Arrested Development Season 4 is just OK; maybe it will get better, but maybe not
June 15, 2013. My phone blinks as a new email arrives in my inbox.
“Arrested dev season 4 rocks. Your review is wrong. Ron Howard is funny and perfect in the show. It is fantastic.”
Andrew T. Cohen, MD, FACS
Chief, Division of Plastic Surgery Cedars Sinai Medical Center
BOOM. The gauntlet is thrown. The smack down begins.
Now, I have to hand it to Dr. Cohen. He emailed me directly. And he used his real name in response to my latest blog post, “Arrested Development Season 4 is not clever; it’s bad TV.” Unlike “Gene Parmesean,” “Steve Holt,” and “P. Daddy,” who disguised their real names under the facades of AD characters. I even heard from “Bob Loblaw,” who said, “I’m sorry to say this, but you are a ninny.”
Where are we? England? Is this 1593? Will Queen Elizabeth I be here?
Never have I ever been called a ninny.
But I appreciated the honesty. The frankness in every comment that was written to me in novel form, debating (fighting?) my review and defending the show. But there was something about Dr. Cohen emailing my inbox directly with a subject that had nothing less than a Z Snap in tone and signing it with his actual name, email, website, and phone number that told me: Andrew Cohen, Arrested Development Connoisseur and Plastic Surgeon Extraordinaire, means business. I respect that.
Now, as I promised in several of my comment responses – I’m looking at you “Vincent,” “Doug,” and “drayfish” – I plan to rewatch the season. But as one of my colleagues at the Baltimore Post-Examiner put it, “I would hope when you watch season 4 again your opinion doesn’t change too much, just to keep the critics perplexed!” And he’s right. I can’t promise my opinion will change dramatically, but I can promise to keep an open mind.
That said, as I sat on the back deck with a beer and some friends and told them the story of Andrew Cohen in my inbox and started mulling over some of the other comments, I realized a few things. Mainly, what makes a story and storytelling “good.”
Having said that, I realize watching Arrested Development is like marinating a piece of meat. Our brains need time to soak up the rich jokes, phrases and callbacks, so I think the request to “not binge” is valid. I did start watching the season again today …and it was OK. But, then again, I haven’t had time to let it marinate.
So, thanks, Arresties (may I call you that? You’ll be giving Trekkies a run for their money). Your readership and your feedback are invaluable. And thanks, Andrew Cohen, MD. I’m impressed you have time outside of the OR to email me with such succinct sentences. I hear you. Don’t go away mad. Don’t even go away. I’m ready to have a conversation.
Jana (it rhymes with “banana” or “anna”) is an artist from Clarksville, Maryland. Growing up her parents always told her to “be whatever you want to be.” Seeing as she has come from three generations of doctors, she obviously became an artist. As an actor, she has performed internationally Off-Broadway, and locally to the Baltimore/DC area. Favorite roles include Juliet, Ariel, and Caliban. Jana is the Founder of Red Connect Online, a social media marketing company that creates customized advertising campaigns for small businesses. You can listen to her podcast, Confessions of a Closet Christian, on the E-Squared Media Network. You can also follow her on Twitter (@Jana_Stambaugh) and friend her on Facebook.
4 thoughts on “Arrested Development Season 4 is just OK; maybe it will get better, but maybe not”
Hey Jana I’m a massive Arrested Development fan, but I can’t condone Bob Boblaw’s tone to you!
What I will add is that AD 1-3 is, for me, the Shakespeare of TV – the comedy equivalent of The Wire.
I felt on the fence about Season 4. The laugh didn’t come, the editing felt sloppy, everything was overexplained.
But then, a few days ago, I randomly put on a few episodes as a re-watch, and you know? Guess what, it’s the same AD it’s ever been. Suddenly lines that fell flat before sprang into life – knowing the “ostrich squark” in Lindsay’s episode was actually Maybe being confronted by the beast for the first time, that made me laugh and laugh.
I feel they harmed season 4 by making it “less funny” on watch 1 than previous episodes, which were always tight, logical and funny. But a re-watch fixes a lot (not all) of that. I can’t wait to keep dipping in and out of them and picking up more and more.
Lastly – I do slightly feel that this was AD’s turn in the spotlight, and they didn’t take full adantage of it. With the cast split up, thy might have been better going for a Magnolia vibe over a Rashomon one.
Thanks for your response, Smeddy. I appreciate your thoughtfulness. I’m glad you’re enjoying your subsequent viewings. 🙂
It’s your genial friend, Bob Loblaw talking to you again. First off, the creators name is actually Mitchell Hurwitz. Maybe you should get all your facts straight before writing an article, ya big dolt! Thanks for referencing me in your fascinating article. You have to remember that Arrested Development isn’t for everyone. It is not made for simpletons like yourself. You’ve probably just missed a lot of the jokes. Also, I do agree that Arrested Development fans are very loyal. I know that because I am one. If you ever insult Arrested Development, you must know that you’ll be hated by every true Arrested Development fan.
Nice catch – thanks, Bob. I really admire and appreciate your loyalty to the show. Thanks again.
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