TV Series Talk: Arrested Development Season 4

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.

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Someone else's thing on Arrested Development that I read

Adam Warrock's Arrested Development Season 4 'Rap' Up

 

Dear Blank

Dear Hollywood (Television and Movies)

Give me a black person who speaks like a normal fucking human fucking being. Give me black people who aren't there as the magical black person, who doesn't do voodoo and doesn't speak English like they're from a fucking island. Give me black people who aren't from the 'hood' who don't speak like they're uneducated and don't have a real vocabulary. Give me black people who aren't characterized by the non-american aspects of their nationality. Give me black people who look and speak like normal black people. Maybe give them a bit of Africa and cultural pride. Maybe give them distant family members who were poorly educated and don't speak English right. Maybe give them a weave, afro or short cropped hair (if they're female) or dreads. 

Just stop making all black people either mystics, god fearing baptists, creole speaking witch doctors, illiterate, illegal gun having, illegal drug crazed, sexual beasts or well hung med. 

Just take all of the characteristics of a white dude and cast someone with more melanin. Want to know why Troy isn't the most annoying black dude even though he's not the smartest person in the study group? Outside of having been a football jock and therefore falling into that stereotype, he's a a developed and rounded individual. And Shirley, could have just been Christian sweetness and vengeance but she has other attributes that could be applied to any other race. Are they perfect and do they completely break out of racially constructed bounds? No. But what they are does not include being a laundry list of hokey stereotypes of accent and tomfoolery.

Hell, look at John Luther from Luther. He's not great because he can be a big scary black man, he's great because he's a fucking genius who thinks differently to solve cases and happens to be black which is virtually never mentioned as a derogatory for his character. 

Black characters can be written and understood without painting them black with bright pink lips and the whitest of white eyes and teeth. Black character can be people without being tinted with the hate and misunderstanding of the past. Black characters can be written as having aspirations and being successful and you don't have to be black to write them well. 

I'm ready to see black people coming from the suburb who didn't have problems in school, were well liked and well educated and have high hopes. We have fantastic people like Neil DeGrasse Tyson who show that black people are that smart, have the drive and potential to do the things that change the world for the better and our media needs to reflect that more often. So a homogeneous mixed race group of friends who don't fall into historically hurtful stereotypes, mix up people's strengths and flaws. Have a lead who's not a 'perfect' white dude and work to reflect more of the real America. Not the weirs country, southern conservative version of America where everyone's xenophobic, but an America that's growing and working on it's problems with Others. We need to work to a world where it's not an 'us' and 'them' mentality, just an 'us' and we understand that everyone's the same no matter what their skin color, sexuality, orientation, gender, occupation is. People desire to love, succeed, many reproduce, leave a legacy and enjoy our blip of existence as starstuff. 

In thinking about it that way, it's wholly possible to write characters of different races as being strong capable individuals without falling on old, unintelligent habits that work to only hurt.