Let me start by saying the title of this essay is sarcastic, and if you don’t like looking like an idiot by not knowing that, or you just have no sense of humor in general, then Arrested Development is definitely not a mxl tv you would enjoy. Now that I got that out of the way, and you are still reading this, good job, you just took the first step in finding out why Arrested Development is exactly the opposite of what the of this essay suggests. Arrested Development is a character-driven comedy that made its debut on November 2, 2003, and ended shortly after on February 10th, 2006, after only 53 episodes on the air. Although the show was treated worse by the network than a red-headed stepchild, it has gathered a huge cult following and is now being turned in to a feature film. During its run on television, Arrested Development managed to become widely regarded as the best television show of all time in many critics’ eyes.
The show won six Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series. It also received twenty Emmy nominations as well as one Golden Globe and a spot on Time Magazine’s 100 best TV shows of all time, a pretty big accomplishment for a show which only lasted 53 episodes. Arrested Development challenged the rules of television, constantly breaking the mold of what people expected in a TV show, and arguably changed television forever. The show ignored the format of the traditional half hour comedy, making it better in every way, and wasn’t afraid to take whatever risks they felt necessary. Its amazing cast made even the most absurd characters seems believable, and above all else, its incredible plot and constantly entertaining writing made Arrested Development the best show to ever grace our air waves……….hands down.
Whether you are a devoted fan of Arrested Development, or have only seen an episode or two, the acting constantly stands out as one of the show’s shining achievements. The cast of Arrested Development, whether they were famous before it began, or were nobody important, have all moved on to become huge stars. Most notably is Michael Cera, whose audition tape was flown in to Fox, and was later picked to play the roll of George-Michael. Since being cast in Arrested Development, Michael Cera has moved on to become a breakout star, being cast in blockbuster movies such as Superbad. Jason Bateman, although somewhat of a star before the show’s run, also moved on to become a huge star along with fellow cast-mate Will Arnett.
The creator of the show, Mitch Hurwitz, had 3 weeks to put the cast together, and although he said “There’s no way to get this cast right….it’s impossible….they’re all such hard parts to cast.” The cast was chosen, and Mitch Hurwitz never looked back. “In every case, one person was right for the role. They’re so good.” One of the main challenges of a character driven comedy is….well….the characters. The cast of Arrested Development does such an amazing job playing a believable family, that as a viewer, you ignore how completely repulsive, and un-relatable these characters would be on their own. The cast of Arrested Development plays their roles so well, that if you were to see them in the street you would no doubt expect them to utter one of their famous catchphrases, or have the exact same personality that they have on the show. As well as the main cast, the supporting cast and guest stars were always entertaining, and were never afraid to poke fun at themselves as long as it meant a laugh. Famous actors from Julia Louis-Dreyfus, to Charlize Theron have guest starred on the show and have all helped in contributing to what makes this show amazing.
The guest stars were never afraid to joke about themselves or previous work they have done. During a guest appearance from Dan Castellaneta, the man who does the voice for Homer in “The Simpsons”, he said Homer’s famous catchphrase “D’oh.”, which immediately helped me to identify him as the voice of Homer, and caused a laugh. Another example of this subtle humor that only people aware of the actors who play these roles would understand, is when the main character, Michael, was on a date with his supposed British girlfriend Rita, played by Charlize Theron (who is American) The couple had just gone out to see a movie when Rita remarks, “I hate it when they hire Yanks to play Brits, you can always tell.” It’s these subtle lines of comedy that make the show rewarding and constantly entertaining to watch. On top of all this, each of the characters, including the series narrator, played by Ron Howard, has something unique and interesting to bring to the table. From Jason Bateman’s portrayal of the righteous, level headed son, to Will Arnett’s overly dramatic (and horrible) magician, to David Cross’ always hilarious physical humor and dialogue that can be mistaken as meaning many different things, the characters, and the actors who play them, can carry this show on their own, even if you disregard every other amazing aspect of this show.
Although I could write forever about the acting, there are still so many aspects of this show that made it the best show on television, and still the best to this day. One of the major things that made Arrested Development the amazing show that it was, was its ability to take whatever risks the creators felt necessary, to make a constantly entertaining television show. There were risks, like controversial jokes, such as “My husband is dying, I’ll get all the attention, like superman’s wife got.”, as well as risks like having more swearing than any other show on network television. On top of all this there were highly controversial themes in the plot, such as incest, and the war in Iraq.
Perhaps the main risk the creators of the show had to take was the specific presentation and style of the show, in regards to it finding loyal viewers, and keeping its ratings up enough to survive. The creators took a huge risk when choosing to make a show with such un-relatable characters, as well as a plot that can only be understood by the most loyal viewers, and a format that is best understood when watched on DVD “back to back to back”. To the average TV watcher, all these factors may seem like huge flaws, and probably are if you don’t watch the show regularly or don’t appreciate television other than as a source for repetitive reality shows, and sitcoms that don’t require you to think or use your mind in any way other than keeping your eyes open long enough to see who was voted off whatever island some strangers are stranded on this particular season.