Arrested Development: Season 2
February 10, 2006
Lee Shallat Chemel, Paul Feig, Joe Russo, Peter Lauer,
Starring: Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Alia Shawkat, Tony Hale, David Cross, Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter, Henry Winkler, ,
lot of mistaken identity humour.
It’s an understatement to say that the Bluth family is extremely dysfunctional. Buster is the ultimate mama’s boy with a very dependent relationship with his mother. Lindsay and Tobias don’t relate to each other anymore. She is selfish and he’s selfless. George, Sr. is corrupt and unfaithful while his wife is too wrapped up in herself to care. This leaves Michael as one of the only sympathetic characters on the show. He is the long-suffering straight man to this oddball family, constantly putting their needs before his own and this causes him all kinds of anxiety.
The cast is uniformly excellent, instilling all sorts of colourful and very funny quirks and quarks into their characters. The stand outs are David Cross who plays Tobias as something of a tragic figure who means well but allows his wife to walk all over him. In an inspired plot twist, he tries out to be a member of The Blue Man Group whom he thinks is a support group, not realizing that they are in fact popular performance artists.
The other stand out in the cast is Will Arnett who plays Gob as an inept blowhard. Not only does he have killer dialogue but its how he delivers it that makes his character so enjoyable to watch. It is also the ridiculousness of his character – a David Copperfield wannabe who wishes he was more like Michael but is just too crass and selfish to ever be like that.
Jason Bateman probably has the hardest role playing the straight man who anchors the show with his deadpan demeanour as the most normal person in the family (that’s not hard to do). As a result he acts as the audience surrogate and is the accessible way into the show. Bateman reacts perfectly to the other cast members as they bounce off him with their weird behaviour.
Arrested Development is very well-written with a nice mix of truly laugh-out-loud moments, subtle asides and throwaway visual gags. There are even some jokes that are set up early on in an episode only to pay off later. The writers not only flesh out the main cast but also provide elaborate backstories for characters who only appear briefly in an episode. All of this is rooted by Ron Howard’s whimsical voiceover narration that acts like a Greek chorus of sorts to the zany goings on in the show.
Sadly, the consistently poor ratings means that Arrested Development’s days are probably numbered but it has had a good run and is one of the few sitcoms out there that is consistently funny and smart – a thinking person’s comedy.
The first disc features an audio commentary on “Good Grief” by creator Mitchell Hurwitz and cast members Will Arnett, Michael Cera, David Cross, Tony Hale, Alia Shawkat and Jessica Walter. This is a chaotic, raucous affair as they joke and poke fun at the episode. Hurwitz acts a moderator (sort of) but basically this is an entertaining free-for-all.
Most of the episodes also feature deleted scenes.
“Overview: Season One in 3 Minutes” is a basically a trailer for the show.
The second disc features an audio commentary for “Ready, Aim, Marry Me!” with everyone from the first one back. The fun continues with another busy track with lots of jokes and sarcastic asides that is just as entertaining as the episode itself. The highlight: Hurwitz compares Cross to a Muppet.
The third disc features a commentary for “The Righteous Brothers” with more of the same from the previous tracks but this one is probably the least funny of the three.
Finally, there is an eight minute “Blooper Reel” of assorted goofs and line flubs with all the swearing uncensored, which is a nice touch.