Friday, November 12, 2010

Case 3: Arrested Development

This? Really?

Behind the Assumption: A much beleaguered cult comedy, infamous for its off-beat stylings, really my thing.

Previous Experience: A few episodes here and there that I really liked, but I was never able to make it an appointment. The changes in its schedule didn’t help any.

Results: Come on! Surely my praise of absurdity was a clear indication that this show was for me, at the same time that it wasn’t for the mainstream audience. Who’s in the mood for jokes about treason, incest, adoption, the Iraq War, corporate malfeasance, amputation, confused sexuality, and Segways? Me!
            Luckily, I’m not alone. Arrested Development seems like a cool kid touchstone for my rough age group. And now, I no longer have to fake my way by on feigned appreciation for Final Countdown and the Blue Man Group. I, too, can laugh uproariously when Mae Whitman appears in the Scott Pilgrim trailer and an associate says skeptically “Her? Really?” (which I did). Sweet relief.
            It helps that AD is very funny in very smart ways that disguise themselves by being very silly and stupid. Gob’s chicken dance, as iconic as his Final Countdown, is a powerfully stupid, powerfully funny joke. Lindsay’s, episodes later, doubles down both funniness and stupidness. The whole family, each individually doing a profoundly misguided and misconstrued chicken dance is practically transcendent. But then Michael deadpans “Has anyone in this family even seen a chicken?”, throwing a character dimension onto everything, and a flourish of mystery—are the Bluths so lost in their own world that Michael is right, and none of them have seen a chicken? It’s stupid and smart at once.
            Of all the shows on my list, AD feels like the one that will cast the longest shadow. Peers drop AD references in the same way they do The Simpsons—not as common, obviously, but in the same manner. It’s a true cult, something tiny that’s working its way under the skin of a generation anyway, and I’m glad to now be a part of it.

Least Sexy Moment: Uncle Oscar’s robe, but that’s very deliberate.

All-Stars Shoe Sighting: None of the Bluths seem hip enough for them.


  1. I would have had to reevaluate my whole friendship with you if you didn't like this show. It's amazing! Glad to hear it added to your life. I am only as far as the beginning of season two and I wish i had the discs here to keep going. Pretty genius!

  2. Was there really a chance in hell I wouldn't like it? Isn't this just a show that has "Me" stamped across the cover? COME ON!