George Michael is now overtly sexual, and that's something you're going to have to get used to. Although I guess it's better for him to be O.S. than S.O. Am I right, Tobias?
"It Gets Better" was not only about George Michael growing up, but also what kind of man he's become. Just as Maeby is a combination of her parents (with the idealism of her mother and the unintentional trainwreck disaster of her father), George Michael is one part saintly, the other part infected by being a Bluth.
There's an appeal to his schizophrenic personality, though, and that's all thanks to Michael Cera. Someone who vacillates so much between being a good, honest person and someone who blows off his father, lies to everyone around him, and selfishly forces people to coddle his ignorance regarding wood block acceptance by the world at large could be way more unlikeable. Like Gangie says, "He's supposed to be the good one." But in "It Gets Better" he was a self-absorbed college student. Which was well within his rights.
The beginning of the episode's chronological timeline provided a perfect example of what George Michael had been putting up with for basically his whole life. His college going away party being crashed by his overbearing father trying to assert himself not only demonstrated how much of a jerk Michael was being from George Michael's point of view (but without George Michael's rose-tinted perspective), and what a jerk Michael always has been, but also, particularly with the ripping of the check, how Michael's behavior has held George Michael back over the years.
The four years of school (and the study abroad) allowed George Michael to grow as a person and not in someone else's shadow, which was the only way anything could ever escalate between George Michael and his father. Their "rivalry" may be unintentional on Michael's part, but throughout the series, it's made him look like a pretty crap dad who invokes his son's name a lot but fails to remember the kid's girlfriend, rides him hard at the banana stand, and, particularly this season, mooches off his resources. The series is dotted with emotional moments between the two but, for the most part, Michael has always put principle and sticking it to the Bluths before the emotional needs of his son.
The big thing to come out of "It Gets Better" (even from the title) was George Michael coming around to the idea that Michael isn't just an overbearing parent, but one who crowds and is poisonous to his growth. It's time for George Michael him to shirk the meekness and take control of his own his life. He may be doing silly things with it (like pursuing his love of the woodblock), but at least he's seeing where that it takes him instead of letting his father constantly talk him out of doing insane things. There's been no showdown yet, but with the mounting dissonance between the two (voting Michael out of the dorm, ditching each other at the bar, outright Bluth-level lying to each other), you have to feel something is coming.
While I don't think "It Gets Better" exhibited the same sharpness as G.O.B.'s episodes this season, I feel like it was the episode that featured the most character growth. My broken record once again plays a refrain about individual characters being more fleshed out this season, but George Michael's progress seems to be an intentional development rather than the effect of simply giving someone more screen time. He kicked off the chronological timeline of Season 4 experiencing several levels of betrayal—chiefly, his uncle tried to nail his ex-girlfriend, he had to surrender money that would help set him up while in college, and then he was forced to take the stair car with him to school.
Combined with everything else that's happened to George Michael this season (G.O.B. sucking his fingers at a gay club, Maeby using his unformed idea to steer their runaway locomotive to disaster, Michael crowding his life), I think we were just seeing the tip of the iceberg in "It Gets Better" when he fired Maeby. Who does George Michael become when he starts to stand up for himself? This episode didn't end at Cuatro, so it looks like we have more to look forward to.
– You could see the pickle the show was in when the writers wanted to reference the cornballer informercial flashback but had already committed to Young George Sr. looking like Seth Rogen. We got a janky loop for the two-shot of George and Richard Simmons instead of the clip we've grown accustomed to. The BabyTock ad also featured Seth Rogen sloppily portraying Jeffrey Tambor's character; as an audience, we have to live with that.
– Separately, I'm surprised that we saw Tracey at all. Why here? Just to establish that she had red hair like everyone has said? The red hair thing also makes George Michael and Michael dating her just a little more Freudian.
– I know that "Let's solve for x" has been around for ages, but I like to think of Mitch Hurwitz binging on Friday Night Lights and for George Michael's sexuality to be an awkward combination of Landry and Matt Saracen.
– Rosalita: Go George Michael! Also: What are the odds that Rosalita is wearing a fake belly for a lawsuit against the Spanish Skip's Scramble? I imagine the Spanish Skip's Scramble would be some sort of paella with French toast.
– George Michael's apology for piquing Rebel's interest might've been the smoothest line he's ever said, intentionally or not, in the entire series.
– In reference to a Sea Breeze: "Put some stank on that." I really did miss Cera. While he's taken some heat from that desperate-for-parody machine SNL, I think his under-his-breath, unassuming delivery is the best of that comic style. No one does awkward quite like him, and may the space baby bless him.
– Rebel was in Dangerous Cousins. Brilliant.
– I really like that Michael brought up the kid sitting on his father's lap while flying/driving thing. This show is really unafraid of incest humor, past and present, and will remind you of that at any opportunity.
AIRED ON 5/26/2013
Season 4 : Episode 15