Arrested Development "A New Attitude" Review: Now Everybody's Gay!
It seems like each character gets a maximum of two episodes in Season 4, so it makes me sad that this one is probably G.O.B.'s last.
Of the season so far, G.O.B.'s episodes seem to be the most inspired, with the sharpest comic timing and the strongest use of the fragmented timeline for the greatest effect. There's a lot of "est" in that sentence and, as prone to hyperbole as I am, I do think his episodes are the best at those things.
That's not to say that the rest of the episodes have been garbage or even bad/boring/lame. The G.O.B. episodes have just appealed to me more, because they have more of the content that I associate with Arrested Development, overall and Will Arnett's execution of the writing just makes this show a dream. But that's about as far as I can get in trying to pinpoint why I thought his episodes excelled where George Sr.'s and Lindsay's episodes seemed to falter.
Maybe it has to do with some of the subtlety beneath G.O.B.'s theatricality. Sometimes it feels like there are so many jokes orbiting any given situation with him, that there might be two or even three punchlines happening in rapid succession. Think of G.O.B. at the club with George Michael, just before sucking on his fingers. The scene went right from George Michael reacting to his uncle confessing that his dad is very disappointed in him, to the weirdness of the that same uncle sucking on his nephew's fingers, to the joke about those fingers tasting gross from the stamp's ink. Then we got a small breather before G.O.B. finished his twinkie break-up, but in general, the jokes just seem to happen much more quickly for G.O.B., and that could be a reason why his role in the season has stood out.
Or maybe it's just Arnett's cadence and delivery. The tone of his voice lends so much gravitas to everything, which, in combination with his comic timing, makes everything feel immediately hyperbolic and exponentially funnier. Even his excited, active listening to Tony Wonder at the club or his "this is no place for a child" insistence was made far more comical just by G.O.B.'s normal speaking voice.
Or maybe it's just that this episode gave us answers to some of the season's burning questions. Since "Flight of the Phoenix," you've probably speculated several times on the person who G.O.B. ends up trying to make Michael forget. Ann, Rebel, Marta, Marta 2, Lupe, and Sally have all come up as possibilities. I've even considered Lucille 2. I should've known that if you wonder about anything, Tony Wonder will appear.
The build-up of G.O.B. and Wonder's relationship was kind of adorable, even though the narration confirmed that neither man felt actual romantic feelings but was confusing friendship for wanting to nail the other person. G.O.B.'s robotic "I have feelings for you" was really sweet. But for me, the most interesting thing about the their night of passion was that, for all intents and purposes, it actually happened. A sitcom might set something like that up for laughs, but then shut it down and give the characters an out before letting them seal the deal. G.O.B.'s babbling seemed to confirm that everything did happen. These two (seemingly) not-gay men had sex with each other, which brings up a lot of questions about mechanics, opportunity, and preparation that seem out of scope for a television review.
The cliffhanger, though, is that Rebel Alley looks to have built a little igloo for father and son. George Michael's appearance at the end (along with the awkward stillness that followed their final lines), begged you to be amazed that this was happening, and you had to be a little surprised. Now I'm really looking forward to the George Michael episode. There'd better be a George Michael episode.
WEIRD THINGS LIKE THE LAST TIME WE WENT SCUBA DIVING WHILE EATING CAPTAIN CRUNCH. SAME.
– That is exactly how I would react if I suspected someone of sleeping with Julie Bowen.
– "I have a list of men that can fill every opening you have." Where was that Tobias in his last episode? I know I talked about how I like that the show is fleshing Tobias out a little bit and making his motivations relatable, but it did get in the way of the character who would cause Sterling Archer to lose his voice saying "phrasing" if he followed him around for a day. It's important to us that, on occasion, the old Tobias makes reference to having a banger in the mouth.
– There are so many sex offenders in Sudden Valley now that it's almost as dangerous for a young girl as Rosewood, PA.
– After Lucille spent the last episode struggling with being a villain (and, thereby, creating sympathy for one of the show's devils), it was interesting to see a self-referencing baddie in the next episode. Tony Wonder and Sally Sitwell rehashing their plans for each other like James Bond was in the room would've been a passable, if cliche, amount of exposition (though Game of Thrones may have spoiled us in its presentation of backstory). It was saved by Wonder bringing up how it was weird that they were over-explaining. But then I had to wonder if bringing up the obvious exposition, in and of itself, is just as cliche nowadays.
– Apparently Sally Sitwell has alopecia, too. Which seems to be a detail Michael missed the night of the record-tying three times. Or maybe he's just a gentleman.
– "Balls in the Air" played while G.O.B. and Michael battled in the Little Ballroom but I had trouble placing the song. It wasn't "Eye of the Tiger" and it definitely wasn't a real song. I went to bed after watching and woke up 15 minutes later shouting the name of the episode whence it came: "Notapusy!" Tip: Don't shout "Notapusy" in the presence of others without some context.
– Another testament to the writing and Mae Whitman's range: Ann is so different, yet still the same Egg post-child and post-Wonder. And if you think I talk about her a lot here for a character with a very limited number of scenes in this season, just wait until Parenthood comes back. A character on that show had to get cancer in order to silence my "Mae Whitman for the Emmy" campaign.
– The "merry mix-up" flashback sequence where Rebel killed the dove, instantly had a paper bag (and a confident nod), and wrote "do not eat" on the bag. I don't have anything to really say about it. I just want to remind you so you can laugh about it like I am.
– This episode needed more John Slattery.
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