Justice is blind-
I love this show as much as FOX hates it, which is a lot. I mean, running the last four new episodes all at once, up against the opening ceremonies of the OLYMPICS?! At first I thought that would be a good thing for ratings, but it turns out that for some reason people still care about the Olympics.
I feel like this is another reminder that television is all about ratings and profits, and that there isn’t room for even one truly magnificent show with a small audience anymore. Seinfeld’s average ratings through three seasons left it outside of the top 30 shows on television, but the inside looks in the recent DVD releases show that Seinfeld survived into its golden years because a handful of executives believed in the show and wanted it to reach as many people as possible. The opposite could be said of AD and the network suits who can’t wait to see it go.
I’ve been pretty down about this news lately, but whenever I consider FOX’s current schedule, I can’t help but look on the bright side. Prison Break, Skating with Celebrities, and The OC are all staying put. No complaints there!
Chickens don’t clap-
To understand just how great Arrested Development was, you have to see it against the backdrop of by-the-numbers mediocrity which rules the sitcom wasteland. Instead of the laugh track dreck which was standard fare for network television, we got with Arrested Development a show which was fresh, bold, and most importantly, really fucking funny. I can sincerely say that this program changed my life. OK, maybe not, but there were some great moments, and perhaps that’s all you can really ask from a television program. Favorite AD Memories: The Mexico Episode, J. Walter Weatherman, the racial comic stylings of Franklin, the one with the Japanese investors, and the loose seal.
But now it’s gone
Oh Fox….I hope the Earth Liberation Front burns down the slopeside chalet of the gutless exec who axed this show. I hope Fox has to pay a billion dollars because some eight-year-old Methodist preacher’s son in Kansas sees a nipple on Trading Spouses. I hope Rupert Murdoch liquidates his own company on a drunken bet from his lead counsel.
I love Arrested Development, but honestly, I am not that sad. Something like this has happened so many times already. My-So Called Life, Freaks and Geeks, and Wonderfalls have already broken my heart and made me jaded about any chance a quirky, slightly off-beat bit of awesomeness can exist in TV land for any extended period of time. A thousand online petitions and several thousand angry people on Internet message boards won’t amount to anything. Arrested Development is gone, but certainly not forgotten. The only thing now to do is to be thankful: thankful for the invention of DVDs, thankful for the fact that some brilliant shows actually manage to last (like Buffy and Seinfeld), and thankful for the fact that we never saw Arrested Development degenerate into a crap-filled final season (like Buffy and Seinfeld).
And that’s why you don’t teach lessons.
I have to admit, I was never a religious follower of “Arrested Development.” It was always something I was delighted to catch, and when I missed it, I told myself it needed to be seen. But, unless Showtime or ABC picks the show up, I will always curse myself for not being more addicted to the misadventures of the Bluth family. Every awkward moment between George-Michael and Maeby, the time Maeby told Steve Holt her mother was a man because of her laryngitic voice… a comedy of so many errors that nonetheless worked flawlessly. I wish I’d seen more of it.
You’re replacing my mother
I cannot fully explain my emotional attachment to the Bluths. I should be able to. If I brought them into my home every week, I should be clear as to why I’m invested in their successes and failures, in their triumphs and all-too-frequent defeats, in their relationships, or lack there of. But they were wholly unlikable people.
But love them I did. I loved that they were worse than I was, worse than my family, worse to their friends, worse to themselves. I loved that they were more daring, more clueless, cleverer, weirder, and smarter than I could ever hope to be. I loved that I could never live up to them, for better or for worse.
I’ll remember their deluded, insane, incestuous and incredibly alive little world not only for what it accomplished critically for itself, but for what it accomplished for the medium of television. Arrested Development should stand as one of the best instances of storytelling of our generation, and one of the reasons why present categorizations of TV have shed those so insulting, unintelligent and demeaning adjectives previously employed to describe it.
Accordingly, my love letter to the Bluth family is also one to FOX, for letting me get to know the Bluths for three years, when logically and financially speaking, I should have barely known them beyond 22 minutes. And dare I thank FOX for pulling the plug after these three years, for letting me have loved and lost, instead of having all of us fall out of love after a very likely mediocre fourth season.
Ultimately, with the unlikely prospect of that fourth season, the best creative tribute I can then give the Bluths is to beg for Scrubs what Arrested used to beg of us: “Please tell your friends about this show!”