"Arrested Development"

So, during the pandemic, I’ve been binging a lot of Netflix, going through shows I never got into before. A few weeks ago, I finished “Community,” and I’ve moved on to “Arrested Development.”

And it’s…meh.

The cast is great. Wil Arnette is a bit of a weak link, though. Everyone else is at the top of their game.

I figure that maybe it’s a little weaker than I expected because of it being a critical darling (and praised on this forum, if memory serves), and maybe it’s just a victim of hype.

I’m already into the 4th season, so I’ll keep watching it. But I’ve noticed that this season’s episodes don’t show up in the IMDb, which I find bizarre.

Am I expecting too much of this show? Is it a product of being overhyped? Is there a worthy payoff in the finale?

I loved the first three, hated season four, haven’t watched season five. Just didn’t have the stomach to be heartbroken again.

If you didn’t like the first three (the golden years) very much, I doubt you’ll find much to like in the Netflix-produced fourth season.

I’ll confess that the main reasons I’m sticking through the 4th season are determination (since I’ve already watched the majority of the show), and Isla Fisher, who I would watch read the phone book.

I tried watching it, my partner raved about it…I couldn’t stand the characters and just wanted it to be over.

I thought the fourth season was excellent. It was a step up in the art of storytelling, so was too complicated for many people.

If you can’t stand the characters, that’s the point of the show. Other than Michael (most of the time), they’re supposed to be awful. You aren’t supposed to like most of them.

It seems to be a polarizing series. I think it’s the most tightly written, funniest sitcom of the last couple of decades. The sheer concentration and types of humor in the show is such that every time I watch, I seem to find something I had missed on previous viewing.

At least for the first two and half-ish seasons. After that, I didn’t think it had the same sparkle. Season four was interesting in a storytelling sense, but, at least for me, didn’t nearly come close to reaching the same level of humor as the first two seasons. Season five had its moments and more of the vibe of the first stretch of seasons, but still fell a little bit flat.

And, yes, you do kind of have to like watching shows about less-than-admirable people. My other comedy favorites are It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Seinfeld, so this is perfectly up my alley. (I loved it so much that when I saw my first episode, somewhere midway through the second season, the next day I binge watched the entire first season and then the second up to the point I left off. Never done that before or since with any series.)

(I also thought Will Arnett was among the best in a strong cast.)

Whereas I found it a hot mess from start to finish. It’s not that it was too complicated; I get what they were trying to do, and it was a clever concept. But the result was a disjointed jumble.

I love Sunny in Philadelphia, and I can watch Seinfeld. I love depraved comedy.

Arrested Development always struggled with ratings, so a lot of people did not like it, but I loved it from the first time I saw it. The jokes were so dense you had to re-watch it to get most of them.

At one point Henry Winkler’s character is at a pier, and as a he is leaving his hops slightly over a landed fish in his way. Only later did I realize he had just “jumped the shark”. That and the Seaward (C word) yacht. There were a ton of those, but not for everyone.

I thought the first 3 seasons were absolutely fantastic. Lots of value in rewatching them.

Season 4 and 5 just made everybody (including Michael) so much more unlikeable that I have no interest in praising the series anymore.

Like others said, it goes downhill in a hurry towards the end. If you’re not 100% committed to the show, don’t watch anything after the original run. You’re not missing out on anything if you miss those last few seasons.

I’d suggest you watch Better Off Ted. It’s an amazing show that was horribly under rated and never got the attention it deserved. The humor is somewhat similar to AD, but a lot more ‘accessible’ and has a more traditional sitcom feel to it than AD. I’m at least 50% sure I’m not drawing these comparisions just due to Portia De Rossi being in both shows.

Also, Tacoma FD. It’s made by and stars some of the same people as Supertroopers. It’s basically the fire department version of Supertroopers. Here’s the clip that got me to watch the show. I still laugh every time I watch it.

I like it a lot too. 21st century single-camera sitcoms are possibly my favorite form of entertainment and Arrested Development along with Curb Your Enthusiasm was an important pioneering show. I can’t think any show before it that matched the sheer density and pace of the jokes.

I still have to finish it actually. I watched the first three seasons a long time back and have watched a few episodes of the fourth season which seems quite decent.

Season 4 was great, but season 5 was a complete mess. It was terrible.

Never knew about Better off Ted and just binge watched several episodes. Really good (and in a similar vein to AD), thank you!

Better Off Ted is also one of my favorites. I discovered on a flight back home from Europe in the early 2010s, when back-of-the-seat in-flight entertainment was still the norm. Had no idea why I had never heard of it, but I watched whatever episodes I could on that flight and looked up the rest when I got home. Hilarious stuff, a bit more traditional in the feel, but still decidedly quirky and off-kilter.

Unfortunately it ended far too early, but on the bright side, it’s really good the entire way through. Oh, and Lem and Phil (as actors) show up in a lot of other shows as well.

Two more to check out are Workaholics (though that’s not going to be for everyone) and Santa Clarita Diet. Lem and Phil (again, the actors, not the characters) are in that Santa Clarita Diet. It’s hilariously funny. I can’t find a good clip that doesn’t give anything away, but while looking I did remember that Portia De Rossi is also in it. Watch the first episode, it’s really good right from the start.
PS, lots of swearing and lots of (over the top, in a funny way) gore. This is the show that had it’s billboards pulled in Germany.

Workaholics is very hit-or-miss for me, but even its bad episodes are saved by Jillian Bell and Meribeth Monroe (who I also enjoyed on the too-short-lived Thank God You’re Here).

And William Atherton as Ders’ is an inspired choice.

Adam Devine was really the only thing I didn’t like about the show. His character worked, he was just a little too much for me. His standup routine is exactly the same as his character.