Speaking of weird-ass stuff, how about last week’s Arrested Development?
To investigate George Sr.’s claims of being a patsy for a British conspiracy, Michael goes to a neighborhood described as “the British part of Orange County”—in the vein, I suppose, of a Chinatown or Little Tokyo—called “Wee Britain.” Wee Britain is decked out to look like a British street, everyone drives on the wrong side of the road and operates on Greenwich Mean Time, and a Merry Poppuns (just dissimilar enough from Mary Poppins to avoid trademark infringement) flies through the air on a guide line twice a day, endangering pedestrians in its path.
It’s all incredibly bizarre and surreal, presented in a typically deadpan way, and definitely the farthest that AD has stretched reality up to this point. As I said regarding Joey (and to an extent, The Simpsons), stretching reality usually results in the show eventually losing credibility. The other thing to worry about is that when writers start getting weird, it usually means they’re running short on ideas. Hence the increasing weirdness on The Simpsons during the Scully years and the surreal, cartoonish final two seasons of Seinfeld.
So I’m not sure about how I feel when Arrested Development starts getting strange like this. But ultimately, it’s still hilarious, and I trust the show like I trust Japanese food—even when it’s weird, I feel they know what they’re doing. Besides, with this show it’s all about enjoying the ride. I don’t want to spoil it by getting overly analytical. At least, not as long as the humor is intact.
Also, for the first time ever, the show opened with a “Previously on…” segment, which I’ve long thought might increase its accessibility. But like their traditional fake-out “Next week” segments, which always feature scenes not in next week’s show, the “previously” segment included bits not in last week’s show, and ultimately didn’t make the show any easier to understand.