The Brilliant Underperformance

May 13 2013 @ 11:10am

I confess to an addiction to Arrested Development. Aaron and I have watched it for years – on and off. It’s the purest character drama and also yet the purest sight-gag, one-liner comedy. It’s the combination of that Mitchell Hurwitz writing with a no-duds crew of brilliant actors that make this da-da fantasy so effortlessly scrumptious. Will Leitch admires its enduring cultural power, citing the show’s unprecedented return from the dead seven years after cancellation:

Arrested Development didn’t just foretell the viewing culture of 2013; it might have created it. The television world is so fractured and niche now that the shows we watch have become an important signifier of who we are—who we want to be seen as, anyway. I’m a Louie person but not a Community person. I’m a Breaking Bad person but not a Homeland one. And if I saw on your Facebook wall that you were an Arrested Development fan, well, I could bet you and I were gonna get along just fine. Which we did: That incredible ­camaraderie within the accidental, haphazard, seemingly pointless community of Arrested Development obsessives is one large reason the show eventually got resurrected. That kind of collective action would have been insane to imagine in 2006. That a tiny fan base could rally to revive a show a season after it went off the air? Maybe. But seven years later? It feels like a major evolutionary event.

Still, he doesn’t expect the reboot to increase the show’s modest commercial clout:

As geeked out as we all are that Arrested Development has returned, let’s not start pretending that the show is somehow mainstream, that its giddy weirdness could ever be called mainstream. Netflix has already ruled out a second season for the show, though Hurwitz himself has expressed interest. He’s also planning for the Netflix episodes to lead into a movie, and as exciting as that is for me and the rest of us superfans, I can’t imagine the movie ever becoming a hit. It is very possible that Arrested Development is about to be the first show to underperform in three different ­distribution channels.

IMHO, a movie would be a terrible idea. Arrested Development is quintessentially a TV show, like Doctor Who. It’s its quickness, randomness and TV-ness that make it so different.

Previous Dish on the show’s return here and here.