Netflixing: Arrested Development, the Pre-Netflix Era

4년 전

Ah, memories.

Memories...are such temporary things.

And this shortness of memory can be very useful, especially if you are writing a TV show. As an example, for the sake of everyone out there with amnesia, let me tell you a story:

Once upon a time, in the 1970s, there was a fresh and funny televised sitcom called Soap.

It was a very funny show that many people liked, and it had a large influence on the TV landscape. The show was a parody of daytime soap operas, mocking the grandiose storylines and over-the-top acting of those daytime dramas---some of which are still running today!

And, in its attempts to lampoon the soap opera genre, Soap employed a number of home-grown gimmicks and gags, such as:

  • A story about out-of-touch rich people who have no idea how the real world works.
  • A quirky narrator who would end every episode by speculating what the next episode would be about.
  • Numerous sordid love affairs.
  • A serialized storyline involving high crimes and misdemeanors.
  • A family patriarch who gets arrested for said crimes, and whose subsequent imprisonment becomes one of the show's most enduring arcs.
  • A sassy ventriloquist dummy puppetted by the one brother who is a complete loser.
And because the show was so well known, no one would dare rip it off and resell it under a different title.

But memories, as I've already said, are temporary things, and once people have forgotten something they once loved, it becomes all too easy for some opportunistic writer to simply repackage the goods and sell it back to them.

Here We Go Again....


Fast forward to 2003, and a little Ron-Howard-produced show called Arrested Development.

This was also a very funny show that many people liked, though not as many people as liked Soap. And, in its attempts to draw in an audience and win big laughs, Arrested Development employed a number of gimmicks and gags, such as:

  • A story about out-of-touch rich people who have no idea how the real world works.
  • A quirky narrator who ends every episode by speculating what the next episode would be about.
  • Numerous sordid love affairs.
  • A serialized storyline involving high crimes and misdemeanors.
  • A family patriarch who gets arrested for said crimes, and whose subsequent imprisonment becomes one of the show's most enduring arcs.
  • A sassy ventriloquist dummy puppetted by the one brother who is a complete loser.
Is it all coming back to you, yet?

Speaking of High Crimes...

Netflix advertises this show as a "Netflix Original".

That's the last nail in the coffin for that particular label. My regular readers will remember that Netflix often slaps the "Netflix Original" brand on foreign TV shows and movies that they import into North America, even though those shows and movies premiered in other formats in their home countries.

But Arrested Development premiered in the U.S.A, on the FOX network. That Netflix now claims it as a Netflix-original property is mind-boggling.

Granted, the online streaming giant did bring Arrested Development out of cancellation, granting it new seasons and episodes. Yet the claim that this is a "Netflix Original" is factually false.

And the Show Itself?


Setting aside the derivative conceit, premise, and gimmicks, I'd have to say that the show is a successful comedy. Every episode gets laughs, though some characters do much more to earn their keep.

But let's start with some facts:

Arrested Development is a riches-to-rags story about the Bluth family---a dynasty of real estate moguls living in Orange County, California during the early 2000s. The family's primary source of income is through their private company that builds cheaply made luxury homes and which acts as a slush fund for their extravagant lifestyle.

The family is about to start a new housing project (hence the "Development") when suddenly the outgoing CEO and family head George Bluth is apprehended on a number of charges (hence the "Arrested").

This puts the company in hot water and freezes all the stock owned by George's children, leaving them essentially penniless and with little other choice but to move into the only finished house in the new project---a "model home" meant to simulate an actual dwelling but is unfit to be lived in.

Forced into such close quarters, old grievances and rivalries that the family has been ignoring for years rise rapidly to the surface, threatening to tear them apart.

And then there's Michael, the middle son who is left holding the bag after his father's arrest. If anyone is going to save the company and the family, it will have to be him. There's just one problem: he doesn't want to.

The Characters


This show launched the careers of more than one actor. And the roles played here are ones that the actors have not been able to escape. That's the mark of a great ensemble.

You have Will Arnett as Gob (pronounced "Jobe").

Gob is the eldest and least successful son of the Bluth family. He is a failing stage magician who cannot find work and is unable to form a lasting relationship.

But as the family's doer of dirty jobs, Gob is not too proud to destroy evidence or perform a home invasion in the name of helping his father avoid prosecution.

It's the role Will Arnett is best known for, and the one he has been playing, in everything he's been in, ever since.

You also have Michael Cera as George-Michael.

As Michael's son and number-one concern in the world, George-Michael's love for the family may be the only thing convincing Michael to stay.

Constantly intimidated by every situation, he often finds himself unable to refuse going along with whatever boneheaded scheme is foisted on him by other family members. And while he doesn't have a rebellious bone in his body, he usually gets blamed for the resulting shenanigans and has a reputation for being a delinquent.

Of course, his forbidden crush on his cousin Maeby may have something to do with that.

It's the role Michael Cera is best known for, and the one he has been playing, in everything he's been in, ever since.

And then there's Jason Bateman, as Michael.

The "normal" Bluth son, this longsuffering and even-tempered everyman is woefully unprepared for whatever hairbrained hijinks his family will try next.

And while he puts on a brave face, attempting to rise above the fray, he secretly wishes he could be just as bad as them and resents the fact that he alone has to be the responsible one. And whenever the smallest chance for happiness comes his way, he wants to seize upon it, and may go so far as to almost sell out his family to pursue it.

But guilt always brings him home. He constantly sacrifices his happiness to keep his family from ruin. He's the ultimate straight man, and Jason Bateman will be playing him forever.

The other characters all deserve special mention, but none of them was necessarily a career launcher. Nevertheless, there are quite a lot of personalities on display in Arrested Development, and every one of them has their own unique chicken dance.

My Judgment


Arrested Development is a great show...that kind of deserved to be canceled when it was.

It has funny situational humor, dyed-in-the-wool characters, and tons of laugh out loud moments, yet it doesn't particularly do anything to stand out. It has no outrageous hook. It blazes no trails. It is merely the mastery of fundamentals. And as important as it is to have good fundamentals, that's not what sells seats.

The steak is here. They just forgot to add the sizzle.

But it is on Netflix, and it's better than a lot of the other schlock you'll find from the early 2000s. It is highly bingeable and great for clearing your head after a long day at work or school. If that's what you're looking for, then put it on your queue.

Previous entries in the Netflixing series:

Past Years

TV Shows

  • Disenchantment
  • Demetri Martin: The Overthinker
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 5
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
  • The Joel McHale Show, with Joel McHale
  • John Mulaney: The Comeback Kid
  • The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Season 4
  • Trollhunters, Season 3
  • Aggretsuko
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 4
  • Trollhunters
  • Round Planet
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 3
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events, Season 2
  • Kakegurui
  • Planet Earth II
  • Fullmetal Alchemist
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 2
  • Revolting Rhymes
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 1
  • The Polka King
  • Little Witch Academia
  • Movies

  • Lupin the 3rd: The Castle of Cagliostro
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • Mary and the Witch's Flower
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
  • Coco
  • The Iron Giant
  • Jaws
  • Phantom Boy
  • The Boss Baby
  • Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
  • Strictly Ballroom
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    @talanhorne,
    It's a sad I didn't hear about this show so far! Interesting story line! Probably I will give a try to watch it! Great review and appreciate your effort of sharing!

    Cheers~

    Based in your judgment i think i have to watch it i mean great clear points you expose here. Regards

    That is valuable And Great Article. Such a Very Good Netflixing Movies and Wonderful Tv Series .
    Great writing this blog.
    @talanhorne
    Have a Wonderful day.

    Excellent review, my friend and you are right, the Arrested Development deserves our attention to the full, as one of the best shows and viewing it will be very interesting! Thank you @talanhorne

    If anyone is going to save the company and the family, it will have to be him. There's just one problem: he doesn't want to.

    There are two kind of rich people. First are the once who actually make the money and the others are just being supported by rich people. They are used to getting everything they want without actually working for it. Once they have to do something, they have this kind of blockage. They are afraid to take responsibility to their own hands. They are just spoiled rats. Just like you mentioned “they are rich people who have no idea how the real world works.“

    @talanhorne - Sir you made a huge effort to write this article... It's very informative & useful to the people who're seeking for good Tv series & movies... Nice you decided to share these review Sir... With your knowledge of writing this became an attractive post Sir...

    +W+

    Hello @talanhorne,

    Extraordinary good review & the story of TV series incredibly explained & described your judgment (viewpoint) at the end of the article perfectly.

    ~@mywhale

      ·  4년 전

    Professional judgement of that tv series. Excellent writing & interesting article.

    @talanhorne, That's perfect explained about Arrested Development movie under Netflix series. I love when you introduced characters here. Totally impressive story indeed with funniest moments.

    Like you said, it contains lots of humors & laugh. Good to watch & nicely reviewed the program.


    Actually your introduction so powerful and easy to understand. I prefer to watch comedy and better story mixed up once. This is a better movie.

    A story about out-of-touch rich people who have no idea how the real world works.

    lol I think that hasn’t changed. Rich just don’t care! Both “Soap” and “Arrested Development” sound kind of very similar. At some point people love to watch this kind of stories where rich people start to fight between each other, or going through failures.
    Great review though!

    Arrested Development is interesting to mine @talanhorne. I really like to your movie review. Thanks a lot to shared.

    Looks a must watch seems like time to watch some of your recommendations :D

    Congratulations @talanhorne
    Now you are in the MinnowsPower Loyalty Member List...!!!

    Exceptional review of Arrested Development & excellent article...!!!

    100% Upvoted by @MinnowsPower

    That's perfect description of another netflix movie. There has interesting main title and looks like to nice one. Much strongest writing.

    Very interesting and wonderful tv story, so really like . thanks for your sharing .
    100% like and resteem


    it sounds like a new type of show. impressive review & well summarized. thank you. @talanhorne

    @resteemia
    reteemed & upvoted

    This is valuable and interesting review with hopefully Tv series . thanks for sharing.the great writing.
    @talanhorne

    Great and valuable content @talanhorne sir. I appreciate your work. Wish you all the very best. You are doing such a great thing! ☺💚

    Have a glorious day!

    Judging by the content of the message this is another movie that I will add to my collection. Thank you for the information.

    Very good explained about Arrested Development movie under Netflix series. Your article I very good. Thank you very much for sharing with us

    Netflix is now provide some valuable entertainment on online, great reviews!

    Sound interesting !! funny shows always be favourite for every one.....
    I also like funny dramas and funny movie s....

    Funny movie that are very good related to today's life that are visualized very interesting.

    Awesome blog post and i really thankful to your work @talanhorne

    This is very interesting article and such a amazing netflix tv program .
    thanks for sharing.

    This is really this tv story. best writing &good post .@talanhorne

    Amazing Netflixing TV Series . Great experience @talanhorne

    For your post propagation.
    Upvote/Resteem

    That is so interesting and amazing post.such a very very interesting and funny Netflixing tv serials and movies...your are a great writer..very amazing writting..your blog is so informative man. Everyone like your blog.thanks for sharing.have a great day sir.

    It is highly bingeable and great for clearing your head after a long day at work or school. If that's what you're looking for, then put it on your queue.

    In few words you transfer your idea about the show into us. Excellent & absolutely a brilliant job. Thank you.

    Great information and nice blog post cool tv series,thanks for sharing.

    Your Netflixing blogs are amazing thanks for this series hope i will keep my eyes wide open for this show.

    Your photographs are the best in the world the way you use these photographs is really awesome.

    i must say that netflix is providing us great entertainment 😍

    This was a good watch for me as well..
    Did what it was supposed to ie make people laugh

    Wonderful blog post your blogs are always amazing.

    A very remarkable review narrative that you describe is very touching aspects of life that are very useful. Thank you @talanhorne!

    Nice review buddy !