You Don't Deserve an Arrested Development Season/Movie
I keep a folder of topics/concepts/ideas for future posts that comes in handy over the summer and will probably be used extensively during the fall and winter as the NBA bleeds itself to death.
For the past month or so, there has been one topic in particular that I’ve been planning to write about but just hadn’t done so yet. I had a pretty good feeling about it. I knew the framework and I had an angle but I just never did anything with it. It was about a show that I adored and, since there was going to be a reunion, this was going to be the week that I finally wrote it. I wasn’t able to secure tickets to the panel but that didn’t deter my enthusiasm and I thought I would be in the minority of those that would focus on this event. After all, how many times do you read about something that happened at The New Yorker Festival on a site like this?
Then this happened:
“‘We’re trying to do a limited-run series into the movie.’ After a wave of excited applause died down, he continued, ‘We’re basically hoping to do nine or 10 episodes, with almost one character per episode.’”
So much for the event flying under the radar.
This piece was originally meant to be a celebration of the genius that is Arrested Development, but since many others have done just that, I’ll go in another direction and vent my frustration with the people that caused its demise in the first place.
No, not Fox. You.
I blame you. All of you.
99% of you never watched the show while it was actually on TV, choosing instead to watch the equivalent of shit dripping off the screen like Will & Grace or Just Shoot Me. I still remember my roommate and I watching the premier episode and being unable to stop laughing. Over the course of that television season, I would ask everyone I knew if they watched it and I heard basically three answers:
1. “No, I watch (insert terrible show here) instead.”
2. “I watched it once. I don’t get it.”
3. “Nah, I only like watching reality TV.”
It was hard to come away from these conversations without having a migraine and/or the desire to stab myself in the ear with a Ginsu knife.
Arrested Development premiered on November 2, 2003, a time when reality television was still believed to be new (it wasn't) and many sitcoms still used a studio audience. American Idol could attract a viewership of 31 million mouth-breathing apathetic Americans but AD struggled to reach 6 million homes? Travesty. There are those that believe the success of 30 Rock and Mad Men proves that audiences are becoming smarter but I would argue that the success of Two and a Half Men and Big Brother proves that it’s not.
Many people, including the show’s own David Cross, have blamed Fox for the poor ratings and while it is true that the network kept moving the show’s day and time slots, that was done as a reaction to poor ratings. It is up to the viewer to find quality shows, regardless of where they reside. We now know that being on network or cable doesn’t really matter if the quality is superb. Breaking Bad could be on HGTV and fans would still find it. If winning an Emmy won’t get America to pay attention, nothing will. It’s not Fox’s fault that people that watch television 14 hours per day couldn’t find the time to work the "best comedy ever" into their schedules. Yesterday, Andy Greenwald boldly stated that we should not want another season of Arrested Development. While I don’t agree with his reasoning (he doesn’t believe the show can live up to its own high standards), maybe he’s right.
I watched the show religiously, bought the DVD’s, re-watched them countless times, went to the websites (www.saveourbluths.org) and tried to create word of mouth all by myself to keep the show alive. All to no avail.
Now that it’s possibly coming back, the entire world is waiting with anticipation? Where were all of you when we needed you? Much like a diehard sports fan that doesn’t want any new bandwagon fans now that my team has made the playoffs, I don’t accept any of you new Bluth-ites. We’re members of an exclusive club that remember what it was like being the lucky few that were lucky enough to see the show on actual TV. Fox could have put the show on at 2:48 am on a Tuesday morning and we would have been there to watch it while simultaneously DVRing it so that we could watch it again.
When someone asks me now if I’ve ever seen the show, I immediately say that I haven’t so that I can listen to their banal argument about how smart it is and how it’s a shame that no one watched it when it was on TV. I’ll then ask, “Did you watch it when it was on TV?” and the answer is always, “Well, no. But if it comes back I will!”
That’s when I walk away.
Two weeks ago, I outed myself as a television snob. Today, I’m going a step further and proclaiming that you don’t deserve an Arrested Development season and movie. We, the original fans, deserve it but you, the new and/or casual fans, do not. Much like good luck, even if you did get it, you wouldn’t know what to do with it if you got it.
Pierzy writes a weekly NBA column during the season, as well as columns revolving around other sports, hip-hop, movies, TV shows, food, beer, marriage, and so many other topics. You can follow him on Twitter here.