Saturday, 14 April 2012

Arrested Development

Smell the Movies
Smell the TV

Transmitted:November 2003 - February 2006
Country of origin:USA
Genre:Sitcom, dysfunctional family, continuous format
Starring:Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Alia Shawkat, Tony Hale, David Cross, Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter, Ron Howard
No. of seasons:3

American comedies that actually make you laugh are a rare treat, aren’t they?

The premise:
Meet the Bluth family.
There was a time, not so long ago, when they were wealthy, successful, respected.
Now, with the head of the family in jail on suspected charges of treason, it’s up to eldest son Michael to keep the business operational, as well as dealing with the trivial, ludicrous behaviour of the rest of the family.
Let’s meet them:
Lucille – The matriarch, she is struggling to deal with the family’s fall from grace. She is also an outrageous liar.
George Michael – Son of Michael, and reasonably balanced for a Bluth.
Gob – Magician, womaniser, layabout.
Lindsay – Dumb, blonde, layabout.
Tobias – An actor, though he has never even attended an audition. He is also a ‘never-nude,’ unable to take all of his clothes off at any time.
Buster – Homosexual, surely, though he doesn’t seem quite aware of it. He also loves his mother a little too much…..
Together, they strive to make Michael’s life as difficult as possible, and seem determined that the family will never be successful again.

At twenty minutes apiece, the episodes are short, sharp jolts of mirth.
The character interplay is excellent, each individual a well-rounded, interesting creation, mainly quirky, though savvy enough in terms of writing and performance to rarely drift over into the horror that is wackiness.
With a genuine arc plot that adds an edge over most sitcoms, this is smart, witty and, to be plain, very entertaining.
Neither as balls out funny nor as confrontational as Curb Your Enthusiasm, still there is some crossover, though it is clear that this is little more mainstream.
To be applauded, also, despite critical and ratings success, this was cancelled by the creator after three seasons, as he said he had told the story he wanted to tell, and did not want the quality to drop for the sake of milking some more episodes out. A commendable attitude, and a shame more in his position do not feel the same way.
Throwaway, silly and pretty damn funny, this is perfect mealtime viewing.

Find an episode guide here:

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