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!
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!
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
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
I used to watch Arrested Development on TV when i first came out, some fifteen years ago. At the time I thought it was hilarious, smart and edgy. When the new episodes were in the works, I started rewatching the show from season one. To my astonishment, I hated it! Sure, some of the jokes are funny, even though they're sitcom-funny, and many times can't stand on their own. There are a million references to what were going on in the news at the time, and pop culture in general, which kinda makes you feel smart when you get them.
But there are two problems with this show. Firstly, and the minor one, is Ron Howard's narration. For the most part, it's unnecessary, and sometimes an obstacle for the action on-screen. Also, it's always structured the same way. It always starts with "And that's when X realized/discovered/knew that...", and that annoys me to no end. You could easily have a drinking game where you do a shot every time that trope comes along. You would pass out on your couch in no time, covered in vomit. The voice-over is supposed to make what's happening on-screen even funnier, but it's more often irritating than funny. Unfortunately, this is a problem, since the on-screen jokes sometimes actually requires the narration to be funny.
But that's nothing. The major problem are the characters. They all are totally unlikeable! All the characters are selfish and greedy, and that's all they are. Not a single one has any good in them. I'm not saying that a depiction of sociopaths like that is unrealistic, but it doesn't work dramatically. Instead, it makes them flat and uninteresting. Not even Michael Bluth, who's supposed to be the good guy, really cares about anyone but himself, not even his son. The show The Office, that came out a couple of years later also had characters who were like that. But they all had heart, behind all the egoism and obnoxiousness, which made them feel alive and multi-layered.
All this put together: The repeating voice-over tropes, the one-dimensional characters, and jokes that often can't stand on their own, all boils down to what it's really about: Lazy writing. This is a lazy show that people (myself included) for some reason found smart and funny. I really don't know how that happened.
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 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.
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!
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.
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
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!
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.
I first saw an episode of Arrested Development after coming back from a few drinks at the pub. It was on at about midnight on BBC 4, perhaps the first time I've ever looked at that channel, and I would never have watched it had I not dropped the remote control in my drunkenness. That was perhaps the first time in my life that I've been grateful for alcohol induced clumsiness.
In the few seconds it took me to pick up the control from the floor I heard a joke that made me laugh so hard that I was hiccoughing for the next fifteen minutes. BBC 4 were showing a double bill of the series and after it finished I went straight onto Amazon and ordered the DVD.
When it arrived I was slightly concerned that, now sober, I would be less than impressed. That was not the case. Instead of a show that appeals to the drunkard in me I found myself watching a programme of such subtlety, ability and humour that I couldn't tear myself away for the four hundred or more minutes of the first series.
Just about everything on offer is incredibly good. The casting and acting is amazing, the dialogue hysterical, the scenarios uproariously funny and the programme's heart, something I've often found missing in some of the more well known American TV shows, is well and truly live and kicking.
Some have suggested that Arrested Development is too clever for its own good and certainly the fact that the BBC have put it on their arts channel late at night suggests that they believed it to be 'above' the comprehension of the masses, but that says a lot more about the snobbery at the BBC than it does about the show.
Looking online suggests that this programme appeals to a broad spectrum of people all of whom can take different things away from it. Rather like the Simpsons there are many levels of humour that come out from repeat viewings with different people. One friend of mine made me look at Gob in a whole new light, one of greater sympathy. Another suggested that Michael, the main character, wasn't nearly as nice as I'd suggested.
I've yet to be convinced of that but the main thing is that two very different people both not only loved the programme but both went out and bought the first series on DVD. If that isn't an example of the show's broad appeal I don't know what is.
Faults in the show are based on the punchability of most of the characters and the frustration that comes from poor Michael's attempts to keep his family and sanity intact, all of which seem to be pulled apart by the very people he's trying to help. However, the fact that the show never feels bitter and seldom makes you hate any particular character is one of Arrested Development's great achievements.
In short, this is one of the best programmes to emerge on television and, alongside Scrubs, represents one of the funniest, cheeriest and most addictive things currently on TV. My only concern is that it seems there is a Series 2 out somewhere which is still many months, even years, away from arriving in England.
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.
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.