Arrested Disappointment

I don't want to rain on the Internet's parade, but there's no way everybody is going to like the new season of Arrested Development.

Do you remember the last season? It was seven years ago, so you might not. It had an entire episode about how the Bluths were unlikable, because that's what the market research said about Arrested Development. When the season order was cut from 22 episodes to 13, there was an episode about that happening to the Bluths. If the third season was about anything, it was about the creators being angry that no one was watching their show.

By the time it went off the air, much of the humor was coming from references to things in Arrested Development itself. And I like continuity porn as much as the next guy, but there's a limit. Everyone's spent the last seven years saying "I've made a huge mistake" and "banger in the mouth," and they want more of what they're used to hearing themselves say. Five minutes into the first episode, Twitter will fill up with outrage unless someone is doing a chicken dance while saying "Annyong!" And if that does happen, then the outrage is going to be about how it's nothing but a collection of catchphrases and references.

But maybe the new season will be great. I hope it is! Maybe they've come up with new and fresh ways for Michael Cera to have a crush on Alia Shawkat now that they're both 24 years old. Maybe it will be hilarious all over again when Tobias (David Cross) accidentally says something with homoerotic overtones.

It's a difficult balancing act to bring back running gags in a way that feels new without just pandering to the audience. Here are some ways the new season could go with certain popular elements:

There's A New Bluth Chicken Dance...

Good: By Michael (Jason Bateman)

Better: By George Michael or Maeby

Pandering: By Buster (Tony Hale), but he stabs something with his hook and shouts "I'm a monster!" while slamming juiceboxes.

Steve Holt...

Good: Says "Steve Holt!"

Better: Says "Steve Holt!" a few times

Pandering: Is the star of an episode called "Steve Holt!" where he's married to the former Ann Veal (Mae Whitman), who now can only say "Ann Holt!"

GOB debuts a new trick, in which...

Good: He accidentally gives away the secret.

Better: His lovely assistant turns out to be Amy Poehler because she and Will Arnett didn't really get divorced after all. Hooray!

Pandering: He saws Franklin the puppet in half, then says "I've made a huge mistake" while shouting about how expensive his suit is.


Good But Also Pandering: Says a lot of unintentionally homoerotic things.

The Narrator...

Good: Occasionally references the real world.

Better: Spends an entire episode reminiscing about getting drunk with Robin Williams and Don Knotts.

Pandering: Ends the last episode's "Next week on Arrested Development" with a eight-minute ad-libbed pitch for Star Wars: Episode VII.


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