Summer 2002- Ron Howard (actor, director, producer extraordinaire) had an idea for an original scripted comedy that felt somewhat like a reality show but followed an intricate comical script. He got together with a handful of television executives and vice president types, and together they met with a few writers.
He proposed a story about a dysfunctional family who had lost it all due to a similar set of circumstances.
One of the writers, Mitchell Hurwitz, was inspired by the corporate accounting scandals that were dominating the evening news, Enron being the most prominent. He proposed a story about a dysfunctional family who had lost it all due to a similar set of circumstances. Howard and the execs were sold, and Hurwitz was hired to write what would become the greatest television show ever made. In 2003, the world was treated to Arrested Development.
To quote Ron Howard’s voiceover during the show’s lightning fast opening credits: “Now the story of a wealthy family who lost everything, and the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together. It’s Arrested Development.” The one son Howard refers to is Michael Bluth, played by Jason Bateman, in the role that elevated him from child star to legitimate male lead actor.
I consider any upcoming feature film he stars in as “must see”
Since Bateman’s turn on Arrested Development, I consider any upcoming feature film he stars in as “must see”, as he has consistently stolen his majority of scenes in the last 4 years. Hancock, Couples Retreat, Juno, Extract, The Switch, to name a few. Horrible Bosses will be no different. One of the Upper Deck’s initial endeavours (my first blog that has gave birth to the idea for this site) has been the Sitcom Character Fantasy Draft. The depth of rich characters on Arrested Development made it impossible to choose just one that stood out over the others as the most valuable player. GOB Bluth (Will Arnett) was the first Bluth selected in our draft, for those curious.
Hurwitz was a genius in that he would use the first half of the show to set up jokes that reveal themselves in the second half, making them even funnier; a tactic he most likely honed as a writer for The Golden Girls and The Ellen Show. What separated AD from most other 30 minute continuous format comedies was the interconnected web of jokes based on past occurrences that casual viewers may or may not have caught the first time around. Hurwitz wasn’t just setting up second half jokes in the first half of episodes, he was setting up season 3 jokes in season 1. I had the pleasure of introducing the Bluth family to my wife via season 1-3 DVD box set, and the entire run of the show was funnier the second time around for me.
My wife and I had but one rule when we sat down to watch an episode of AD on DVD. No texting, no checking email, no leaving the room even for a second.
No snack or text was worth the risk.
Engaging in any of these acts was a guaranteed missed joke or hilarious flashback photo, compounded by missing out on background information or a pop culture reference that was building toward a future payoff. An inexcusable mistake. No snack or text was worth the risk.
Even the most seasoned viewer took a few episodes to realize that the weekly “Next time, on Arrested Development…” teaser trailer at the end of each show had nothing whatsoever to do with the following episode. To fully appreciate AD’s genius, the entire series must be watched in chronological order, and over a relatively short period of time. Tuning in to just one of the reruns (currently airing regularly on IFC) as a newcomer does not lend itself to a proper enjoyment of the show. It was for this reason, not Fox’s lack of marketing or an undesirable time slot, that Arrested Development was ultimately cancelled. In its 3 year run, AD won 6 Emmys, one Golden Globe, and almost unanimous critical praise. The problem was that the show became one huge inside joke, without enough people in on the ground floor.
Over the past few years, various entertainment news outlets have reported rumors of an Arrested Development movie in the works. There is even an IMDB site dedicated to such a film, but I consider it no more than speculation until a shooting schedule is released. Needless to say, I’d be elated to see this come to fruition. I know FOX could never bring the show back from the grave like it did Family Guy, but surely some responsible network executive has at some point uttered the phrase “I’ve made a huge mistake.”