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Arrested Development

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I still haven't watched the last four or so episodes.

I'm kind of at a loss for what I think of it. The layered interconnectivity and references/meta were obviously off the charts amazing--has there ever been a show that've done nearly as much? But it started to get really heavy handed for me, and it took away from some of the pure joy I got from the first three seasons.

Also I don't really like Ron Howard as a character. I certainly like him as the narrator.

And to me...I realize that the way it was done was the only way it was going to get done, but it's an ensemble show. Some of the delight is in the interactions. It really took me out when I was literally paying more attention to dubbed lines being dubbed than to what the lines were.

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They were trying something new and different, have to give them credit for that. And did the best they could probably all the actors I think filming around their schedules. But you're right, the biggest problem is the strength of the show was the ensemble cast and they all needed each other. Watching them individually in episodes for the most part did not work well.

I don't hate season 4, but it fell short of my expectations. It does get better though on rewatch. There certainly were memorable and funny parts, but they were less frequent than the first 3 seasons

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My husband and I will forever love AD, and our annual binge re-watch is as sure as our LOTR weekend. We skip season 4, though. I loved these characters, and Season 4 felt like it was written by someone who loathed them. I hated everything about it, from Tobias' fauxmance to Portia's frozen face, to whatever the hell Lucille and George were supposed to be doing in the desert. The absolute worst for me was how Mitch wrote Michael. As a longtime and very loyal viewer, I felt really screwed over by Season 4. 

I will always recommend AD to those looking for smart, funny tv. But I always caution about Season 4, and personally, I wish they'd never made it. In our house, we just pretend Season 3 is the end. I own two copies of AD Seasons 1-3. We bought Season 4 when it came out, and when we moved last summer, I threw it out. How sad is that?

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Season 4 had some successful and some not so successful moments. While I agree that the ensemble was the strength of the show, with the casts' busy schedule, there was no way to film this season like the prior seasons. Knowing this, I am happy for the altered fourth season, which IMO was still better than most sitcoms, even though it was not filled with as many LOL moments as the original three.

In truth, my biggest problem was what happened with the Michael character. Little doses of he is like his parents in small ways was great. A season of being hammered over the head with Michael's "Bluthness" was too much. His relationship with George-Michael was the cornerstone of the show and for me, that relationship was horribly damaged that if there is no fifth season, that is what we are left with and that makes me sad.

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His relationship with George-Michael was the cornerstone of the show and for me, that relationship was horribly damaged that if there is no fifth season, that is what we are left with and that makes me sad.

THIS! That final scene, wherein we are supposed to accept as a viewing audience that Michael, who for three seasons loved his child more than anything and sacrificed all for him, knowingly slept with a woman his son had feelings for. I kind of felt like Mitch got so pissed at folks for insisting on a 4th season that he purposely wrote one so hateful to the audience they would not ask again. It felt like a punishment, and if the cast couldn't get together to film, they shouldn't have bothered at all. I loved those characters in spite of their flaws, for three seasons. But in the fourth, Mitch gave us all the crappy stuff about them, and none of the good. Just sad, what that did to the show for me. 

Still, seasons 1-3 are some of the best television I have ever seen. 

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I think to me the 4th season was written more for show nerds who like all the meta/references and jokes--but when you mess with the most integral relationship, the show was set adrift.

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We bought Season 4 when it came out, and when we moved last summer, I threw it out.

How did you buy season 4 on DVD, assuming that's what you're talking about? It won't come out on DVD until June, I thought. Or was it released in another country that I'm not aware of?

I liked season 4, especially what they did with Gob and Tony Wonder. Michael being a terrible father who doesn't listen to his son was shown in seasons 1 to 3, and they made a point of it at the Save Our Bluths dinner too. Michael even slept with Beth Baerly, the teacher that George Michael liked, in season 1. Granted, it was an accident and misunderstanding, but he deflected blame by lying that Gob did it, and he did try to get back together with the teacher later that episode. So Michael has been weaselly and selfish for a long time. Michael sleeping with Rebel Alley was also a misunderstanding on his part; he didn't find out until late in season 4, and he did decide to break up with her, only to forget it later, probably due to the roofie. So I don't have trouble forgiving Michael, and I think George Michael's also been a bad person by continuing to lie about his name and his Fakeblock software even after he decides to make a serious relationship commitment. Bluths are all deeply flawed.

The thing that bothered me more in season 4 is that Tobias was so awful to Debrie, ruining her sobriety and forcing her to be in the dumb musical. He claims to love this woman, but he stupidly refuses to take the job that could support them, and discourages her from using her own law degree to support them. Tobias being an idiot hopelessly pursuing his acting career never hurt anyone so much before, and the jokes about her possibly dying on a pile of garbage, er debris, was a dark humor I wasn't used to. But after rewatch it was easier for me to accept the plot. I just picture Tobias as the villain, and Debrie as the heroine, and I hope season 5 or whatever will have a better outcome for her.

Edited by Cress
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I'm still making my way through this site and this is the first time I've come into this forum. 

We loved Arrested Development and were looking forward to the new season, but barely made it halfway through, if that far.  We just weren't enjoying it.  Our kids stuck with it and said that it got better as it progressed, but we tried another episode or two and just couldn't keep going.

Very disappointing.

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I've only watched season 4 once, I feel like it was a mistake. I barely even recognised Lindsay and wouldn't have realised it was Portia DeRossi except for her voice. Did they ever say it was a plastic surgery joke?

 

I loved season 1 - 3 so much and was very concerned when the 4th came out, I sort of wish it never had. I really missed the interaction between the characters that the previous seasons had. For me, it's like the matrix. Only the original exists.

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Well George Sr. made a comment about Lindsay having work done and only having cartilage left. It was at the dinner where they ran into each other at the free shrimp table.

 

Lindsay's change didn't bother me. George Michael changed radically too, and I didn't see tons of articles complaining about that. I think people judge actresses harsher than actors. Anyway, I liked the season overall and want a season 5. If there was a season 5 (or a movie) and it had more of the cast together, would you consider watching it? Or just not see it because you didn't like season 4?

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I would definitely watch it. I'd be hoping for it to be like the older series. Arrested Development is one of my favourite shows so I'd probably watch it forever :p I just might not like it.

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Lindsay's change didn't bother me. George Michael changed radically too, and I didn't see tons of articles complaining about that. I think people judge actresses harsher than actors.

Not saying there isn't any truth to that, but going from 15-17 to 25 you expect more changes than going from 30-32 to 40. Also, Michael Cera has been more in the public eye than Portia de Rossi in the interim.

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How did you buy season 4 on DVD, assuming that's what you're talking about? It won't come out on DVD until June, I thought. Or was it released in another country that I'm not aware of?

You are correct, as it came out on Netflix, not DVD.  I was referencing a dvd my son made me of the show,  and not an actual Season 4 DVD.  I should have said 'we got Netflix as soon as AD came out'. My mistake, and apologies. 

So no, it wasn't released in another country that you weren't aware of, at least not in Canada.

 

 

Lindsay's change didn't bother me. George Michael changed radically too, and I didn't see tons of articles complaining about that.

Micahel Cera just grew up, and into a man. Portia De Rossi had radical plastic surgery that completely changed her face and made her unrecognizable to me, so much so that for the first couple of episodes my hubby and I really thought it was going to be written in, like she was 'in' on the joke her face had become. I have always found Portia to be lovely looking, and it took me right out of the show and her character to see how much work she clearly thought she had to have done. I am so sick of looking at plastic faced women pretending they are somehow compelled to do this to themselves in order to 'work' in Hollywood. It's a sad commentary on how not far women really have come in self-acceptance and understanding what their true beauty is. 

Edited by JustAlison
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Portia de Rossi has been in the public eye after AD. She was on the sitcom Better Off Ted, which I also enjoyed, and was cast in the failed Mockingbird Lane pilot. There might be other things in between that I've forgotten. Plus as Ellen's girlfriend, she would sometimes be seen in paparrazzi photos. I seriously did not see that big a difference in the season 4 episodes. In fact, I remember thinking back in season 3 "she plucks her eyebrows too much, and is getting too tan; it's changed her look." That's what stood out to me. What she looks like now does not look like "a whole different person" or anything close to that. I would not call it plastic surgery. I would say maybe it's botox or something, or other people have said that the long wig she wore was unflattering.

 

Of course Michael Cera aged. I've only watched one or two of his movies since AD, though. But he's changed radically, whereas I see no difference in Alia Shawkat other than her becoming bustier. She also aged, but she doesn't look as different to me. No matter what, it doesn't "take me out of the show" to know that an actor has altered. I don't know why every article criticizing season 4 had to bring up Portia's face as if it were a monstrosity. Why should it be an issue?

Edited by Cress

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I agree that the wig she wore at the beginning was very unflattering and somehow affected the look of her face. Once her hair was short (she was no longer wearing a wig), she looked fine to me. 

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Yay I got an Arrested Development shirt at the store today, just in time for Cinco de Cuatro. Anybody going to celebrate it? It's unfortunate that it falls on the same day as Star Wars day (May the fourth be with you).

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By the way, thanks for replying to my question, Kalliste. I didn't like all of season 4, but I already hated several episodes in season 2 because of the repetitive Egg jokes, so in my experience, disappointment isn't new. But I still love the show enough to crave season 5. I wish we could get some kind of announcement of some deal soon.

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By the way, thanks for replying to my question, Kalliste. I didn't like all of season 4, but I already hated several episodes in season 2 because of the repetitive Egg jokes, so in my experience, disappointment isn't new. But I still love the show enough to crave season 5. I wish we could get some kind of announcement of some deal soon.

Oh, I actually liked the Egg/Her/Bland jokes :P

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They were fine the first couple of times. It was the beating the dead horse into the ground that made me mad, as well as the brief breakup that was reversed within the same episode.

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Taking the discussion of repetitive jokes to the General Discussion thread...I hope to see you guys there! 

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It's funny how something generally considered among this show's greatest strengths---it's attention to callbacks and continuity---could often, for me, be its biggest weakness: the OMG-stop-we-get-it-already-just-let-it-go repetition of some jokes and themes. The Ann/Egg stuff didn't personally bother me like it did others, but the Maeby-as-studio-exec stuff grated on my last nerve. It felt like literally the same freaking thing repeated over and over, and it wasn't a thing I happened to like to begin with or one that made Maybe remotely likable for me. Similarly, I could have very happily gone without seeing the chicken dance more than once...in fact, as someone who's not really a fan of overly silly slapstick, less than once would have been fine as well ;) The Blue Man jokes also got really stale for me. And a lot of the sexual innuendo felt really juvenile and repetitive to me as well.

 

That said, Gob's incompetent botching of tricks---excuse me, ILLUSIONS---Lindsay's hilariously hypocritical activism and Bob Loblaw never get old for me, so it just goes to show that we all have our things :) 

 

How would you guys rank the seasons from favorite to least favorite? And what were some of your very favorite and least favorite episodes? 

 

I've developed a surprising attachment to S3, which I know wasn't as popular among many fans. Tobias' illness crosses the line from funny to grossly disturbing to me, but there's so much that I love about that particular season. There's a surprising amount of heart, I like the Rita/Wee Britain stuff a lot more than is reasonable and, um, have I mentioned my love for all things Bob Loblaw?! ;) ("Why should YOU have to go to jail for a crime that someone else...noticed?") 

 

S4 is my least favorite by a very wide margin. 

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I don't know. Maybe we should start a new thread if we're going to start talking about favorite seasons. In general, this is how I rank them, from most favorite to least:

 

Season 1

Season 3

Season 4

Season 2

 

Yeah, I hated season 2 that bad. But it was mostly the 1st half. The second half of season 2 was better.

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I'm also a big fan of S3,

 

I'm glad I'm not alone! 

 

 

S2 had more of my personal favorites than S1 did, but it also had lower lows. S1 was more consistent for me, and I don't recall anything other than Marta and the endless love triangle on my 'ugh' list. S2 had more stuff I disliked---Maeby as a studio executive, the repetitive Blue Man group stuff, and most of the stuff involving poor Buster losing his hand---but for some reason I have more affection for S2's best episodes than I do for the vast majority of S1. So I guess my order would be S3, S2, S1 and (BIG gap) S4, but S1 and S2 are pretty much tied. :) 

 

If you guys had to pick your five or so favorite episodes, what would they be?! 

Edited by mstaken

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I always love Pier Pressure the best. I also liked Storming the Castle, Sword of Destiny, Spring Breakout, and Exit Strategy. I'm not sure of the titles of the season 4 episodes, but I liked the Gob ones the best.

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I LOVE the chicken dances.. that video on youtube that has them all in one.. best ever! :P I love when they all do it together and Gob  misses out and Buster's "chickens dont clap!". I don't mind the Maeby as an exec stuff but the 'marry me' got old pretty fast.

There's really very little that I dislike about Seasons 1 - 3 which might have been why S4 was such a let down for me. It was just far too different to the rest and lacked the family togetherness the rest had.

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Cress, I absolutely love Spring Breakout and Exit Strategy as well! 

 

I think my five favorites in chronological order are Best Man for the Gob,  Meat the Veals, Righteous Brothers, Forget-Me-Now and Notapusy (the Church and State fair and its Startled Straight program delights me to no end), but it changes. If I had more room, I'd include Making a Stand, Exit Strategy, The Immaculate Election, Whistler's Mother...and now I really wish I had the DVDs handy!   

Edited by mstaken

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Best Man for the Gob is great, and Making a Stand was so good when Michael and Gob taught their father a lesson! Is Whistler's Mother the one where Lucille hugs Michael, and he asks "Why are you squeezing me with your body?" LOL I love that.

Edited by Cress
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Making a Stand was so good when Michael and Gob taught their father a lesson!

 

Heh---yeah, while the George Michael/Michael relationship is the heart of the show for me, I tend to adore episodes that feature GOB/Michael. 

 

Another weird pattern I've noticed: I tend to have an inordinate fondness for episodes that include Franklin :) 

 

Are there episodes that have improved for you with repeated viewing? I was initially meh on the Maggie Lizer episodes and grew to like them a lot. Even more surprisingly, I ended up loving the much-derided Ready, Aim, Marry Me! 

Edited by mstaken

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 I ended up loving the much-derided Ready, Aim, Marry Me! 

I really have a hard time with this one. I don't care much for Martin Short, and Uncle Jack is definitely the worst thing I've seen him do. It's just really off-putting for me.

 

I'll have to come back to list my favorite episodes after I finish my current re-watch. This is the 6th or 7th time I've watched S1-3 all the way through. My boyfriend has never seen the entire series, so I'm enjoying sharing it with him immensely. :)

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I really have a hard time with this one. I don't care much for Martin Short, and Uncle Jack is definitely the worst thing I've seen him do.

 

I have seen Martin Short make plenty of unbearable appearances, enough that I would find it impossible to declare a "worst." But this is right in there with the most unendurable of them. "Ready, Aim, Marry Me" is really the only Arrested Development episode I dislike -- I always skip it when I watch the DVDs. Otherwise, I like them all pretty nearly equally. (I haven't yet seen Season 4.) "Pier Pressure" may marginally rank at the top for me, and the Little Britain sequence marginally below par, but it's a small difference and I enjoy them all (minus that one exception) when I watch them. I never experienced a slump in the series and I don't find one season markedly superior to another.

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Uncle Jack was horrible, and I never rewatch that episode either.

 

I always love the Michael/Gob episodes. They are the heart of the show for me. George Michael's problems with his father make me sympathetic to him, but merely serve to make me imagine what Michael was like when he was that young and struggling with his dad. I  like Maeby too and wish she would have got to do more things. We should have got to see her do more grand schemes like the Surely Funke con, but she got stuck in the movie studio thing. I thought they were going to explore more of her anger at her parents when she was really mean and resentful to Mrs. Featherbottom, but then Tobias stopped doing that and they just dropped the subject. Maeby needs more emotional development.

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Ha---I should probably clarify that I grew to like Ready, Aim, Marry Me despite Uncle Jack rather than because of him. Isn't that the one where Michael has Tobias tape record himself so that he can hear just how ridiculously he speaks? Naturally, Tobias remains oblivious even after listening to the tape :) 

 

There are things I loved and didn't love about each season. Season 1 has so much going for it: it's the one season during which I really enjoyed what Maeby added to the show (she was more endearing to me and hadn't yet gotten mired in the repetitive studio exec stuff); I love George in prison more than when he's hiding out in the attic or even on house arrest; there was a surprising amount of sweetness; it was a little less 'wacky' than subsequent seasons, and I'm not someone who generally loves the overly wacky :) Season 1 also had Marta and the endless love triangle, though, which I didn't like at all, and, while consistently great, somehow contains very few of my special favorites. 

 

Season 2 has some incredibly high highs and arguably more of the series' best episodes than any other season (and, oh, how I love Franklin!), but it also had some stuff that I personally felt was dragged out and repeated to the point of being more annoying than funny: Maeby as a studio exec, Mrs. Featherbottom (another gag that I wish had been confined to just one episode instead of trotted out yet again), the blue man group jokes, George in the attic, etc. 

 

Season 3 is the one to which I'm most personally attached for whatever weird combination of reasons, and has so much that I love: Steve Holt! as GOB's son, which gave us moments that I found both funny and sweet, Bob Loblaw, a ton of heart (at least to this admittedly weird viewer!), and I'm among the few who loved the majority of the Rita arc. But even S3 had a few things I could have done without---Tobias' more-creepy-than-amusing sickness, Maeby still stuck as a studio executive, etc. 

 

I'm so curious as to what an S5, if there is one, might bring. 

Edited by mstaken

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I thought the Marta love triangle was great, and Buster falling in love too was an interesting complication. When Gob got knocked out by the soap star and Michael told him he was "Hermano", Gob surprised me by saying he was fine with that. They fooled us into thinking it would be a sweet ending, only to upend it later when Gob apparently forgot giving permission to Michael, and they had the crazy fight in and outside the courthouse. It was a very satisfying arc to me, whereas I thought the show floundered a bit with Michael's later love interests who all tended to be kooky, crazy, or in Rita's case, an MR F. It's like they don't know what to do with him romantically. After Marta, only Sally Sitwell seemed normal, and then we learned that Michael couldn't be happy and had to mess things up himself. Sometimes I wish they'd just stop the wacky hijinks and just focus on him and his family. It's like Michael said in one episode, "Why does anybody have to date? Isn't family enough for people?"

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I guess I just found Marta so dull and devoid of personality, which is particularly glaring on a show as vibrant and energetic as this one. And, like a few other things in AD, I felt the love triangle was dragged out longer than it should have been. 

 

While I really liked the Rita arc, I think Maggie Lizer was my favorite of Michael's love interests. Her personality fit in very well with the AD canvas, and I thought JLD and JB had a surprising amount of chemistry. Overall, though, I couldn't agree with you more about preferring the focus to be on family rather than on love interests. Then again, I end up feeling that way about nearly every show, not just AD! 

Edited by mstaken

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I thought the Marta love triangle was great, and Buster falling in love too was an interesting complication. When Gob got knocked out by the soap star and Michael told him he was "Hermano", Gob surprised me by saying he was fine with that. They fooled us into thinking it would be a sweet ending, only to upend it later when Gob apparently forgot giving permission to Michael, and they had the crazy fight in and outside the courthouse. It was a very satisfying arc to me

Agreed.

While I really liked the Rita arc, I think Maggie Lizer was my favorite of Michael's love interests. Her personality fit in very well with the AD canvas, and I thought JLD and JB had a surprising amount of chemistry. 

Also agreed.

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I didn't like Maggie Lizer when she was faking being blind, but her fake pregnancy was more fun. I liked Rita too, but felt that the narrator was not playing fair and tricking us. Saying "she worked with this man" to avoid identifying her uncle, to keep the spy farce going. There were less awkward ways to get around that. They could have just alluded instead to her uncle threatening Michael earlier.

 

I didn't think Marta was dull. She may have been too trusting with Gob, but Michael did lie to her and not tell her that Gob was cheating on her. I thought Marta 1.0 had great chemistry with Michael when they went out to the Desi Awards. Marta 2.0 had more goofy moments, like that time that Gob did the magic trick for her kids, and they ran away screaming "Zombie!" yet Marta somehow decided later that she should apologize to Gob for not supporting his career. Another time, she said "I love you" to Gob, and he just got annoyed about her making him late. I wonder why Marta put up with such stuff from Gob, and how long they'd been dating before he moved in with her. I liked that she got to say "I've made a huge mistake" too when she realized she loved Michael. Very funny. I will always love the Marta arc for the hermano confusion and the first boyfight, before we learned the whole history of boyfights.

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The Ann/Egg stuff didn't personally bother me like it did others,  

 

I still love all the Ann stuff. Especially when Michael is involved. Bateman's reactions crack me up, and his timing is just so perfect. His "Her?" and "Is she?" (when GM mentions how beautiful she is) are still so funny to me. But my absolute favorite is when GM tells him that Ann is going to be in the beauty pageant and Michael is just completely befuddled. "Is she running the lights or something?" Haha. So great.

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Buster: Army had half a day.

 

Gob: Bees?

Lindsay: Beads.

Gob: Beads?!

Michael: Gob's not on board.

 

Lucille: Here's some money. Go see a Star War.

 

Lucille: I'd rather be dead in California than alive in Arizona.

 

Lucille: I know it's a bird, I'm on the phone.

Buster: I walked on my pillow. - I don't know why that's so funny but the first time I watched the episode through that's the line that really stuck with me.

 

Buster: That was 90% gravity. -I got to use this on my senior outing. I was watching my friends ice skate and one friend pushed another and she fell and chipped her tooth. The one that pushed her felt really bad about it and I tried to comfort her by saying this. I don't think it worked.

 

George Michael- It's a great day. For being sad.

 

Lucille: Everyone's riding, and laughing, and cornholing except Buster.

 

Buster: I was flying. A little too close to the sun.

Lucille: You let him go in the sun?

 

Michael: Mom wanted me to tell you she doesn't care if you live or die, but if you're not dead, she'd like to see you at the courthouse tomorrow in the blue sweater.

Buster: Dammit! I hate the blue sweater.

Michael: She said it would look nice with the gray pants.

Buster: Dammit! She's right.

 

Buster: Hey hermano.

 

Gob: Am I in 2/3 of a hospital room?

 

Young Michael: You're a crook Captain Hook, judge won't you throw the book at the pirate!

 

George.: Oh, he's dead. You killed him when you left the window open with the air conditioning on. (all said while casually having a love affair with an ice cream sandwich, if I remember correctly.)

 

Maeby: You couldn't pick her out of a line up of one.

 

George: I was just wearing this blouse because I was driving....and I hate my arms.

 

Maybe it would be easier to tell you what quotes I don't like.

 

 

 

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Lucille: I know it's a bird, I'm on the phone.

Buster: I walked on my pillow. - I don't know why that's so funny but the first time I watched the episode through that's the line that really stuck with me.

 

 

 

That's one of my favorite scenes too.

George Michael: What a fun, sexy time for you.   (I say that one a lot.)

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Someone mentioned Tobias' illness upthread...FXX is showing AD and they are in this storyline now. It is really gross but it's worth it for the scene where they reveal that GM is having a hard time looking directly at Tobias. I hadn't seen it in awhile but oh my gosh I was dying. Tobias rolls closer to GM and corners him and GM starts reaching for papers, the wall...anything not to look directly at Tobias. Michael Cera is so hysterical in his subtle, awkward way. Then to top it all off Gob, trying to video the whole thing, yells something like "get closer...can you put your face near his drainage shunt?" Lol. I'm laughing again as I type this.

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So I finally got around to watching this show (I'm always reluctant to watch cancelled shows, in case I like them too much and then get pissed that they were cancelled, years after everyone else was). It's very, very funny. Great cast, great writing, ludicrous scenarios that actually manage to feel real enough for these people. Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi and Will Arnett are all absolutely brilliant in their roles, and the rest of the cast is good as well.

 

But I'm having a bit of an issue in that I just feel so sorry for Michael, most of the time. He really does have a crap, selfish, horrible family and he honestly doesn't ask for much from them other than they just don't be horrific people. Yet he's let down, time and time again, by all of them. Yes, it's funny, and seeing Bateman's deadpan reactions to the lunacy is great, but he just seems to get more and more downtrodden by their failings. And there's no real payoff, because the show is structured in a way that doesn't see the characters grow very much (it seems almost Simpsons-like in that way, despite the callbacks and continuity), but I always watch shows with a week-to-week, ongoing character arc in mind.

 

Yes, Michael often descends to their level, and displays a similar selfishness, but I've found it's usually only when he's backed into a corner by something one of the others has done. He also seems to be the only one who regularly realises he's been an ass and tries to make amends. Lindsay does, occasionally, and the two kids are generally decent enough people. His bafflement over George Michael's relationship with Anne is funny, though. His inability to remember her name, and the general jokes about her being incredibly bland and forgettable.

 

I thought the Marta stuff was okay, in season 1. But the worst thing they did was recast her. Going from the utterly stunning Leonor Varela in her first appearance, to the frankly rodentine Patricia Velasquez afterwards was terrible. I guess Varela wasn't available. A lot of the other guest spots have been fun. JLD, Judy Greer, Henry Winkler, Ed Begley Jr. Not so much Liza Minnelli, because she's creepy.

 

I'm halfway through season 2 right now, and the characters I feel something for would be narrowed down to Michael, George Michael and Maeby. But the character I find funniest has to be Gob, even though I want to see him just be humiliated, half the time.

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While Varela was lovely and beautiful as Marta I felt that Velasquez was a better fit for the show and characters. I really liked her.

 

Also, while all the characters are somewhat terrible people, I can't help but love them all. I especially like Lucille's favouritism and bad mouthing of Gob

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Yes, I too feel that while Marta I was unusually pretty, there was nothing wrong with Marta II and I was perfectly happy with her.

 

One of the things that especially delighted me about the series, start to finish, was the irredeemability of the whole family. I keep hoping for series that resist the apparently obligatory-in-the-US "aww" moment at the end, where people vow to do a little better. (I'm staunchly of the Seinfeldian "no hugging, no learning" camp, and my favorite comedy series of all time is Fawlty Towers.) So, quite aside from the ingenious structuring, the wonderful acting/directing, and the constant laughs, I appreciated the absence of growth for the characters (even Michael could be quite as oblivious as the others). 

 

I don't have a favorite character per se, but I did get special pleasure out of Lucille. She carried obliviousness to a sublime level that became almost endearing. A detail that pleased me particularly (it popped up only a few times) was her absolute delight with all of Gene Parmesan's quite simple disguises.

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Each to their own, but I didn't think Velasquez had much in the way of chemistry with any of them, and I found something about her line deliveries jarring. But she was only in a few episodes, so I guess it's not that important. I wasn't sorry to see her decide to walk away from all the brothers. I liked Charlize Theron as Rita much better. She was incredibly endearing, and that storyline veered very close to being genuinely moving.

 

As for the lack of growth, it worked for these characters, I agree. But it worked within the confines of a show that only lasted three seasons (I'm not counting the fourth). I think that's about as far as the concept could stretch before it would have started to get too repetitive. Using Fawlty Towers as a comparison is apt, because that show lasted for just twelve episodes. There was no need to change Basil or Polly or Manuel, because there wasn't enough time to get tired of what they were. And the other side of the coin, for me, would be The Simpsons (as I referenced already), which has become incredibly stale and offensively unfunny, over the last fifteen years or so. Part of that is because they have refused to evolve the characters or the concept.

 

Having watched the rest of the show now, I have to say that Gob is definitely my favourite character, even though he's a shallow, selfish dipshit. Will Arnett's performances are uniformly outstanding, and his line deliveries make every bit of his dialogue that much funnier. He's got an action star's voice, and it makes the ridiculous stuff he says side-splitting. The stuff with him and Steve Holt! as father and son was a nice little subplot.

 

I also find it sad that Alia Shawkat hasn't gone on to do a lot more (yet). She's a great straight man, with her understated reactions to whatever lunacy her parents are getting up to, or whatever inappropriate behaviour George Michael is exhibiting.

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Lucille: I don't understand the question and I won't respond to it.

Buster: There's unlimited juice? This party is gonna be off the hook.

Michael: Are you serious?

Wayne Jarvis: Almost always. I was once voted the worst audience participant Cirque Du Soleil ever had.

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