Philosophising about the 'S'-word: Watch… and learn
Arrested Development is an American television sitcom created by Mitchell Hurwitz (Running Wilde), which originally aired on Fox for three seasons from November 2, 2003 to February 10, 2006. A fourth season of 15 episodes was released on Netflix on May 26, 2013. The show follows the fictitious Bluth family, a formerly wealthy and habitually dysfunctional family, and is presented in a continuous format, incorporating handheld camera work, narration, archival photos, and historical footage. Ron Howard (Happy Days) serves as an executive producer and the series’ uncredited narrator. Set in Newport Beach, California, Arrested Development was filmed primarily in Culver City and Marina del Rey.
The plot of Arrested Development revolves around the members of the Bluth family, who lead extravagant lifestyles, and are also often drawn into interactions with incestuous undertones. At the center of the show is Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman, The Hogan Family), the show’s straight man, who strives to do the right thing and keep his family together, despite their materialism, selfishness, and manipulative natures. Michael is a widowed single father. His teenage son, George Michael (Michael Cera, Clark and Michael), has the same qualities of decency but feels a constant pressure to live up to his father’s expectations and is often reluctant to follow his father’s plans.
Michael’s father, George Bluth Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor, The Good Wife, Bent, Transparent), is the patriarch of the family, who often goes to considerable lengths to manipulate and control his family. His wife, and Michael’s mother, Lucille (Jessica Walter, 90210, Archer), is equally manipulative, materialistic, and hypercritical of every member of her family, as well as being a perpetual drunk. In particular, she has a tight grip on her youngest son, Byron “Buster” Bluth (Tony Hale, Veep), who, as a result of her over-mothering, is unstable, socially inept, and prone to panic attacks.
Michael’s older brother is “Gob” (Will Arnett, The Millers, Flaked), an unsuccessful professional magician whose business and personal schemes usually fail or become tiresome and are quickly abandoned. His name is an acronym for George Oscar Bluth II, pronounced //, like the Biblical figure Job. Michael’s twin sister Lindsay (Portia de Rossi, Ally McBeal, Nip/Tuck) is spoiled and materialistic, continually desiring to be the center of attention and attracted to various social causes. She is married to Tobias Fünke (David Cross, Archer, Community), a discredited psychiatrist-turned-aspiring actor. Tobias is a self-diagnosed “never-nude”, whose language and behavior have heavily homosexual overtones to which he seems completely oblivious and which are the center of much tongue-in-cheek comedy throughout the series.Their daughter is Mae “Maeby” Fünke (Alia Shawkat, State of Grace, Getting On), a rebellious teen, whose chief motivation is defying her parents, in an effort to get their attention.
Since its debut in 2003, the series has received widespread critical acclaim, six Primetime Emmy Awards, and one Golden Globe Award, and has attracted a cult following, including several fan-based websites. In 2007, Time listed it among the magazine’s “All-TIME 100 TV Shows”. In 2008, the show was ranked 16th on Entertainment Weekly‘s “New TV Classics” list. In 2011, IGN named Arrested Development the “funniest show of all time”.
Despite acclaim from critics, Arrested Development received low ratings and viewership on Fox, which canceled the series in 2006. Rumors of an additional season and a feature film persisted until 2011, when Netflix agreed to license new episodes and distribute them exclusively on its streaming video service. These episodes were later released in 2013. The script of an Arrested Development film has also been in development, with the main cast purported to reprise their original roles.