It's not every day you come across a show with the history that the popular sitcom Arrested Development has. This show was on for three seasons and it got cancelled after the third season due to low ratings. A good number of audiences were upset by its cancellation, while some new audiences took a look back at the past seasons. And I guess critics and audiences alike really liked the past seasons enough to the point where this show is now officially back on the air only on Netflix.
Before I delve further into what I think of this show, it should be noted that I've only seen the first season of this show so far. In other words, this review will be solely based on season one. Based on what I've seen from season one of Arrested Development so far, I can understand why people like this show even though I wouldn't go as far as to say that it's one of my favorite shows yet. Arrested Development centers around Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) who essentially tries to keep his dysfunctional family together and try to prevent certain family members from basically doing something stupid.
Among Michael's family members are his son (Michael Cera) who seems to try a little too hard to live up to his father's standards, his trouble- making father (Jeffrey Tambor), his alcoholic mother (Jessica Walter) who is judgmental of every family member. There's also his socially awkward younger brother (Tony Hale), his older brother (Will Arnett) who is an unsuccessful magician, his spoiled twin sister (Portia de Rossi), her husband (David Cross) who is also an actor, and their rebellious daughter (Alia Shawkat). This show basically follows these family members and whatever funny situations they experience.
Thinking about what to write for a show like this, given that I've only seen one season, is a challenge since there isn't much to analyze about either side really. I can't say that I'm a fan of either Michael Cera or Will Arnett, but I think they're tolerable in this show. I liked how in one episode I've seen, Will Arnett's character tries to break out of prison, gets beaten up in prison, is sent to the hospital, and in his hospital bed, he simply says "Ta-da". That was a good joke. If the actor came up with more comedic material like that, I'd be less mixed on him as a comedic actor. As for Michael Cera, he does do the same old routine he would continue on doing later in his career. His act works here though because it fits with the character he plays as opposed to just being awkward and tiresome.
This is one of those shows in which I am able to identify with the characters and yet unable to identify with them both at the same time. Tony Hale's character, aka the socially awkward brother, is a great example. Like this specific character, I seem to get along more with people older than me than I do with people younger than me. But at the same time, I wouldn't date anyone that was at least 10 years older than me because that would be too weird. Portia de Rossi's character, aka the spoiled twin sister, is another noteworthy example. While I'm willing to admit that I'm used to living the good life and not having to take care of everything, I'm also pretty careful when it comes to deciding how much money to spend on a weekly basis unlike Portia de Rossi's character.
The other characters are interesting including Michael's father, played by Jeffrey Tambor. I like how the in the first few episodes when he's in prison, he says to his son that he actually likes it there and claims that it's like being on vacation. That's one way of looking at time in prison, and as a writer, I'm up for looking at things through different points of view. David Cross' character, aka the husband of Michael's sister, is also entertaining. He's got plenty of funny moments particularly when he and his wife attend couples therapy in one episode and this therapy turns into an acting rehearsal of sorts for him as the therapist has taken interest in his profession. I don't want to reveal too much but that story in that episode is hilarious because of David Cross.
Based on what I've seen so far of Arrested Development, I'll continue watching the show a little more. While I don't think that I'd declare it one of the greatest television sitcoms like everyone else seems to, I do understand why critics and audiences generally like it. I like most of the characters, I think that most of the jokes hit their targets, the acting in general is well done, the storytelling is efficient and so is the narration by Ron Howard that accompanies it. Even if a couple episodes or jokes aren't quite up my alley, I'd still say that it's a show that's worth your time.