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Arrested Development Season 1 - Scott's Livejournal of Doom — LiveJournal
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Date: 2005-10-26 18:26
Subject: Arrested Development Season 1
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The SmarK DVD Rant for Arrested Development - Season One

This is the story of a brilliant TV writer who unexpectedly created one of the most revolutionary and critically beloved shows in sitcom history, but got no support from the network who was supposed to be finding an audience for it. It's Arrested Development.

If ever there was a case of a show you either get or you don't, it's this one. Replacing the standard four-camera and setup-punchline-setup-punchline nature of the sitcom form with a more open, fly-on-the-wall documentary feel and more natural dialogue, AD marked a career revamp for Jason Bateman and a career launch for a cast of supporting characters who defined the show. Although the show is funny by itself, the thing that truly makes it special is the airtight character continuity and endless self-referencing that it does. When these guys do a running gag, it's not just for one show, it's for entire SEASONS. But most importantly, the characters are written with a real human quality, not just as cartoon characters, but as a real family who has problems (as if that's not the understatement of the century...) but in the end, breakfast is the most important thing. Or maybe it's family.

I missed most of the first season because none of the Canadian stations picked it up until well into the first season, and then proceeded to run 10 or so of the episodes totally out of order so they could skip through it all in time for the second season. I still cheered loudly when it won the Best Comedy Emmy anyway. Luckily the great narration job done by Ron Howard helps straighten out any confusion that may arise from crappy programming decisions.

The Film

Arrested Development focuses on the Bluth family, of which there are several key members...

George Sr. - Played by Jeffrey Tambor. The head of the family and owner of the Bluth Corporation, he spends pretty much the entire season in jail. Hence the name.

Lucille - Played by Jessica Walter. George's wife, and probably the living embodiment of what Hilary Clinton is going to be like in 20 years. Manipulative, evil, and yet still loving of her family. Except Gob.

Michael - Played by Jason Bateman. The main character on the show, and the one around whom everything revolves. Although he thinks of himself as the moral center of the family, he's just as neurotic and off-center as everyone else, but he dresses slightly better.

Gob - Played by Will Arnett. The breakout star character of the show, he's a womanizer and longtime stage magician who is terrible at the one thing he loves and thinks his parents resent and hate him. Sadly, he's correct.

Byron "Buster" Bluth - Played by Tony Hale. The youngest of the three brothers and the only one to remain close to Lucille. As in, he still lives with her and is unable to function without her, despite spending thousands of dollars on college degrees in useless subjects. His life's dream is to get punched in the face.

Lindsay Bluth-Funke - Played by Portia Derossi. With a lifetime of money thanks to rich parents and a doctor for a husband, she instead concentrates her efforts on protesting whatever is trendy that week.

Tobias Funke - Played by David Cross. A former doctor who lost his license and now wants to be an actor, he is by far the most alienated of the bunch, as everyone dismisses him as an idiot. He is possibly gay as well, despite many protests from him and a wealth of innocent remarks taken way out of context.

George-Michael - Played by Michael Cera. Michael's son, and the closest thing to normal in the family, he runs the banana stand and is in love with his cousin, going to obsessive lengths to both deny and facilitate their taboo relationship. Like I said, he's the closest thing to normal.

Maeby - Played by Alia Shawkat. Daughter of Lindsay and Tobias, she hates her parents (rightfully so) and can be counted on to believe in exactly the opposite of whatever her mother is currently fighting for. Willing to take risks that George-Michael isn't able to, let's face it, they're perfect for each other. She may or may not be biologically related to the family.

Oscar - Played by Jeffrey Tambor also. Introduced late in the season, Oscar is George's twin brother, albeit with a long flowing mane of hair and a hippie past.

Disc One

- Extended Pilot. Our saga begins on the Bluth family yacht, as omniscient (and occasionally opinionated) narrator Ron Howard introduces us to Michael Bluth and his family. The setup is that the Bluths, headed up by George Bush-like George Bluth Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor, in what was originally written as a guest spot only), own a large housing development business and George Sr. is ready to retire and presumably pass on the reins to long-suffering son Michael. Our first flashback gag of the show has Michael and son George-Michael (did I mention this show has the best gag names, too?) share a moment in their sleeping bags about the importance of breakfast and family, which would be referenced early in season 3. Michael is living in the show-home with George-Michael as we begin, and one of the best running gags is introduced when we meet his brother, Gob. "Gob" (played by the awesome, scene-stealing Will Arnett) is a play on "Jeb" Bush, and is thus pronounced like Job the biblical character instead of "gob." Anyway, being burdened with unearned wealth and a failed career as a magician, he compensates by riding a Segway scooter everywhere, and that one gets milked for every laugh it's worth. In fact, the family's out-of-control spending in general sets up the major plot of the series, although "plot" with this show is a relative term. George-Michael meets his cousin Maeby for the first time, and we learn that she's the daughter of Michael's twin sister Lindsay and her husband Tobias Funke. Tobias, constantly warring with Gob for the most brilliant moments on the show, is played by Mr. Show creator David Cross, and was previously a doctor until he tried to give CPR to a guy sunbathing by the pool and thus lost his license. His running gag is also immediately established, as he mistakes the retirement party for a pirate party and unwittingly joins a group of homosexuals protesting the real party. The actual plot begins when George Sr. unexpectedly passes control of the company over to wife Lucille, and then gets dragged off by the SEC for years of unspecified bad dealings. Those dealings would provide many episodes worth of teases and huge punchlines to come. Tobias's pirate adventure convinces him to become an actor, setting him off on his character path. Michael, feeling rejected, wants to bail on his family and move to Arizona with George-Michael after a huge job offer from Sitwell Housing. Sitwell would return in the second season with a much bigger role. While visiting his father in jail, Michael discovers that George Sr. passed the company to Lucille because of some VERY bad legal advice, which would also become a running gag. So everyone decides to stick together and live in the model house, and we get the first "On the next..." show-ending gag, which was actually conceived as an ironic statement due to Mitchell Hurwitz being sure that the show wouldn't get picked up.

- Top Banana. So George Sr. LOVES prison, and George-Michael is having trouble avoiding Maeby and her womanly charms. So Michael decides to make G-M the manager of the longtime Bluth standby -- the frozen banana stand on the beach. The family is having troubles dealing with the company's frozen assets, even though George Sr. stresses several times that there's ALWAYS money in the banana stand, and he's not being subtle about it. However, G-M's plan backfires when Maeby is also drafted into working there. Michael makes sure to tell his son to stay on top of her and ride her hard while at work. Tobias has his first audition here, and it goes about as well as the rest of them would go. Michael learns that his dead's cellmate T-Bone is a "flamer" in a totally different context than he expected, and T-Bone ends up working at the banana stand as a favor to George Sr. Gob's father issues start here. Michael and Gob decide to unite and burn down the banana stand as a gesture of defiance towards their father, but Gob's own previous gesture of defiance turned out to be throwing the insurance payment into the ocean. Which was harder than it sounds.

- Bringing Up Buster. Gob's relationship with Marta, the Mexican soap-opera star, is introduced. So is high school student Steve Holt ("Steve Holt!") who would become much more important in the third season. Buster is driving Lucille crazy, so she dumps him on Michael. Gob tries to live in the office, but Michael is in no mood for both brothers ("If it's business, I'll leave happily, but if it's personal, I'll still leave, but I won't be happy." "It's personal.") Tobias tries to break into directing, by taking over the high school play where G-M is trying to put the moves on Maeby, but his plans for direction turn out to be more authentically Shakespearean than most teenage boys are ready for. Steve Holt's up for a little cross-dressing, luckily. Gob tries moving in with Lucille, which lasts for all of an hour before he takes up permanent residence on the yacht instead. And everything leads up to a Cornball pun, in more ways than one.

- Key Decisions. Gob has to attend an awards show with Marta ("just like Rita Wilson!") and we are thus introduced to the stair car, which becomes the family's transportation for the season. Gob decides to get out of the shadow of his semi-famous girlfriend by staging his greatest escape yet...breaking out of his father's prison! He's no Mike Scofield, that's for sure. Apparently, however, swallowing a key to the cell is harder than it appears in cartoons (Professional magician, do not attempt) and a shanking soon follows. Gob dumps Marta on Michael for the awards, which of course complicates everyone's life when he falls hopelessly in love with her. Speaking of complicated, Liza Minelli debuts as Lucille II, Lucille's best friend and biggest social rival, and accidentally flirts with Buster, due to the fact that she's an idiot and he lost his glasses. Buster "flirting" from the other side of the room is one of the funniest sight gags in the show's run. Gob, locked in a cell with his father, is unable to pass the key because of privacy concerns, and he lets us know that he's made a huge mistake. That would soon become another running gag. We get an off-hand mention of Carl Weathers by Tobias, which would soon get paid off, bigtime. Lindsay unwittingly becomes a tree sitter with Ron Howard's cousin Clint, but causes him to forget why you NEVER leave the tree. Gob's (literal) backstabbing at the hands of White Power Bill (who would of course pop up again later in the season just because) causes him to rethink his relationship with Marta. And he's made another huge mistake. But at least he escaped from the prison. Ta-da!

- Visiting Ours. First appearance of Michael's assistant Kitty, who is actually George's assistant. Gob moves back to the office so he can write a strongly-worded letter of protest to the warden of the prison. Apparently getting taken out on a stretcher doesn't count as "escaping." Tobias and his nudity issues are introduced as he and Lindsay seek therapy...with Bob Odenkirk. That of course turns into an over-the-top ham session between Bob and David. Obviously Mitchell Hurwitz was a big Mr. Show fan. Kitty is all over Gob, which leads to the most unexpectedly hilarious "take off your glasses" scene in sitcom history. Michael decides to take advantage of this rather ludicrous pairing by whoring out Gob as an information source. As long as the lights are out, he doesn't mind, however. George Sr. organizes a softball game, which gets REALLY ugly, and ruins the whole prison experience for George-Michael. George continues stealing the show by sharing too much information with Michael ("Daddy's horny.") and reveals that a month without sex is rough. Especially when he's been in prison two months. Michael is so disturbed that he tries to convince Lucille to make a conjugal visit just to get the image out of his head, but it turns out that Lucille wasn't what George Sr. had in mind. This further screws up a tryst between Kitty and Gob in the other trailer, although Gob forgot the entire plan anyway. And we end with George dropping the first casual mention that he may have committed treason. But LIGHT treason.

- Charity Drive. A heatwave has Michael needing a car, which Lindsay prepares for a charity auction, as does Lucille. Michael needs permits filed after the fact, so he hires Gob to do the dirty work. He picks up someone who he thinks is Lupe the housekeeper, but in a nice comment on how even the self-satisfied can be wrong, it turns out that he can't tell the difference between similar-looking Latinos either. And wouldn't you know, having bones, a shovel and red nail polish everywhere looks kind of suspicious to a scared Mexican immigrant. Gob, master of disguise, blows his cover on the scouting mission, and so dumps the job on G-M. He proves to be just as bad at it. And at the charity auction, Buster screws up his only job, too, bidding on the wrong Lucille. Michael the Serial Killer is non-stop laughs here.

Disc Two

- My Mother, The Car. To compete with Lucille II's parties, Lucille decides to throw an even bigger party on the yacht, which Michael is trying to sell. Great sight gags with Lucille on "World's Worst Drivers" and a fake license made by Gob, to really hammer home the point of the episode. Lindsay visits her father in prison, but is disappointed when the prisoners don't catcall and treat her like a piece of meat. The family manipulates Michael into throwing a surprise party for Lucille, but then all of them forget to show up. A great moment then shows how deeply Lucille can outsmart even Michael, as she guilts him with her frail act. Another awesome fourth wall moment as Michael & Lucille get into a car accident on the way home, thus taking out the fake cameraman. Michael suffers a head trauma, with requisite memory loss, thus giving us some quality slapstick due to his numbed state. He feels guilty for being the one who tried to run Gob over, but Lucille medicates him with "Children's Aspirin." LOTS of it. Brilliant dovetailing of the stories as Linday's obsession with getting a reaction at prison pays off an earlier moment with Lucille's presumed frailty leaving her unable to lift grocery bags. Another great line here ("...to keep me from getting attacked in the shower...or worse." "Stabbed?") as Lindsay seems unaware of the realities of prison life. In the end, Michael and Gob unite again to figure out who REALLY was more likely to want to run over Gob, because they're brothers, and they kinda like each other!

- In God We Trust. This one introduces Henry Winkler as Barry Zuckerkorn, the worst's worst attorney, as he gets George one afternoon out of prison for the "Living Classics" show before Christmas. Barry's awesomely funny homophobia is introduced as well. Lucille thinks Michael and Lindsay are aligning against her, so she begins using her powers of bitchcraft to split them up. We also learn that, contrary to all evidence that says otherwise, Barry's bus bench ads show him to be "Very Good." And then we learn that Barry lost a $300,000 lawsuit to his own (homosexual) assistant, who still works for him, and was represented by super-lawyer Wayne Jarvis. Thus Michael wants to hire Jarvis and fire Barry. Wayne is SERIOUS and PROFESSIONAL, you see, and he hates small talk. And as an attorney at law, it's his professional responsibility to inform us that there is no candy in the room, or to duck behind a couch, as needed. I cannot possibly do this episode justice with a mere recap, because I'm nearly cracking up again just typing this stuff up. Michael and Lindsay get sick of their mother's manipulation, and ask Wayne Jarvis if there's any serious and professional way to humiliate her publicly, but she one-ups them by dating Wayne instead of planned suitor Barry. However, this leaves the Bluths stuck with Barry Zuckerkorn as their lawyer. This one is easily one of the funniest episodes of the season without even touching on the actual STORYLINE of the episode, involving George-Michael wearing a muscle suit for his role as Adam and Tobias obsessing over nudity in a role he's auditioning for. Truly, this one will leave you realizing that it's never the ones you hope. I hope to hell that they bring Wayne Jarvis back for at least one more episode so he can be serious and professional again.

- Storming the Castle. More quality slapstick from Michael, as he falls off chairs and lusts after Marta. Very, very, obviously lusts after her. So obvious that the only one who doesn't get it is Gob. And then we get another awesome moment as thugs try to muscle Gob via Michael, and he ignores them. And good thing, as it's just a magician from the Alliance, from which Gob was expelled in the pilot. "Taking his legs" has a different meaning in the magic community, you see. Lindsay protesting leather leads indirectly to Tobias becoming a leather queen. And Michael sets his master plan for stealing Marta into motion, although evil genius isn't his forte. George begins a new character arc in prison, finding Judaism in solitary. This one marks the first use of Europe's "The Final Countdown" as the cheesy theme song for Gob's act, which leads to a payoff of G-M's neurosis about his smooth, hairless legs.

- Pier Pressure. A clash over parenting techniques between the twins sets us off, as Lindsay tries her hand at actually disciplining Maeby for once, and makes her work for Lucille as a punishment for bad grades. Buster, meanwhile, needs some pot for Lucille II's vertigo, so he goes to the most street-wise kid that he knows...George-Michael. So now Michael thinks that his son is on drugs, and really the A-minus was a dead giveaway. So again he tries his hand at evil genius, this time a fake drug bust to scare him using stripper cops. Gob overacting as a slimy dealer is hilariously bad. But of course things implode like a black hole as Michael learns a lesson about not teaching lessons in true Arrested Development style. A key gag with a detachable arm seems to foreshadow things to come.

- Public Relations. Michael tries to get G-M into the prestigious Milford school, where children are neither seen nor heard. Buster of course was a star pupil there, setting off a show-long gag with Buster practicing the art of not being seen. Spectacularly well, in fact. This leads Michael to hire a publicist, who is a little cutie-pie, and as usual getting the family to cooperate is chaos. Great little moments from everyone as the publicist sets everyone off on job-hunting errands. This leads to Tobias meeting Carl Weathers on a shuttle to the airport, while Gob does magic for the elderly. Great Michael moment as he breaks up with his new publicist ("Jesse..." "What?" "Oh, I was just saying your name as you walked away. I've got no followup.") Gob manages to kidnap Earl Milford of the Milford school, which I guess is slightly better than his original assumption of killing him in the course of a trick. Carl Weathers fits right into this group as a parasitic "acting teacher."

- Marta Complex. It's the anniversary party for Lindsay and Tobias, and Michael is still in denial about Marta. A flashback gives us more "I've made a huge mistake" and Carl Weathers continues stealing the show ("Baby, you've got a stew goin'!") An impromptu toast from Michael reveals his secret to Marta, and she too has made a huge mistake. I also have to add that the other impromptu toast that preceded it, with everyone chanting "Speech!" and the narrator explaining that it was for no one in particular, at which point the chants fizzles out, is the kind of truly transcendent moment that this show is known for. Anyway, Gob (who doesn't speak Spanish, despite years of lessons) misinterprets Marta's confession of loving "Hermano" and thinks Marta is cheating on him. Speaking of cheating, Lucille II dumps Buster for Carl Weathers in the most bizarre relationship twist that the show had seen to that point. Michael, who also doesn't speak Spanish very well, also thinks Hermano is a person and joins Gob in a quest to discover his identity. Another show would have had Michael understanding the term and conflicting with Gob, but I like that AD went in totally the opposite direction with it. Michael genuinely cares that Marta might be cheating on his brother, and that's more important to him than getting her would be. This all of course leads to some brilliant wordplay with the brothers, which worsens when Buster (who of course is the only one to actually UNDERSTAND Spanish) falls in love with Marta. Michael too may have made a huge mistake, preemptively breaking up with Marta over "Hermano." Amazingly complex writing here.

- Beef Consomme. Originally conceived as the series finale in case the show didn't get renewed, this one wrapped up a lot of stuff. Michael blows off Marta's disrespect of Gob ("I don't care, no one respects him.") and they proceed to getting it on, but Michael unexpectedly DOES respect his brother's feelings after all and can't go through with it. Even when Gob finally learns what Hermano means, he can't put the pieces together. G-M learns that Maeby was a test-tube baby, although that kind of takes the thrill out of it, and thus he's over her. Tobias is forced to confront his never-nude problem for an acting gig, and Buster turns to Mariachi bands to comfort him over losing Marta. That he was never in contention doesn't make it hurt any less. Another great fourth wall moment as the judge reminds us that no cameras are allowed in his courtroom before a hearing for George Sr., so the camera proceeds to leave the room and we have to listen to the big fight between Gob and Michael starting behind closed doors instead. Gob and Michael finally have the knock-down drag-out war that has building for a few episodes, although they're a couple of sissy rich kids so really it's not quite as brutal as you might expect. Although it does manage to pay off both Buster gags at once.

- Shock and Aww. G-M falls in love with his teacher, Ms. Baerly (played by Heather Graham), and we get another reference to someone having a hand chopped off. Gob tries to get back at Michael by fixing him up with a transvestite, but then gets so jealous of him as a matter of reflex that he steals "her" away anyway. Michael goes to meet G-M's teacher, and we get another hint of season 2 as he makes an off-hand remark about a picture of "rape houses" in Iraq looking just like the show home. George Sr., with spiritual background music, finds himself with a disciple. We meet Korean adoptee Annyong, although that's actually Korean for "hello" and everyone is just too self-involved to know the difference. A gag with subtitles would carry on for much of the season before ascending to the comedy pinnacle in the next episode and thus outliving its usefulness. But that's another great thing about this show -- they knew when to stretch the joke, and when to retire it. Ms. Baerly, meanwhile, loves Saddam Hussein and after a night with Michael gets drawn into the Bluth Zone. Gob's ridiculous string of sexual conquests and confused cell phone calls wins the day here.

Disc Three

- Staff Infection. Lupe the maid wants a day off for a family reunion, so of course Lucille gets offended, while in the same sentence begging for money from Michael. Michael sets about forcing the family to actually work (again) for their Bluth company paycheques, which of course backfires on him when they attempt to do so. Tobias researches his "Frightened Inmate #2" role by going to prison with George. Gob and Buster stir up trouble on the site of a new Bluth housing project, with some great twisted logic from Gob, and he debuts his chicken impression here, complete with dance. Lindsay turns a simple phone-answering job into a major FBI sting operation. An amazingly subtle and hilarious sight gag sees Michael stopping by the banana stand, where Annyong is working, and the camera zooms out for a wide shot. Since Annyong is so small in the distance, when he says "Annyong," there's a tiny "Hello" below him. Everything collides at the work site, where Gob and Buster engage in a life-or-death game of Chicken (without the dance), but with BULLDOZERS. Actually, it's less life-or-death than it sounds.

- Missing Kitty. It's Spring Break and Gob wants to make the yacht disappear for a Youth Oriented Music channel. Tobias studies fear under White Power Bill, who previously shanked Gob. Kitty debuts her new giant boobs and her catchphrase, "This is the last time you'll see these!" Of course we would see them many more times following this. Flashback gag sees piles of crates in the yacht with "H Maddas" on them, which shouldn't take much thinking to decipher. This one also introduces "Girls With Low Self-Esteem", the best-selling spring break video series. Tobias accidentally talks White Power Bill into killing himself, thus going from Frightened Prisoner #2 into Prison Kingpin. This leads to a hilarious man-to-man talk with George Sr. and "Dorothy". Gob actually does make the yacht disappear, albeit by sinking it, with "The Final Countdown" blaring in the background as usual. However, Kitty was on the yacht, despite earlier teases that G-M was on it, and she's presumed dead. The gay cops debut in a throwaway gag as part of "On the next..." but would return in the second season in a bigger role, and Oscar is also mentioned in passing for the first time.

- Altar Egos. It's the Seinfeld guest show, with Julia-Louis Dreyfuss. Barry Zuckerkorn brings a plea bargain to the Bluths, but hasn't gotten around to reading it yet, due to failed attempts to pick up transvestite hookers. Michael's "only slept with four women" runner continues here, although he claims it's up to five now (Ms. Baerly, but not Marta apparently). While in a bar trying to read the plea bargain, Michael bumps into Maggie Lizer, as in "lies her ass off." Boy, if THAT wasn't a dead giveaway of where the plot was going, I don't know what is. Michael hooks up with her, and we learn that she is blind, which makes the inevitable morning-after dumping a bit too hard for Michael to handle. The giveaway was "I'm blind," which Michael simply took as a drunken non-sequitur. Awesome morning-after talk between Gob and Michael follows ("What's wrong with her?" "Nothing's wrong with her! Well, she's blind.") Gob, meanwhile, marries guest star Amy Poehler on a series of escalating drunken dares, and we discover that she sell seals. And boy, THAT one would pop up again in the most unexpected way possible in season 2. However, they didn't actually consummate the marriage, despite Gob's protests that they absolutely, positively did. Lucille, enraged over George's hanky-panky with a disciple who turns out to be an undercover government spy, wants a divorce. Michaels goes to clear the air with Maggie, but discovers that she may have the entire government case file and wants him to read it to her. The big plot twist is given away as a one-off gag in "On the next..." segment.

- Justice Is Blind. Part 2, as Gob is unable to escape his marriage, but still hasn't consummated it and thus could annul it whenever he wants. Of course, that admission will never happen, so there they are. Michael decides to do the right thing and give back the folder, but it turns out that Maggie knew it was him. And so George asks him to break into Maggie's house, which he dumps on Tobias. Thus we get one of the few "On the next..." gags to actually come true. We learn that Maggie isn't blind, but her dog is, although a shot of mace from Tobias changes things. This all sets up one of the best sight gags in the show's run (kinda ironic considering the subject matter) as G-M laments not knowing what moral choice to make and not having a set of rules to tell him what to do. He of course says this while standing under a giant mockup of the 10 Commandments. Buster selling out his family in exchange for grilled cheese is...very Buster.

- Best Man For The Gob. Gob, who has taken to wearing sweaters in domestic fashion now, wants out of the marriage, but the family wants to meet her and throw a party. Tobias wants to "reunite the band", but means it literally -- he wants to reunite Dr. Funke's 100% Natural Good Time Family Band Solution, a folk group consisting of himself, Lindsay, and Maeby that was underwritten by shady pharmaceutical companies. I believe that Teamocil pops up later on, actually. George is paranoid about an accountant who knows too much, so he hires Gob to convince the guy that he got drunk and killed a stripper. Luckily, the stripper is a narcoleptic who passes out in dark places, and he can't hold his liquor, and the plan is for her to pop out of a cake, so you KNOW there's a big payoff coming up. Michael and G-M head out on a fishing trip for some father-son bonding, but that goes terrible for them. The gay dancing cops (not to be confused with the gay cops) help Gob to set up the accountant (which gives us a "helpful gaze"/"helpful gays" pun that you don't often get in primetime settings) but it all goes spectacularly wrong. Although usually the stripper doesn't end up ALIVE when things go wrong.

- Whistler's Mother. More money is available, and Lindsay wants some of it for an affair. Great Tobias sight gag sees him reading "Acting: Like A Man" Oscar is formally introduced to the show, which has G-M all paranoid about George Sr. possibly escaping. The family is all over the new money, so Michael tells Gob & Tobias to find something to invest in, and thus Gobias is born. Oscar's introduction to Michael ("Hey, Nephew.") sounds just like Buster's usual introduction, with is another bit of foreshadowing. Michael buys $10,000 of worthless land from Oscar, despite his father's advice of just paying him off and being done with it, and soon everyone is blowing whistles at him. Literally. But with everything going wrong, a hug from Mom ("What's happening here?") and some emotional blackmail of Oscar saves Michael's job. But now Lucille is on the board and Oscar is in love with her again.

- Not Without My Daughter. It's Take Your Daughter To Work Day, which provides an ENDLESSLY hilarious series of gags here. G-M's getting a bit too old for the part, so Michael decides to take Maeby instead. Gob gets unfairly edited in the "Girls With Low Self-Esteem" video and doesn't take it well. The gay cops are introduced into the canon of the show, as they question Michael about Kitty's disappearance. The one features TWO Mr. Show regulars in addition to David Cross, by the way, which may be a record for a primetime comedy. Buster's visit to prison puts a new twist on the "No touching" running gag that had been running all season. Self-esteem issues with Gob, Tobias and G-M lead to a shoplifting gag, costing Lindsay an actual job. This one is all about the bizarre daughter-at-work gags running wild throughout the show.

- Let Them Eat Cake. And the season wraps up, as everyone is on Atkins and not happy about it. Lindsay wants to start a business, but Michael learns that Kitty is alive, and back in town. And in another epic introduction, we meet G-M's future girlfriend, Anne. And then we learn that George Sr. was actually building homes in Iraq, as foreshadowed endlessly throughout the season. But it's just LIGHT treason, remember. Tobias scores a hit in the gay community with a re-release of his book "The Man Inside Me," but Lindsay can't even be swayed by his impending financial windfall. Sadly, an awesome sight gag with the book on Amazon (complete with "Customers also bought..." links that show Barry Zuckerkorn as a fellow author) is not accompanied by a real-life listing on that website. Gob, meanwhile, has made another huge mistake. George Sr. has a heart attack while taking a polygraph test, and Michael decides to quit. Again. This leaves Gob in charge of platitudes, and it's not a job he excels at. And we meet the World's Worst Doctor, as he delivers bad news about losing George Sr., when in fact he meant that he had escaped.

I should point out that I missed roughly half the plot covered by this first season in this recaps, as this show has the most densely-packed 22 minute structure I've ever seen in a sitcom and it's impossible to get everything in one viewing. You need one go-around for the initial plot, another go-around for jokes you missed the first time, and then another one to just watch the background for inside jokes and improvising actors. Truly an instant classic and a show deserving of the Best Comedy award that it received after its first year.

The Video

As Fox switched to high-definition full-time, this show went with it, and is featured in breathtaking 1.77:1 widescreen here with the absolute best transfer of a TV show I've ever seen. EVER. It's far better than even the pristine initial airings of the show on regular broadcast cable looked, and the level of detail and color in the high-def masters is amazing. This is truly reference-quality stuff.

The Audio

Well, it's standard Dolby Surround, which is too bad because gags mixed into the rear speakers would be exactly the kind of thing that this show would excel at. Still, it sounds note perfect for a dialogue-centered show, and that's the important thing.

The Extras

Actually tons of stuff for such a low-rated show. Each episode features deleted scenes which are really nothing more interesting than alternate takes on stuff or bits that weren't that funny to begin with, so no big loss there. You also get commentaries from a host of cast and creators on three episodes (Extended Pilot, Beef Consomme and Let Them Eat Cake) that are entertaining enough but generally amount to everyone goofing around for 20 minutes. And there's a documentary on disc one called "Breaking Ground" with interviews with most of the cast and Mitchell Hurwitz, as well as a panel discussion on disc two with the cast, and some TV Land stuff on disc three that's pretty funny. That's certainly more than I was expecting, although less than other DVD sets seem to get. I can only imagine how barebones season 3 is gonna be, though.

The Ratings:

The Show: *****
The Video: *****
The Audio: **1/2
The Extras: **1/2

The Pulse:

Not only brilliantly funny but warm and surprisingly deep at the same time, Arrested Development is the kind of cutting-edge humor that shows like The Simpsons used to be known for. If you like Curb Your Enthusiasm or haven't found a smart comedy since Frasier ended, this is the show for you. It's one of my favorites, and it should be yours too. Highest recommendation.
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Joseph Lee
User: jcdaredevil
Date: 2005-10-27 01:57 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I've heard nothing but good things about this show, plus it's got David Cross so it can't hurt to check it out.
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User: evolution_fan
Date: 2005-10-27 02:11 (UTC)
Subject: HOUSE?
I'm still hoping for a House Season 1 review.
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User: ormbergownsyou
Date: 2005-10-27 02:14 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Steven Colbert said I'm a getter, but count me as don't getter for this show. Not funny, not entertaining- if that's smart then I guess I like dumb shows.

Plus this isn't close to being the first show not to use the standard four-camera and setup-punchline-setup-punchline nature, so it's not like that makes it this an exiciting and innovative show.
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User: marino13
Date: 2005-10-27 03:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Review NewsRadio: Season 1 & 2
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A Combat Hooligan
User: pixar_nation
Date: 2005-10-27 03:14 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I just bought this on Saturday, so talk about timing. I will be sitting down with it in the not too distant future.
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User: irvc225
Date: 2005-10-27 03:18 (UTC)
Subject: AD - awesome/RAW - not so much
Wow, really great review.
Arrested Development remains the funniest and most underrated show on TV today.
It's a shame the way it gets no support and might be nearing the end.
Still, at least DVDs like this one can be kept tto serve as a testament to the show's greatness.
Now, since nobody's written a full out rant yet, I need to get something off my chest.
This past RAW sucked some serious asshole.
It was offensive in every way possible.
Just how insulting was it?
-The "Let's see how sick Vince really is and watch his ass fetish" JR colonoscopy video ran way too long and was eerily reminiscent of Katie Vick. The stupidity of that segment spoke for itself.
-Hootie McBoob pissing off Austin fans and humanity in general coming out with her 2 friends barely hanging in there with that piercing voice to boot, which served to elevate nothing, besides maybe HHH's dick.
-The HBK/Big Show/Kane match was a trainwreck and had more blown spots than Paris Hilton's video. All 3 men should've put on a much better match, all things considered.
-The women's match was only interesting to see if Mickie James was actually wearing underwear. That was about as exciting as that got.
-Coach continues to waste time coming out for an interview segment, as if he wasn't annoying enough commentating for the rest of the show.
-Mick Foley continuing to destroy his legacy by selling 2 ballshots like death for the entire show and getting taken out twice by Carlito.
-Rosey in a handicap match, because that's what people want to see.
-Viscera coming out, standing there like a fool, and quickly disappearing.
-Edge putting down half of the talented workers on SD (plus JBL). This coming from a guy who was dissed by the RAW heels a short while ago.
-A boring main event with a really shitty ending.
Cena can't tap cleanly to Angle?! Even Hulk Hogan has tapped to the mighty Angle Lock. How much protection can Cena, who I don't think has lost cleanly on RAW yet, get? Since it doesn't look like Angle's getting the belt, just let HHH bury him already and retire the stupid spinner belt once and for all, please.
-In closing,I have one thing to say: Fuck you, WWE.

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User: hitmanclark
Date: 2005-10-27 03:49 (UTC)
Subject: Re: AD - awesome/RAW - not so much
Kane was the one responsible for most of those blown spots. He was TERRIBLE and belongs nowhere near the main event unless he's working with Benoit, despite what Supertaker may say.

Supes, Kane has never drawn, can't work good matches with anyone that isn't twice as talented as him (flukes against Albert withstanding), and is playing the same "what is his motivation?" character he's played since Russo left.

Plus he's far better as a heel.
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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
User: ucladavid
Date: 2005-10-27 03:35 (UTC)
Subject: overrated
I'm sorry, but AD is extremely overrated. I saw 3 episodes (first 2 episodes plus 1 from season 2) and I didn't laugh even once.
The problem with this type of show is like Scott said, "you either get it or you don't." The fans who do get it rave and rave about it so people might see it for one episode and they don't get all the back inside jokes so they don't think it is funny and stop watching.
The other problem is that the people who do "get it" look down on the people who don't get it because they don't think it is the greatest show ever.
Also David Cross sucks big time.
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User: pzizzle
Date: 2005-10-27 03:49 (UTC)
Subject: Re: overrated
The other problem is that the people who do "get it" look down on the people who don't get it because they don't think it is the greatest show ever.

True that.

I know I shouldn't, but I actually think less of people who don't like such obviously-awesome shows such as Sopranos and Arrested Development.
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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
User: canadianbulldog
Date: 2005-10-27 12:51 (UTC)
Subject: AD DVD
Now that I've watched the Season Two DVD, I have to say it was kind of a letdown compared to Season One. Not because the episodes aren't awesome -- they obviously are -- but because I'd already SEEN everything this time around, and in chronological order, so there were much fewer surprises.

Still, if you're a fan of the first season, you almost need the second one, as it continues to tie in things so nicely. Oh, and almost a year after I bought the first season DVD, I'm STILL watching it intermittently, which should say volumes about the show's quality.
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User: chanseywmu
Date: 2005-10-27 13:47 (UTC)
Subject: Re: AD DVD
YES! A rant for something cool!

"Tobias is a never nude, which is exactly what it sounds like"

"There is a man inside me, and only when he is completely out, can i walk free of pain"
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User: nppyinzer
Date: 2005-10-27 16:07 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I watched the first season on DVD, and I "get" Arrested Development, in that I think the gags are funny, I think it's very well-written, and everyone in the cast does an excellent job. I hope it stays on TV, because it makes me happy to know that something other than the usual fare is out there.

I don't LIKE Arrested Development, though, because all of the characters are so distasteful. Except for George-Michael, I don't give a damn what happens to anyone on the show, and I don't see any chance of the characters growing in such a way as to make them not be asses. I'd rather watch Lost, The Sopranos, or My Name is Earl, where the characters aren't as static and the assholes tend to be assholes for more interesting reasons.

I just don't want to spend a half-hour a week (or several hours, in the case of the DVDs) with people I don't like; I have to do enough of that at in real life. I felt the same way about Seinfeld and, to a lesser extent, NewsRadio.
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User: elvylanda
Date: 2005-10-27 17:08 (UTC)
Subject: I hate this guy
I really just hate this guy:

I hope he suffers some kind of weird injury (nothig serious) that forces him to retire. I have a real bad feeling that "the Miz" will gte over with his lame act.
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User: irvc225
Date: 2005-10-27 18:03 (UTC)
Subject: Re: I hate this guy
Join the club.
The guy is so full of crap.
He has to call himself "The Miz" like people actually care that he has a big ego.
I never liked him in Tough Enough, never watched the Real World, and truly hope he doesn't get calle dup to wrestle in WWE.
The guy just plain sucks in that Randy Orton douchebag type of way, except not as bad because he's not getting pushed ot the world title for failed run #2.
Still this Miz guy needs to shut up and stay far away from my TV.
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Andrew B
User: limin8tor
Date: 2005-10-27 19:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Now AD is something I can get excited about.

The thing that makes the show so difficult to just jump right into is that so much of the comedy centers around the personalities of the characters and unlike your typical sitcom, the characters (with a few exceptions) do not fall into the typical archetypes or stock characters we've come to know, so you actually have to get to know the characters before you really get a lot of the humor. When you watch the first episode, you'll chuckle a little, second episode, you'll have a few good laughs, by the third episode you'll be cracking up.
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User: ormbergownsyou
Date: 2005-10-28 02:38 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I watched the first ep and didn't even laugh on the inside. Another failure, Jew.
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User: zqadams
Date: 2005-10-28 01:52 (UTC)
Subject: Speaking of Mr. Show...
Now that's something I'd like to see someone TRY to review. :)
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User: rinehart316
Date: 2005-10-28 02:43 (UTC)
Subject: Only 364 More Days!!!!
To Everybody:
There is aproximitely 364 more days until America's (and the World's) Team, the New York Yankees......... Yankees win the 2006 World Series!!! ALL HAIL CAPTAIN CLUTCH, DEREK JETER!!! Don't worry, Gary Sheffield will slap the man purse off of A-Rod if he even begins to choke in next year's playoffs. 2006 A.L. MVP: Derek Jeter!
My Picks: (Assuming the Yanks sign Alfonso Soriano for 2nd, moving Cano to DH; and sign Torri Hunter or Johnny Damon).
AL EAST: Yanks; CENTRAL: White Sox; WEST: Angels; WILD CARD: Indians
NL EAST: Phillies (Braves lost their pitching coach, so they won't win their 15th straight division title); CENTRAL: Cardinals; WEST: Giants; WILD CARD: Mets
Division Series: Yanks over Indians; White Sox over Angels; Giants over Phillies; Mets over Cardinals
League Championship Series: Yanks over White Sox; Giants over Mets
2006 World Series: Yanks over Giants
World Series MVP: Mariano Rivera
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User: chanseywmu
Date: 2005-10-28 03:23 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Only 364 More Days!!!!
God who gives a shit about baseball, what a boring sport. Their championship is a blowout every year, and your precious Yankees despite being like the highest paid team in all of sports keep getting their asses handed to them.
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User: ba_baracus
Date: 2005-10-28 04:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
As I've said before and I'll say again, I don't like Arrested Development...won't miss it at all when it's cancelled. In fact I'll be glad as I won't have to hear about how it's such a work of genius constantly online.

Oh, and as for the following quote...

"But most importantly, the characters are written with a real human quality, not just as cartoon characters, but as a real family who has problems..."

That's someting supporters of the show constantly say that I think is ridiculous...that the show is more *realistic* than your average sit-com. Bwuh, huh, what? The characters are all ridiculous cartoons that don't act even remotely like a real decent human being would. There are episodes of Family Guy more true to life than this show.
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User: pzizzle
Date: 2005-10-28 22:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
What, you're tryin' to tell me that you don't have a crush on your cousin, a gay uncle, a lush of a grandma, an uncle with a hook for a hand, and/or a grandpa on the run?
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October 2013