Netflixing: Arrested Development, Season 4

in tv •  2 months ago

Do I hate myself?

Really, I have to ask: do I hate myself?

Because I like to think that the answer is "No, of course not." It seems like such an easy conclusion to reach. And yet...I have evidence that suggests otherwise.

After all, if I didn't hate myself, then why---please tell me why---I let myself watch the fourth season of Arrested Development.

The Show Goes On...But Fails to Ask Itself, "Why?"

If you remember my review of this show's previous seasons, you'll recall that, although I was not enamored with it, I found Arrested Development to be a serviceable comedy with a satisfying ending that tied all its loose plot threads together.

In many ways, it was the perfect ending, with Michael Bluth finally learning his lesson, and putting his own happiness, and that of his son, ahead of whatever obligation he felt to save his dysfunctional family. In the end, everyone got what they deserved.

So...why continue the story?

After a conclusion like that, there was no way to keep the story going in the same direction. Even if the fourth season had turned out to be good, it would have to look remarkably different from all that had come before. It could even be classified as an entirely different show.

And the result was an entirely different show. But not a good one.

A Few Things to Address First

This is a Netflix show.

The first three seasons were not. But the fourth season (which was given the nonsensical subtitle of "Fateful Consequences") was made especially for Netflix. It was not produced for broadcast Television.

So why, why, WHY did they spend an absurd amount of time, at the beginning of every episode, recapping stuff we'd already seen?

The advent of streaming services, Netflix included, has forever eliminated the need for TV shows to open their episodes with a summary of what happened "last week on The Lone Ranger". They have no purpose now. They have become worthless.

That so many Netflix-exclusive shows still rely on them is troubling. But Arrested Development takes the issue to an entirely new level. We get constant flashbacks and recaps not just at the beginning, but also in the middle of each episode.

How does that happen?

And Ron Howard's narration, which was sparse and pithy in the first three seasons, has become a constant drone. It interrupts almost every scene in the season, destroying narrative flow and honestly ruining what little joy the experience might have offered.

Problems of Plot

The pre-Netflix seasons of Arrested Development were funny because they took a cast of despicable characters, put them all under one roof, and made them punish each other for our amusement.

So, natrually, season 4 had to take all of these people and scatter them to the wind, giving each one their own storyline and removing all the dramatic friction that had redeemed and justified everything the show had been before.

Bravo. *Slow clap.*

From what I've been able to research, it seems like all the original cast members were involved with other projects by the time season 4 started filming. So, to accommodate their various schedules, each had to be filmed mostly on their own, with very little overlap.

That the production encountered such a roadblock is understandable, but the showrunners should have known that splitting the cast up was never going to work. It would have been better not to try.

But Does It at Least have Good Jokes?

Honestly? No.

I only laughed once during the entire season (at the "And she never even saw the license plate" remark), and that was not worth the grind of 22 episodes of pure nothingness.

Were the Characters Still Engaging?

Not even a little.

Lucille was the only character who retained even a mote of her original entertainment value. The others were drained of life, becoming pale shadows of what they had been.

Special mention has to be given to the character of Michael, who in the first three seasons was kind of lovable, as the one normal person in the family who reveled in his moral superiority while secretly wishing he could be just as lazy and greedy as everyone else.

In the fourth season, Michael is reduced to being an all-out jerk. He does terrible things to people for underhanded reasons, and he doesn't even try to be the good guy. It completely kills what made him great to begin with.

But no one---absolutely no one---was worse than David Cross's character, Tobias. He was always the least funny part of the show. And his one-dimensional running gag---that he was an educated but naive manchild---got old fast. Yet in season 4, they made it so much worse. Tobias went from being naive to being an idiot. And everything he did was an exercise in "Look at how dumb I am."

It was like scraping a cheese grater across a chalkboard.

That's right: extra rusty.

And it was the last straw.

My Judgment

Arrested Development, season 4, is awful.

I have only seen it in its Fateful Consequences form, which has 22 episodes instead of the original 15. And while that only makes this season more awful, I have a hard time imagining that it would have been palatable in any other incarnation.

Do not watch it.

Do not attempt to watch it.

Do not think about attempting to watch it.

Do not allow yourself to consider that one day perhaps maybe you will perchance think about watching it.

Just. Don't.

You can thank me later. In the meantime, watch anything else Netflix has to offer. Anything at all. The world will be a better place for your having passed up that opportunity.

Previous entries in the Netflixing series:

Past Years

TV Shows

  • The Dragon Prince
  • The Hollow
  • The Good Place, Season 2
  • Arrested Development, the Pre-Netflix Era
  • Disenchantment
  • Demetri Martin: The Overthinker
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 5
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
  • The Joel McHale Show, with Joel McHale
  • John Mulaney: The Comeback Kid
  • The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Season 4
  • Trollhunters, Season 3
  • Aggretsuko
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 4
  • Trollhunters
  • Round Planet
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 3
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events, Season 2
  • Kakegurui
  • Planet Earth II
  • Fullmetal Alchemist
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 2
  • Revolting Rhymes
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 1
  • The Polka King
  • Little Witch Academia
  • Movies

  • Constantine
  • Lupin the 3rd: The Castle of Cagliostro
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • Mary and the Witch's Flower
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
  • Coco
  • The Iron Giant
  • Jaws
  • Phantom Boy
  • The Boss Baby
  • Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
  • Strictly Ballroom
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    Haha I got it! yeah luckily I didn't even try to watch it! Thank you for this great review and thank you for stopping us from unwanted time consuming!


    Actually this part seems hilarious part. Probably I don't like these parts of movies. There are some dangerous points entered. But summery is superb.

    Arrested Development, season 4, is awful.

    Seemed some places included awful condition. I have better imagine for this season 4.

    This is very interesting netflix tv program .
    thanks for sharing.

    What the hell happened with Portia de Rossi in this wtf. Also i loved the first 3 seasons, and now i'm at episode 4 season 4...until now is just bad.

    wonderful blog post thanks a lot sir for sharing.

    Also jason bateman himself said season 4 sucked." “[The episodes] were meant to be the first act of a three-act story that Mitch had in his head. And the second two acts … are still yet to be told. He thought it would be fun to do the first act in some episodes. And that’s what that was, but Netflix called it ‘season four,’ which was a little disingenuous because it implied that the show was coming back. And that’s not what the show was, because each episode was about an individual character, and I think it was a little confusing and frankly underwhelming for the audience. That was unfortunate. It wasn’t branded honestly. Or correctly, I should say.”

    @talanhorne - Arrested Development, season 4, is awful. Sir with this judgement you save out time by watching this nasty series... Thank you Sir... Nice you decided to share this review Sir...


    i wanted the show to come back so badly, but having seen the 4th season i understood that sometimes its better to let things go,it wasnt so good the 4th season, i think its because too many years past since it got canceled, its a shame cause it really was a great show if their making a 5th i hope its better than this one

    I really didn't like the turn that the Michael Bluth character took. I mean seriously, for the first three seasons, he was the most loving, and devoted father, and then all of a sudden, they turn take all of that away and turn him into someone who would stab his son in the back.

    Congratulations @talanhorne
    Now you are in the MinnowsPower Loyalty Member List...!!!

    Exceptional review & excellent writing...!!!

    100% Upvoted by @MinnowsPower

    Hello @talanhorne,

    Extraordinary good review of Netflixing - Arrested Development S 04. Incredible judgment & excellent article.


    if someone don't believe your review, it's good that he watch it. impressive review & useful. thank you @talanhorne

    reteemed & upvoted

    i think the main reason why season 4 didn't work is because how they separate the characters from each other. the funniest and most favorite thing about AD- to me, however, is how all the characters are self-centered and really isn't fit for a family. but they have to, and the result is disastrous. Plans don't collaborate and create hilarious moments. the chemistry between the actors are also phenomenal, most importantly the characters complete each other to make funny scenes. so, when they separate the characters they literally lose a very great element to the show.

    I think first 3 seasons was probably the best comedy show I've ever seen. 4 season felt completely different I didn't like it . I get what they was going for but I would prefer first 3 seasons style.

    You can thank me later. In the meantime, watch anything else Netflix has to offer. Anything at all. The world will be a better place for your having passed up that opportunity.

    With this judgement you shared your experience of the show perfectly. Excellent & valuable article from netflixing review.

    When carefully read your review, it means this TV series is an horrible one. I think it's happen due to poor narration of the series. Excellent show up & thank you.

    Hi talanhorne,

    This post has been upvoted by the Curie community curation project and associated vote trail as exceptional content (human curated and reviewed). Have a great day :)

    Visit or join the Curie Discord community to learn more.

    Excellent review introduction of Arrested Development, Season 4. Your writing is very good. Thank you very much for sharing with us

    This is valuable and interesting review with hopefully Tv series look . thanks for sharing.the great writing.

    Best characters acted there of this netflix movie. This was not satisfy to myself cuz story tale not fascinating. Sometimes comedy also maybe terrible.

    Excellent review & I'll not going to watch it. Thank you.

    That is very interesting tv series and great writing . it is wonderful work
    Thanks @talanhorne
    Have a great day

    Very good at writing for this article and for quality efforts.this is interesting tv series .
    100% like and restee

    @talanhorne, That's better review introduction of Arrested Development, Season 4. Some of interesting to mine after read your review of this Netflix movie. Great work again to steemit.

    too many episodes it will be there to catch up thanks for sharing your review it will help me a lot to save time ;)

    Your blogs are always amazing i love reading your blogs thank you so much sir.

    Hopefully, Season 5 won't be like Season 4 and the show will be back to its regular format of having all the Bluths together and hopefully, it will be as funny as season 1-3. Season 4 was meh in terms of humour.

    This season was hilarious. I loved it, even if it wasn't as funny as s1-3 it made me so happy and gave me a break from my horrible real life. Haha.

    Season 4 took comedy on a level so complex that even some fans of the first 3 seasons could not get it. It is a masterpiece in comedy storytelling.

    Thank you for review, it is interesting to hear the opinion us, simple watcher then to read it in any magazines who probably have an aim to advertise it to wider auditorium. It is pity that sometimes due to popularity of previous seasons the company continue to produce the next season just with the thought that there are already a fans there so then will watch no matter how good that made and I can understand that not having good jokes or casts as before that spoils everything and I can imagine how you did feel.

    They probably thought it was too good a story for it to come to an end so they decides to extend it or maybe they thought people are gonna love it.... How wrong they were...

    I know, you review is suppose to make me not watching this awful series but the thing it just made me want to, I might wanna dive in there pretty soon to watch that awfulness, the "mess" they made could be funny too you know... 😉