The new season of “Arrested Development” is weird.
That’s like saying that the sun is brighter than it usually is but it’s hard not to watch Season 4 and not squint your eyes and frown up your lips a little bit. At first, I thought it was because of the classic “We don’t know what we want” syndrome that I’ve written about twice now. But I don’t think it’s that. I’d know if “Arrested Development” wasn’t funny, and it still is. What’s weird is that it’s not as funny as it was before but it’s twice as weird. We have “don’t tip Black people” jokes and straight-to-gay conversions, adultery, fathers and sons accidentally sharing sexual partners, mild drug use and pedophile jokes. In one episode. I don’t have time to detail all the rest.
The reason why the new season of “Arrested Development” isn’t like the others is because we’ve completely lost the group dynamic. The Bluths don’t spend much time together. What we had before was a screwed up family trying to work their way through a world that was also screwed up. Now we have a bunch of individuals trying to navigate the world by themselves. The moral and ethical flaws we thought were funny before now seem sad. It’s almost lonely. We get ten minutes of Gob being Gob, but without the proper counter weights. (I think this is because the show couldn’t get the entire cast together at one time. If you look closely, there are obvious places where characters are “blue-screened” in. Or is it “green-screen?” You get the point. Maybe they couldn’t afford to have them all in the same place at once, but it’s something someone will probably write about one day.)
It’s also apparent that the family doesn’t love each other anymore. I mean, they barely loved each other in the old seasons. But, if they didn’t love each other, why would they spend so much time in the house together? Constantly helping each other? The show starts off with most of them not having spoken in years. When friends don’t talk for a while, it’s just because they grow apart. When families don’t talk for a while it’s because something went wrong. The last scene of the season has George Michael punch his father, with a long, awkward moment of silence between them. Punching your father pretty much means the relationship is permanently ruined, with little help of recovery.
I feel a bit of buyers remorse, but I didn’t really pay for it. If anything, Season 4 wraps up the series nicely. If you have people act like jerks for years, it seems fitting that there are some consequences to their actions.