First off, I only watched a handful of the original episodes, "live", from 2002 to 2006. Like most people, I got into the show via Netflix about three years ago.
I was overjoyed when this new Netflix season was announced and quite giddy when I saw 15 NEW episodes all ready for watching. Yet after 2 or 3, I felt listless and like I was watching old re-runs of "Soap". Thus, it took me over 6 weeks to get through the entire season.
To steal a phrase from My Longtime Close Personal Friend and Esteemed Colleague, Lord Alfred, errr, Scrooge: the original AD was a lot like pizza. With all the ingredients on the pie, it was still great to have variety, even when it was bad. The ensemble cast was that great variety.
But take away all those ingredients mixed together....and, it's tough to enjoy a full helping of mushrooms. No sauce, no crust, no cheese. just more frickin' mushrooms than you've ever had before. That's what this AD season was like. That enjoyable mix of ingredients was gone.
There are some delightful gags that kept the flavor of the original series. Tobias Fumke's new license plate is hilarious, and AD proved that some of their funnier situations involve homosexuality. As evidenced in the episode devoted to GOB and Tony Wonder. For what it's worth, I was also thrilled to see a micro-reunion of the MST3K crew-- with Joel!!
Overall, this season was something of a mis-fire. Too many jokes were repeated and if I hear the words "Cinco de Quatro" one more time, I will frickin' puke. Then some jokes were just ...bad. Like George Bluth's desert sweat-hut. That was the best they could come up with? Sure, the Bluths have had weird ventures before, but that was really stretching the believability.
Worse, these jokes were not just repeated, but spoon-fed to the audience by a suddenly annoying Ron Howard narration. I don't mean to keep bringing up the old seasons, but I always loved how we'd see Blue Man hand prints around the Bluths' model home, without anybody focusing in on it. That would've never worked for this season, as Ron Howard was there to explain every little detail we could imagine. The subtleties were gone. I wanted to yell back "shut up! We get it. Let's move the story along". Just because you repeat something, doesn't make it funny.
AD couldn't have just re-hashed all their old jokes and coasted... but this went too much into drama. Yes, yes, we know there were difficulties getting all the actors together again (Maeby was too busy?) and this season was something of a grand experiment. I can only hope for a full-assed Season Five, because right now my opinion of "Arrested Development" has dropped substantially.
Moderator: Scrooge McSuck
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