More ‘Arrested Development’ is a terrible idea
Today, after months of speculation and four years after the last season, Netflix announced that Arrested Development will return for Season 5 sometime in 2018.
And I really don’t want it.
Now, I absolutely love the first three seasons. I started watching the show live in the beginning of the first season in 2003 (yes, I’m an #OriginalFan), and it quickly became one of my favorite television comedies ever — and I’ve watched a lot. The ridiculous characters so well portrayed, the rapid-fire jokes that build on each other over seasons, and the strong writing all crafted a piece of television history that remains timeless in its own way.
Arrested Development was the next evolution of television comedy after the late ’90s accepted nihilism on networks with shows like Seinfeld, and explored exaggerated silliness on cable sketch shows like Kids in the Hall and Mr. Show. And, in turn, AD paved the way for the glory of comedy today, in shows like Veep, Silicon Valley, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
When AD was canceled in 2006, it went out on a super high note. Michael and George Michael sail off into the sunset, while the family drama ends where it began: police boats chasing the rest of the Bluths.
That should have been the end of the show completely.
When rumors swirled around that the cast could come together for a fourth season, the internet orgasmed in collective delight at the thought that their fav domestic dysfunctions would return.
Then, as now, I didn’t want it.
From The Office to Cheers, countless television shows have shown that the longer a show lasts, the worst it gets. Quality dips as storylines are exhausted, character potential is drained and writing often gets boiled down into its most concentrated part (remember how stupid Kevin is in The Office at the end compared to Season 1?). It’s the very rare show that doesn’t jump some sort of shark and to push for more and more of a favorite show is playing with fire. And you’ll usually get burned.
And many people did get burned with AD Season 4. It was a wild, mixed bag that was hard to follow at best and a mess at worse. The darker timelines gave the show a melancholic tint and it seemed like the situations stretched reality far more than the previous seasons did. And since contractual obligations kept the characters from interacting with each other, it didn’t feel like the show and it was jarring to have (often overly long) episodes based solely around a few characters. Netflix gave creator Mitch Hurwitz a clean slate and he took a mile.
I did enjoy Season 4, but I certainly didn’t love it.
Can we really expect Season 5 to be better?
Hurwitz hinted at the only possible thing that a new season could give the world with this great quote in the press release:
“In talks with Netflix we all felt that stories about a narcissistic, erratically behaving family in the building business — and their desperate abuses of power — are really underrepresented on TV these days.”
Sure, maybe AD will have something to say about Life During Trumptime, but so many other shows are already in that space. (In truth, Lady Dynamite, the Maria Bamford-led Netflix show, also created by Hurwitz serves as a much more apt AD successor.)
I would much rather have the creators and performers in things I love try something new rather than try to cash in on what worked before. Let things end! Over time, we all grow emotionally and critically and I would rather these people explore and experiment. Always returning to the same comfortable thing is kinda lazy and does nothing to foster personal growth.
It’s like romanticizing high school. You don’t want to go back there as a grown-ass adult. A quick look through your Facebook friends will show you how different everything is now and to try go recreate your enjoyment of it would just be sad. We all need to move on. The world changes and we should try to change with it and explore what new things can happen here, rather than hope to capture the magic of days gone.
So please, thank you for everything you’ve done, but stop with the Arrested Development.