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The W - Movies & TV - Arrested Development 4x1 - "Flight of the Phoenix"
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John Orquiola
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Since: 28.2.02
From: Boston

Since last post: 176 days
Last activity: 176 days
#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.46
Arrested Development season 4 is a jigsaw puzzle. You get a few pieces at a time, see how they fit, then you get more pieces, step back, see how they fit, and then you start to see the big picture and, in a horrible leap of metaphor to reference the show, baby, you got a stew going!

What it also is is weird. We get time jumps between the events that happened at the end of season 3, go back even further to see young Lucille and young George Sr. (Kristin Wiig nails young Lucille, Seth Rogen, not so much as George Sr.) and young Barry Zuckerkorn, and then catch up to Michael, George Michael and Maeby in the present day.

It's weird to see Michael so beaten down and out of sorts and even more oblivious than ever to his son. Sad to see him living in George Michael's dorm room and get himself kicked out of it. It's also really weird to see how much some of the Bluth actors have aged in 7 years; Michael, Gob, Lindsay, and obviously George Michael and Maeby look considerably older.

There's a big macro story we only get pieces of, again, and we only see glimpses of most of the other (popular) Bluths like Gob.

What it isn't, so far, is laugh out loud funny, nor is it terribly reliant on the most popular Bluth gags ("COME ON!!"). There's certainly something to be said for giving the audience what they expected, but Mitch Hurwitz is up to something much grander and more complex here.

Stick with it.



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EddieBurkett
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Since: 3.1.02
From: GA in person, NJ in heart

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#2 Posted on
THIS IS DENSE. Entertainment Weekly had a cover story on AD and they mentioned that when Hurwitz was plotting this, he needed a board with yarn and pins to track all the intersecting plotlines. So far I feel like I'm going to need one as well. Jumping around in time isn't helping.

I'm curious to know who was at the house with GOB. And who was that going into the pharmacist as he was leaving with the forget-me-nots?

Kristin Wiig as Young Lucille was AMAZING. The whole Cinco de Cuatro introduction, with Lucille in green makeup as the Grinch was just utter brilliance.

I feel like Seth Rogen will make a much better Young Oscar.

Nice Phoenix motif for the resurrection of the series.

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The final vote for Michael was heartbreaking, though.





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Since: 20.1.02
From: Quebec City, CAN

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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.00
All is right with TV again. I'm also looking forward to John Orquiola's write-ups. Up to #4 so far and the cameos are a thing of beauty.

(edited by JST on 26.5.13 2118)


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JustinShapiro
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Since: 12.12.01
From: Pittsburgh, PA

Since last post: 1 hour
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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.79
Damn, this is dense as hell. I'm 5 in. The episodes, as we were told up front, don't have cuts back and forth between interwoven stories. The old manic pace is missed -- their new creative freedom of being unshackled from an even 21 minutes to go more than 30 does leave some excess and indulgence that wouldn't have stuck in the old sprints through six or seven different plots where every line of dialogue is squeezed in there with a purpose.

But then, like John says, the larger picture emerges: the season is one gigantic episode. As a grand vision, this is really something. It's crazy that this even exists -- both this property and this format as a piece of creative work.

I was pretty weirded out by the beginning of Flight of the Phoenix. Very disorienting -- the cinematic start, then getting dropped right away into the new Young George & Lucille bit, then such a dark set-up for our beloved lead character who'd always made the best of things before, then George-Michael being so goddamn old.

Things really get whirring, though. The long, long breakdown of the voting out process was amazing, and then pretty devastating.

And then the Workaholics guys, plus the other Workaholics guy, which is definitely a show that exists that I've seen once.

I'm a bit overwhelmed at this point by all the new plot and new jokes, but really excited. If this is all one big episode, the climax of act 3 is going to be pretty spectacular.

    Originally posted by John
    It's also really weird to see how much some of the Bluth actors have aged in 7 years; Michael, Gob, Lindsay, and obviously George Michael and Maeby look considerably older.


Liza :-/
theremin
Head cheese








Since: 31.1.12

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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.69
    Originally posted by EddieBurkett
    And who was that going into the pharmacist as he was leaving with the forget-me-nots?



Forget-me-nows.

Looked like either George or Oscar.


I think that voting out scene is an exact example of something that just wouldn't have flown on network TV. I'm not completely sure it's for the better.

Not a lot of laughs in episode 1, but I realize things need to be set up and such. I remember season 3 picked up the pace as it went on.
Big Bad
Scrapple








Since: 4.1.02
From: Dorchester, Ontario

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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.46
    Originally posted by John Orquiola
    It's also really weird to see how much some of the Bluth actors have aged in 7 years; Michael, Gob, Lindsay, and obviously George Michael and Maeby look considerably older.


And of course, in AD style, we have jokes about that (Michael saying that it doesn't look like he's aged a day, George ripping on Lindsay-or-maybe-Portia's plastic surgery, etc.)

I'm six episodes in and I'm not sure if we can talk about the entire series in this thread or just the first episode, but for now, I agree that the dense plotting is overwhelming the comedy for the most part. It's more amusing than it is laugh-out-loud hilarious. I laughed the most at the Tobias episode, though perhaps not coincidentally, that's the one that seemed to be least-connected to the larger overarching plotline. (As far as we know so far, that is.)

Hurwitz may have been right about the series being better if you don't binge-watch. Six eps in and I feel like I need a good night's sleep just to let my brain recover from all this information.



"It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone." --- Bart Giamatti, on baseball
Dawg
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Since: 2.6.03
From: Detroit area

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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.00
Getting back to the first episode, the Workaholics cameo was fantastic.
Quezzy
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Since: 6.1.02
From: Pittsburgh, PA

Since last post: 7 days
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#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.02
    Originally posted by Dawg
    Getting back to the first episode, the Workaholics cameo was fantastic.


I liked seeing them but they didn't do anything so what's the point?

I found the first episode to be a giant bore (and the second one too). I know people say it gets better and things start to fall into place in later episodes but I have way too many other entertainment options to have to wait until a show starts to get good.



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El Nastio
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Since: 14.1.02
From: Ottawa Ontario, by way of Walkerton

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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.44
    Originally posted by Quezzy
      Originally posted by Dawg
      Getting back to the first episode, the Workaholics cameo was fantastic.


    I liked seeing them but they didn't do anything so what's the point?

    I found the first episode to be a giant bore (and the second one too). I know people say it gets better and things start to fall into place in later episodes but I have way too many other entertainment options to have to wait until a show starts to get good.


And that's why shows don't have the luxury of starting slow anymore, or hitting any lull points. You need sustained greatness from the very moment you air to stay on the air.



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geemoney
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Since: 26.1.03
From: Naples, FL

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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.84
I'm four episodes in, and to me, it feels like a movie more so than a TV show. Some of the charm of the original run feels like it's missing, but that's hard to replicate.



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JustinShapiro
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Since: 12.12.01
From: Pittsburgh, PA

Since last post: 1 hour
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#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.79
    Originally posted by Quezzy
      Originally posted by Dawg
      Getting back to the first episode, the Workaholics cameo was fantastic.


    I liked seeing them but they didn't do anything so what's the point?


To ... cast funny people in small roles as pleasant surprises.

    Originally posted by El Nastio
    And that's why shows don't have the luxury of starting slow anymore, or hitting any lull points. You need sustained greatness from the very moment you air to stay on the air.


Unless, that is, you're attempting an ambitious new form of storytelling contingent on both a built-in excited audience and a brand new medium for distribution. Then you have some equity to spend.

    Originally posted by geemoney
    I'm four episodes in, and to me, it feels like a movie more so than a TV show.


Yeah, it's like one of those Lord of the Rings appendices that fills in everything that went on before the Great Thing Doth Occurred. Which in our case would be the theoretical movie.
Stefonics
Morcilla








Since: 17.3.02
From: Queidersbach

Since last post: 4 days
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#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.88
    Originally posted by El Nastio

    And that's why shows don't have the luxury of starting slow anymore, or hitting any lull points. You need sustained greatness from the very moment you air to stay on the air.

You are absolutely right. I will be honest now and say that I was not a fan of this show when it first aired on Fox. I gave it a chance and I loved it by the second episode of the second season. I re-watched the first season to pay more attention to what I missed and I'm glad that I did. And when it was cancelled after the third season, I figured "meh, enough is enough. It was too smart to live."

Then the rumors started about a resurrection. I am all in. And then I watched the first episode; Cera is OLD. Shawkat is OLD. Bateman is OLD. But I look past that and enjoy the story for its off-the-wall humor and intangibles. I enjoyed the first episode, from the callbacks (Charlie Brown) to the things that make you look twice (Pharmacy), to finding out how it all fits together in this wonderful vision. I'm four episodes in and I don't have a clue yet. But that's a good thing. I want to see where it's going and I hope for more of the same. I'm already paying for Netflix, I might as well get to enjoy new episodes of one of my favorite TV shows.

Then I see this:
    Originally posted by Quezzy
      Originally posted by Dawg
      Getting back to the first episode, the Workaholics cameo was fantastic.


    I liked seeing them but they didn't do anything so what's the point?

    I found the first episode to be a giant bore (and the second one too). I know people say it gets better and things start to fall into place in later episodes but I have way too many other entertainment options to have to wait until a show starts to get good.


Did you watch it when it was first run? Did you pay for this, outside of your Netflix subscription? If you don't want to watch it, fine. If you're looking for "C'mon!", "Her?", and "Annyong.", apparently this isn't it. Nothing happened when it first aired. No one really did anything, so what was the point back then? And you still came back. People had way too many entertainment options back then too; were you yelling from the mountains that it shouldn't have been cancelled back then? Enjoy it for what it is: A show that you can enjoy, at your own fucking leisure, that might sew up the ends that you had questions about when the original was stripped of that ending. I don't love everything that I've seen for four episodes, but I'm more than willing to give it a shot until the end.

Edited to say that Justin said it better, and more eloquently, than I could. And in less space.

(edited by Stefonics on 27.5.13 1534)
John Orquiola
Scrapple








Since: 28.2.02
From: Boston

Since last post: 176 days
Last activity: 176 days
#13 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.46
    Originally posted by Big Bad
    I'm not sure if we can talk about the entire series in this thread or just the first episode


Just the first episode. Guys, please, feel free to start threads for other episodes. I'm not starting all 15 threads or recapping every episode. We don't even have to start the threads in order. (Mitch Hurwitz never said anything about starting threads in order.)

Watch, I'm going to break order right away...



"Cody, I mustache you a question." - The Miz
OlFuzzyBastard
Knackwurst








Since: 28.4.02
From: Pittsburgh, PA

Since last post: 10 days
Last activity: 6 days
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#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.52
    Originally posted by JustinShapiro


      Originally posted by John
      It's also really weird to see how much some of the Bluth actors have aged in 7 years; Michael, Gob, Lindsay, and obviously George Michael and Maeby look considerably older.


    Liza :-/



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Someone clearly hasn't gotten to Steve Holt yet. Good god.
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