crude and manipulative, but she manages to see herself as classy and victimized. One of my favorite lines in the whole series is when GOB is tackled for bringing bees into the prison and she pointlessly chides him "They don't allow you to bring bees in here." It's a throwaway line that could easily have been cut from the script but it suits her character so perfectly (it's such a heartless and useless thing to say) that it becomes laugh out loud hilarious.

I also love the performances of Will Arnett as the macho and aggressive but very very needy GOB Bluth, Tony Hale as the weird and lovable yet creepy younger brother Buster and young Michael Cera as the nervous goody-two-shoes teenager George-Michael (one of the best teenage actors I've ever seen). The other actors are all great too, those are just the ones that stand out most to me. And of course Jason Bateman has the most screen time and holds everything together perfectly as the most normal family member, Michael Bluth.

I could go on for pages about how much I love this show. I'll just end by saying, if you're going to start watching it be prepared to watch all 3 seasons because you probably won't be able to stop. With so many people touting Arrested Development as "the best show ever" it's tempting to say that it's overrated. But the more I think about it, the more I really don't think it is overrated, because in all honesty nothing else that I've seen is this good.
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Could Well Lay Claims To Being the Greatest Comedy Series Ever Made
CalvinValjean19 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
When I first started watching AD I just thought it was very funny, but about halfway through the second season I realized I was seeing something of exceptional quality. It was more than just funny; it was so wonderfully crafted on every level. Here're my reasons for why it could legitimately be argued that this was the greatest comedy series to ever air.


It would be stating the obvious to say that the writing was great. We already know that. But the characters just wouldn't have been the same had they been played any other way. Just imagine Gob or Tobias played by other actors and you see right away what I mean. And if you go back and look at the pilot, you'll see that David Cross had the character nailed right from his first scene. On the other hand, other actors grew into their roles. Maeby changed the most throughout the series, and it was a pleasure to watch her evolve. And George, Sr and Oscar were each such well-defined characters that at times I found myself forgetting they were both played by the same person.


Whereas most sitcoms are built around some sort of premise designed to stand out, the focus of AD was just its continuing story and characters. AD feels like an entirely different planet from Friends or Everybody Loves Raymond where plot points were designed to be as simple for the audience to grasp as possible and the focus was more "How do we keep the audience from thinking hard for 22 minutes?" AD on the other hand rewarded the audience for paying attention and gave them something to follow. Sadly, this resulted in the show having a hard time finding an audience, since you would miss a lot of references if you just watched an episode mid-season.


Of course substance is more important than style, but it's always nice to have style and do creative things. AD went the extra step. Another show, such as The Office, would be content to just use a mockumentary technique. AD pushed the mockumentary device further to creatively use cutaways, flashbacks, archival footage, website screenshots, self-reference, and clever ideas like the "On the Next" segment. Tons of other shows, from Sex and the City to Scrubs, use voice-over narration, but AD used its narrator in the most creative ways imaginable, providing a commentary that is itself tongue-in-cheek. The show took on a life of its own and seemed to always be playing with its audience.


AD built a pretty impressive roster of guest stars over just three seasons, but it never felt like the show was resorting to gimmicks. The guest stars played characters suited to them or that advanced the story instead of just being the guest of the week. Again, totally different from Friends or Will and Grace where you would have "the Brad Pitt episode" or "the Matt Damon episode," etc.


I love how the show made so many references to Iraq and the war, yet never actually made any commentary on it. In that sense, it was a bit like MASH; building absurd situations about an absurd issue and lets it stand for itself. I also don't think there's been another sitcom in which the characters actually travel to Iraq, as the gang does in "Exit Strategy." That episode made me go: "Dang, this show has balls."


The defining episode that made me first realize I was watching a truly great show was "Sad Sack," which has the funniest twist ending I could ever have imagined (it's what the title refers to). Yet the joke was done in a way that you actually bought it and accepted it within the terms of the show's reality. South Park would have done the same joke very differently. A lesser show would not have been able to pull it off at all. Overall, it was similar building of the characters and attention on the details of each storyline that allowed the audience to accept the show's crazy situations as being plausible.


Many reviews I've read of The Simpsons (and to a lesser extent Family Guy) point out these attributes as well. But those reviews also point out that it was due to being animated that those shows could do it so well and get away with it. Well, here's a live-action show that did it equally well.


Almost every episode had enough material to have been movie. I'll admit that not every episode is great, but there was an overall consistency throughout the three seasons. One of the very best episodes in my opinion was "Meat the Veals." The climax of that episode alone felt like the climax of a big action comedy feature. It was hard to believe that a mere sitcom went to such lengths. And it wasn't even a season finale.

and, above all else...


The humor was often tongue-in-cheek. The jokes were well-planned in advance. The whole thing was self-referential and post-modern, in a style similar to St. Elsewhere, except that was a drama. In such a short run, AD was able to find its voice.

And that is that!
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Hilarious and well-executed show.
adam28 June 2017
This is, without a doubt, the greatest TV comedy in capturing the 2000s. It mocks the paranoia surrounding the Iraq War, the 24-hour news cycle, the housing boom and bust, and the cult of reality television without missing a beat.

It does all of that without ever seeming preachy or losing its charming sense of humor. There is no scene in the series that lacks the self- referential humor that characterizes the show, and almost every episode builds on the quirks of either one of the main characters or one of the many background characters of Orange County. Jason Bateman (Michael) does a solid job, but the real stars are the other members of the family. Michael Cera (George Michael), David Cross (Tobias Fünke), and Jessica Walter (Lucille) are particularly memorable.

I will never look at a seal, model homes, or Southern California itself without thinking about the wonderfully dysfunctional Bluths and the time that I spent watching them on "Arrested Development."

(I have seen this show several times over the years, but I have mostly recently watched in its entirety in June 2017)
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One of the best comedies ever, canceled before its time
calvinnme27 March 2017
In the wake of the "Enron" scandal and others like it, but before the giant banking crash of 2008, it was amazing that such an unfunny subject could be made so hilarious. The Bluth family, in spite of the advertising to the contrary, has hardly "lost everything". What they have lost is the ability to charge their personal living expenses to the company after the company founder and head of the family, George Bluth, is arrested and charged with embezzlement and fraud. They still have one poorly constructed model home - with nothing but sand surrounding it - plus the Bluth Development company, which actually is a legitimate business, it just hasn't been run that way up until now. They also have Michael, the only family member with a conscience and a work ethic, who works to keep the family and the company together in his father's absence. However, for the spoiled Bluths, losing access to the company jet and cars, having their country club membership downgraded to a pool membership, and having to share the roomy yet shoddily constructed model home as living quarters has them all acting like they're stranded on Gilligan's Island.

The results are 53 episodes of great comedy. There are sight gags and inside jokes galore, making this series perfect for DVD where you can watch over and over until you catch everything. After you watch this you'll never again see The Blue Man Group, model homes, Mrs. Doubtfire, cut-off shorts, Michael Moore, or the phrases "Mission Accomplished" and "Justice is Blind" without thinking of this show and laughing.

It may have not had stellar ratings, but it was funny and fresh up to the end.
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You just can't not love the Bluths
shivam-hora12 May 2014
It's addictive, it's hilarious, it's lovable and it's honest. So this is one of the best shows TV has ever exhibited.

A strangely dysfunctional family with just one guy holding it together, is what the show is about. How we easily love Michael Bluth (played by Jason Bateman) and feel sorry about his family. How the family ventures into misadventures and how everything goes south.

With a great star-cast and amazing story-line with a subtly humorous narration, one can easily love the show. I recently finished season one an hour ago and it took me not more than 10 hours straight. Now my eyes are red and my head is craving for some rest but i'd say it was totally worth it. Now after i finish writing this review , i will be running to my nearest rental store and renting season 2 of the show.

I know you might say that after praising the show so much i still haven't given it a ten.. Well i've seen just season one, who knows the next few seasons might get this show a 10 from me.

In my opinion watch the show, whenever, however, just go and watch it if you haven't already.
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