Monday, February 24, 2014

Review of Arrested Development Season 4 Episodes 4-7

More Episodes Reviewed….
Episode 4: The B. Team (Featured character: Michael Bluth)
So far, Michael’s episodes have been the strongest. I am having an internal debate about that however, because I still question whether I feel that way because the two Michael episodes have felt the most familiar and in-line with the first three seasons. Inserting Ron Howard into the story itself (going beyond narration) again shows that Season 4 takes steps outside of boundaries Season 1-3 set up. With Chachi and the Fonz already I guess it’s not too much of a leap to take. The jokes (some of them inside jokes?) involving Imagine Entertainment and Ron have been some of the best in this new season so far. Isla Fisher plays a new love interest for Michael, and again Michael finds himself misunderstanding who he’s dating. It’s funny, but not an instant classic like Julia-Louis Dreyfus’ and Charlize Theron’s turns as Michael’s love interests. Overall, a solid episode, with some good cameos, both old and new (John Krasinki among them) Grade: B+
Episode 5: “A New Start” (Featured Character: Tobias)
This episode really builds from Episode 2 of this season, and rewards the viewer patient enough to sit through that episode that lacked a lot of laughs. There are some new classic Tobias moments, although again, they drew attention to a running joke that Tobias previously was oblivious too. It seems they’re intent on making the same transition the Simpsons made, where Homer’s buffoonery went from being accepted by everyone in the Simpson universe, and then having Frank Grimes call out how dumb Homer is. That episode of The Simpsons represented a shift that seemed awkward at first, but that episode is now easily in my top 10 for that show. I’m not sure that all the new-found awareness on the part of the characters in AD will result in the same way, but I can say that I did enjoy going through some of the same events in Episode 2, this time through Tobias’ eyes, a more enjoyable experience. Debris seemed too awkward in Ep. 2, but with this episode you start to get that character a bit more. I always enjoy Tobias’ misuse of words that cause confusion about his sexual identity. There is no shortage of those in this episode. I also always enjoy making fun of “To Catch a Predator”-style shows. Grade: B
Episode 6: “Double Crossers” (Featured Character: George, Sr.)
Although George Sr. is the featured character, this episode felt more like an ensemble piece. There is a scene (or two) where Michael and Gob meet again for the first time in years, without George Sr. in the mix. Part of the problem I have had with the George Sr. episodes is that they have spent a lot of time explaining the plot of the season. The scheme of building a wall on the border is a bit too complex and takes a bit too much time away from the comedy. The plot shares characteristics of the plot that drove the first three seasons- the Bluths building housing developments in Iraq. Yet it feels like they’re trying to fit in 3 seasons worth of this “plot” into this one season; and even more than that, just George Sr.’s episodes. But there are some funny moments, and the final gag of this episode was brilliantly set up, surprising you in a way that is not unlike many setups from earlier seasons. Also, the Episode 4 introduction of Isla Fisher’s character begged the question as to why Dallas Bryce Howard wasn’t cast in that role. This episode drolly addresses that question. Grade: B-
Episode 7: “Colony Collapse” (Featured Character: Gob)

“Now, you’ve….got some mice to scoop out of the sea.”- Gob
“And As It Is Such, So Also As Such Is It Unto You”- Religious TV Show Host
And so many other lines. Gob has always been my favorite, and so far his episode is my favorite. From the Entourage parody, to the Wedding Magic Trick, to the show “Pop a ROTC,” this episode didn’t disappoint. A lot of the laughs as always comes from Will Arnett’s delivery. The episode contained another element of self-awareness, but in staying true to Gob’s character, Gob never really gets a clue, or not as much as the other characters have. I would have featured Gob a little earlier in the season, but perhaps it’s better to be left wanting more than to get too much.
Grade: A-

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