The fourth season of Arrested Development came out this morning on Netflix. I watched the first episode. They seem to be structuring the episodes differently this time. Each one focuses on one character. This first episode was on Michael. In the original series, it took quite some time to realize that Michael was actually just as narcissistic as the rest of his family. In this episode, Michael is horrible. And as usual, his target is the only genuinely nice character in the whole show, his son George Michael. As usual, Michael refuses to hear what his son is saying. In this case, he’s been living with George Michael in his dorm room for six months. It is very uncomfortable to watch.
The good news is that the episode is very funny. But it does feel different. The first episode is 32 minutes long. My understanding is that all of the episodes are different lengths. Since they didn’t have to shoehorn episodes into broadcast television time slots, they didn’t. This is nice. However, after years of watching the show, I’ve developed a strong sense of its timing, and that is gone. The new show is not as crisp. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It allows scenes to linger in nice ways that it never could have before.
The episode ends with Michael returning to the old model home, which is now in the middle of a ghost town, built by Michael shortly before the housing bubble burst. On returning to the house, he finds it in shambles with an ostrich inside it. And thus we move on to the story of Lindsay. I’ll update when I’ve seen more of the series.
Update (26 May 2013 12:54 am)
The next episode is not Lindsay’s. However, the ostrich does seem to be due to her.
Update (26 May 2013 1:23 am)
One reason that I’ve heard Arrested Development had trouble garnering an audience when on regular TV was that you really had to watch it from the beginning. The opening didn’t explain the plot (if that were even possible). And so it all just seemed bizarre. These episodes do a much better job of contextualizing what’s going on. I’m sure that’s largely because it’s been 7 years since season three. But it helps viewers regardless.
Update (26 May 2013 1:58 am)
The third episode is the funniest thus far. And it has Maria Bamford as a methadone patient. She eats butter.