There's been a lot of wonderful shit going on in the realm of television lately, and I've been asked repeatedly to share my opinions about a number of them. So I'm going to write these little mini (for me) posts to try to write about everything in one fell swoop.
Arrested Development Season Four was, I thought, pretty awesome. I have a long and storied relationship with the show - I can say with certainty that I have seen it more than you. Probably watched the entire series at least 15 times, if not more. And I'm still finding jokes that I missed the first time around! It's great. Going into it, I tried not to have too many expectations - I didn't even watch the trailer, though I did watch the teaser scene with Lucille and Buster smoking, which, UGH, so perfect. And once I got to the fourth episode and the jokes really started to build, I was totally in, but the first three episodes were a little rough. The first one with Michael and George Michael was very exposition-heavy and had a kind of sad, negative tone. The George Sr. one was just confusing and a little dull. And then there was Portia de Rossi's face. But once the exposition was out of the way and we got to the meatier Lucille, Gob, Tobias, Maeby, Buster, George Michael episodes...it was just plain delightful. The new form of storytelling that Mitchell Hurwitz experimented with here worked quite well for the most part, and after some fits and starts the whole thing really came together. My absolute number one complaint is with the Kristen Wiig/Seth Rogan flashbacks. In the past, Jeffrey Tambor and Jessica Walter played themselves in the flashbacks, often in a funny wig. Breaking with that tradition ruffles my feathers, but what I really can't stand is Wiig's over-the-top, utterly cartoonish Lucille impression. Rogan is more low-key and behaves like an actual human being and I don't mind him as much, but Wiig's purposeful, winking scenery-chewing takes me out of the show and puts me in a place of anger and ire where I start using words like "sacrilege". The entire season would be better served if those flashbacks were just removed entirely.
I won't get into what jokes I liked or what callbacks I noticed because that just drains all the fun out of them. Suffice to say, most of it, although I thought Ron Howard inserted himself into the plot a little (maybe a lot) more than was necessary or enjoyable. I wanted more Buster, more Maeby, and MORE GOB, though I am hopeful for a movie or possibly even more seasons. Jessica Walter is magnificent.
And yes, I liked the ending.