Sunday, February 10, 2013

Arrested Development

(Here's one of those "cross-posted from my Tumblr" updates I mentioned....)

Never knowingly ahead of the curve, I'm currently in the middle of watching the first season of Arrested Development. For the first time. I know, it's Mean Girls all over again. You'll all be envious when I'm watching the last episode of season 3 the day before it starts up again on Netflix, though. (That's genuinely the plan, but whether I can really stretch my viewing out until May is, let's face it, doubtful.)

Coming to the show completely cold - I didn't even know the premise when I started watching - I don't think AD is particularly easy to connect with in the first few episodes. I now see that that's partially intentional (I've got used to the fact that I'm going to have to find some of the gags myself) but it's in stark contrast to, say, Community which, for all its smarts, is perfectly happy to shout "love me" at the top of its voice.

My experience of watching Arrested Development has so far been a case of "come for Tobias, stay for Gob." Is that pretty much par for the course? David Cross gets the first big laughs, but ultimately Gob is just magnificent, and Will Arnett insanely watchable. Gob could easily be one-dimensional and - 99% of the time - pretty much is. Arnett's triumph is leaving that 1% that makes you believe one day Gob is going do something massively sweet and heroic and you're going to punch the air with delight. I'm only 15 episodes in, though, so you'll have to be gentle with me if it transpires I've called him completely wrong...

On one level, I love the fact that I've almost certainly missed a healthy percentage of the jokes so far, and I get that that's part of the show's charm and genius. But at the same time... I *like* it when it's overtly gaggy. Gob struggling to use his Segway on the Bluth building site? That's just funny.

I appreciate, by the way, that picking apart a decade-old show based on relatively few episodes must be an intensely annoying read for those who have been fans for since it first aired and know the whole thing inside out. Sorry you guys; I'll be all caught up soon enough (way before May, no doubt). Til then, I'll look forward to the honour of getting to know this clever, increasingly likable and occasionally absurd show a whole lot better.