Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Arrested Development: RIP, or: Why does FOX hate their viewers?
Why would a critically acclaimed show that gets watched by millions of people whenever it's on, why would FOX discontinue that show? Because that show is so good that it doesn't follow the rules of a typical sitcom. There's no laugh track, no studio audience, and no painfully bad jokes. There's not a feel-good moral at the end of every episode. The real problem is that it's too creative and probably too quirky to be appreciated by more people. I've often thought of it as a variation of the "Royal Tenenbaums" style of family comedy. Most of the characters are dysfunctional or at least intensely quirky in their own ways. The show is formatted kind of like a documentary, with strictly hand-held cameras that follow the actors around, and there's always jokes in the background, while the dialogue is going on. It plays with diagetic and non-diagetic music; there's a running gag of "Next week on Arrested Development..." and showing clips that aren't in the next week's show. It mixes low and high brow humor. The always hysterical David Cross couldn't be funnier, and the rest of the ensemble cast is pitch-perfect. It's no surprise that something this good wouldn't last long.
According to my trusted internet sources (see here):
"Arrested Development" will wrap its third -- and likely last -- season on Fox next month with a two-hour swan song slated to air opposite the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics. Fox has decided to package four episodes of "Arrested" and air them as a two-hour season finale from 8-10 p.m. on Friday, February 10th. Scheduling the broadcast opposite the first night of the Olympics sends another strong signal that the net has given up any hope of reviving the show.
Sigh. This is really too bad, because it's the best show on TV right now. I just bought the first two seasons on dvd and it gets funnier with repeated viewings. So, if it is cancelled, I'll just have to savor what we have: 3 seasons of gut-busting laffs!