Monday, 3 October 2011

Hollywood Babble On & On #816: Arrest Arrested Development

Well, it's happening again.

Like a flare-up of herpes there's another report of an Arrested Development comeback. This time it's going beyond mere hints and rumors. The show's creator Mitch Hurwitz and the cast formally announced that they are going to do a ten episode mini-series, either on cable and/or Netflix, then a movie to tell everyone what the Bluth clan has been up to since the original show was cancelled in 2006.

So let's look at the 



DEDICATED FAN-BASE:  The show has its fans, and they are a dedicated, nay, fanatical group that have been pushing for an Arrested Development reunion series/movie ever since the show was cancelled in 2006.  They are guaranteed to watch any new show and buy tickets to any new movie.


DEDICATED FAN-BASE: This aforementioned fan base is dedicated.  But it's also very small.  The show, while a critical darling, was never popular.  It also lost a lot of fans, like me, during the second season when it seemed to be going in narrative circles, and just kept hemorrhaging viewers until Fox pulled the plug. 

And it's not like the show, like Star Trek, has gone on to a bountiful afterlife. There are no Arrested Development conventions, elements of the show haven't entered into the popular zeitgeist, and quotes haven't become part of our everyday slang.  Its afterlife seems based upon the show's total unpopularity, feeding a sense of smug hipster superiority of a small group of people defined by their like of a show that leaves most other people cold.

Then there are the people like me, who like the show when it first started, but soon tired of its antic disposition, and tuned out.  We see the quality the show had in its meta-humor, and ability with tackling taboo subjects, but don't have the Manson-Family like dedication of its hipster fans.  That smug pretentious dedication of those fans, and the constant comeback rumors have made us so fucking sick and tired of Arrested Development, we'd be quite happy to never see or hear about anything associated with it ever again.  These people, myself included, won't really be spending any of their time or money to see the comeback in any form.

BUDGET & SCHEDULING:  The cast has been scattered to the four winds.  Jason Bateman and Micheal Cera make movies, not that they really count as "star" leading men, just because they're on Hollywood's casting list, which means they might as well be.  The rest of the cast are all working on other film and television projects, some even have moved onto other series.

The networks those cast-members are currently signed to, will probably not be too keen to let their people go play for what is essentially the competition.  A movie they won't mind, it's done relatively quickly and doesn't directly compete with them.  However, a TV series and a movie is a different kettle of fish.

Working around these schedules is going to eat up a lot of time, and in film-making TIME=MONEY.  This sort of a project, with such a tight niche market, can easily fly well beyond any sort of profitability.

But this is not all about numbers, we can't forget:

LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE:  It's extremely hard to catch it twice, exponentially hard when you're talking about comedy that was so entrenched in the time and place it was made, the way Arrested Development was.  They might think it's going to be easy, it might feel like it's going to be easy, but if one ingredient is just a little bit off, the whole mix can sour.

Well, the cons seem to outweigh the pros, here.... Oh wait, here's one last PRO: The people who have been chanting for an Arrested Development comeback might finally shut the hell up.


  1. Would people want to see Jason Bateman, Micheal Cera, Will Arnett etc., revise their roles officially after they revised them many times unofficially?

  2. It will probably be better if they just did a one shot movie and miniseries, watch it FAIL than we can finally stop hearing about this show ever again.

    I never one ever watched an Episode of this series.

  3. I think it was Dennis Miller who pointed out that left-wing people tended to like shows about broken, damaged people, such as "Dexter", "Mad Men", or "Arrested Development", while right-wing people tend to like shows about normal healthy people, like "CSI", "Modern Family", or "Cosby".

    I'm not sure how much truth there is in this theory, since my kids are neutral-to-conservative and love "The Office". Maybe it's just that hipsters are ALL on the left, and they like such shows, so this skews the percentages.

  4. Sandy, Leftists love shows like The Sopranos, Dexter & Boardwalk Empire (where the KKK teams up with the republicans, just like in history) where the shows heroes are thieves, serial killers, robbers and literal cut-throats.
    But a documentary of Dick Cheney is a bio of the "most evil man ever".

  5. A beloved office-mate of mine, and a staunch leftist, once objected to my referring to Leopold II as an "evil" man. (For murdering millions of Congolese.) I then asked if he thought Pol Pot was evil. He did not. He basically objected to the term "evil" in referring to ANY person.

    My argument was that the word "evil" was valuable in describing certain types of behavior. But I guess he felt it carried too much baggage. Insane? Yes. Yes he was.

    But I know he hated Dick Cheney.