JASS 248 Review Paper, Arrested Development
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"There's always an A in the banana stand" - Matt Gildner's Arrested development review

JASS 248 TV show review

March 27, 2013

Matt's insight:

            The TV show “Arrested Development” (2003-2006, 2013) written by Mitchell Hurwitz and most notably directed by Joe and Anthony Russo is an edgy sitcom that’s not afraid to make the taboo and immoral hilarious. Although it failed to gain a large following, it was a hit with critics, garnered a diehard cult following, and won 25 awards including 5 Emmys and 1 Golden Globe.

 

            Although it is technically a sitcom, Arrested Development forgoes many of the typical conventions of the genre such as a laugh track, setting up every joke, uses a “mockumentary” shooting style (camera follows the action instead of anticipating it), and uses two mobile cameras instead of four fixed cameras. These differences helped it to stand out when it came on the air. When it premiered in 2003, the much-loved “Seinfeld” had been off the air for 5 years and sitcom giant “Friends” was wrapping up its final season. Prime time TV was about to be without a popular sitcom, and that’s where Arrested Development tried to come in. It brought in a new way of doing comedy to cable TV and the lack of typical sitcom conventions helped it to stand out. Critics loved it, but unfortunately the edgy intelligent comedy it brought to the table rewards attentive viewers and punishes the lazy, which is often too much for network TV.

 

            The formal elements in Arrested Development are a welcome refreshment to the stale style of most sitcoms. They use a wide variety of camera shots, instead of just the close-ups and group shots found in most sitcoms, and frequently shoot on location, which makes the scene feel more realistic. The most noticeable element is the one that’s not their, non-diegetic sound. Unlike most sitcoms, Arrested Development doesn’t use many added sound effects such as a laugh track. The only non-diegetic sound found in the show is the narration and on rare occasions, background music. This leaves an opening for the characters dialog and the ambient sound to drive the story and make it feel real. When you put the cinematography and sound of Arrested Development together, it creates a documentary like feeling that helps make the show even better.

 

            The character development in Arrested Development is very interesting because the most of the adult characters don’t grow. It may seem obvious from the title, but none of the adult characters, Buster being a possible exception, are capable as growing as people and it typically ends poorly. Although Buster is technically an adult, at the beginning of the show he is emotionally a child who is completely dependant on his mother, but as the show goes on he grows more independent and how to form his own opinions instead of just mirroring those of his mother. George Michael and Maebe both grew in some way. As the series progresses George Michael becomes less serious and more outspoken after spending time with Maebe and his girlfriend Ann, and Maebe becomes less of a slacker after conning her way into becoming the third youngest movie executive in Hollywood.

 

            One of the most amusing aspects of Arrested Development is the numerous motifs. Not only are the motifs amusing, but they frequently show character traits or defects. Many of the characters will say “I’ve made a huge mistake” when something goes wrong, but none more frequently than Gob. This sets up a later scene with Gob where he proclaims to Michael that he’s never admitted to a mistake, which showcases his poor memory and large ego. His large ego and bad memory also come into play with his “magic”. Gob frequently tries to create a fireball or throw a dove into the air, which typically ends up with someone getting sprayed with lighter fluid or Gob disposing of a dead dove. Several members of the Bluth family have their own version of a chicken dance that don’t remotely resemble a chick, this shows how out of touch the family is with what constitutes normal.

 

            Arrested Development is a brilliant show that exercises the mind, and is exceedingly difficult to watch without a smile. The writers do an excellent job of referencing past episodes, alluding to past events, and keeping the characters interesting. This is one show you will have difficulty stopping once you start watching. With any luck this years new season will be of equal caliber to what we have seen so far.

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Arrested Development Chicken Dances

Arrested Development Chicken Dances | JASS 248 Review Paper, Arrested Development | Scoop.it
Arrested Development characters are masters at the Chicken Dance. Sort of. Watch them give it a shot here.
Matt's insight:

This video shows one of the motifs in arrested development, the terrible Bluth family versions of chicken dances. It demonstrates that most of the family is so out of touch with the world they don't even know what a chicken looks or sounds like.

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Is Arrested Development one of the All-TIME 100 Best TV Shows? TIME thinks so. Check it out.

Is Arrested Development one of the All-TIME 100 Best TV Shows? TIME thinks so. Check it out. | JASS 248 Review Paper, Arrested Development | Scoop.it
"I apologize. I know I left some of your favorite shows off this list. How do I know that? Because I left some of my favorite shows off this list.
Matt's insight:

Being placed on Time's list of 100 best TV shows is an wesome feat, and this article briefly describes many of the aspects of the show that had critics raving and incited a cult following to this day.

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Arrested Development | Emmys.com

Arrested Development | Emmys.com | JASS 248 Review Paper, Arrested Development | Scoop.it
Matt's insight:

The first season of Arrested Deveolpment was nominated for seven Emmy Awards, and won five. For writing the pilot episode, Mitchell Hurwitz won Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, and Joe and Anthony Russo won Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series.

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"Arrested Development" (2003) - Filming locations

"Arrested Development" (2003) - Filming locations | JASS 248 Review Paper, Arrested Development | Scoop.it
Arrested Development on IMDb: Movies, TV, Celebs, and more...
Matt's insight:

These are the locations Arrested Development was filmed at such as Marina Del Ray being used for the wharf, and Culver City for the courthouse.

 

Shooting on location like this helps to increase the realism of the scene.

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A family affair

A family affair | JASS 248 Review Paper, Arrested Development | Scoop.it
Dad's in prison. Their real estate empire is crumbling. Dysfunction rules. No wonder we love Arrested Development's Bluth dynasty, says Alison Powell.
Matt's insight:

Alison Powell gives an in depth review of Arrested Development as well as the circumstances leading to its creation and why it was unfortunately cancelled

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Foreshadowing in the pilot

A brief list of foreshadowing in the pilot of arrested development

Matt's insight:

After carefully watching the pilot after finishing the series it is clear there are multiplt instances of foreshadowing such as:

• The fox Lucille is wearing is missing a foot, which foreshadows busters loss of a hand

• Gob mentions needing ice, which is a reference to the bounty hunter/party planner named Ice he later hires

• Lucille mentions the family has been "dipping into the kitty", which is a reference to George Sr.'s assistant Kitty Sanchez who plays a major role in several story arcs.

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"Arrested development - Les nouveaux pauvres" (2003) - Full cast and crew

"Arrested development - Les nouveaux pauvres" (2003) - Full cast and crew | JASS 248 Review Paper, Arrested Development | Scoop.it
Arrested Development on IMDb: Movies, TV, Celebs, and more...
Matt's insight:

This is the full cast and crew, how many episodes each actor appears in, and the writing credits.

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