Author's Note: incomplete because.
Have we gotten this format settled yet, what with the spoilers there will be and all that fun stuff? It's inherent in the nature of my talking about some form of media that I will spoil the plot.
Okay, we good? Good.
Am I some other asshole here to talk about the new episodes of Arrested Development? Yes. Will I mention things others haven't, probably not. Have I read what a lot of other people have had to say? Not really. I mean, I have read some, but not too extensively. Let's get to it!
It's interesting reading different critiques of the show is that people are kind of forgetting in what their writing that this 'season' wasn't the real intention. Mitch Hurwitz didn't want to just jump into the Six Years Later for the movie or possible proper season, he wanted to explain what all the characters were doing between the end of season 3 and now. I like that each episode tried to focus on the individual characters, giving us the chance to spend more than a scene in any given elaborate narrative. I mean, in six years each character - person - would have had a lot of experiences, and these people aren't the type to just sit down and listen to one another. By just tracking back and showing what they went through in their one or two episodes we were able to focus on how they ended up back together, kind of, on Cinco de Mayo.
It does break from the faster pace that the series had before, but I think it does it's main job better. It's not jumping into their turmoil, it's seeing them dig their holes deeper. I think some of the cross cutting through time, sentences and events was a bit jarring and some jokes went on too long (like Michael and George Michael being at the Ealing Club and talking about an imaginary car accident).
The immediate narrative; After Lucille is arrested everyone disappears then slowly comes back and tries to make it on their own before returning to someone in the family for help. These people are all so codependent that they can't survive without interacting with someone else in the family at some point.The show ends with their meddling having brought everyone back to Orange County and having both directly and indirectly screwed over at least one other family member.
I was thinking about this when they got to Maeby's episode: there are a lot of Apple products for people that always talk about having no money. I also didn't notice this until later, but I liked the small changes they made to the intro song for each character to reflect them. Not just the shift from it being described from Michael's point of view and labeling the family members and Blank's-aunt and Blank's-mother but the instrumentation and the mix of the song is a bit different for each character. A subtle and kind of nice change, especially to emphasize the individual focus for each character.
I look forward to someone writing out the full chronologic narrative of the show and how things overlapped. That would especially be beneficial I think for the events prior to Cinco de Cuatro, and on the actual Fifth. The narrative is so circular that at times it was a bit difficult to see how it all linked to each other.
A few things I didn't like over the course of the 'season': I didn't like Ron Howard appearing as a character and the narrator. It was a cute cameo at the end of the third season, but here it felt too much, and during one scene I got confused if he were the Narrator or the Character talking, his face wasn't on screen. It also puts the series into a weird meta-world because Michael's trying to get a movie based on their life made, and the show has narration but he ripped up all the release forms - except Buster's, it's kind of weird. I also feel after a while there were far too many cameos and supporting characters. The characters were mostly important to the narrative and the scene, and the plot, but there were just a lot of famous faces some times. The returning cameos were great, like Ben Stiller as Tony Wonder, but his character became too important after a while. Kind of similar with Andy Richter and this 'brothers', there was just enough of that tomfoolery going on that I didn't feel like it was too much. Maria Bamford was around a lot as Debrie, Terry Crews was there just enough for me to not get tired of him. The micro-cameo that George Watsky had was perfect, he was in the background of one episode then gone without having a major plot around his presence. But there were a lot of cameos, it just felt overwhelming that there were so many disparate famous faces everywhere. Maybe it depends on how famous the face, but they did a lot and outside of the Bluth family, it felt like a lot of people after a while.
Someone else's thing on Arrested Development that I read
Adam Warrock's Arrested Development Season 4 'Rap' Up