By Emily Senger - Monday, May 13, 2013 - 0 Comments
Sneak peek at the Bluths reveals a few things are clear
Netflix’s Arrested Development trailer was released late Sunday, giving fans the first peek at what they can expect from the Bluth family in the upcoming fourth season of the resurrected cult television program.
From the video, a few things are clear. All of the original Bluth family members are back, including: Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman), George Michael (Michael Cera), Lucille Bluth (Jessica Walter), George Bluth Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor), Lindsay Bluth Fünke (Portia de Rosie), Tobias Fünke (David Corss), Maeby Fünke (Alia Shawkat), Buster Bluth (Tony Hale) and Gob Bluth (Will Arnett). Neurotic secretary Kitty Sanchez (Judy Greer) also makes an appearance.
It appears, from the trailer, that Michael has made good on his threats to leave the family and move to Phoenix, Az., Tobias hasn’t given up on his dream of acting, and George Michael and Maeby could rekindle their awkward cousinly romance while sharing a college dorm. Continue…
By Jaime Weinman - Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 5:20 PM - 0 Comments
I’ve been a bit cynical about Mitch Hurwitz, creator of Arrested Development, in the years since the show was canceled. Not when the show was on the air, you understand; while Hurwitz had a reputation as a difficult man at times, there was no doubt of his devotion to the show and to making every moment matter – and he made an epic, exhaustive comedy that was like nothing anybody had ever seen on television. But then the show was canceled, something everybody saw coming (including Hurwitz and his writers, who gave Michael Bluth a speech about how the Bluths had been given “plenty of chances” and just weren’t likable enough to succeed), and the time came to decide whether the show was going to be picked up by a cable network, and Hurwitz decided he’d had enough:
“Arrested Development” creator Mitch Hurwitz says he will not be continuing with the series, throwing a major — likely fatal — monkey wrench into attempts to keep the Emmy-winning laffer alive for a fourth season.
Series producers 20th Century Fox TV and Imagine Television had agreed on a deal to move “Arrested,” previously on Fox, to Showtime — assuming Hurwitz was willing to come back. In the end, however, a mix of creative and financial concerns has prompted Hurwitz to move on.
“The fans have been so ardent in their devotion and in return … I’ve given everything I can to the show in order to try to live up to their expectations,” Hurwitz told Daily Variety on Monday in a telephone interview from Gotham. “I finally reached a point where I felt I couldn’t continue to deliver that on a weekly basis.”
By Jaime Weinman - Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 5:11 PM - 0 Comments
The interesting thing about this U.S. election’s impact on U.S. television is the fact that its had any impact at all. Remember all the references TV made to the election of 2004? No? That’s because there were hardly any. Even though it was a close, hard-fought election in a deeply divided country–just like this one–TV mostly stayed away from it. It was a very timid time for TV: networks were panicked by 9/11, by the FCC, by the shrinking audience (it’s still shrinking now, but they’re used to it).
And so open political references were almost taboo unless they were done obliquely, like Arrested Development‘s parallels between the Bluth and Bush families. The Simpsons famously never had a caricature of George W. Bush on the show, let alone John Kerry. South Park‘s election episode in 2004 portrayed the election allegorically as “a choice between a giant douche and a turd sandwich,” making the episode a perfect capsule of how mindless Trey Parker’s centrism was at the time.
Since then, there’s been something of a thaw in television, and while it’s hardly become daring or anything, there are a lot more direct references to this election than eight or even four years ago. At least three half-hour comedies have done episodes where characters argue over the election, and mention the candidates by name. The New Normal was the first, then came 30 Rock. Then came Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing, a show that I thought was developing into a pretty good innocuous family sitcom; Allen apparently didn’t think so, though, because the show is back this year retooled (at his behest) into an All in the Family imitator, and the season premiere was about Allen arguing with his daughters over the election, and he thinks Obama is from Kenya, and makes “community organizer” jokes, and the whole episode sounded like a couple of politically-opposed Twitter feeds mashed together into a script.
Well, most political arguments on scripted TV (or unscripted, for that matter) sound like Twitter feeds, since there’s no room for nuance or developed arguments, even assuming the writers have any on hand. Usually what happens is one character says something that’s a grotesque caricature of the Republican or Democratic position, and the other character either a) responds with an equally grotesque caricature of a reply, or b) is completely stopped in his tracks by the incredible all-consuming logic of an argument any real person could rebut in five seconds. This is why 30 Rock was the best of these three episodes: apart from having the funniest writers, it was intentionally silly and caricatured, and made the political arguments more about the characters’ personal issues.
But even if those other two shows were trying to be All in the Family and failing, the fact that they even tried is a sign that television has emerged a little bit from the defensive crouch of the ’00s. Of course there are other reasons why shows might choose not to deal with topical issues like elections, most obviously the fact that an election episode dates the show for all time. (However, I think producers are naive to believe that avoiding topical references will help them be “timeless” in syndication. I watched shows in the ’80s that mentioned the election without ever mentioning the candidates’ names, but they still had the hair, the clothes, and the brick cellphones, and nothing was going to keep them from becoming dated.) And, as noted, these issues are usually beyond what the show is capable of dealing with anyway. But all in all, it’s probably better to see shows deal with issues rather than avoid them, so I think I’m glad we live in an era when the words “Obama” and “Romney” are not among the seven words you can’t say on TV.
By Jessica Allen - Friday, October 19, 2012 at 11:49 AM - 0 Comments
Hint: Nobody is actually watching it
Our entertainment writer sheds light on why the ratings of the four big U.S. networks are collapsing. Can the networks fix this? Or do they just need to adjust their business model for the inevitable declines? Have a listen to find out more. (Bonus: Jamie explains why I shouldn’t feel so bad for watching Honey Boo Boo.)
By Peter Nowak - Monday, September 3, 2012 at 10:53 AM - 0 Comments
According to GigaOm, the return of Arrested Development could change how television is made. The cult comedy, if you hadn’t heard, is being resurrected for a fourth season and will be shown exclusively on Netflix.
The subscription video streaming service, believing the revived show will serve as a major magnet for new subscribers, reportedly outbid a number of other big players for the rights to it, including pay TV provider Showtime. If the gamble pays off for Netflix, “it’ll legitimize a whole new distribution platform and business model,” according to GigaOm’s story.
A lot of people are hoping this does indeed happen. With cable prices climbing through the roof, consumers are dying for an alternative (and legal) way of getting access to their favourite shows. Pay-per-download services such as iTunes are great, but so far they’ve simply been a complement to the existing system. Netflix’s scheme is an effort to introduce entirely new production and distribution options for TV show creators, which could ultimately benefit viewers.
What struck me about the whole situation is just how expensive many TV shows are. While we don’t know how much Arrested Development will cost to make, we do know the budgets for shows such as Breaking Bad and Fringe are around $3 million to $4 million per episode. More elaborate series set in fantasy worlds, like Game of Thrones for example, cost upward of $6 million.
By Jaime Weinman - Thursday, December 17, 2009 at 2:39 PM - 0 Comments
Todd VanDerWerff was nice enough to invite me onto his podcast where he and his wife Libby listed “the top 10 comedies of the aughts.” The podcast can be found here.
I’m recognizable as the guy saying “yes, it is” or “yes, he is” more than might be considered absolutely necessary.
By Jaime Weinman - Wednesday, October 22, 2008 at 11:20 AM - 3 Comments
Watching this week’s Pushing Daisies, it occurred to me that some elements of this show’s formula are surprisingly similar to Arrested Development, even though the shows are very different in tone. Both shows have deliberately absurd, outlandish plots and over-the-top eccentric characters. Both shows have an omniscient, detatched third-person narrator who constantly tells us what the characters are thinking and what they’ve done in the past, as well as filling in large plot gaps with his calm storytelling. (And both shows were accused, with some justice, of over-using the narrator.) Both shows try to end every episode by having at least one of the characters realize that the crazy events of this week’s story have some kind of parallel to their own personal problems, and learn some kind of lesson from that. Almost every episode of Arrested Development had a moment near the end where the narrator would tell us something along the lines of: “That’s when Michael realized that what [his father/Tobias/wacky eccentric guest character] was doing was exactly the same as what he was doing to his son.” And Pushing Daisies usually has a similar moment where Ned realizes that the mistakes made by one of this week’s guest characters are the same mistakes he’s making in his own life, and the narrator informs us that Ned has learned his lesson about letting people go, learning to live with being different, etc.
As I said, the shows are not remotely the same; PD is soft and sweet, while AD was 19 minutes of hard-edged material followed by one minute of lesson-learning. And it’s not remotely the only show where the protagonist learns some kind of lesson about himself by drawing a parallel with what other characters are doing. Nor is it the only show where a narrator (or Doogie Howser in his diary or whatever) will explain the lesson of the week. But I do find that PD and AD have a similar feel at times. Such a comparison may not bode well for PD, but since it’s still getting beaten by KITT, my comparisons really can’t do much to hurt it at this point.