Arrested Development (2006-2018)

Have you ever watched a show that gets funnier with time? This is one of those shows. The personal stories and the narratives are so well written that I can notice new subtleties with every re-watch. This show is witty, however, I think that season 4 was a bit of a stretch that recovers some of its usual passive aggressive humor in season 5 only to reveal the unexpected.

Michael is without a doubt made to be the most likable character in the show. In contrast to his family he is presented as a caring, hardworking and sensitive guy (notice that this is in contrast). Michael is a single father to a teenager. He lost his wife not long ago and he is trying to reconnect with his rich family.

Every single character was casted perfectly and they work so well together. The humor is so subtle that it is one of the few shows with adult humor that can be safely watched with children. Lucille for instance, plays a cruel selfish alcoholic mother who would do anything to keep herself comfortable and viewed as the ‘top dog’ of the clan. Tobias is another one of my favorite characters, he plays confused so well. MIT graduate, doctor in Psychology, sounds like a catch right? Well, something went wrong there and all his intelligence does not help him come to terms with his lifelong dilemma. It is hard to discern which character is the most oblivious but they make an explosive mix of passive aggressive people competing for attention and recognition.

Below is a list of my favorite picks.

S1.Ep2- Top Banana

What could possibly go wrong when a teenage boy has a crush on his cousin and he is constantly forced to ‘ride her’? This episode touches upon the family struggles to make ends meet when all their assets are frozen after an FBI investigation seizes the family patriarch and throws him in jail. Michael finds himself trying to fill his father’s shoes and keeping the family together. The only source of income is a joke of a frozen banana stand by the shore that evokes all kinds of bad memories for the Bluth boys. Dad tries to guide the boys by teaching them that there is always money in the banana stand, but they don’t want to listen, small honest work, dollar by dollar does not seem to cut it for this family used to living the high life. I won’t kill it for you but this episode does a fantastic job introducing the ineptitudes of each family member. It also immortalizes Tobias’ long “excuse me” pauses.

S1. Ep17- Justice is Blind

How hard can it be to have a one night stand? Apparently very hard, at least for Michael. His ineptitude with the opposite sex is exposed in earlier episodes as he seems to fall for the wrong women. However, this episode takes the cake, as Michael sleeps with a very intelligent woman who has a secret. Can his obliviousness have anything to do with his inability to find a girl friend? Michael is what in art is called a ‘Monet’, he seem like the type of guy who would make a good husband/ father, the type of guy who you want to find at your side in the morning to kiss your forehead. But watch closely, because every ‘Monet’ painting that looks good from afar is nothing but a bunch of scattered dots that make very little sense upon a closer look.

How will Michael get out of this one?

S3. Ep6- The Ocean walker

I must confess that it took me all the way to this episode to realized that I was as fooled as Michael by her clever accent. I will not say anymore, but I am curious to know how long it took you to realize what was going on. Did you at any point question your own intelligence? I completely did and I can still laugh about it. I must say I felt as oblivious as Michael. And his father’s advise not to marry a woman because a cheap waitress in a hole said that she used an IUD…. This show is so full of little pearls like this one. 😀

Season 5- Most episodes

This season is the culmination of a great story, all characters coming of age is revealed and some back stories hinted during season 4 come together to show the true nature of every character. In this season we get to see the true colors of each family member, there is no more money, there is no one to appease. Everyone is free to do as they please and as surprising as it may look it was there in front of our faces the whole time. Alia Shawkat’s performance is my favorite, she truly gets to showcase her acting talents as a more mature actress. I can’t wait to see the rest of her work. Enjoy!

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