A Look at ‘Arrested Development’

I could have watched the entire season in one night. I could have counted down the minutes to midnight, and glued my eyes open into the wee hours of the morning, praying I didn’t fall asleep.

But that would have been an injustice to the very existence of the show. “Arrested Development” is meant to be watched with the utmost care and concentration. It is for this reason I delayed my review of the fourth season, so I could truly appreciate the grandeur and brilliance that is “Arrested Development.”

That being said, I was slightly nervous for this revival season. In the works since the show was canceled after its third season in 2006, Netflix decided to revitalize the cult-followed Fox series with a 15-episode fourth season that was released earlier this week.

With seven years in order to prep, appreciate and fall in love with one of the most unique shows that has ever graced television, there was a considerable amount of pressure for Netflix, producer Ron Howard and creator Mitchell Hurwitz not to disappoint its increasingly growing fanbase. And after careful examination, this new season manages to satisfy those “A.D.” cravings we have all had since we first fell into that hate/love relationship with the Bluth family.

“Arrested Development” narrates the story of a dysfunctional Orange County family called the Bluths, who continually seeks to outsmart the government, all external relations and even each other. Held together by protagonist Michael, each character continually befalls him or herself into ridiculous situations that usually overlap with fellow Bluth family members, resulting in some of the most unbelievable yet oddly relatable occurrences on television. Each character, ranging from overbearing heartless Lucille, sheltered soldier Buster and awkward (as well as possibly incestual) George Michael, are all written creatively, consistently and are considerably humorous throughout the three seasons.

The fourth season keeps this consistency, and even adds to it. Each episode in the fourth season focuses on a different character, using the 40 minutes to catch up the audience with what that family member has been doing for the past five years. However, each of the character development that might have been left up to interpretation in the previous three seasons were not only explicitly stated, but also explored in much more depth.

The best example of this is Tobias and his ambigous sexual preferences: he was always alluded to being gay in previous episodes, despite his marriage to Michael’s sister Lindsay; however, within the first few minutes of his episode, he is called out for his flamboyant tendencies. It is an interesting take, considering most of the previous humor in Tobias’ character was all from innuendos. The script still managed to find humor from the old joke strain, added with a new perspective.

The plot itself is highly complex, filled with multiple “meanwhiles” and character overlaps that I did not thinkwere possible to recreate after the first three seasons. Without giving away too much of the plot for those still meaning to watch the show, the core situation, which I continually believed I had successfully deciphered at the end of each episode, was added upon with a new perspective with each additive character. It is a wonderful addition.

Unfortunately, it is not for the newbie. The fourth season relies upon the first three seasons so heavily that anyone who does not have knowledge of the show would not only be lost, but would most likely have little interest in continuing. I wouldn’t throw my kid into the deep end of the pool if he or she couldn’t swim … why throw an unsuspecting audience member into the brilliance of “Arrested Development” without any previous knowledge? It would be a disservice to the show’s existence.

The fourth season is truly catered toward that long-awaiting fanbase who had spent the last seven years watching, rewatching and then watching again the first three seasons.

Netflix’s fourth season of “Arrested Development” is truly one of the best shows this year. It perfectly complements the previous three seasons by not only adding to each character’s development, but also creating new quirky situations that only Hurwitz and Howard could come up with. This fourth season is exactly what “A.D” fans needed, and makes me further anticipate that ever-desired movie.