by J.D. Cook
Well it’s been 7 years since new episodes of Arrested Development graced television screens around the country. Sadly the show was cut down in its prime much like what is currently happening to the fantastic show Community. Luckily thanks to Netflix fans of Arrested Development got to dive back into the dysfunctional Bluth family’s lives. All 15 episodes of Season 4 were released concurrently and I sat down and watched them in what almost amounted to one sitting. (It was really more like 2 and a half or so) Nevertheless I did see all the episodes in 2 days and now after reflecting a bit I can give my opinion on whether Arrested Development should have been allowed to rise like a phoenix or preemptively given a head shot to stop it from climbing from the grave like a zombie looking for flesh.
The first thought I had was that season 4’s humor was very modern and up on the times while still retaining those old Arrested Development laughs as well. Unfortunately I was not a big fan of the new format change for season 4. Essentially due to contract issues with their actors the entire Bluth family could never appear on screen together. This is a very disappointing aspect of the show as the best parts of the original series are the interactions between family members. Due to this the writers changed the structure of the episodes so that each episode follows an individual character. Therefore there are whole episodes where you may not see your favorite Bluth although each family member seems to interact with everyone else (except Buster) fairly equally.
Now this is not all bad. In changing the format of the show to single character focused they also made the entire season into what amounts to a giant puzzle. There are a good amount of things in every episode that will not make sense until a later episode hilariously explains what was going on. So in this way the season is slowly filled in episode by episode. I enjoyed it and felt like it was a very smart way to handle their actor contract issues but I could easily see how new fans of the show or old fans of the show could be very turned off by this. Essentially the show is made to be watched multiple times. There is also an insane amount of cameos but my favorite was probably the cast of Workoholics basically playing their exact characters in one scene. I also loved John Slattery as the drugged out Dr. Norman.
Sadly this season does not fill in all of the cracks. It leaves a great many things unexplained in a set up for a future season or a future movie. As long as I get my future Arrested Development movie I won’t be too upset by this but if the show leaves off here forever I can’t say I’d be too happy. Overall the show has some great episodes and some less than great ones. My favorite episodes typically involve Maebe, George Micheal, Gob, and Tobias; Marvel Comics are every where these days as Tobias plot involves the Fantastic Four quite a lot! Some of the other characters feel a bit played out. George Sr. was my favorite character to watch in the old seasons but he feels a bit off this season for many reasons. The final scene of the show is pretty hilarious too. I’d say only check this out if you are a big fan of the series or if the movie is announced because it will probably lead directly into it. I can only hope that Season 4 is looked at as a funny prologue to the hilarious Bluth family reunion we are all waiting for!