Arrested Development "Red Hairing" Review: Tell Your Therapist I Tried

Arrested Development S04E08: "Red Hairing"

Lindsay's episode left me happily dissatisfied with its ending, possibly the only episode of the season that's done so thus far (including G.O.B.'s) to make me feel like I wanted more from any particular storyline immediately. Obviously, I liked "Colony Collapse" a good bit, but "Indian Takers" made me yearn for more in a way that I'm not sure Lindsay's character has ever done with one of her storylines.

So imagine my pleasure when "Red Hairing" cut to the continuation of the adopted Bluth daughter in the almost-Mexican desert after a very satisfying outing with her brother. Except, by the middle of the episode, I was saying hello to Darkness, my old friend. I had what I wanted. But at that point I didn't want it.

"Red Hairing" felt like a mess of sown seeds and awkward references. Which isn't to say that all of the episodes this season haven't felt like that, but in this one, Lindsay lacked the agency she had in her first episode. It's definitely part of her character to be easily swayed and manipulated, and that's fine when she's a supporting cast member. But she was supposed to be anchoring this episode, and instead it seemed like she was being tossed around the many different situations the other, more willful Bluths (or Barks) got themselves into while she was just along for the (limo) ride.

I suppose that's always a fear when approaching this kind of storytelling, where a show is flipping the switch that transforms a supporting cast member into the focus. Arrested Development did a good job with it in "Indian Takers," but "Red Hairing" (good title!) made Lindsay too passive, and with no anchor point, everything else felt sloppy, like the writers were just trying to put together a bunch of comedy beats with nothing to string them on. Beats? Beads? Beats.

So even though a lot happened in the episode, and we saw a lot of reveals for past events, it was kind of a disaster. In this single installment we learned that Marky Bark was the American Indian Ostrich Shaman, what the blast was, who started the "put up this wall" chant, and where George's red wig came from. But we also get the awkward "He blue himself" line which, even though it's a fan favorite, was kind of out of place. Plust this was also the first episode to feature a "no touching" line and even that, somehow, missed the mark. And the Pretty Woman joke was so tired it was almost offensive.

But there was one thing I really liked about this episode and that was the almost sentimental relationship between Lindsay and Lucille. It was obviously contentious but Lucille reminded Lindsay of how she acts like a Bluth and is a lot more like Lucille than she would like to believe. We saw Kristen Wiig as a young, cynical, elitist Lucille but I also liked seeing Lindsay as a young, idealistic, elitist Lucille. For a woman who felt, for a time, that she had no familiy, that was a nice button to help her realize that she has a group of people with whom she is collectively derranged. Awww.

However, as an episode where Lindsay unwittingly embroiled herself in the world's oldest profession for a political figure, then took over that comatose political figure's campaign, it was a low point. I know I said I wanted another Lindsay episode to finish her story but, for lack of a better phrase, I don't want these.


OTHER THINGS THAT WERE SO NOT QUICK

– "Who keeps numbing these animals?" Is it the maca?

– I like that Lucille Austero is insisting to people that she's just Lucille, not Lucille 2. For a character who's had it given to her for much of the series, it's nice to see her stand up for herself.

– It's intriguing that Herbert Love reminds Lindsay of a young Tobias. Is it the rhyming?

– The system of favors happening throughout Season 4 might be one of the most impressive parts of this whole ordeal. I loved seeing that the conversation between Michael and George Sr. was a lot more complicated than it looked within "The B. Team," and that their spirit bled into the conversation between Michael and Lindsay. I've seen T-shirts with a Bluth Family Crest and a motto that reads "I need a favor"; I like seeing that in action to a degree of such high difficulty.

– There was another bout of Michael perspective in this episode that the episode lead—in this case Lindsay—couldn't have known about. When Michael talked to George Michael on the phone, it was all strictly from his perspective. While I understand that he's the series lead and the rock for this show, it felt a little distracting and jarring. But maybe I just pay too close attention.

– The extended hugging to agree on their stories was a good joke, but I wonder if it might've been better with some trimming.

– I'm not sure if Portia di Rossi gets the credit she deserves for some of her physical comedy in this series, like her tranny voice (the one she used in the episode where Maeby convinced Steve Holt she was a post-op transexual, a voice that she also used to throw face-blind Marky off after he'd been arrested) and the throwing-the-money gag. It's not often that she has to do more than look pretty, nail her lines, and grimace when she tries to cry, but she steps up to the slapstick plate when she has the opportunity.

– Since there's photo evidence of Lindsay and Herbert Love in the photo booth, that means both she and Michael have made whoopee in the same unusual place (Michael did it there with Rebel Alley).

– Goodbye, Annyong.


What'd you think of "Red Hairing"?

Comments (19)
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I have to back up how good Portia's physical comedy is. She really was the best part of Better Off Ted.
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So it's been the better part of a week, are we getting reviews for the rest of the season or not?
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Forgot to mention:
One of the funniest things in this episode was Michael's face after Lindsay asks: "Well, don't you have to have power to abuse the power?"
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Am I crazy or is this really good?

Seriously though, I can't find one wrong thing with the show.
It cracks me up, especially Tobias.
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:Sigh:

At this moment there are 9 comments. 3 of them are from these website spammers.

These boards are going to hell.
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Blame Netflix's dump all at once policy. I watched this episode a week ago and barely remember it now, didn't like it that much but no longer am frustrated by what didn't work. In short, I already don't care about "Red Herrings", so I only skimmed Nick's review and only skimmed IGN's review. Netflix has stolen the passion for this series from the fans by making the argument about when to watch it, not what the content itself is.
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Nah, it's just summer.
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I really don't mind when they break their constraints and you see a little bit of Michael's perspective in a Lindsey episode. Didn't they just say that each episode focuses on the story of one character. That doesn't imply exclusivity for me and as long as it fits somewhat organic, i have no problem with that.
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I liked this Lindsay episode, mainly because the first one I couldn't stop staring at Portia and second guessing if that was really her or not. Portia is a very funny lady indeed.
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Also... "Beats? Beads? Beats." made me laugh heartily
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Herbert reminding Lindsay of a younger Tobias is a reference to a early plotpoint that was hinted at a lot in season one but never followed up on, that Tobias is black, but also albino.
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I totally forgot about that.... good call.
People hear the name Tobias, they think 'big black guy.'
Well obviously I'm not a 'big guy.'
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