Look motherfuckers, Aerial Telly was always going to review Arrested Development, Fox’s brilliant sitcom that ran from 2003 to 2006. He’s just had a lot on his plate is all. But did you seriously ever think it wasn’t coming? He found it difficult to resist the story of the rich family fallen on hard times and the one sensible son’s desperate attempts to keep his selfish and manipulative siblings and mother together, out of jail and back on the right track. It’s a classic centre and eccentrics format which works extraordinarily well because of characters drawn with atomic precision to be internally consistent in their stupidity and because of the deftly constructed dynamic between characters that means they needle the shit out of each other at every turn. George Bluth snr (Jeffrey Tambor) is the wayward patriarch, founder of The Bluth Company. His indictment for fraud as the show begins sets up the series premise and has the viewer bathing in the warm asses’ milk of cremular primo sitcom.
Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) is the one sensible son. A loyal responsible widower, raising his son George-Michael (Michael Cera) he’ll always try to do the right thing (these two actors would team up again for Juno but Aerial Telly does not hold retroactive grudges). And doing the right thing is tough going with siblings like Gob (Will Arnett) (pronounced Jōb, like him from the Old Testament) , a useless magician and sometime stripper, he’s always up in Michael’s ass for a favour and screwing up with such regularity he could get a job managing FC Twente.
Portia de Rossi plays Lindsay, Michael’s beautiful, shallow, materialist twin sister. In her private life, Pieortia de Rossi spends much of her time ears deep in Ellen Degenerate‘s 50-year-old snatch which I imagine is some kind of solace for Degenerate after California rejected gay marriage In fact, I struggle to think of any political disappointment that could not be overcome by Pieortia’s pum-pum. Just saying. Pie shall overcome, some day.
"It’s a classic centre and eccentrics format – characters drawn with atomic precision to be internally consistent in their stupidity and because of the deftly constructed dynamic between characters that mean they needle the shit out of each other at every turn."
Buster (Tony Hale) is the youngest sibling and the special-needs case of the family. Simultaneously claustrophobic and agoraphobic, Buster has an unhealthy attachment to his mother (as opposed to the healthy kind as in a French film I once saw where a milfy pie bangs her teenage son senseless; the title escapes me) Lucille (Jessica Walter), a manipulative, craven drunk who can barely be bothered to disguise her contempt for her offspring. Won’t someone think of the children?
Probably not, because children don’t have it easy in Arrested Development as Mae "Maeby" Fünke (Alia Shawkat) Lindsay’s much neglected streetwise daughter will attest. But George-Michael likes Maeby and wants to fuck the living shit out of his cousin like his name was Greta Scacchi. There’s a long-standing running joke about incest in the family with various inappropriate inter-family lustings and this is just great because incest is never anything less than hilarious.
"Buster has an unhealthy attachment to his mother (as opposed to the healthy kind is in a French film I once saw; the title escapes me)."
Possibly the best character is Lindsay’s husband Tobias Fünke (David Cross). Tobias is a discredited psychiatrist and closet homosexual although he is so deeply closeted even he doesn’t realise it. He is possibly as gay as Alex from the second season of The Pickup Artist and only marginally less deluded.
"George Michael wants to fuck the living shit out of his cousin like his name was Greta Scacchi. There’s a long-standing running joke about incest in the family and this is just great because incest is never anything less than hilarious."
But yeah, Arrested Development – glorious, wonderful, peerless. One of the best sitcoms ever written, it struggled to get the ratings it deserved despite universal critical acclaim. It’s really too bad because there was and remains much to love about the show. Gob’s shite magic, Lindsay’s inept attempts at promiscuity, Tobias unacknowledged and fabulous gayness, Buster’s motherlove, George-Michael’s cousinlove and Michael’s forlorn attempts to bring it all together. If, like most people, you cocked a deaf ‘un to the show during its natural life span, you really need to right that before you die like the dog you are.
The best thing about it: Tobias. And the sacred pie of Portia.
The worst thing about it: Tobias walking around in cut-offs.
The verdict on Arrested Development: Not really everyday people.
Marks out of 10: 8.5
Imagined: 7th November 2008