‘Arrested Development’ season 5: Development far from arrested

‘Arrested Development’ season 5: Development far from arrested

‘Arrested Development’ season 5: Development far from arrested
May 30
18:31 2018

It has been five years since we last saw the Bluth family of the Emmy-winning cult-classic comedy series “Arrested Development,” but they are back. I am about as excited as Bluth matriarch, Lucille Bluth, when she sees Gene Parmesan.

On Tuesday, Netflix released the first eight episodes of the fifth season (with eight more coming later this year), and the new episodes are so dramatic and flamboyant it makes me want to set myself on fire.

“Arrested” originally ran for three seasons on FOX from 2003 to 2006 before being canceled due to low ratings despite critical acclaim and six Emmy wins, including Outstanding Comedy Series in 2004.

It would be seven years before we saw them again, as Netflix revived the series in 2013 for a 15-episode run. The episodes were not as well received as the original run, but still provided laughs for the fans who were longing for the show’s unique sense of humor. 

When we last saw the Bluths, Michael and his son George Michael figured out they were dating the same woman, who happens to be the fictional illegitimate daughter of Ron Howard, resulting in George Michael punching his father. Lindsay found her calling as a speaker at a campaign rally for a man whose views she completely disagrees with, while Lucille and George were trying to get a wall built along the U.S.-Mexico border (they chanted “build the wall!” even before President Trump began running for office). Gob was confused about his former magician foe Tony Wonder (Ben Stiller) suddenly becoming someone he thinks he is romantically interested in, while it is actually just the first time he has ever felt friendship. And Lucille 2 went missing on the night of Cinco de Cuatro (a celebration on the day before Cinco de Mayo started by the Bluths in order to take away from the actual Hispanic tradition) and has not been seen since.

Now, the Bluths are giving themselves an award for Family of the Year through their own company, Lindsay is running for Congress and Michael is once again trying to escape this family that has caused him so much stress. You could say many of them are trying to find a new start (“anustart?”) in life.

The new batch of episodes are more viewer friendly than the original season 4 episodes were, as they feature much of the cast participating together and are not so centered on one character per episode.

Jason Bateman is back in perfect form as the highly likable protagonist who can never quite escape the Bluth craziness. Will Arnett returns seamlessly to the role of Gob and Tony Hale is given more time to shine than ever in the opening episode. Jessica Walter’s boozy Lucille is back and ready to insult anyone in her proximity while drinking a vodka rocks (and maybe eating a piece of toast if it’s breakfast). Alia Shawkat as Maeby Fünke seems to have some of the most fun in this batch of episodes, transforming numerous times with wig, costume and makeup changes as she impersonates others as a part of whatever her latest scheme is.

Portia de Rossi, who stepped away from acting last year, had to be convinced to return for the new season, and appeared in just five of the first eight episodes. There is currently no word on what her involvement will be in the second half of the season.

The new season makes great use of the series long-running recurring jokes, including kissing cousins (and no one recognizing the illegitimate Bluth cousin Steve Holt!), Mr. F references, and Tobias’ continued poorly chosen wording.

Overall, the new episodes were worth the binge to me. There’s still a lot of lying in this family … and a lot of love. While confusing at times, I recommend sticking around for the ride, as it’ll probably make sense later, or Ron Howard will explain it to you. The performances were great and the writing remains sharp, and as long as the series can continue to produce episodes like these, I say we stay away from permanently arresting development and keep this gem alive for awhile longer.

My rating: 4/5

Featured Image: Courtesy Netflix

About Author

Sean Riedel

Sean Riedel

Sean Riedel is currently the News Editor at the North Texas Daily, and previously served as a staff writer from June 2017 to May 2018.

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