Arrested Development 4×14, ‘Off the Hook’

Attested Development: Blind SPOILERS Monster

 

I think this episode may have played better if it had come sooner in the season.  Because by the time you get to the next to last episode, you’re going Where Is Baby Buster!? and I Want Satisfying Conclusions Approaching and you’re a lot less tolerant of episodes that seem more stuck in a past characterization.  “Off the Hook” was Buster’s one shot at branching out on his own and…he just replayed and got deeper in a lot of old issues.  Everyone knows how Buster’s initial impulses would land him with fake Lucilles and back with Lucille2, but after that I felt there was a lot of room for other options that just didn’t happen.  Even working from jokes he’s done in the past: He could have wound up working as a servant with Mexican immigrants again and somehow tied that into finding out about the wall plan.  Lucille2 could have sent him to work for her campaign somehow.  He could have gone political like everyone else and tried to officially launch his Amputated-People-Aren’t-Scary campaign with all kinds of hilarious consequences.  We’ve been over the military and Buster’s gaming streak, I didn’t need to see them again.  The giant hand had some fun, but could have been better.  I love Tony Hale and I think Buster could have had an amazing episode.  Basically, Arrested Development is better than this.

 

OTHER THOUGHTS:

1. I found it incongruous that the one scene the show failed to tie in with the person’s story arc later is Buster’s appearance in George’s wall video.  When did he go down there, anyhow?  I checked and he already had the hand, so…the Loves let him get kidnapped?  Or something?  o.O

2. So, the lesson is all women who are mad at their husbands (or baby-daddies) want revenge sex.

 

Arrested Development 4×10, “Queen B”

Attested Development: Whoever goes after Lucille will be one SPOILERY cookie.

 

Huzzah-Lucille Walter has taken the stage!  Always practical, Lucille.  One must think of video editing even while being assaulted, drinking is always an act, and even society matriarchs must notice the help when they also perform prisonly duties like cavity searches.  Also, it is important to keep brothers from colluding.  If Tobias’s last episode taught a few lessons, Lucille’s is Chock Full of Smokes of Wisdom.  (Never confide in therapists who imitate their wall posters of Bob Fosse seems like good advice.)  This is the cheese fondue of this season: everything Lucille touches becomes fun and tasty, with plenty of characterization to bite into, humor with a biting crunch, and a storyline to savor.  Lucille’s tactical maneuvers and personal realizations gave this episode a solid frame, with enough rebounds and wit that even this long episode felt short.  Plus, Lucille Bluth sings!  Honestly!  For Tobias!  To be a Villain!  It is hard to get more perfect than that.  This is firmly my second favorite episode of the season.

 

OTHER THINGS:

1. Lucille had a house she could go under?  With an ostrich-what?  Ostrich purse?  Boots?  Stuffed Animal?  Brooch?  Boa?

2. I really wanted one glorious news-shot of Lucille Bluth on the ship-sinking-like-Titanic, splay-armed to keep her balance out front akin to Kate Winslet in Titanic and giving Lucille2 the bird with both hands.  Can this still happen somehow?

3. In my mind, Buster carrying out threats against himself means tearing is room apart, a la kitchen-tearing when Rosa lost his parakeet, and perhaps doing something dastardly (meaning hilariously inappropriate) with his hook as part of the display.

4. How do we suppose Lucille even knew about the Gangie movies?  She never seemed a theater or newspaper-reading type.  Have people been mentioning this to her for awhile and she’s just sensitive to it now?  Did Maeby make sure she saw a picture of it, just to poke the bear or from boredom?

5. Perhaps now she can have more dates with Wayne Jarvis!

6. Lucille advising Buster to say it was an eel by his leg seems like Ursula using her eels to manipulate things.  Hee.

Arrested Development 4×8, “Red Hairing”

Attested Development: SPOILERS!  It’s still SPOILERS!

 

This episode felt like the comfy old shoe in Arrested Development’s closet.  They’ve got somewhere to go with it, but it’s not very far away, and they’re really looking forward more to just settling in when they get there.  On the plus side, this episode feels easy, familiar, and endearing.  On the other hand, it went rather slowly and the comedy was more “Oh, that” smiles instead of outright laughs.  Once again, I loved Lindsay’s journey and felt that Portia de Rossi sold it very well, without losing her comedic timing.  I felt this episode just wasn’t as brilliant as others because a lot of the gags played to be really funny were things that had no surprise at all-Love’s special deals on jewelry could’ve been guessed and isn’t really comic anyhow, the “against the wall” misunderstanding was seen coming the whole time, and Lindsay’s lack of muscle-memory for certain actions seems like something that should have been used in a different, funnier situation.  Plus, Marky Bark didn’t bring the humor.  His one gag is exactly the same every single time and turning into a stand-in for Tobias is just sad.  This is where I feel that it’s specifically the writing that’s got things down.  Fortunately, when watched as part of a block of other episodes, it has enough life to coast along as a side dish portion of the meal.

 

OTHER THOUGHTS:

1. Lucille was right-Lucille 2 IS totally trying to prove that she loves the children more than Lucille does!  That BITCH!

2. I love how everyone applauds the politician’s “key adviser.”

3. Of course Lindsay was also involved in high school politics.  Did George also try to get her to use dirty tricks, or just ignore it because it didn’t have to do with her looks?

4. Seriously, Annyong??  You used to be so much sneakier!  Plus, if you’re going to stick them for something, should’ve at least ordered the Skip’s Scramble.          

Arrested Development 4×6, “Double Crossers”

Attested Development: Flip, flop, flap, SPOILERS.

 

This episode is where the magic really picked up again for me.  Most of the characters managed to appear and actually had time to interact.  Isla Fisher began a comedic gag that works.  Herbert Love pulls his weight as a guest star (and the video titles on his webpage are hilarious).  The pacing felt like the Arrested Development of yore and the tone felt wittier and sharper to match.  It helped that subjects from the previous series were revisited with a new twist: treason, the Bluths’ relationship with Mexico, sexual issues (although with George rather than Gob), Lucille thinking anything that can possibly be insultingly related to her sexuality is…It’s great.  I would actually recommend this to newcomers as the first episode to watch if they are nervous about it, and then have someone or the internet explain things they’ve missed, or just go back and rewatch the earlier episodes with this under their belt.  Plus, gob has finally gotten his bees (BEES!?) and that’s just a perfectly happy ending right there, albeit with the expected problems.  I am pleased.

 

OTHER THOUGHTS:

1. I love the “Kids Klub” at the colony!

2. The sign saying Mr. Mister reminds me pleasantly of “Mr. Manager”, as does the “Mr. President”s.

3. Jeffrey Tambor is having a ball with the cross-dressing.

4. So now all the corners in that model house are bent, due to Gob trying to open Mike’s hard lemonades.

5. Where do we suppose George got his new wardrobe?  They were just in the trailer from one of the new sidekicks?  He went shopping?  They were Tracy’s in the attic and he took them with him because they’re his comfort-clothes now?

6. Interesting how George seems like himself again after interacting with Michael a little bit.

7. George IS always the one who makes off with wigs, eh?

Arrested Development 4×2 “Borderline Personalities”

Attested Development: SPOILERS, if you sweat that sort of thing!

 

This episode is a testament to Jeffrey Tambor and how wonderful he is in this show.  It felt more like a good reintroduction episode than the first one.  This is also an episode that felt really organic, at least at the beginning.  This is Exactly the sort of shenanigans George Sr. would be up to with sweating and squeezing, this is exactly how George Sr. would plot with mastermind Lucille, and the references to seasons 1-3 are allowed nuance here without losing their edge.  This is also an episode that brought in the kind of new characters fans love-small parts that will never overwhelm an episode, but attention-grabbing and humorous.  This episode improved by having a storyline without an obvious ending.  Right from the start of 4×1, you know Michael’s got to go, and ending up in Phoenix seems obvious.  “Borderline Personalities” brings us character changes, the question of marriage or divorce for the Bluth parents, and a young Barry lawyer who makes all those other-actor flashbacks fun.  There were a few pacing bumps and this episode began a few things that may have been hard to keep track of (such as who was really which brother at which time), but both of these were smoothed over by the sheer slickness of Tambor’s acting.  You’d never have known there was a time-gap for his characters.  In short, watching this episode picked it up for me, but in hindsight it’s less memorable than later episodes.

Other thoughts:

1. Stan Sitwell aaalmost stuck it to him!  I like to think he purposely labels all the bushes on any blueprints he has control over in case George Sr. decides to drop by.

2. “I don’t want these.”  We know, George Sr.  I imagine that line came up a lot whenever Buster or Gob wanted to tag along on a trip/banana stand shift/whatever with you and Michael.

3. Young Elizabeth Taylor will never lose persuasive power.

4. Where do we suppose they got all the lemons if they’re making things there with industrial grade juicers?  From Oscar’s lemon grove??  And where’d they get the sugar?  Who wants to bet that George’s masculine problems stem from having things spiked by one of his new trio of sidekicks?

5. If only George Sr. could get in touch with the Abbot of Kells.  He’d get them to build a waaaaaaaall!

6. A note-I’ve seen a number of people wondering why Gob was groaning in the family scene in this episode.  To them I say, they were talking about witnessing George and Lucille having sex.  Gob has a proven tendency to be disapproving and vocal around this subject-that is why he was groaning.  No other mystery, guys.

7. Clearly, Barry drove all the way down there as a way of billing for hours rather than a half hour phone call.

8. It was actually really nice to see Oscar stand up for himself.  Perhaps Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra’s been encouraging him to become a great leader.

9. This is the weirdest looking ostrich.

10. Perhaps George’s decision to get Kitty implants was his attempt to circumvent his puny-thinking.

 

 

Arrested Development 4×1 “Flight of the Phoenix”

Attested Development: SPOILERS can’t be voted out.

 

Overall, I feel this was a weak start to the series.  Michael as the straight man is incapable of making me laugh the way I’d been looking forward to Arrested Development making me laugh for years.  I had expected Michael to have a break in Cabo for at least a couple days.  Then he’d come back due to a George deal or something, but still-expectations.  Plus, Michael was always the one who was supposed to have options, which made him staying with his kooky family so telling and poignant.  Being hit over the head with the message that nope, now he has no options whatsoever that don’t involve leaning on family members just undercuts that familiar dynamic and the breath of heartwarming that used to keep the hard times plots from overflowing.  I was underwhelmed by the story and overwhelmed by changes.  Luckily, this proved just a jumping off point.  Other thoughts:

1. Oh, Michael.  He can never try to do anything with Lucille 2 without making her dizzy.

2. I do not share the joy in Kristin Wiig and Seth Rogen as young Lucille and George Sr.  First, we had plenty of flashbacks with the actual actors before.  Second and most importantly, in a season where I already feel I don’t get enough of particularly Jessica Walters, seeing her replaced like that feels like a low blow.  Surely that wasn’t actually necessary?

3. See, when Michael’s going on and on and on about a plan like that voting one is usually when Lindsay or Gob or someone walks in and distracts me from it so I’m getting something other than tired at the only gag currently going.  This was the point where I really started to fear this new season.

4. More Loose seal! jokes=always funny.

5. Anyone else curious about the name P-Hound?  Is he going to be, like, Gene Parmesan’s apprentice and sniff out scandals?

6. I feel like using his memories of Gob’s magic hands to “accidentally” squirt soap in Michael’s eyes whenever he tries to join him in the shower should be George Michael’s first move in the battle of privacy.

7. Do we assume George Michael gets everything by scholarship and that’s why he’s unaffected by money troubles thus far?

8. I feel like Michael’s luggage would have had some sort of leftover blueprint or flier for “Sudden Valley” that would have caused him trouble at airport security.  It’s the layout of what-a bomb in the shape of a burning bush?  Or it’s clearly Al Quaeda code for a strike because, after all, the name “Sudden Valley” is a total giveaway?  I feel there could have been a funnier sequence than the voting with that, particularly if they ended up by trying to contact his son for confirmation about his recent lodging or something and then the off-the-phone officer used facial recognition and pulled up the CIA file on George Michael’s Star Wars video as a terrorist training film.  Michael would then be released so as not to tip off his more dangerous son, although probably with a tail-maybe Ice?  (And then P-Hound would be endorsed by the government in his first pro job of officially surveilling George Michael Bluth. ((Instead of him just doing it for Gene Parmesan, clearly at Lucille’s behest, so that she can stay on top of what’s happening with her son with highest potential.  After all, P-Hound did seem to be assigned only after Michael moved in.)))  This is how it goes in my head.

9. I love the airport paintings behind Michael.

10. I am always going to be on board with random ostriches here.

 

Arrested Development: Classic!

I cannot tell you how much I adore this photo.  There MUST be fanfic.