Arrested Development 4×12, ‘Senoritis’

Attested Development: Lifetime SPOILERS Award

 

To me, Maeby’s always seemed like the glue of the series, rather than the sparkle or the cloth.  She brought out George Michael’s issues with his dad, manipulated her parents, and generally went around running into people to keep everyone up on their doings and finding new ways to exploit others’ absurdities.  This episode is basically exactly what I expected a Maeby-centric episode would be.  It’s more spongecake keeping up a comedy fruit that feels separate from what’s actually happening here.  Most of my enjoyment stemmed from noting how Maeby is growing more like other family members, how she’s changed, how she affects George Michael, etc., rather than anything in this particular plot.  Thus, she’s become the glue of desserts-spongecake with fruit, rather than anything sweeter or more layered.  But it did hold the very specific satisfactions of allowing longtime fans to experience the historically-based humor and to see Maeby symbolize the show at large by being in the same skewed circumstances as previous seasons and realizing that it’s good to have change.

 

OTHER THOUGHTS:

1. This plot did have the biggest hole-Maeby wanted something incriminating on the undercover cop because she thought she might have been seen in the bar (presumably by him or his cop friends and so the danger lay in him knowing she was over highschool age), so she comes up with a plan to keep him from using this knowledge that is based on him believing she’s still 17?  That makes no sense.  I mean, if she thought she had a window to have sex with him before his cop friends could tell him she’s older that would make the best of it…but she didn’t act like it was a race and if she had ended up having sex with an undercover cop who thought she was underage, surely the other cops, who would be the proof that she was really 23, would back up their fellow cop as knowing she really wasn’t a minor.  *throws up hands*

2. There were not enough ostriches.  Apparently the school’s team is the Ostriches, shouldn’t there have been a mascot running around?

3. That’s what Barry’s move should be-masquerade as the Ostrich Mascot at a game.

 

Arrested Development 4×5, “A New Start”

Attested Development: Daddy needs to get his SPOILERS off.

More than any other, I feel this episode really lives and dies with your attachment to Tobias’s character.  Why more than the others?  Because this entire episode is all about re-establishing and entrenching Tobias’s former gags and tendencies, just without other family members.  The bookend scene of a show filming him as a child predator is really funny, just straight Tobias misspeaks and an event we could all picture happening in the earlier seasons.  The other scenes took Tobias and surrounded him with depression, serious issues like drugs and prostitution, and a woman even he’s even more toxic to than Lindsay.  This…does not make for great comedy.  They didn’t even really go for the dark comedy gold, probably because it would have been too great a departure, and tried to lighten things up with the occasional one-off gag.  Basically, I wish they’d just put his India bits in “Indian Takers” and added the Predator show scenes somewhere else.  I didn’t really need much else in there.

OTHER THOUGHTS:

1. I really would’ve figured Tobias more for a street performer of some ridiculous stripe than the picture-with-me thing.

2. I like to think Tobias got his shemale shirt after seeing Lindsay wearing one in a bar (without realizing it was Lindsay).  Then, when Lindsay found it, he pretended he’d gotten it to match hers, as another romantic gesture.

3. Tobias’s physical injuries are only funny if they make everyone gather around at the hospital.  Leave his bones alone now, please.

4. Whyyyyyyy were there never any hot cops or Gothic Asshole leather daddies seen to change course and drive after Tobias due to his new license plate?

Arrested Development 4×3, “Indian Takers”

Attested Development: Eat, Pray, SPOILERS!

I felt this episode really made the most of the new individual-character format:  It was the first one with a strong beginning, middle, and end.  It immersed the viewer in the different environments of Lindsay’s life circumstances in a way that felt engaging, while still being light.  Most importantly, I felt it took the audience from looking at Lindsay as she’d been before-of course she’s really shopping!, she doesn’t like odd smells, etc., into a deeper understanding of her.  She really is trying to be independent.  Not in the best ways, but she takes the initiative to travel here, she seems to be filling her days just fine without getting bored and whining in her section of the giant house, and she leaps into what she perceives as an opportunity.  In the first three seasons she never really took initiative-she decided she couldn’t go through with having sex with the realtor she thought hit on her, she never really bolts in the night, she’s so lazy she takes angry naps.  Here she’s moving, she’s traveling, she’s trying, right from the start.  In her house she’s occupying herself, she’s responding capably to the complaints of her family members when she comes across them (agreeing to cook for Thanksgiving in the first place is a big deal, apologizing for anything, sleeping in the same room with Tobias peacefully, if not the same bed).  Her interaction with Marky transcends her previous male exploits in a number of ways: she previously would have just labeled him gross, she’s deliberately trying to have fun in her own right instead of expecting all her validation to come from him, she listens to what he says enough to know basic facts and accept them, which in itself is a huge step.  Moreover and again, she takes Initiative!  For a woman with Lindsay’s history, this is huge.  This is what I’ve been wanting for her.  I am both frustrated by the amount of reviews that failed to see her new depths and proud that the show managed the transition from Lindsay’s past perceptions to her more progressive internal mindframe so skillfully that it could go unnoticed.  Even for those who don’t agree that Lindsay’s showing change, the way the audience sees her has finally switched from external views to an internal one and that’s still significant.

Moreover, this episode felt balanced in many ways.  It had a lot of visual interest, spiced pretty evenly with humor.  The pace felt mostly steady.  The new branches and circumstances Lindsay encounters are balanced by interactions (real and mental) with family members.  There were mysteries and clues to pick up that didn’t overwhelm the story or make it feel like less than a stand-alone arc.  I really enjoyed it.

OTHER THOUGHTS:

1. Lindsay actually connecting with a cab driver (as opposed to complaining about smells) is a perfect capsule moment for the growth in her I see.

2. I loved seeing the same shirt that caused a mix-up in the show’s pilot, so many years ago (as well as a couple other familiar items).

3. I feel Buster would have been great to have around the house, caring for the rhoomba.

4. Totally called the true identity of the shaman.

5. I love the conmen-perhaps the Bluth family should invest.  “You’ve just bought the best house in the valley!”  “No way-I’d pay 8 dollars to see that tr-illusion!  It’s the most mystical one out of India!”  “That Funke’s the best actor out of work in California!”

6. And that way, you have it.