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"Arrested Development" Smashed (2013)

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

The Fantastic 4(th season)

9/10
Author: gizmomogwai from Canada
25 July 2014

The second Tobias episode in AD's new character-focused format, Smashed follows the analrapist as he administers therapy at Lucille 2's rehab centre. True to form, he soon gets sidetracked having his patients put on a Fantastic 4 musical.

While the show is in a new format, much of the episode harks back to the classic years. Tobias falling over in his chair is physical humour reminiscent of a similar incident in Bringing Up Buster (Richard Rosenstock co-wrote both episodes). Likewise, telling GOB "We're (bleeped)ed" continues the show's premise as being a story about losers, while simultaneously carrying on the bleep jokes. Surprisingly, I saw a fan recently asking why AD, now on Netflix, is continuing the censorship. Of course, the bleeps have always been part of the humour, clouding the profanity is hilarious ambiguity and satirizing TV censorship; it wouldn't do to have AD without them. There's the incest motif, this time a mention of Argyle and sister playing lovers in a play (Jason and Justine Bateman came close to doing the same, in real life, with AD season 3).

There are newer elements brought to the table, notably the awkwardness and absurdity of Tobias having to announce he's a registered sex offender, often in the most delicate of times. This helped satisfy my five-minute rule (a great comedy episode must have a good laugh within the first five minutes). The stuff about Tobias' lover Debrie, a physical wreck owing to drug abuse, is dark. Ron Howard can't and not wanting to approve the Fantastic 4 musical is right on the money (why would anyone want to?). And Tobias laughing at having until Monday to fix a problem, then the reveal he's laughing at something else and has no plan, shows him as the inept character he always has been. Smashed isn't the funniest episode of season 4, but is in moments a smashing good time.

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