Monday, November 29, 2010

The curse of Arrested Development...

Translation: or shows that never got the chance to bombard your television with quality programming.

I am a huge fan of Arrested Development. It’s weird, quirky, hilarious…and oh so very dead. I’ll admit I didn’t get into this show until a year or so ago, but it’s a wonderful combination of dry and satirical (and I’ve seen every episode about 6 times and still love it). It’s the kind of humor that goes straight over the heads of many, many American TV viewers- people more interested in whether or not Snooky and Pauly D hooked up would definitely not understand the nuances of the Bluth household. America- I shake my head in your general direction. Arrested Development managed to pull off some of the best entendres:

And found clever ways to bring up the previous work of all its cast (like Buster, who did the Volkswagen Mr. Roboto commercial everyone loved a few years ago):

But once again, this thought got the wheels turning in my noggin. There are several other shows that mimic the brilliance of A.D. that also got put off the air before they really hit their stride. And you know what else is weird? Many of the same actors from A.D. were characters in these other shows. Which begs the question, are Michael Bluth and co. doomed to be cast out in the shadows of TV’s past?

Take for instance the show Better Off Ted. My parents got me into this one (and I repaid them the favor by getting them hooked on A.D., I’m generous). It lasted a paltry two seasons, but the ride they take you on along the way is absolutely hilarious. Portia de Rossi (for those of you unfamiliar, she played Lindsay in A.D.) really makes this show. Exhibit A:

But there are so many instances of hilarity we’d be here all day. Moving on!

Running Wilde…this starred Gob Bluth, more commonly referred to as Will Arnett (Y’know, the dude married to the insanely funny Amy Poehler). I’ll admit, his character was exactly the same as Gob in this show, but with a guest spot from David Cross (also of A.D.) it was like a mini reunion. One that only lasted for like 8 episodes. The show had promise, but much like A.D. was on the evil Fox network that would rather show reruns of Cops than peculiar programming with a cult following. Exhibit B:

I couldn’t find many clips on Youtube. There are some real gems in these episodes…that clip really only skims the surface. If you’re one of the ten other people that watched this show, you know what I’m talking about.

Finally, there is the very recently canceled New Adventures of Old Christine. This had a healthy five season run, but out of nowhere was canceled right before season six started filming. Diehard A.D. fans remember Elaine Bennis Julia Louis Dreyfus was a guest star as Maggie, the not really blind lawyer prosecuting the Bluth family. But Old Christine was the story of a woman you wanted to hate due to her being a self admitted dumb ass, but couldn’t help but love. Wanda Sykes was also great in this show, hell I couldn’t pick a favorite out of this cast. I am really sad to see this one go without any resolution, since cancellation didn’t seem like a possibility when season five ended. Exhibit C:

Other funny clips weren't able to be uploaded from youtube but can be found here and here.

I am sad to see all three of these shows gone, Christine is at least in syndication, and all are available on instant Netflix. But in the end all I can hope for is that the people of Fox hear the words repeated by every Bluth on A.D: “I’ve made a huge mistake.”

Arrested Development the movie- wait for it.


  1. The moment in season 3 of A.D. when Tobias is stomping the model town in a mole suit and then George Michael flies in on a jet pack is probably the funniest thing I have ever seen in my life. I would love to see a film, but I worry that it will either not be as good, or be too referentially obsessed with the show. I shall be checking out those other shows you mentioned now!

  2. TUM, I think that the creator of A.D. has been working on a script for yeeeaaars so it is quite possible it might be the most genius thing to ever grace the silverscreen only seen by like 100 people. I will see an A.D. movie if it comes out but just try not to hold my hopes too high. I definitely recommend Better Off Ted if you are a big A.D. fan. Exact same humor.

    That entire episode is absolutely hilarious. I can't even pick a favorite episode, but the one where Buster loses his hand is pretty high up there, too.

  3. The one I mentioned is my favourite. I have never seen a better escalation of comedy misunderstandings building to such an inspired climax. It is the kind of thing A.D. did in every episode but that one goes all the way up to 11.

    The movie has been in the pipeline for ages, and I would certainly watch it, but I would be prepared for disappointment.

  4. true, that is the same episode with the Godzilla incident in the boardroom isn't it?


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