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Arrested Development Season 4 Impressions *Spoilers*

Posted by tylerh1701, 31 May 2013 · 158 views

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So what did everyone think about the new season of Arrested Development? For me, it was really a mixed bag. I laughed out loud plenty of times, but I also had long stretches where I sat there and wondered what the hell I was watching. So here are a few of my take aways (Spoilers, obviously).

It was hard to keep up with everything in Season 4, and since each episode basically centered on one or 2 people, if you didn't enjoy the storyline or character, you were pretty much screwed.

The whole Tobias/Lindsey/Marky Bark/DeBrie/Rehab/Fantastic Four thing did nothing for me. Tobias had a couple funny lines here and there, and I did enjoy seeing Lindsey whore herself out to Herbert Love after she broke away from that group, but the rest was just not funny. To me, DeBrie was never funny, and they kept going to the Tobias/DeBrie well over and over. I'll always remember DeBrie as one of my least favorite TV characters of all time.

Alternatively, I really enjoyed the George Michael and Maeby storylines. I loved the reverse reveal of the genesis of FaceBlock, George Michael's relationship with Maeby and Rebel, and him moving into Sudden Valley. Oh, and definitely George Maharis. As for Maeby, I've always enjoyed watching her be so conniving and clever. The going back to high school thing was a little odd, but it worked well enough and everything else she did was really funny.

Buster's story was pretty funny (I've always loved Buster) but it kind of felt like it was just shoehorned in to make sure we remember Buster. He basically didn't have a line of dialogue until episode 14. I wished there was more Buster.

I enjoyed the Lucille storyline while she was in jail, but the George Sr. storyline was really blah. It was just a little bit too weird for me, it never felt like it was presented properly, and I really didn't get why they made him so wussy all of a sudden.

The leaves Gob and Michael, the two most polarizing storylines in my mind. I'll start with Gob's. To me, it started out awful. Sure, there were some good cheap laughs when Gob joined the Mark Cherry entourage (the And Jeremy Piven bar was great) but that episode was one of the weirdest things I'd ever seen. However, Gob also turned in my favorite storyline of the season, his "relationship" with Tony Wonder. He and Tony Wonder created a hilarious bromance and I loved the little twist Ann threw in at the end of the episode.

As for Michael, his storyline was so polarizing to me because he was just so dumb in this season. I know Michael has always been a little oblvious, but they made him a complete moron in this season. Not catching onto the message that his son didn't want him living with him, then completely botching his producer chances at Imagine, owing Lucille 2 over $700,000, and his misguided relationship with Rebel all felt too over the top for me. I liked Michael as a responsible businessman who was a little bit oblivious about his son and women. But this season turned Micheal into a irresponsible loser. It turned him into a Bluth, and I didn't really like that.

I had been looking forward to this season for quite a while, but I'm a realist and I didn't set my expectations too high. Unfortunately the new season didn't quite reach my realistic expectations either. I'll probably try to watch the season one more time to see if I enjoy it any more, but I have my doubts. I'm glad Arrested Development came back for one more season (and I still hope they do more episodes or a movie) but a lot of things about Season 4 left me cold. I didn't love the straight focus on a singe character in each episode (the characters always worked better when they played off each other) and the constantly shifting timeline wasn't easy to follow either.




Posted Image

So what did everyone think about the new season of Arrested Development? For me, it was really a mixed bag. I laughed out loud plenty of times, but I also had long stretches where I sat there and wondered what the hell I was watching. So here are a few of my take aways (Spoilers, obviously).

It was hard to keep up with everything in Season 4, and since each episode basically centered on one or 2 people, if you didn't enjoy the storyline or character, you were pretty much screwed.

The whole Tobias/Lindsey/Marky Bark/DeBrie/Rehab/Fantastic Four thing did nothing for me. Tobias had a couple funny lines here and there, and I did enjoy seeing Lindsey whore herself out to Herbert Love after she broke away from that group, but the rest was just not funny. To me, DeBrie was never funny, and they kept going to the Tobias/DeBrie well over and over. I'll always remember DeBrie as one of my least favorite TV characters of all time.

Alternatively, I really enjoyed the George Michael and Maeby storylines. I loved the reverse reveal of the genesis of FaceBlock, George Michael's relationship with Maeby and Rebel, and him moving into Sudden Valley. Oh, and definitely George Maharis. As for Maeby, I've always enjoyed watching her be so conniving and clever. The going back to high school thing was a little odd, but it worked well enough and everything else she did was really funny.

Buster's story was pretty funny (I've always loved Buster) but it kind of felt like it was just shoehorned in to make sure we remember Buster. He basically didn't have a line of dialogue until episode 14. I wished there was more Buster.

I enjoyed the Lucille storyline while she was in jail, but the George Sr. storyline was really blah. It was just a little bit too weird for me, it never felt like it was presented properly, and I really didn't get why they made him so wussy all of a sudden.

The leaves Gob and Michael, the two most polarizing storylines in my mind. I'll start with Gob's. To me, it started out awful. Sure, there were some good cheap laughs when Gob joined the Mark Cherry entourage (the And Jeremy Piven bar was great) but that episode was one of the weirdest things I'd ever seen. However, Gob also turned in my favorite storyline of the season, his "relationship" with Tony Wonder. He and Tony Wonder created a hilarious bromance and I loved the little twist Ann threw in at the end of the episode.

As for Michael, his storyline was so polarizing to me because he was just so dumb in this season. I know Michael has always been a little oblvious, but they made him a complete moron in this season. Not catching onto the message that his son didn't want him living with him, then completely botching his producer chances at Imagine, owing Lucille 2 over $700,000, and his misguided relationship with Rebel all felt too over the top for me. I liked Michael as a responsible businessman who was a little bit oblivious about his son and women. But this season turned Micheal into a irresponsible loser. It turned him into a Bluth, and I didn't really like that.

I had been looking forward to this season for quite a while, but I'm a realist and I didn't set my expectations too high. Unfortunately the new season didn't quite reach my realistic expectations either. I'll probably try to watch the season one more time to see if I enjoy it any more, but I have my doubts. I'm glad Arrested Development came back for one more season (and I still hope they do more episodes or a movie) but a lot of things about Season 4 left me cold. I didn't love the straight focus on a singe character in each episode (the characters always worked better when they played off each other) and the constantly shifting timeline wasn't easy to follow either.
I kinda breezed over this as I don't expect to sign up for Netflix again too soon but I'm very curious. How does this compare (in your estimation) to season 3? I always thought season 3 was a bit on the 'Michael is a moron' side so that with some other things makes it sound like this was more of s3 as opposed to a departure. WHAT SAY YOU
I couldn't have put it any better myself, I completely agree, just finished the final episode and was left thinking what did I just watch.

I resecreened the entire first 3 seasons before starting up the new one and they may have worked against my enjoyment of this season because it was so different from the originals and I kept waiting for the old magic to return. Everyone in the same room playing off each other were always my favorite moments so like you said the single focus of this season I feel took the entire heart out of the series.

Also just too many negative and awkward situations were thrown in. I like to see some wins with my favorite characters and at the end it seemed everyone lost, especially didn't like Michael and George Michael ending on bad terms.

Oh well, I still have the originals to rewatch and turn people onto, but I can't honestly say I would recommend a new fan to watch season 4 right after.
@handsomepete - In regards to Michael is a moron, I think Season 4 is worse. Him not realizing Rita was a mentally retarded female was pretty bad, but there is an episode in Season 4 where Ron Howard asks him to co-produce a movie about the Bluth's, and his one job is to get releases signed by his whole family. He has been completely down on his luck before this, so this is a huge opportunity that could change his life. But instead of focusing on that, he immediately gets to work on recruiting a screenwriter (Warden Gentels), and actors Andy Richter and Carl Weathers (I don't remember why he recruited them), as if he was actually in charge of making this movie. I'm not sure if it was supposed to symbolize delusions of grandeur for Michael or just a lack of common sense, but either way it felt like a GOB or Tobias move, not a Michael one. I wasn't a fan of the way they depicted Michael's relationship with George Michael either. Michael was always a little oblivious of his son, but it got out of hand very quickly in season 4.

I know it's a weird critique, but before season 4 I really enjoyed the character of Michael. He was the straight man to all the craziness of the rest of his family. That feeling is gone in Season 4. He's just another loser only looking out for himself, and I really disliked that.

As for comparing season 4 to season 3 in general, I enjoy 3 significantly more. Season 3 itself is a little polarizing, I feel like they went on a little too long with the Rita storyline, but the last few episodes of Season 3, the whole "Save our Bluths" campaign, was perfectly "meta" and spot on. There was nothing in season 4 that I enjoyed as much as the 2nd half of Season 3.
@rungoiron - We're on the exact same page. The season was way too negative for me as well. Even dark at times, with characters focusing on revenge and manipulation, and not in a light-hearted way.
Well, since hearing about season 4 i've had an arrested development marathon the last 5 days. now on season 3 and loving every moment! i love this show, nothing negative in my view, only hysterical comedy and looking forward to season 4! such a great show
I've watched the first 5 or so episodes, and while I agree it is not as strong as previous AD seasons (especially compared to 1 & 2), it has been entertaining enough overall. I still prefer it over most shows just for the fact that it is such an iconic group of characters. Seeing more of them together rocks. I usually do a once a year run through of the series and S4 will be included moving forward.
I pretty much agree with everything you said, especially the part about Tobias/Lindsey/Marky Bark/DeBrie/Rehab/Fantastic Four. I had trouble staying off my phone and really paying attention during those parts.

My main complaint is the focus on one character per episode thing. Sure, few of the other characters make plenty of appearences, but it's just not as good. It's like this, imagine multiple spin-off TV series each revolving around one AD character with 2-3 other characters making guest appearances... It's just not quite as funny and doesn't work as well. It's an ensemble cast, but they chose to only focus on 2-3 at a time rather than really focus on what made AD great.

I realize what they were doing was trying to get us caught up on what's happened in the past 7 years with the Bluth family, but I'm not even sure that needed to be done. Why not just pick up right where it left off? Or even just skip a year or two and run with it from there? I feel if they had just went with the previous tried and true formula then it would have been a much higher quality of a season.

All that being said, it was still better than 90% of what's on TV these days and I do hope that they make more... Especially since they felt the need to end on a cliffhanger once again.

I pretty much agree with everything you said, especially the part about Tobias/Lindsey/Marky Bark/DeBrie/Rehab/Fantastic Four. I had trouble staying off my phone and really paying attention during those parts.

My main complaint is the focus on one character per episode thing. Sure, few of the other characters make plenty of appearences, but it's just not as good. It's like this, imagine multiple spin-off TV series each revolving around one AD character with 2-3 other characters making guest appearances... It's just not quite as funny and doesn't work as well. It's an ensemble cast, but they chose to only focus on 2-3 at a time rather than really focus on what made AD great.

I realize what they were doing was trying to get us caught up on what's happened in the past 7 years with the Bluth family, but I'm not even sure that needed to be done. Why not just pick up right where it left off? Or even just skip a year or two and run with it from there? I feel if they had just went with the previous tried and true formula then it would have been a much higher quality of a season.

All that being said, it was still better than 90% of what's on TV these days and I do hope that they make more... Especially since they felt the need to end on a cliffhanger once again.


I believe also due to scheduling they couldn't get everyone to commit to every episode like the originally hoped for in order to get it out. I could be wrong about that but I believe I read it in a interview (maybe over on IGN)
Ah, that would make more sense then. Still, I wish they could have found a way to make it work... It's the main reason that made it lackluster in comparison to previous seasons.
I enjoyed Season 4. I wasn't a huge fan of the new format, but I was just happy to get more AD.
I didn't think S4 was perfect, or as good as the original seasons, but I still mostly loved it. I had read a while ago about how each episode would focus on a single character, and I reset my expectations based on that. I agree that the best parts of AD has always been when multiple characters are playing off of each other, so I wish S4 could have had more of that, but whatever the reason, this is the format they went with. I think the scheduling difficulties that joshnorm mentioned very likely had a lot to do with it. I do give them credit for how incredibly ambitious S4 was, in terms of having so many intersecting storylines, and jokes being set up in one episode paying off in another. I plan to watch through S4 again, too, and I have a feeling there will be lots of stuff I missed the first time through.

Oh, and yeah- definitely not enough Buster in S4. Hopefully a movie... and more episodes somewhere, somehow :pray: can fix that.