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This show is such a great and clever comedy. It is not over the top and does not use really obvious humour, which I really like. Instead it makes you laugh in several ways different to other comedies out there. I love the family as dysfunctional as they are, they are fabulous. They all add a different dimension to the show, they are not the same and can not be compared to any other characters out there. I really like this because time and time again we are presented with a show that can easily be compared to one already out there. The actors themselves deserve a lot of praise, they are what make the show. They play their parts so well and deserve way more recognition than what they have, the network was so wrong to cancel this show. I would highly recommend this show to anyone, especially those who love a clever comedy without the stupid canned laughter in the background.
Clueless, self-absorbed, delusional or just plain weird? Yep, this is family life!
Created by Mitchell Hurwitz, this excellent sitcom was consistently critically acclaimed and won 5 Emmy Awards in 2004 (Wikipedia). Hurwitz was chosen by Ron Howard to "create a sitcom about a rich dysfunctional family" (Wikipedia) and the result is a quirky, clever and hilarious take on parenting, family and materialism, set in Orange County, California. Despite looking at wealth and what happens when you lose it, this is not the usual glamorous take on the stereotypical Californian lifestyle - there are very few pools, beaches or bikinis involved! Neither is it a fashion show, despite including amongst its cast the gorgeous Portia de Rossi. So if you're looking for glittering escapism this isn't the show for you - but it is excellent comedy that will have you laughing your socks off.
** "Now the story about a wealthy family who lost everything, and the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together." **
When we first meet the Bluth family they are having a party on their yacht to celebrate the retirement of father George Snr from the family business. Things fall apart when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) boards the yacht and arrests George Snr for defrauding investors and using the company as his personal piggy bank. The family subsequently has its assets frozen and the company expense account closed. How will they cope now they have no money? It is clear that of the four Bluth children Michael is the only one who has any useful skills and who can stand on his own two feet, so it falls to him to look after his crazy family as his father awaits trial.
** "...he's decided never to speak to these people again" **
Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) - when we meet Michael he is the Manager of the Bluth Company and is hoping to be made a Partner in the firm. A widower with one son, he is a family man who prides himself on his hard work and dedication to the family business. Always hoping to win his father's approval, Michael has no idea of the corruption within the family firm.
George Snr (Jeffrey Tambor) - father to Michael, Gob, Lindsay and Buster, husband to Lucille, George Snr is an alpha male and a dominating personality. Despite losing everything when he is arrested by the SEC, George Snr claims he is doing "the time of his life" in prison and quickly fits in with his fellow inmates including T-bone the "flamer" and White Power Bill. He continues to dominate the family from behind bars.
Lucille Bluth (Jessica Walter) - described as a "socialite", Lucille is well-groomed, discontented and spoilt. Played superbly by Jessica Walter whose comic timing and delivery are second to none, Lucille is consistently horrible to all of her children to great comic effect. Sustained by vodka and determined to maintain her lifestyle against the odds, Lucille manipulates the family members and usually manages to get her own way.
George Oscar Bluth II "Gob" [pronounced Jobe] (Will Arnett) - described as a "magician (part-time)", Gob is Michael's sleazy older brother who has no skills whatsoever, as even his magic act is a disaster. Will Arnett perfectly captures both Gob's self-centred delusions but also his desperate need for his father's approval.
Lindsay Funke (Portia de Rossi) - never having worked a day in her life, Lindsay thinks of herself as an "activist", although the cheese and wine parties are more important to her than whatever cause she has latched onto at the time. Lindsay is Michael's twin sister and is glamorous and clueless with an underlying insecurity fostered by her Mother. Whether it is fundraising for the Wetlands ("to do what to them?" "dry them?"), protesting the removal of a tree or deciding that this week she doesn't wear fur, Lindsay's primary objective is attention for herself and the complete avoidance of work.
Tobias Funke (David Cross) - a psychiatrist whom Lindsay married "in a youthful act of defiance". He recently lost his medical licence so is hoping the "universe will show a path" for him. Tobias' character injects a note of pathos into the show, but David Cross also gives a fantastically physical performance which could have descended into pantomime if played by a less gifted actor. Clearly in denial about his sexuality, Tobias will have you watching through your fingers as you cringe at his behaviour and well-meaning gestures.
Byron "Buster" Bluth (Tony Hale) - supposedly a "graduate student", Buster is Michael's child-like younger brother who has no social awareness and has never left his Mother's side despite being an adult in his thirties. A nervous and anxious man, there is no suggestion that Buster is mentally ill or that he has learning difficulties - it is simply that he has been coddled his whole life by Lucille. Tony Hale does an excellent job of portraying a child in a man's body, as we see Buster spend a few days in the office with Michael only to ask if they're "blowing straight through nap time" whilst in a business meeting.
George Michael (Michael Cera) - Michael's earnest and serious teenage son. Brought up to appreciate a hard day's work and to reject the idle lifestyles of his aunts and uncles, George Michael is inevitably drawn towards the more "fun" members of the family as they all spend more time together. Michael Cera is a superb "straight man" enabling the comedy around him, as he displays George Michael's constant confusion at the antics and inconsistencies of the people in his life.
Mae "Maeby" Funke (Alia Shawkat) - ignored for the most part by her self-absorbed parents, Tobias and Lindsay, Maeby has "always found unique ways to rebel". A budding con artist with a mischievous streak, she is the perfect antidote to George Michael's hard work and dedication. Under no illusions about her parents or their marriage, Maeby tries to use the family's troubles to her advantage, getting away with as much as possible with George Michael as her devoted sidekick.
** "It's family first" **
At the start, we find Michael and George Michael camping in the attic of an unfinished model home, a metaphor for the façade of their family's lifestyle. The family spends little time together, the Funkes have been living away, but they are all thrown together by the end of the pilot episode.
The main locations are the model home, Lucille's apartment, the office, the frozen banana stand (an offshoot of the family business) and the family yacht on which Gob lives.
Season 1 is the story of Michael running the company in his father's stead and dealing with the family's legal issues, whilst simultaneously trying to limit the self-destructive or downright daft antics of his parents and siblings. We see George Michael failing to cope with his crush on his cousin Maeby, Tobias trying to launch a new career as an actor, George Snr getting accustomed to life in jail and Lucille doing everything she can to mitigate the loss of her income. Gob is constantly trying (and failing) to prove himself and Lindsay bounces from one cause to another whilst dealing with the increasingly obvious homosexuality of her husband. Finally we have Buster, who makes half-hearted attempts to prize himself away from his mother's apron strings, including an ill-advised relationship with her best friend played beautifully by guest star Liza Minnelli.
It may sound like a therapist's case book but the writing is superb, and the comedy comes from both well-observed characters and fantastic quirks such as Michael having to drive around in the "stair car" as it's the only thing left of the family's private jet. We also see the family's hopeless lawyer Barry, played by guest star Henry Winkler, who was clearly employed because he would turn a blind eye to corruption and who is now having to navigate George Snr's case which is totally beyond him.
The show is brilliantly narrated by Executive Producer Ron Howard, and the narration helps the audience to follow the zany action and character motivations, as a fair bit of the plot could be described as "off the wall". Having a narrator means that the writers can jump around from the present to the past, and it helps to keep the action moving at an excellent pace. Each episode ends with Ron Howard previewing what to expect "on the next Arrested Development" but these clips are usually extended jokes or extra scenes and rarely actually appear in the next episode - it's just another way for the writers to fit more in and to end with a few extra laughs.
"It's Royal Tenenbaums shot like Cops" **
* Audio commentary on the extended pilot by Mitchell Hurwitz, directors Joe Russo and Anthony Russo, and Jason Bateman. They reveal that the script was originally seen as being too ambitious to be shot; Mitchell and Ron wanted to break the mould of the traditional comedy. The style was influenced by reality TV, and is seen as a "documentary" approach. Really interesting commentary, not the usual self-indulgent conversation between actors sharing in-jokes.
* "Breaking Ground: Behind the Scenes of 'Arrested Development'" featurette. We hear from Mitchell Hurwitz, Ron Howard, and all of the central actors plus some senior members of the crew. Some interesting notes and inside information, it's what you want from a "making of" featurette as you hear from everyone rather than just a few people.
* Original songs by David Schwartz. 28 short songs by the show's composer, audio only.
* Deleted/extended scenes. Some good stuff, but no character development we don't see elsewhere.
* Audio commentary on the "Beef Consomme" episode by Mitchell Hurwitz, Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett, Tony Hale, Michael Cera, Alia Shawkat, Jessica Walter, Jeffrey Tambor and David Cross. Slow to start, not as good as the commentary on Disc 1, but nice to hear how they all get on together. Little bit self-indulgent, we don't really learn much that's new.
* The Museum of Television and Radio cast panel discussion. Interesting, some new stuff we haven't heard in the other extra features.
* Deleted/extended scenes. Nothing particularly good.
* Audio commentary on the "Let Them Eat Cake" episode by Mitchell Hurwitz, Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett, Tony Hale, Michael Cera, Alia Shawkat, Jessica Walter, Jeffrey Tambor and David Cross. They seem more at ease with doing the commentary than they did on Disc 2. Again, we don't really learn much that's new but they sound like they're having fun!
* Ron Howard's inside look at "Arrested Development". Ron talks (very briefly) about where the show can go from here.
* "'Arrested Development'" The Making of a Future Classic" TV Land featurette. Funny and entertaining, some particularly good moments from Michael Cera who is a natural comedian. Quite brief though.
* "TV Land Awards: The Future Classic Award" featurette. Liza Minnelli presents the award to the cast.
* Deleted/extended scenes. Couple of good bits that are worth a look.
* Promo spot. A Fox promo for the show, which demonstrates how badly Fox promoted it and how little it was understood by people at that company.
** "We gotta hurry coz these are gonna get all snapped up" **
The box set comes with a pull-out episode summary list, and the DVD opens with a brief intro from Ron Howard. There is an extended pilot as well as the pilot, which seems a little pointless, and is annoying as hitting "play all" will play them both which is repetitive. Just having the extended pilot available would have been better.
Arrested Development is quite simply one of the best comedies ever written - be it on TV or film - and was another sad casualty at the hands of the idiotic TV network FOX, who never really gave it a chance and forced it into an early closure. Nevertheless, the series lives on with a feature film in the pipeline and, of course, this DVD set.
The first season introduces us to the Bluth family, a clan of neurotic, hilariously insane and loopy individuals. The patriarch is George Bluth Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor), who owns the Bluth Company, which he uses to sell mansions, with his own son, Michael (Jason Bateman), as the President. When George is arrested for fraud, Michael has to take over the company, and therefore has to come and live with the rest of his family, from whom he has otherwise tried to distance himself for the sake of his son George Michael (Michael Cera, who became a star thanks to the show).
The rest of the family includes George's wife Lucille, who is a frank but crass money-grabber, Michael's sister Lindsay (Portia de Rossi), an airhead, and her ridiculous husband Tobias Funke (David Cross), who may be the funniest character show. Michael also has two brothers, in Buster (Tony Hale), a shy and retiring, socially inept man, and Gob, a sleazy magician. This all mixes together to make for plenty of hilarious situations.
This is one of the most clever and astute comedies I have ever seen. Its lack of popularity and mere "cult" success is because it avoids broad, easy humour like you'd see in shows like Friends and often sets up jokes over numerous episodes, referencing earlier events, meaning that you can't just tune into a random episode and expect hilarity. It's about the characters and the situations, and is for my money one of the best shows ever made.
Arrested Development is a television show that I have only recently discovered, and I have to say it is one of the funniest shows I have ever seen. I had watched a few episodes a few years ago and although it amused me I wasn't hooked, so when I was recommeded to watch it by several friends all with good taste I decided to buy the boxset and give it another chance and I am so glad I did! It takes a few episodes to really understand the humour so don't give up straight away, I can almost guarantee you will love it if you give it a chance! It is based around the life of Michael Bluth, and how he is forced to take care of his quirky family and the family company after his father is imprisoned after some questionable business moves. Each character in the show is very different and to watch their lives interlink results in some hilarious viewing! I can't stress enough just how well written this show is and you will want to watch it again and again, as you will only keep finding new jokes that you didn't pick up on the first time.
'Arrested Development', you could say, has ruined my life. For one, it has stopped me from forming some friendships - when I find out people have seen it and 'didn't get it', or 'just didn't think it was that funny', I literally cannot carry on and develop what I know would inevitably be a farcical relationship.
Secondly, it has ruined me for other TV. 'Arrested Development' is the standard to which I hold all other TV comedies. Since first seeing this show, the only other show I have been able to really enjoy has been '30 Rock', which shares some of the Arrested Development sensibility - a thought-out amalgamation of high-brow and low-brow comedy, word play and slapstick, with constant rewards for long-time viewers via recurring jokes. So sorry, 'IT Crowd' or '3 Pints of Lager' - I'd honestly rather watch my AD DVDs for the millionth time.
Thirdly, 'Arrested Development' is so d--n quotable that after watching it, you'll find yourself reciting lines in daily conversation, with your wittiness lost on anyone who hasn't seen the light/show. For instance, one of my favourite Lucille Bluth lines is 'If that's a veiled criticism of me, I won't hear it and I won't respond to it'. Whilst not too ridiculous that it's completely nonsensical when taken out of context (unlike, for instance, 'Tobias was a never-nude, which is exactly what it sounds like'), fellow AD fans will be compelled to genuinely LOL and high-five you for your wit, whilst the humour will sadly be lost on those lacking AD in their lives.
So if you feel as though your life is lacking jean cut-offs, an obsession with the Blue Man Group, Segways and/or ~MAGIC~, then you need to go out and purchase this DVD - right now!
Arrested development has a high re-watch value as some of the jokes are so interweaven and on going you won't fully understand them until you've watched it from start to finish and then return.
It's a sitcom filmed as documentary centering around the Bluth family as they lose their fortune due to their fathers dodgy dealings in property. Michael is our central character, the most reliable son. He has an older brother Gob (pronounced Joe- ob, an awful magician with a sleeve full of illusions) and a young brother Buster (who has an incredibly unhealthy relationship with his mother) a sister Lindsay (a blonde bimbo whose used to her daddy's money, but also at times is the only one Michael considers vaguely normal), a brother in law Tobius (a wannabe actor former therapist with a undetermined sexuality), a son George Michael (a bit of a geek whose desperate for his fathers approval) a niece Maeby (a street smart young lady who constantly fails to rebel in order to get her parents attention), a mother Lucielle and his father George Snr.
That's enough about the characters onto the show itself.
A lot of the comedy comes both from the narration and clever cutting of the show and the instant 'quotability' of the characters. And the show only gets better and better as the series progresses.
On first watch I found the first few episodes a bit strange, but after the third or so I found myself growing to like the characters and settling into the style of cutting and acting and then appreciating the comedy. I've recently watched all three series for the second time and it's just, if not more enjoyable on second viewing.
For many years I was averse to American sitcoms, favouring instead the six episode per series joy that came from such classic British humour as Fawlty Towers or the Office. Then on an offchance I was leant the first series of Arrested Development and suddenly my comedy watching world was changed.
The premise is that Michael Bluth must hold his degenerate wealthy family together whilst his father, the business patriarch, is in jail. Though a continuing story eveolves throughout both the season and the whole series each episode forms a clip of the family's eccentric yet hilarious lives.
In a sense, Michael is the straight figure surrounded by siblings, parents and in-laws who are useless, dreamers, layabouts, IT girls etc all the while trying to raise his 13 year old son singlehandedly (a fine performance by Michael Cera). However, what breaks the mould here is that even Michael has his unfortunate comic side and does not fall into the nagging serious role he could easily become.
Rather than being annoying or irritating, as a rich LA family may seem to an un-empathetic British audience, the family have a huge amount of loveable charm and so even within their deviousness and selfishness you grow, as a viewer to love them. Though each of the family members are hilarious for their quirks (Gob, Buster and Tobias being the obvious three to mention) the way each episode is told, edited and narrated by Ron Howard adds an increased depth.
Arrested Development is a comedy based around the Bluth family a group of madcap self-obsessed indivduals whose patriach is arrested and they have to learn to cope without him. This is a special series, really funny, really intelligent and really underrated. There has been talk of Ron Howard making this into a feature film and it is getting big coverage in America.
Please, please, please find a copy of this DVD and have the patience to watch it all the way through, you will be thoroughly rewarded with one of the funniest American tv series ever. This has been shown late night on the BBC for years and was cancelled in America because it couldn't match the effortless humour of programmes such as 'Joey', still it really is a treat for anyone who loves really great comedy.
Jason Bateman - Michael Bluth - Michael is the main character and possibly the only sensible (sane) member of the Bluth family, following his fathers arrest for fraud, Michael takes on responsibility for the family business as well as looking after the fragile members of his family.
Michael Cera - George Michael Bluth - Michael's Son, George Michael is a sensitive and sensible teenager, who occasionally succumbs to wanting to be as mad as the rest of his family but is as sensible as his father. He is in love with his cousin Maebe and is constantly thinking up schemes to be closer to her, despite sharing a room.
Jeffrey Tambor - George Bluth Sr/Oscar Bluth - George Bluth Senior is a devious trickster, he lies, cheats and loves it until he gets caught. He spends most of the first series in prison having his life unravel as his personal secrets are discovered.
Portia de Rossi - Lindsay Bluth-Funke - Michael's twin sister, Lindsay married the psychologist Tobias Funke and has regretted it ever since, a spendaholic who doesn't know if she wants to be a charity worker, a slut or a good mother, she can veer between all three although sporadically, a great character, has many spats with her mother, her daughter, her husband and her brothers.
Will Arnett - Gob Bluth - Pronounced Jobe, Gob is a magician who was struck off the magic register, entering rooms to his theme tune, 'the final countdown', Gob manages to make the family yacht disappear (Sink) at a live spring break show for Mtv, gets married for a dare, rides around on a strange mobility scooter and generally adds madness to any scene he enters. Constantly wishing to outsmart Michael, he does have a big heart, but a very small brain!!!
Alia Shawkat - Maebe Bluth-Funke - The test tube offspring of Lindsay and Tobias, Maebe has no qualms with pretending to be disabled to raise money for herself or make her cousin jealous, she is a sassy character and while far smarter than her parents still has that air of being a Bluth
Tony Hale - Buster Bluth - Mollycoddled youngest son, Buster is addicted to Juice, he lives with his mother and sometimes sleeps at the end of her bed, a crazed man, he falls for Lucille (Liza Minelli) his mothers best friend and has a general penchant for older women and being a bit silly, he develops into an integral character by the second series.
David Cross - Tobias Funke - Psychologist and wannabe actor, he becomes the protégé of Carl Weathers (Action Jackson, Apollo Creed), Tobias is unwittingly the campest man in the world, and also has a strange psychological condition that he must wear cut offs at all times being a never nude. Whilst proclaiming to have the agility of a cat, Tobias seems to get run over and beaten up an awful lot.
Jessica Walter - Lucille Bluth - The matriarch of the family, a gold digging, selfish woman happy to square her kids off against each other, she adores Buster as her servant and son, doesn't like Lindsay or Gob and tolerates Michael, utterly materialistic and petty, she is an integral part of most stories.
Ron Howard - The Narrator - Narrating each episode and throwing in asides throughout, Ron Howard is Richie from Happy Days or the director of a number of classic Hollywood films including the recent 'Frost Nixon', his narration sounds innocent but is full of digs, asides and funny remarks, absolutely vital to the story and how brilliantly it flows.
Liza Minelli - Lucille Austero - Lucille Bluths best friend and rival, she lives next door to Lucille and seduces Buster with her vertigo and his short sightedness, a woman with a heart of gold and feet of jelly, this is a great return to the screen for Minelli.
Henry Winkler - Barry Zuckerkorn - The Bluth's family lawyer, Barry is incompetent and he knows it, with a penchant for transvestites and truck stops there is more not said than said with Barry, he is a fantastic character and a world away from 'the fonz' although the odd in-joke plays on this, his incompetence never works to the families advantage he even sues family members at various stages, but continues until his successor (you'll have to watch to find out but its a wonderful in-joke) takes over in later series.
Pilot - Setting the scene for future episodes, this introduces the character builds the back story and really sets the scene, George Bluth Sr is arrested on his yacht for fraud and his son Michael realises he must take on the responsibility of pulling the business and his family back together.
Top Banana - Michael struggles with the influence his father continues to have from Prison, he lets his son George Michael run their frozen banana stand (a small part of the family business) but George Snr employs a pyromaniac to work in their with George Michael, after much confusion the stand gets burnt down with a huge amount of cash inside. Elsewhere Tobias auditions for a fire sale (In-jokes throughout if you have the patience) commercial but loses out to his wife Lindsay.
Bringing Up Buster - George Michael applies for the school play to star opposite his cousin Maebe and kiss her, but realises after Tobias is made director that he may have to kiss a guy. Buster moves in with Michael and shows a new side to his character after falling out with their mother. Gob breaks up with his girlfriend and moves in too.
Key Decisions - Gob is jealous of his on/off girlfriend (Marta's) success as a Mexican Soap Opera Star and decides he needs his own publicity so publicly states he will escape from his fathers prison, unfortunately things take a turn for the worse and he is stabbed while playing ball by the unstable 'White Power Bill'. Michael takes Gob's girlfriend to the awards and realises he's fallen for her. Buster takes a shine to his mothers friend Lucille.
Visiting Ours - Michael realises that his father's secretary and secret lover 'Kitty' knows way too much he tasks Gob to seduce this wonky eyed femme fatale with disastrous results, Tobias and Lindsay go for counselling but the counsellor takes a shine to Tobias and his showbusiness tendancies, while Lucille visits George Snr for a conjugal visit in an episode that scars Gob forever.
Charity Drive - Lucille wants buster to bid on her at a charity drive auction, unfortunately he bids on the wrong Lucille. Gob demands the respect of his nephew George Michael and Michael and Lindsay attempt to show their charitable side.
My Mother, The Car - While driving with his mother, she hits her son Gob riding his mobility scooter, she blames Michael who accepts this as he's lost his memory. Lindsay is disgusted that no matter how revealing her outfit she receives no catcalls when visiting her father in prison and nobody turns up for Lucilles surprise birthday party. Gob uses the family yacht for a magic act and George Michael takes Maebe to an R-rated French film (about cousins in love!).
In God we Trust - The living classics pageant comes round, a Bluth tradition where George Snr and Buster dress as famous artworks to be shown on stage, bail of $20,000 is raised for George Snr to attend and George Michael wears the muscle suit for a role, having to share a room with Tobias at one point and seeing way too much of his uncle. Michael tries to fire Barry for his incompetence but fails incompetently.
Storming the Castle - Lucille confronts Buster about his relationship with Lucille 2, Maebe starts wearing leather to frustrate her mother, but her father follows suit and ends up in an S&M club. Michael wants to break up Gob and Marta but can't go through with it when he realises his brother could be in danger from a rough magician.
Pier Pressure - Buster realises Marjuana will help Lucille 2 with her Vertigo and asks George Michael to get him some, George Michael asks Gob and Gob tells Michael, this all goes on, Gob hires his former strip group the 'hot cops' to frighten George Michael but they all end up in the middle of a real drug bust and end up on tv.
Public Relations -Michael worries the family image will affect George Michael and hires a publicist to make them look better, unfortunately this backfires horribly, meanwhile Tobias heads off to reclaim his medical licence.
Marta Complex - Michael makes a speech at Lindsay and Tobias anniversary party and Marta realises she loves him not Gob, Michael helps Gob try to find the mysterious 'Hermano' that she is in love with, little realising its him, George Michael thinks about his feelings for his cousin and Lucille revels in having the house to herself for once.
Beef Consomme - Michael, Buster and Gob fight over Marta with the inevitable outcome, Tobias tries to overcome his phobia of nakedness, for the role of 'Frightened inmate No2' in a forthcoming film.
Shock and Aww - Michael falls for George Michael's morally confused ethics teacher (Heather Graham), whom his son also has a crush on. Meanwhile, Lucille adopts a 14-year old Korean boy, and George Sr.'s "Caged Wisdom" tapes have given him a new admirer.
Staff Infection - Tobias checks into prison to share with George Snr to research the role of 'Frightened inmate no 2', he causes 'White Power Bill' to kill himself and is held up as the prisons new Mr Big 'Dorothy'. Michael realises the whole family receive paychecks for doing nothing and puts them all to work with awful results.
Missing Kitty - Michael fires Kitty against George Snr's advice as she has information that could bring the company down, Gob attempts to make good on his promise to make the family yacht disappear. Meanwhile, Lindsay and Maeby try to track down Lindsay's grandmother, Tobias seeks George Sr.'s respect,
Altar Egos - Michael attempts to have a one-night stand with an attorney Maggie (Julia-Louise Dreyfuss) who is blind and the prosecutor who is trying to put his father in jail. Gob gets married in a dare which escalates out of control, Maeby pretends to be a girl with a made up disease, and George Sr.'s admirer turns out to be an undercover SEC agent who has truly fallen for him.
Justice is Blind - Gob steals a file on the government's case against the Bluth Company that Maggie had given to Michael. Tobias is sent to Maggie's house to get evidence, George Michael tries to prove Maeby's fraud breaking his arm in the process, and Lindsay fights to remove the Ten Commandments from the courthouse lawn.
Best Man for the Gob - Gob is chosen to intimidate an accountant whose testimony could destroy the Bluth's, using George Snr's plan of a bachelor party a stripper who has narcolepsy and a barrel of juice, unfortunately Buster drinks all the juice, the stripper wakes up from the cake seeing red around him and thinks she's killed him and things get worse from there.
Whistlers Mother - Funds become available, everyone fights over them and Michael invests in land owned by his uncle Oscar, but realises too late that he's made a terrible mistake. Tobias and Gob go into business, Lindsay launches a one woman war protest and Lucille shows she is human after all.
Not Without my Mother - Michael takes Maeby to work with him on Take Your Daughter to Work Day. After being slighted by Michael, Tobias, George-Michael and Gob all go to the mall to prove that they are manly, with mice, Lindsay and shoplifting/magic the order of the day. Oscar takes Lucille and Buster to Annyong's soccer game but Buster gets carried away.
Let them eat Cake - George Sr. has a heart attack, and Maeby is jealous when George Michael likes another girl. Meanwhile, Lindsay decides to leave Tobias until a book he wrote a long time ago becomes a gay bestseller, and Buster and Annyong compete over women.
This comedy is incredible, it is so intricate, Ron Howard's narration adds so much and there are so many in-jokes for fans of Tv and popular culture, there are celebrity guests who are prepared to mock themselves, there are sly digs at the Iraq war and popular tv, but overall the first series is exceptional. The cast of characters are marvellous with Michael, Gob, Tobias, Buster, Barry Zuckermann and George Snr standouts, the show is amazing, the humour can be gentle, or incredibly hard, there are some really dark parts and some lovely family moments. This is fantastic value at £17.99 in Amazon and the second and third series are just as good if not better, with so many hilarious moments, catchphrases and scenarios.
The series may be made into a film by which time, most of the cast will be established big screen stars, if you have a sense of humour you'll adore this.
The DVD boxset of series 1 includes:
Main Language: English
Available Audio Tracks: Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround
Sub Titles: Swedish
Hearing Impaired: English
Introduction By Ron Howard
Commentary On Selected Episodes
Deleted And Extended Scenes
Featurette Breaking Ground Behind The Scenes Of Arrested Development
Original Song Segments
Featurette The Museum Of Television And Radio Q And A With Creator Mitchell Hurwitz And The Cast
Featurette TV Land Arrested Development The Making Of A Future Classic
Featurette TV Land Awards The Future Classic Award
Featurette Ron Howard Sneak Peak At Season 2
Easter Egg Tobias Out Take
Arrested development was a hit with the critics and it's not hard to see why. It's witty script and the way it's been filmed like a documentary is fresh after many sit-coms and it is also smart being able to make fun of so-called reality shows by showing how ridiculous they constantly look. However this is not the only triumph of this series. It is constantly outlandish in the most believable ways, always making people laugh as they connect to the characters. Michael is the main character, the sane person in a family of filthy rich people struggling to keep the company from falling apart after his father has been put in jail for tax evasion. It's absolutely hilarious and at times heartbreaking to see such a dysfunctional family through the eyes of this series, enough to make one believe that if they had a filthy rich family and were trying to save a company that was about to go down the drain, it might even be like this.
Meet the "slightly" disfunctional Bluth family who are trying to cope with life now things have changed dramatically for them...
Dad, George Senior, was arrested on board the family yacht on the night of his retirement party for varying counts of fraud and embezzlement and having never needed to look after themselves before the family find themselves looking to Michael, the one good sibling (played by the very beautiful Jason Bateman!).
Michael brings all of his siblings into the model home that he and son George Michael (Micheal Cera) have been sharing and the series follows the relationships that develop and the scrapes they get into trying to get through their very changed lives and trying to get George Senior out of prison.
This show is funny and poignant and so well written. Narrated by Ron (Happy Days) Howard he adds an extra level of humour with his commentary. One of my favourite aspects of each episode is the "next week" section, this is never actually shown - often it is just the hilarious extension of what could happen in each story from the episode.
This is well worth a watch if you fancy half an hours giggling.
Brilliant and so unfairly underrated! This unbelievably funny sit com centers around the Bluth family. They are a wealth family who have made there money in property, the show opens with the head of the family George senior hosting a retirement party and his son Michael expecting to be named as the new head of the Bluth Company. Unfortunately everything does not go to plan and George is arrested for committing massive fraud. The rest of the series follows the highly amusing ups and downs of the family as they try to get back on there feet after the events of the party. Particularly funny are Gob Michaels older brother and rubbish magician, Buster Michaels clingy and freakish younger brother and Tobias his brother in law who is a failed psychiatrist turned failed actor played by the brilliant comedian David Cross. This show really displays some of the best writing and comedy acting you will ever see anywhere!
Arrested Development - Season One - Created by Ron Howard
22 Episodes on 3 Discs
Jeffrey Tambor - George Bluth Sr. / Oscar Bluth
Portia de Rossi - Lindsay Bluth Fünke
David Cross - Tobias Fünke
Ron Howard - Narrator
Jason Bateman - Michael Bluth
Jessica Walter - Lucille Bluth
Will Arnett - George "Gob" Bluth II
Michael Cera - George Michael Bluth
Alia Shawkat - Mae "Maeby" Fünke
Tony Hale - Byron "Buster" Bluth
Michael Bluth is the only "normal" person In a family full of rich and weird eccentrics, when he is passed up for promotion within the family business, he decides to abandon the family. But soon after he makes this decision, his father is arrested for treason and sent to prison and he has to run the family business and keep the family and their money in check, which isn't helped by the rest of his family who are freeloading off of the company's money.
Although its often strange, it is still continually hilarious, it is all very well written and performed by a great ensemble cast that includes the hilarious and often underrated Jason Bateman but the main plus point for the series is Will Arnett's Character George "Gob" Bluth II who is brilliantly portrayed and is a truly great sitcom character, who never fails to deliver a laugh or two.
Another good thing about the series is the narration, although that has been done in a few other series, Arrested Developments narration is done superbly and adds to the series very well.
Well there are a few less than stellar episodes that were still entertaining but weren't as funny as the rest, there are definitely a lot of weird moments in season one (mainly from GOB) but I'm not sure if that's a bad thing as a large amount of the comedy comes from these moments (Just like Scrubs). And although this is a review of the First season DVD, i am still disappointed that the show only lasted 3 Seasons as it was Unfairly Cut Short and Cancelled.
Episode Quality: 7/10
Cameos: Henry Winkler and Liza Minelli are the only main notbale guest stars and Henry Winkler is brilliant as the families attorney, but i personally didn't like Liza Minelli's character. But the show did have short but Memorable guest spots from Heather Grahame and Carl Weathers.
Making Of, Audio Commentaries, Deleted Scenes, Panel Interview, Extended Pilot and Behind the Scenes featurette.
Watch this if you like: Scrubs, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Just Shoot Me.
Notable Episodes: Staff Infection, Altar Egos (1).
Overall: Give it a try, watch the first few episodes and then decide from there.
Arrested Development is another great U.S show that was overlooked in England and we definitely missed out. One of the funniest programs I've ever seen, and totally reccommended to anyone and everyone.
As the narrator (executive producer Ron Howard) exposits at the beginning of every episode: "This is the story of a wealthy family who lost everything, and the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together."
Micheal Bluth (played by Jason Bateman, probably most well known now as the adoptive dad from Juno) is the chosen son. The moral centre of the family, he works hard for his father, George Sr. and raises his son, the adorable George Micheal (played by Micheal Cera, probably most well known now as the adorable boyfriend from Juno) with the same good values that, unfortunately, the rest of the Bluths are totally lacking.
When George Sr is arrested (he may have comitted some "light treason"), Micheal is forced to take over the failing family company and keep his family together. They don't make it easy for him, however. The rest of the Bluths are pathologically self-involved and are having a great deal of difficulty adjusting to their lack of funds.
Although prior to their father's arrest, Micheal hadn't spoken to his sister Lindsay (Portia di Rossi) for a year, she moves her family in with him and George Micheal to their model home. Lindsay finds the change particularly difficult, as her previous lifestyle basically entailed her being beautiful, with expensive clothes to match, and holding charity fundraisers. Her husband Tobias, after losing his medical license for administering the Heimlich Manouvere to someone who wasn't actually choking, finds inspiration to follow his newfound dream of acting after mistakenly taking part in a gay rights demonstration. Their daughter, Maeby, is largely ignored by her parents and she in turn becomes increasingly rebellious to get their attention, rarely with good results. She does however, manage to get the attention of George Micheal, who struggles with living with and having a crush on his cousin.
Micheal's elder brother GOB is a magician whose career is under threat as his noble attempt to help his father escape prison leads to his being blackballed from the Magician's Alliance as he inadvertantly reveals a trick. Micheal's younger brother, Buster, is the academic. A mummy's boy who rarely leaves his mother's hotel room, Buster finds social interaction very difficult, even with his own siblings. He does however, manage to find love with Lucille Austero, his mother's best friend/worst enemy played, hysterically, by Liza Minelli.
Arrested Development has a wide range of hilarious guest stars, from Judy Greer as George Sr's somewhat psychotic secretary, Kitty, to Heather Graham, to Ben Stiller, and many more. However, it is the Bluth's themselves that will make you love this programme. Each of them entirely dysfunctional in their own way, constantly back-stabbing and bitching at each other, they somehow manage to maintain a bond that is still utterly charming and at times, even touching.
But the great lure of Arrested Development is undoubtedly the humour. Often surreal (as you would expect from a program with Liza Minelli as a recurring guest star), you will not stop giggling from beginning to end. Dry quips, to witty one-liners to basic visual gags, this program has everything. The unique format of it being a documentary, is effectively used on several occassions to created humour as well, as we see the contrasts between the truth according to the Bluths and the reality. The program is also great for continuity, constantly rewarding its viewers with carried on jokes. Every time you get an in-joke its like a little reward!
The extras on the DVD are great too. Just as funny as the program itself, not an easy feat.
Arrested Development is an American comedy series that a lot of people, including myself, missed out on seeing when it was first aired in the UK on BBC2 back in 2004. It ran for 3 series before being cancelled in 2006 due to poor viewing figures, despite receiving a massive amount of critical acclaim (including 7 Emmy nominations) and obtaining a sizable cult following.
So what is it about? The main character that the show revolves around is Michael Bluth, played by Jason Bateman, who is forced to take over running the family real estate business after the previous boss, his father, is sent to prison for dodgy dealings. Along with looking after the business, Michael also spends a lot of his time looking after his dysfunctional family who are struggling to adjust to the fact that they are no longer wealthy.
The programme is shot in a mockumentary style, in a somewhat similar way to 'The Office', with no laughter track or live audience. All the episodes are narrated by the executive producer Ron Howard, perfectly storytelling events.
It's difficult to do the characters justice in this brief review, because the way that they interact with each other is a major part of the show. However, I'll give you a quick breakdown:
George Senior (played by Jeffrey Tambor) - Michael's father - though he's in jail he's still trying to control the family, and run elements of the business through them.
Lucille (played by Jessica Walter) - Michael's mother - She's a cold manipulative woman, who struggles desperately with the fact that her family has lost their wealth.
George Michael (played by Michael Cera) - Michael's son - The only other family member (along with Michael) who seems to be genuinely decent and honest, he constantly seeks his fathers approval. He also has a massive crush on his cousin Maeby.
G.O.B (George Oscar Bluth II) (played by Will Arnett) - Michael's elder brother - A struggling magician GOB (pronounced 'job') desperately seeks his fathers approval and respect, but is just used by George Senior to undermine Michael's control of the family business.
Buster (played by Tony Hale) - Michael's younger brother - Still considered the baby of the family by his mother, who has mothered him so much he is prone to panic attacks whenever he's not by her side.
Lindsay Funke (played by Portia de Rossi) - Michael's twin sister - Lindsay is completely materialistic. She is also struggling to keep her marriage to Tobias together.
Tobias Funke (played by David Cross) - Michael's brother in law - An aspiring actor and former psychiatrist, who may or may not actually be gay.
Maeby Funke (played by Alia Shawkat) - Michael's niece - Continually rebels against her parents, but it really just seeking their attention, often unsuccessfully.
There are a number of minor characters who also regularly appear, including the family's inept lawyer Barry Zuckerkorn fantastically played by Henry Winkler, and Lucille's slightly crazy best friend (also called Lucille) equally fantasically played by Liza Minnelli (though I don't know how much is acting and how much is just Liza Minnelli!).
There's no other way to put it, this is one of the greatest comedy programmes of the last decade. I'm a big fan of various comedy shows from the 1990's and 2000's, both American (Seinfeld, Frazier, Friends) and British (The Office, I'm Alan Partridge, Peep Show) and this is as good as any I've seen. The combination of amazing writing and genius comedy acting is right here. The storylines are always very well constructed, and the cameo appearances are seemingly endless (Ben Stiller, Heather Graham, Zach Braff, Charlize Theron...). The cast is so perfect I'm reluctant to pick out a favourite, but I have to say Will Arnett as GOB just gets the nod from me. I honestly can't do the programme justice describing it, I simply ask you to watch it and I defy you to not get hooked.
Where can you see it?
I'm not aware of it being on British TV at the moment. I can only imagine the fact that it was a ratings flop on its initial airing in the UK was down to the ridiculous scheduling by the BBC (on at 11.30pm).
It's available to buy on DVD in 3 separate season long boxsets, going for around £17 each on Amazon currently. The Season One 3-disk DVD boxset includes:
Introduction By Ron Howard
Commentary On Selected Episodes
Deleted And Extended Scenes
Featurette Breaking Ground Behind The Scenes Of Arrested Development
Original Song Segments
Featurette The Museum Of Television And Radio Q And A With Creator Mitchell Hurwitz And The Cast
Featurette TV Land Arrested Development The Making Of A Future Classic
Featurette TV Land Awards The Future Classic Award
Featurette Ron Howard Sneak Peak At Season 2
Easter Egg Tobias Out Take
To anyone who hasn't seen this show, I cannot recommend it to you highly enough. You need this television programme in your life. It's not too late.
Arrested Development is the kind of sitcom that gives you hope for television. A mockumentary-style exploration of the beleaguered Bluth family, it's one of those idiosyncratic shows that doesn't rely on a laugh track or a studio audience; it's shot more like a TV drama, albeit with an omniscient narrator (executive producer Ron Howard) overseeing the proceedings. Barely holding the Bluths together is son Michael (Jason Bateman), the only normal guy in a family that's chock full of nuts. Hardworking and sensible, Michael's certain he's going to be given control of his family's Enron-style corporation upon the retirement of his father (Jeffrey Tambor). The fact that he's passed over instead for his mother (Jessica Walter) is only a blip when compared to his father's immediate arrest for dubious accounting practices, and the resulting freeze on the family's previously limitless wealth. Bereft of money, and even less family love, the Bluths have to band together in their moment of need--not easy when everyone's looking out for number 1. In addition to his scabrous parents, Michael has to contend with his lothario older brother (Will Arnett), his basically useless younger brother (Tony Hale), his greedy twin sister (Portia DeRossi), and her sexually ambiguous husband (David Cross). Michael's only comrade in sanity is his son George Michael (Michael Cera), but then again, the teenage boy harbours a secret crush on his cousin (Alia Shawkat). A peerless ensemble led by the brilliant Bateman (who knew he could be this good?), all the actors are pitch-perfect in their roles, delivering the dryly funny, sometimes absurdist dialogue with the speed and flair of classic farce. The unusual tone of Arrested Development takes a bit of getting used to--it's far different from anything you'll see on TV--but once you buy in to the Bluths' innumerable dysfunctions, you'll be laughing your head off for hours. --Mark Englehart