'Arrested Development' Season 4: How Tongue-and-Cheek Comedies Returned to Airwaves
"Take my love, Take my land, Take me where I cannot stand..."
It only takes that one line of song and Browncoats everywhere will drop what they are doing to finish the rest. To what Firefly was for lovers of science fiction, another oft-quoted show became the cornerstone of comedy lovers everywhere, and just as it was foretold, Arrested Development is returning.
Great shows tend to be canceled before their prime, shows like: Star Trek, Mr. Show with Bob and David, Jericho, Pushing Daisies, The Ben Stiller Show, Undeclared, Veronica Mars, Twin Peaks, and the transcendent Arrested Development. Arrested Development has had, quite possibly, the largest cult following for any cancelled television show ... ever.
Despite raking in only four million viewers for its final season on the Fox network, its online viewership is through the roof. Arrested Development is so popular, in fact, that Netflix has decided to revoke the cancelation of Arrested Development and give it another season and a movie (your move, Community). Arrested Development's popularity arose due to its strong writing, great characters and being insanely quotable, however a multitude of problems occured when Arrested Development was broadcast. First among many, was its' dense and convoluted story arches, Arrested Development was a show that rewarded faithful viewers but punished the casual flipper by being more self-referential than The Simpsons, the other major issue being that Fox seemed to be keen on killing this show as quickly as it could by running episodes against Football games and even the Winter Olympics. These problems will most likely fade or disappear completely when Arrested Development plays on Netflix which will allow viewers to watch the show as it was originally intended (in one binge sitting). Following the newfound success of Arrested Development, will other, similar, shows find a similar second wind?
Can you imagine a world where shows don't have to die, where great comedies and biting satires could live on forever? A world where 30 Rock, Better Off Ted, and Running Wilde are still going strong and The Office is still relevant? Hopefully, we can! The average television viewer is showing more and more interest into "smart comedies" that the average TV sitcom (sorry The Mindy Show, I still, kinda like you!) is falling to the wayside and a hole is being created inside the world of television. A hole that can only be filled by tongue-in-cheek comedy. If the release of the fourth season of Arrested Development is as successful as literally everyone thinks that it is, TV may get a whole lot better via the rule of supply and demand. Arrested Development does well, ergo there is a massive push to view it (demand) and viewers want to see things similar. TV networks will have to step up their game to meet that demand with some supply, and not rely on IFC to do it for them.
Even if none of those shows get the un-cancelation that they deserve, or the networks continue to drop the ball when it comes to entertainment (I'm looking at you E!, entertainment is in the name of your channel and all you can give me is The Soup, I can't watch Knocked Up anymore, I just can't) we all can still bask in the comedic glow of Arrested Development and spend our days shouting quotes and catch-phrases at each other, and pray that someday our children will have their own Arrested Development to gush over.
For anyone who hasn't heard of Arrested Development, here are a few excellent examples of its trademark subversive humor represented by each member of the eclectic Bluth Family, Michael, George-Michael, Lindsay, Lucille, Gob, Buster, Oscar, Maeby, and George Bluth Sr.:
And a bonus segment by the incomperable Dr. Tobias Fünke, never-nude and professional AnalRapist.