Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Development: Arrested

Or rather, Arrested Development, the brilliant comedy series which is about to come to an end after its current (third) season wraps up. The Wikipedia article linked to above, by the way, is comprehensive and is at the time of this writing one of the few Wikipedia featured articles.

So I just finished watching the first season of this show after hearing people sing its praises for the last year and a half. Could it possibly live up to the hype? In a word, abso-frickin-lutely. Arrested Development is, without a doubt, one of the funniest sit-coms (I'm not even sure that label is apt, because it's no ordinary sit-com) ever made.

The story is about the Bluth family, the family that had it all but lost everything when their patriarch, George Bluth, was arrested for fraud. Michael Bluth, George's only 'responsible' and hard-working child, endeavours to resurrect the company's fortunes and keep the family together. The family is dysfunctional and full of misfits - Michael's shallow twin sister Lindsay, her psychiatrist turned aspiring actor husband Tobias, and their dim-witted daughter Maebe; his scheming magician older brother GOB (pronounced Jobe); his socially under-developed younger brother Buster; his icy and materialistic mother Lucille; and his son, who follows in his father's footsteps and strives to do the right thing (which often involves not revealing his attraction towards his cousin Maebe).

The show features a pseudo 'documentary' style and is accompanied by frequent narration (by an uncredited Ron Howard). There are usually multiple story threads featuring multiple characters that interweave with each other, and the situations that result are over the top and hilarious. The writing and acting is absolutely brilliant, with dead-pan jokes coming thick and fast with the sort of wit and subtelty not often seen on TV... or anywhere else, for that matter. So it comes as no surprise that not enough people watched it, hence the inevitable cancellation.

My little summary doesn't do Arrested Development justice though. As Morpheus once said, no one can be told what it is... you have to see it for yourself. So beg, borrow or steal the DVD set and watch it NOW! I can't wait to start watching season 2.

One last thing - I can't write about this show without mentioning Will Arnett's brilliant portrayal of Gob, which stands out even in the midst of all the other great performances on display. While it's true that he gets many of the best lines, his delivery is still scene-stealing.

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