8 Years ago, on November 3, 2003 the Television channel known as Fox premiered what would become one of greatest TV shows ever made and would gather enough fan support and cult status that 8 years later we would be blessed with the knowledge that additional episodes are now in the works of being made along with a feature length movie event. The show is Arrested Development.
I say is, and not was, because this show will never die. I will be the first to admit that I did not watch AD when it was on the air. I have no excuse. I also have no excuse for not watching the other greatest show known to man that Fox had cancelled not two months before AD premiered. That other greatest show was Joss Whedon’s Firefly. (Which also had a movie made years after it’s cancellation due to fan support. Albeit it was only two years after cancellation and not eight.) But that’s neither here nor there. But will eventually, probably, be covered.
Arrested Development opened the doors for the awkward comedy to take over the airwaves. The cast clicked so well with Arrested Development and the directors, writers, and entire production crew worked so well together that all 63 22 minute episodes felt like a complete break from reality.
Watching AD is like hanging out with your family. You love them all, you enjoy them, but you know that you can leave whenever you like, which makes it better than hanging out with family in all actuallity. Arrested Development taught me to love David Cross, tolerate Will Arnet, regain trust in Jason Bateman (Sorry, Teen wolf 2 kind of killed it for me.) taught me to fear seals, that once a bottle of vodka is opened it will go bad if you don’t drink it all in one sitting, and to NEVER try to teach my kids a lesson.
From the very first episode (Which I watched along with seven other episodes last night. Thank you netflix instant.) you get sucked into wanting to find out what happens to these people. The slightly creepy incestuous love of George Michael and Maeby, George Sr’s bout in Prison, Gob’s dismissal from the magician’s group he helped found, Buster’s usefullness as a cartographer and native american drummer and the rest of the horrible turmoil that oozes from Tobias and Lindsay’s marriage.
There is something almost despisable about every character, it’s hard not to want to find out what goes horribly wrong in their lives but you still want them to succeed. That is a very fine line that doesn’t carry through with many sitcoms. Obviously it didn’t work for Fox’s heads of planning. Had the show premiered even a year after it had, there is a good chance that it could have lasted more than it’s glorious 3 season run. A lot of shows have AD to thank for still being on the air, or even getting a chance on primetime television today.
As I stated before, AD Brought us the beginning of the awkward person sitcom, nothing was overly funny about any one person in Arrested Development but together it’s hard to think of a funnier show that I’ve ever seen. Shows that owe a great debt to AD include but aren’t limited to;
The Office (The American Version)
The Big Bang Theory
And about a dozen reality tv shows as AD was shot in a pseudo-mockumentary style.
It followed in the path of Curb Your Enthusiasm by bringing a bit more raunch to primetime television while still maintianing the amount of mirth needed for a show to succeed. Apparently it wasn’t enough at the time.
Perhaps Fox will have seen their folly by the time the next season and film rolls out. Perhaps there will be a chance for the show to recontinue in the way Family Guy saw it’s death and resurrection.
Maybe Arrested Development was ahead of it’s time, or it showed the genius needed to spur on the creation of the American Office thus spawning it’s own death on a competing channel. Maybe we’ve just gotten smarter as viewers since then. Type in Arrested Development on any fan forum and you’re certain to get a billion hits within a matter of seconds.
A great show, destroyed before it’s time. Thankfully we live in a world where Opie can grow up, get the heck out of Mayberry, blow the lid off of Hollywood and make sure his vision of AD sees the light of day once more and brings Arrested Development back to it’s old fans and introduce itself to a brand new group of fans over the next couple of years.