Wednesday, September 21, 2005

New TV Season: Arrested Development

You all know how I feel. Arrested Development is awesome. This season is no exception.

However, since I'm also more carefully attuned to it, maybe too much, I did feel like something in the rhythms was a little off. But when I rewatched the episode, I couldn’t sense it anymore. Maybe I was over-scrutinizing it the first time through. I do feel there were a couple of jokes that missed the mark a bit, strained too hard, or fell on the overly heavy-handed side of things. Overall, though, still very solid, and still the favorite.

ADDENDUM: Two of the great pleasures of Arrested Development are that it is fast and unpredictable. I think what was happening was that I was starting to anticipate the show's rhythms. Or, when a joke did come, my feeling was more of an "Ah, there's one of the show's trademark repetitions," or "There's one of the show's trademark visual rhymes." And while the fast pace of the show would normally keep you from guessing and over-analyzing while it's running, I've gotten in the habit of savoring joke moments by replaying them over on TiVo. It's great, because there are so many little nuances that are hard to see unless you do this, or at least unless you watch each episode twice. But I think doing it on first viewing does throw off the flow.

5 comments:

Sarah said...

I thought it was ridiculously funny. Too bad the ratings sucked. Do you think it'll even last the season this time? Last year, it had the Emmy win to save it, but it doesn't have that anymore.

C said...

My dad saw arrested development for the first time on monday, because he always works sunday nights. It was funny, and familiar to me. He, however, was completely confused. about halfway through i gave up with the explainations. well, they're cousins, but then it turns out they're not...no it's not an airplane ladder truck, it's for construction....yes fonzie is a lawyer who doesn't do any work... that's funny because she flashes everyone in every episode she's in...I don't know how many new viewers they can pick up this way

they did win an emmy this year though.

Zack said...

Humor me: what's a "visual rhyme?"

Kenny said...

No, it is an airport ladder truck (referred to as the stair car). They got to keep it even though they sold their private jet, and it's the only vehicle they have. Michael bought a Corvette last season but then sold it.

A visual rhyme is a term I may have made up, but what I mean is when they frame one shot purposely similar to a previous shot to emphasize the similarity or as a sight gag. In the last episode, for instance, a series of flashbacks establish that Michael's father always cancelled their trips to the cabin at the last minute, with Michael sitting on the porch sadly with a fishing pole and sleeping bag. The image repeats several times later in the episode, each time with a different disappointed party sitting on a step with a fishing pole and the same sleeping bag. Mitchell Hurwitz also likes visual puns, like when Henry Winkler literally jumps a shark, and sight gags of scale, like Michael and Gob fighting with oversized rock and scissor props (a callback to an earlier reference to rock paper scissors in which the brothers always chose those items), the car slipping on the giant peel of Gob's banana costume, or the arcade-claw obsessed Buster rescuing Gob with a real crane.

Kenny said...

I guess jumping a shark isn't really a visual pun, since originally it was a literal thing on Happy Days. I can't think of visual puns right now, but Hurwitz did say that he like them.