“Now the story of a wealthy family who lost everything, and the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together. It’s Arrested Development.”
In my constant search for ways to be less productive, I decided to start (re)watching some of the DVD sets I have that are collecting dust in my basement. My OCD forces me to sort everything alphabetically, so when I started looking for something to watch, it really didn’t take me long to pick up Arrested Development (sorted third in my TV series shelf, after 30 Rock [which I have seen so many times I can tell you which disc you can find a specific episode you are looking for] and HBO’s mini-series Angels in America, which I still haven’t gotten around to watching because I never find myself in an AIDS-y mood.)
I was first introduced to the show during my Blockbuster years, when my dear friend and awesome co-worker Katie told me that I “NEEEEEED” to watch it. So I did, and about four minutes into the pilot, I knew I loved this show. It was sarcastic and smart, and most of all, it was funny as hell! Of course by the time I discovered the brilliance, Arrested Development was already cancelled.
The show ran for just three seasons, and I can say that all 53 episodes are essential viewing. The series is unique, and in my opinion was a game changer for the TV sitcom. Arrested Development premiered on Nov. 2, 2003, with a cast that has been kept extremely busy since the show ended, including Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, David Cross, Will Arnett and Portia de Rossi, not to mention an impressive selection of guest stars and cameo appearances by Charlize Theron, Ben Stiller, Liza Minelli, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jane Lynch, Amy Poehler and Carl Weathers, among many, many, many others.
The show was a pioneer of sorts, not using a laugh track (like 30 Rock, Community, Modern Family, Parks & Recreation, etc.) and being shot with handheld cameras in the now-popular “mockumentary” style (a la The Office, but really the credit there goes to Ricky Gervais’ version of The Office, which premiered in 2001 in the UK.) It’s also hilariously narrated by Ron Howard (who also produced the show).
The show now has quite a following, and talks of an Arrested Development movie have been floating around pretty much since the series ended in February 2006. The film is now slated for a 2012 release, with the entire original cast reprising their roles.
One of many recurring jokes and references in the show is each family member’s chicken dance. They call each other (mostly Jason Bateman’s Michael Bluth character) chickens when someone isn’t courageous enough or too scared to do something they should be doing. So they tease each other with clucking, clapping (chickens don’t clap) and stomping.