Wednesday, May 29, 2013

5 "Huge Mistakes" made by the new Arrested Development

All right, don't worry Arrested fans, I'm not going to completely bash the new Arrested Development, but I must note that the new incarnation seems to be just that, the "new" Arrested Development. Basically, revamped to capture the audience that eluded them in their original run. Though it did grow on me in the later episodes of season 4, there's still something about the relaunch that feels watered down and seems like it's pandering to the audience in a way that other shows do, but Arrested managed to not only avoid, but make fun of. It's just not the same, guys. And even though I do admit they could've never lived up to the hype that was generated, I came up with a list of five "huge mistakes" that couldn't be overlooked.

1. Seth Rogen as young George Sr.:
Kristen Wiig as young Lucille, yes. Seth Rogen as young George Sr., absolutely not. Some may argue, what's the difference? I say, talent. Kristen Wiig can effectively play Lucille because she is actually able to replicate the Lucille created by Jessica Walter fairly well. Seth Rogen, on the other hand, is unable to play anything but Seth Rogen. So, instead of being invested in the story during the flashback scenes, I was distracted by the fact that Lucille apparently used to be married to Seth Rogen. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I kind of feel that the plot of the show suffers when it is blatantly obvious that a well known actor has been brought in to play a part because they are well known. And Seth's wasn't the only cameo I found incredibly distracting. I mean, I know cameos have kind of been their thing since the beginning (and I really didn't have a problem with the people who appeared in the first three seasons reappearing), but, come on, the only reason to put Ed Helms, John Krasinski and the Workaholics guys in there was to garner cheap enthusiasm from the audience. Not enjoying the show? Well, look, it's Jim from The Office! Isn't that fun? No, it's cheap and you're better than that Arrested Development.

2. Telling Tobias that everyone thinks he's gay:
So, that's how it's gonna go down? Lindsay's just gonna tell Tobias flat out that not only does everyone think he's gay, but that it's a "running joke"? Yes, the show has always been very self-reflexive and snarky, but that's just too far. You never tell Tobias he's gay, that's like going back in time and talking to your past self about the future. It will tear a hole in the space/time continuum! Also, once he knows, they do nothing with it. He just goes and finds another woman to not have sex with. So, he's not gay?

3. All the meta
Michael trying to get the life rights for a movie about his family directed by Ron Howard while all the while pretending that Ron Howard isn't the one narrating? That's a lot of meta, even for a show that has always kept us well aware of the fact that they know it's a TV show. I was okay with the little things they put in during the original run, like the begging for viewers in the third season and the shameless Burger King plugs from Carl Weathers, but to have Michael's entire plotline revolve around producing the movie that we all know is coming is more meta than I can handle. We get it, there's gonna be a movie. And if the movie is about making the movie I'm gonna be pretty disappointed.

4. Putting all the good episodes too far in:
Raise your hand if you were dying to know what George Sr. has been up to... Oh, no one. Yeah, that's what I thought. Let's face it, for a lot of people the first three episodes were hard to get through. I understand trying to keep people on the hook so they watch the whole season but were you really worried about viewership? Everyone was gonna watch it all anyway. Starting us off with a Michael episode followed by a George Sr. episode and a Lindsay episode didn't serve to keep people in it to the end, a lot of people I talked to were actually so disappointed by the initial episodes that they stopped after the first or second. Putting Gob, George Michael, Maeby and Buster at the end was a horrible choice. In my opinion, they were the one's with the most interesting stories and the ones most people were interested in seeing. If you were one of the people discouraged by the first episodes I highly recommend skipping to the end and then coming back. It's much better that way.

5: Playing to the "hop ons":
I know not everyone is going to agree with these issues I had. I'm sure there are many people who felt the newest season was a total success, but to me, it seemed as though all of these things served to reach out to a broader audience than it had initially. Things were spelled out more blatantly, jokes were a little less thought out and they relied to much on people's delight in "being in the know" (i.e Henry Winkler didn't have to say "Chachi" during the trial with Bob Loblaw for me to get the fact that he and Scott Baio were on Happy Days together. And either way, that's not a joke). Once you get to the end of the season, it's obvious that the plot was as well thought out and interconnected as the show was during the original run, but in a lot of ways I feel they took the easy way out. Overall, it just felt cheaper. Like a mere suggestion of the show so many of us loved before everyone on the Internet decided they loved it too. I feel that this season could very well garner a new audience. And I'm sure for a lot of avid fans this was exactly what they were hoping it would be. I, personally, was a little let down. But as I said, it would've been very hard to live up to the hype and, hey, there's always the movie.