If you’re like me, then you’ve noticed icy glares and condescending vibes after admitting that you’ve never seen a single episode of Arrested Development. Sure I’ve done my best to pretend to be a Bluth family fan — often throwing out a simple, “No touching!” or “Her?” into a conversation — but I’ve never had the time or deep-rooted desire to delve into the quirky comedy. Until now.
Maybe it’s my desire to not be left out of the water cooler conversation or simply the fact that it’s a long weekend and I’d rather relax on my bed instead of wearing pants and going outside. But either way, I’ve decided to do the unthinkable: I jumped right into Season 4 of Arrested Development without any prior knowledge of the series or the characters. And you know what? It wasn’t nearly as confusing or daunting as the AD fans made it out to be — it was actually a fun challenge.
I was invited to plenty of Arrested Development viewing parties this weekend but I thought it would be better for everyone if this were something that I tackled all by my lonesome. A sink or swim kind of deal. Plus, no one likes that annoying girl who constantly asks questions or says, “Wait… what? I don’t get it.” during the show. We all hate that girl. I hate that girl. And I had no intention of burdening my friends with my lack of AD knowledge during their special time.
So I put on my sweatpants, grabbed the chocolate-covered banana chips from my freezer — A special gem from the Trader Joes dessert aisle — and pressed play on Season 4, Episode 1 of Arrested Development. 24 wonderful minutes later, I found myself smiling from ear-to-ear. Not only does the show have a unique sense of humor and droves of A-list guest stars but this first episode “Flight of the Phoenix” was riddled with plenty of flashbacks and helpful background information from an enigmatic narrator.
I hope that the regular AD fans are not annoyed at the narrator’s brief recaps because they really helped me to understand a few things. Like why Liza Minnelli — or should I say Lucille 2 — kept falling over, or that Michael’s relationship with his son is not actually as incestuous and creepy as it looks. It was a helpful and unexpected guide that made me feel less guilty for my Bluth mental shortcomings.
But don’t get me wrong, I’m no expert and there were still a handful of inside jokes that went way over my head. For instance, I have no clue as to why Michael walked away while the infamous Charlie Brown music played, why there was so much winking going on, or why Michael’s brother has a bedazzled hook for a hand. And was that kid yelling “Loose Seal” during that play? These are the questions that will keep me up at night.
However, not knowing the history of these characters has been a unique and thrilling challenge because I’m forced to pay close attention to each and every little detail. It’s like putting together a jigsaw puzzle but only using the cardboard side to connect the pieces — it’s confusing at times but infinitely more rewarding when you finish.
I completely understand that by jumping head first into this season that I am missing out on dozens of long-running jokes and probably severely pissing off the diehard AD fans. My apologies for my lack of devotion so please stop giving me snarky looks through your computer screen. I’m not trying to shortcut my way into the cool kids club that is Arrested Development. I simply wanted to see what all of the fuss is and fall in love with these characters that I’ve heard so much about.
Perhaps after I finish this new season, I’ll move on to Season 3 and eventually work my way back to the beginning. I’ll discover the origins of all the Arrested Development jokes along the way until I’ve reached the very first episode starring the dysfunctional yet loveable Bluth family. I’m really excited to meet this Steve Holt that I’ve heard so much about.