Will Arrested Development Survive The Transition To The Big Screen?

With an Arrested Development movie on the way, the question has to be asked: does creator Mitch Hurwitz have some tricks - illusions - up his sleeve for the transition?
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With an Arrested Development movie on the way, the question has to be asked: does creator Mitch Hurwitz have some tricks - illusions - up his sleeve for the transition?

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"They're going to be all-white"

Warning: if you are not an Arrested Development watcher already (you really should be), this article will mean very little to you, as it is littered with references to the show. Also, it is riddled with spoilers. Apologies.

“What is that noise?!” – it is the noise for which so many blue Arrested Development fans have waited since its mystifying cancellation six years ago (which you cannot fully blame on 9/11, but it certainly did not help): the announcement of a new series scheduled for January 2013, with an episode based on each character, followed by a film. This statement has inspired mass excitement from the show’s viewers, but will the episodes be able to live up to the brilliance of that Fünke… and the first three volumes; or will it just be a turd out there, on the vast television landscape?

Meanwhile, initial fears of funding were swiftly diminished: there was always money in the banana stand*.

Realistically, given how the two child characters have aged – Michael Cera and Alia Shawkat are 24 and 23 years old now, respectively (though you would never guess it, looking at the former) – head writer Mitch Hurwitz may struggle to retain the ‘dysfunctional family’ element of the show, from whence so much of the humour came. As ‘les cousins dangereux’ were so detached from their families (for very different reasons), it bore more significance because of their youth and need for familial support. Now, as adults, it will be almost impossible to replicate their old scenario without it seeming very laboured. And considering series three and four are to be so far apart, it may suffer a few problems in the way of a smooth transition.

However, watching it from its very first episode, it is most unlike any other comedy show, as it takes almost no time for the writers to settle on how they would like each character to be. They are already fully developed in the minds of the writers. Assuming it is written with the same clear ideas of how the writers want the series, and how each character has changed in the gap, it should be right back into its stride very quickly. Meanwhile, initial fears of funding were swiftly diminished: there was always money in the banana stand*.

It is clear that he has the lighter fluid, and soon he will have the spark to re-create the glorious fireball that was Arrested Development.

When we left the Bluth family, Lucille was attempting her own escape from the Securities and Exchange Commission, after Lindsay had discovered she was not actually a Bluth (and so the kids found out that they were not related), George Senior was officially innocent and Michael and George Michael had decided to spend some time in Cabo, away from the rest of the family – only to find that ‘Pop-pop’ was on the boat with them. The ending was a perfect set-up for a potential film, but one can only hope that they do not prematurely shoot their wad on the pre-series – which is supposed to be a dry run.

In ending Season three as he did, it was clear to see that Hurwitz had a clear plan for what he wanted to happen next in the show, which is extremely encouraging for those of us with reserved fears about the quality of the next set of episodes and subsequent film. It is clear that he has the lighter fluid, and soon he will have the spark to re-create the glorious fireball that was Arrested Development.

What must be considered when discussing the potential for the episodes ahead is the sheer brilliance of Mitch Hurwitz, as a writer.

The show will have to be very different, given external circumstances, but this does not mean it should be any worse. If anything, it could be even better – just imagine that: it is enough to give you a case of the dizzies. It may evolve as a programme, beyond what it was, with new angles from which to approach each character; building on the magnificent jokes from the original series and creating new ones for this. What must be considered when discussing the potential for the episodes ahead is the sheer brilliance of Mitch Hurwitz, as a writer. He made a show of the comedic calibre and unpredictability of the initial series and doubtless he will do so again. There is still an over-arching feeling that Arrested Development is yet to fill its potential as a comedy show and now Hurwitz has abandoned his bee business**, sealed a deal with Netflix and returned to writing it, it can, somehow, be even better than it was before.

*Not strictly true.

**Also not strictly true.

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