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...I mean that metaphorically, of course.
The episode is rife with subtle jokes that are both self-referential and pointing the finger at critics, fans, and their parent network (FOX) alike.
Using ridiculous ploys to open the show --such as "One of these people... will DIE!" montage showing the characters in quick succession, multiple TV celebrities appearing in the show, and a promised live finale of the episode, this chapter of the Bluths begins by the press all but writing off the Bluths. ...in court. Michael implores his family to tighten their belts and pull out all the stops to ensure their survival past the next few weeks (as the show was on the bubble of being canceled in a few weeks). A prompt immediately warns viewers to put on their 3D glasses, whereupon Gob throws a tomato at the camera. George Sr. suggests a "Save our Bluths" rally ("www.saveourbluths.org" appears on screen). Michael concedes that it's sad, but it's come to begging to ensure that the Bluth clan stays afloat (whereupon executive producer and series narrator Ron Howard flat-out tells viewers "Please, tell your friends about this show").
Even the title's episode "S.O.B.s" has a triple meaning: a message possibly to the network's executives for canceling the show, "sobs" (a sad state of affairs that such an intelligent show is being canceled), and the acronym itself for "Save Our Bluths"-- again, another plea for fans to recruit even more fans.
References to cable networks Showtime and HBO are made in sly fashion (as both networks were rumored to be in a war to lure the show to their programming lineup-- Showtime in fact had openly stated they would program 26 new episodes if series Mitch Hurwitz would sign off on it-- sadly, he didn't, fed up with dealing with the stress and network executive bull he'd accumulated over the past few years), in addition to references to the show's quick wit, self-references, complicated themes that are quickly resolved, running gags,and non-relatable characters that critics had stated about the show's formula ("If I may take off my acting pants and pull my analrapist stocking over my head", a spoken by Tobias Funke is one such line uttered, as it was a word he had used combining "analyst" and "therapist" to describe his career).
The show does fulfill every one of it's promises, giving guest stars, a dead character (a minor one-shot character who was quickly exposed as the soon-to-be victim long before it occurred), and a live ending, ensuring that it would end up as arguably one of the best episodes ever of the show's three-season run, and of most if not all sitcoms.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Well, this is it: my one hundredth review, officially making me a
prolific author. I thought it would be fitting to make the review on
the show I've already written a lot about, Arrested Development.
Today's subject: SOBs, a highlight of season 3.
When Futurama came back with the straight-to-DVD movie Bender's Big Score, they made thinly veiled jokes about being canceled and returning. They were trying to be clever, but AD had already done it better. The makers of the show used this episode to comment on AD's inevitable and fast-approaching cancellation. I don't have to tell you a lot because the first guy to write a review on this episode already talks a bit about it. It will suffice to note the guest stars, the references to HBO or Showtime picking up the show, the narrator asking viewers to tell their friends about the show. What the other reviewer didn't mention is that AD also pointed a finger at itself: it posed the question of whether the Bluths failed to be likable and relatable.
There's more to the episode than this, though. Note the character development- there's a reference here about Michael never crying, which has come up before and comes back in the last episode. This ties into the issue of whether George Michael can express his emotions too; Michael puts him in an unconventional school and George Michael reads something Maeby wrote about her dad. Touching on the sensitive issue of Michael's wife's death, and with Michael watching and thinking the writing is about him, George Michael's homework got an "Oh my god" not only from Michael and George Michael's teacher but from me as well. On the side we have rare bonding between Buster and Lindsay, over "hot ham water" which has become a famous joke among fans. Then we have GOB "accidentally" getting a job and learning what it's like.
We also have an exaggerated view of George Sr., sending poison muffins to teachers he dislikes. Personally, I think AD would be going too far if it started doing jokes about killing people (particularly if it were Michael or George Michael), but I don't mind this for a few reasons: (1) It's not said whether the poison was fatal; (2) It's George Sr. rather than the good guys Michael or George Michael doing it; (3) it's so over the top that it's probably not even canon. Other things strike me as being so silly that I don't think they're canon: the tomato throwing, the old woman dying at the party (I think they'd be a little more disturbed if that actually happened), Buster saying Lindsay looks hot. The last is the least subtle incest joke AD has ever done, but they seem to have done it just to make a comment on whether the characters actually are relatable. And that's the kind of complexity we love AD for.
I am a huge fan of this show and was so sad that during its heyday, I
didn't watch TV. So, I missed the full impact of this episode which was
a last ditch ploy by the producers of AD to keep the show going after
an unsatisfactory performance in ratings and lots of criticisms about
the characters not being relatable.
The previous reviewers got the jist of the episode, I love that they tried adding 3d elements and a suspenseful death to make it more sensational "TV" . What I wanted to add to this review was the extent to which the episode SOB Save our Blutes also blatantly refers to a movie of that same name by Blake Edwards - an I spurring Hollywood comedic director of "Shot In the Dark" ( which is a line quoted in the next episode by Tobais). SOB was a scathing rebuke of the Hollywood film industry that goes for glitz over content and forces good creators to beg for money and pander to the lowest common denominator and the latest fad - hence the 3D parts and the Live stream section. SOB is an anagram for Standard Operational Bulls..t.
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