The Bluths are Back in “Arrest Development”

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Chloe Ruffennach | cr584116@ohio.edu | Culture Staff Writer

Fans of “Arrested Development” know that the past season and a half has been hard to get through. After Netflix revived the comedy, the show took a significant and noticeable dip in quality. The jokes didn’t land, the characters were scattered into odd storylines, the episodes became too plot-intensive and overall, it lacked the magic that made it a classic, rewatchable series. Fans of the series will find redemption in these last eight episodes as it provides a concise, satisfying ending to a season that began on a rocky start.

When Netflix announced that it was releasing the second part of season five, it went largely unnoticed on social media, which in retrospect is a shame considering “Arrested Development” absolutely saved itself with the final eight episodes of season five.

While previous seasons of the show have displayed interesting plots, season four seemed to drown in its storyline. Comedy took a backseat as it focused on creating tension between George Michael and Michael, developing the border wall plot and making a storyline about Tobias and a former actress with a drug addiction.

None of the storylines seemed to stick and these plot points were carried over into the beginning of season five. They made start of the season particularly slow, as the show’s writers attempted to clean up the mistakes of season four. However, the second half of season five was able to shine after the previous season’s mistakes were fixed and the show’s strengths were emphasized. What didn’t work was erased and what did work was utilized more often, almost as if the show’s writers were keenly watching the critical responses.

The first three seasons of the show created what Youtuber, Ideas At Play, deemed a “language” with its audience. The jokes were initially reused throughout the series in a way that only avid fans or close watchers noticed. Season four and the beginning of five didn’t prioritize the “language” that made the show funnier and craftier. The last eight episodes of season five, however, picked this “language” back up. Viewers were gifted with references to Mr. F, motherboy, the Charlie Brown Christmas theme, Gene Parmesan and even a picture of Cindi Lightballoon could be seen briefly if watching close enough.

Still, season five isn’t without its faults. Perhaps the most noticeable issue is that episode 13 begins with an odd, hazy flashback with music that seemed particularly out of place. Though these flashbacks are later explained and work towards a satisfying reveal, they initially feel intrusive and unnecessary. Aside from those misplaced scenes, the humor lacks the overwhelmingly funny quality of the first three seasons. Though it would be hard to replicate the feel and humor of a show that had been off the air for seven years before its revival, the original unique comedy of “Arrested Development” is only a ghost of what it once was.

Overall, it was a satisfying season. It felt nice to see all the Bluths together for the majority of those eight episodes, unlike season four where they were purposefully scattered in their own subplots. Lindsay is the only Bluth not present for most of the season and her absence was actually a relief. This comes after her infrequent appearances at the start of season five that consisted of messy cuts to Portia de Rossi, who was clearly and distractingly not on set with the rest of the cast. But seeing the Bluth family together like they were for the first three seasons simply felt right.

The season ends on a note that wraps up all the storylines and threads into a nice, neat bow. The last episode ends in a way that seems to not only draw a conclusion on the season’s stories, but on the series as a whole.

According to Screen Rant, Netflix has yet to renew “Arrested Development” for a sixth season. Apparently, there’s been no discussion about a renewal yet. It wouldn’t come as a surprise if they leave the series where it is. The end of these episodes wrapped up all of the stories in a way that was a lot tidier than the abrupt ending before its original cancelation after season three. The series felt redeemed within those episodes, despite season five’s rocky beginning. Perhaps just as the show is regaining its voice it will be silenced.

“Arrested Development” on Netflix is making a comeback
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