Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Recently, DW and I finished watching the first season of "Arrested Development" on DVD. AD is one of those shows that has no safety net, and its willingness to take risks and its apparent lack of concern about offending anybody are a couple of the elements that make it a great show. It’s the story of a wealthy family that loses everything when the family patriarch is arrested for various white-collar offenses. One brother is a responsible, normal guy, and he is left to run the business. The rest of the family is clueless, and all of them have become accustomed to raiding the family company’s treasury for their personal expenses. The family matriarch is a scheming socialite; one brother is a part-time magician; one brother is infatuated with his mother and behaves like a child; the sister is a self-proclaimed liberal activist, but is really a fashion-obsessed airhead; and the sister’s husband is a closeted gay psychiatrist who loses his medical license and wants to be an actor. The son of the normal brother is a brainiac teenager who is obsessed with his female cousin, with whom he is forced to share a bedroom. The female cousin is in perpetual rebellion against her parents, but her rebellions take unique forms.

All of these people, with the exception of the responsible brother and his son, are out for themselves and nobody else. Their misadventures are funny enough, but the show also has managed to poke fun of the gay marriage debate, the Ten Commandments controversy, the Iraq War, the legal system, prison gangs, people faking disabilities, Spanish-language television, inspirational videos, "Girls Gone Wild," psychiatry, acting, social climbing, and incest. Like I said, they really don't seem to care about offending people. As an added bonus, Executive Producer Ron Howard narrates the show. The show airs on Sundays at 7:30 CST on Fox. Check it out.

6 comments:

none said...

I heard about the new generation of shocker-series (ie. Desperate Housewives) coming out in the States.

I wonder if it´s not the american subconscious rebelling towards the extreme political/religious oppression.

Randy said...

I dunno, Ciara. My brother-in-law is quite devout and he liked the show. It strikes me that shows like Arrested Development and Desparate Housewives (which I've never seen, so someone correct me if I'm wrong) represent a rebirth of sharp, edgy, cynical sitcoms a la the early Fox Network (The Simpsons, Married with Children, In Living Color, etc.).

Ann said...

This is a show I'd really like to see, but I never seem to catch it. I think it's interesting that the first and only complete season is out on DVD already. The show won an Emmy for best comedy, but hadn't built a large audience at the time. Maybe the early DVD sales are partly about building buzz for the ongoing show, as much as reaping extra $$

Phoebe said...

Dang -- Fox doesn't come in on our reception very well. Like Ann, I don't seem to "hit" the good shows at the right time.
I stumbled into "Malcom in the Middle" once. Hilarious. A teenager who is brutally honest with himself, an overbearing mother, wierd chicken-shit father, blah blah blah ..... I such at TV reviews. Believe me, it was funny.
I hope to catch AD sometime.

Phoebe said...

Dang -- Fox doesn't come in on our reception very well. Like Ann, I don't seem to "hit" the good shows at the right time.
I stumbled into "Malcom in the Middle" once. Hilarious. A teenager who is brutally honest with himself, an overbearing mother, wierd chicken-shit father, blah blah blah ..... I suck at TV reviews. Believe me, it was funny.
I hope to catch AD sometime.

none said...

@Randy

I too like shows that tell it like it is, and I remember how much flack "Married with Children" got for being only half as provocative as some of those shows are now.

But I still find it interesting, that often, the most repressed nations make the best shows.

Northern European countries, the most permissive countries I know, just can´t seem to make a series worth watching. There´s intrigue alright, but the absence of humor, the political correctness, the slimy actors... My viewing time has dropped at least 95% here. ;)