Somebody Shut This Girl Up: The Return of ‘Arrested Development’

marla pachter debuts her new column …

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Hello, and welcome to the first edition of my very own column. Make yourself comfortable. Take off your shoes, put your feet up on the coffee table. I mean, it’s not my coffee table so it doesn’t bother me. Now open your mind and prepare to have me blow it. … That sounded better in my head. No, it didn’t.

Because this was my first column ever, I had a little trouble coming up with a topic. Until my radiantly beautiful editor Bill Bodkin suggested I write about Arrested Development. To which I quaintly responded, “YES, THAT IS A GREAT TOPIC I LOVE YOU.” As you may have deciphered, I am not even a little bit excited to be writing about this series. It’s not like I’m counting down the days until the new season premieres on Netflix or anything like that. (Yes, it is. It totally is like that).

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There’s really no denying it. Arrested Development is a special show. For one, it’s probably the most intricately written, joke-packed-to-perfection TV show to ever exist, even to this day a whole 10 years later (Yeah, seriously. It’s been that long). And it kind of exists in a realm of its own. Since Arrested Development was cancelled in 2006, it’s experienced what can only be described as a phenomenon. It’s just become more and more popular. Without creating new material, without any real form of advertisement. I can count the number of shows on one hand that I can think of that have gained growing popularity after cancellation, and I don’t think a single one of them compares to the buzzing fan base of Arrested Development. And I’d go so far as to say the majority of people in its fan base now had never even seen one episode while it was on the air, myself included. Though I want to make sure I tell you that I watched it very shortly after it was cancelled. Before it was cool. Obviously.

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And it’s created so many stars. Most notably, Jason Bateman and Michael Cera have become huge movie stars in the past seven years. Mae Whitman, while not exactly a household name, just keeps popping up places, with a starring role on the NBC dramedy Parenthood and most recently in the movie adaptation of The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. Will Arnett is so recognizable that when he appears in things, people just start laughing because they know he’s going to be funny. And Portia de Rossi … okay, she probably gained more fame from marrying Ellen than anything else. But she deserves every bit of it!

And really, the fact that all of these now-stars are willing to come back and do some more of a show that ended seven years ago? That really says something about it. It says that Arrested Development is something they all believe in. And who could blame them? Not me. Lately I’ve been re-watching the show in preparation for its return. I’ve seen every episode at least five times, but because of the intricacy and continuity, I want to make sure everything is fresh. There are so many layers to this show. I know every episode, I know exactly what’s going to happen and while watching I can often say the next line before it’s said, and yet there’s so much going on and it’s so perfectly well done that even with my extreme familiarity, it still has the capacity to make me laugh out loud.

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Personally, I am very excited for the return of Arrested Development. I have complete faith in Mitchell Hurwitz, who quite frankly is a genius to have created such an original masterpiece of a show in the first place. Who cares if his most recent project (the short-lived Running Wilde starring Will Arnett and Keri Russell) was basically a piece of shit. He would not revive his beloved show, with the characters he sculpted and created, if he didn’t have something great in store for them. And its not as if it was an easy rode to a new season. We’ve all heard the rumors for year, years that there was a movie in the works. If there wasn’t material to really believe in, this idea would have been given up long ago. Mitchell Hurwitz would have been making statements, “Never again. Sorry, fans.” Instead, he’s stuck by it, and through some compromise and I’m sure some runaround, he’s finally gotten the opportunity to make more Arrested Development reality.

Sure, there’s the slight weariness. Will it be as great as it once was? Will it live up to my expectations? Netflix is going to release the entire season at once, and I picture myself very vividly devouring it all in one day, shirking all my responsibilities because I just can’t bare to not watch the next one That’s how I expect it will go. So there is obviously room for disappointment here. But I remain optimistic. And I am not an optimistic person, so believe me. That is saying something.

I’m quite excited about the new format, too. Due to Netflix contracts, each episode of the new season will focus on one character’s story, instead of interlacing them all together. Some of the other characters will appear in each episode, but they won’t all appear together until the finale. I know it makes some people nervous, skeptical. But I think the best way to revive something so many years later is to make changes like that, make it different and keep it interesting. I’m personally intrigued to see how it goes.

If you’ve been living under a rock, I highly recommend you remedy that and check out the first three seasons of this iconic show. You have a good two months to catch up before the new season premieres. Here’s hoping we don’t break Netflix on that fateful day in May. And here’s really hoping they finally get the green light on that movie we’ve been waiting for.

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