Talking Points on the New Arrested Development

Talking Points on the New Arrested Development

1. Non-Linearity

Each episode of the this season of Arrested Development is a piece of a puzzle for a larger story that makes more and more sense the more of them you see. Is this an experiment that the writers undertook to take advantage of the unique platform that is Netflix, and the fact that people often mass-consume a show in one or a few sittings? Did Arrested Development do this on a smaller scale in former episodes – and is that one reason why it was canceled, as opposed to regular sitcoms that bottle up plotlines at the end of every episode?

2. Isolated Stories

This season had isolated stories, mostly because they couldn’t get all the actors together at once very often. Did you notice they’re only all together at the trial preparation/George Michael college sendoff party? (Me neither until my boyfriend pointed it out.) This doesn’t necessitate a non-linear plot, necessarily. Skins focuses on one character at a time, and the plot is still mostly linear, for example.

3. Is Michael not funny on his own?

The beginning of the season, which focused on Michael and George Michael, was arguably the worst part a) because you don’t understand the story yet b) because Michael isn’t that funny – and that’s ok. That’s not what he’s there for. Here is my theory: Michael is meant to be the foil for how crazy the other characters are, the normal person amidst the madness. That means he’s good for a few recurring jokes and funny disasters but for the most part Buster, GOB and Tobias are the funniest characters because they are the most insane. When Michael is somewhat separated from the family, he loses his chance to be the foil and his plot lines fall a bit more flat.

4. Lindsay’s Brows

Ok, so I’m late to the party and the Internet has already overanalyzed why Lindsay looks so weird. But my contribution to this is a theory centering on her brows. They are bleached half the time and dark the other half, and not in a way that always goes along with the plot. For a second I thought that Lindsay was possibly played by Portia De Rossi and someone who looked like a botoxed version of her, but I think this is due to inconsistent brow color. (As well as wigs and possible plastic surgery.) Either way, the plot seemed designed to keep an air of confusion around why Portia looks so different.

5. Who makes this show funny, the writers or the actors?

Since each one focused on just one character, they really ended up varying in terms of how funny they were, in my opinion. The Buster and GOB episodes were standouts, making me wonder just how much the actors had to do with it (especially in the case of the Buster episode). How much of what makes this show good is intentional writing and how much is improv acting? Is actor Tony Hale a genius?

6. Was it all just a preview for the movie?

The ending is the opposite of precious, and feels very unfinished, with a lot of questions left over. Was this one of the world’s smartest strategies for getting people excited about a movie? Did it work? Or have you gotten bored with the show?

Becky Lang