The Ninjabot

Arrested Development Season 4 Review: Part Two

Posted on May 31, 2013 at 8:00 am by Nathan Tolle

Arrested Development

I am now more than halfway finished with the season and feeling very glad that I didn’t binge-watch all fifteen episodes because just like season 3, I don’t want this to end. Here are my reviews for episodes 5-8.

Episode 5:  A New Start

Rating: A

arrested development a new start

I always assumed Tobias was the kind of quirky character you could only appreciate in small doses, but here he proves that he’s leading man material and that there’s more to him than just sexual double-entendres and the fear of being nude. Despite failing miserably as an actor, Blue Man, analrapist, husband, father, female British housekeeper, and frightened inmate, Tobias never gives up. If anybody is deserving of a new start, it’s him. This truly delightful episode starts out with T (Tobias) about to appear on network television; but unfortunately for him, the show is To Entrap a Local Predator, and his unique way of speaking will do him no favors.

For the first time, Lindsey tells Tobias that everybody thinks their marriage is a sham and that his sexuality has been a running joke in the family, which he’s astonished by and demands to know when he’s said anything remotely gay within the past year, when all you have to do is go back 11 seconds. With yet another new personalized license plate (“anustart”) and a yearning to find fulfillment and meaning, he draws inspiration from the same book that Lindsey browsed through in episode 3 and travels to India, where his itinerary is remarkably similar to his wife’s, but they never notice each other. Also in India is an old nemesis of the Bluth Family: the extremely literal doctor that caused so much confusion in waiting rooms. The kind of running jokes that had us all in stitches in the first three seasons is executed brilliantly here. The third episode merely set up much of the material, and this is where the payoff is. In just the first eight minutes, I laughed more times than in the previous four episodes combined, and we haven’t even gotten to the best stuff yet.

Back at the Methodone clinic which Tobias still thinks is an acting class, he hits it off with his new friend Debrie, played by Maria Bamford, and offers constructive criticism on her “monologue.” Debrie laments her failed acting career that resulted in heckling from the guys at Mystery Science Theater 3000, so she and Tobias are able to connect on such a personal level that it doesn’t take long until they leave their significant others and run away together. It’s both adorable and funny to see her act as Tobias’ protégé and go along with his clueless shenanigans, which only result in multiple arrests from the unlikeliest of uncover cops.

No matter how the remaining episodes play out, I won’t be able to say that a fourth season was a mistake or a disappointment because if nothing else, it produced at least one more masterpiece that ranks right up there with the best of them all.

Funniest moment: I probably laughed every 30 seconds or so, but never as hard as when Tobias, dressed in his The Thing costume and being used as a pillow by other homeless men, once again gets served. I have no idea what’s going to happen to him in future episodes—I hate the thought of such a loveable character being forever imprisoned as a result of California’s ridiculous three strikes law, but you never know. He might have the time of his life in prison. After all, he was the one who took down White Power Bill!

Episode 6: Double Crossers

Rating: A

arrested-development-double-crossers

George and Oscar have emerged from the dreadful sweat lodge and are back to being two of the funniest characters on Arrested Development. After somewhat of a slow start, it appears that this season is officially back on track and has the potential to be just as good as the others. In the opening scene, George is at a ritzy Republican gathering and trying to muster up support for his wall on the border. He meets an affable, smooth-talking politician named Herbert Love, who is obviously based on Herman Cain. You can tell the writers had a blast writing his dialogue, simultaneously making fun of the Republican Party. After he makes hilarious references to Carl Weathers and CW Swapigans, we get to see one of his campaign ads paid for by the Newport Beach Birthers for a Bright Tomorrow, in which he promises low taxes for people making a high income. Jeffrey Tambor’s facial expressions are absolutely priceless when he realizes that there’s a good chance that Herbert Love is freaking nuts.

George goes through some pretty drastic changes in this episode and learns that asking his twin brother to pose as him was probably not a good idea. Feeling increasingly sensitive about his appearance since he has the testosterone levels of a newborn baby, listening to Lucille brag about Oscar’s sexual performance, and being misled to masturbate in an MRI machine sparks an identity crisis for Papa Bear. Barry Zuckerkorn, who is in the process of buying a stepladder (with cash and no receipt) talks to George on the phone and tells him that he’s been acting like a little girl lately, and not in a good way! Just when the scene can’t get any better, they end the conversation by saying, “I love you,” to each other. I look forward to hearing how Mitchell Hurwitz came up with this idea for George because it will probably serve as the craziest and most brilliant character development for the whole season.

The inevitable Michael and Gob reunion takes place in this episode and does not disappoint. First, Michael takes great pleasure in bragging about his recent successes, but then eventually bonds with his brother thanks to many bottles of Mike’s Hard Lemonade. The next scene gives Buster his first real time to shine this seaso, as he’s in his Army uniform to score cheap political points in George’s video. However, he’s so nervous to be on camera that he’s constantly on the verge of throwing up.

Funniest moments: At the Republican function, George responds to questions about sweat lodge fatalities by saying, “It’s better than dying in the snow. I mean, brrrr,” and then innocently mistakes an African-American waiter for a successful Republican strategist. In another scene, Oscar tells Lucille that Gob has magical abilities and can handle a lot more than they give him credit for, leading to one of the greatest Lucille reactions ever.

Episode 7: Colony Collapse

Rating: C+

arrested-development-colony-collapse

Starting off with Hollywood Blvd at night, it appears that the past several years have actually been kind to Gob because he’s hanging out with the young, hip, and successful elite. But as a particular song reminds us throughout the episode, though, darkness is Gob’s old friend, and he’s come to talk with it again.

After accidentally proposing to Ann Veal, who is still being called things like “plant” and “mouth” instead of her name, he asks his family for some of that stimulus money because the wedding is going to be religiousy, epic, and expensive. Ann’s father has his own televangelist program, and his priest co-host can’t seem to remember Ann either, even though he’s apparently met her several times and she’s even been sitting beside him for the whole show. It’s there that Gob announces that their wedding will be televised and he’ll be performing his most spectacular illusion yet.

On the wedding day, the groom is depressed that his family didn’t show up and the only person in the crowd he recognizes is Tony Wonder, played by Ben Stiller. But then Tobias arrives, not for support, but to play a Biblical role in the wedding televised by the Miracle Network—one of his previous roles was in the anti-abortion program Embryo Dan: It Would Have Been a Wonderful Life. Gob’s old friend, darkness, comes in the form of his wedding illusion proving to be a disaster, Ann leaving him, his bees getting sick, a Justin Bieber-esque singer writing a nasty song about him, and not recognizing his own son at a bar after talking with him for over an hour. But then again, it took me awhile to recognize Steve Holt as well.

This episode was rather slow compared to the previous two, and some failed attempts at comedy—like a bit involving the forget me now pills and Gob’s sudden stuttering problems—seemed to go on way too long. Still, it was great catching up with Gob, a fascinating and engaging character, and he provided numerous laugh-out-loud moments as usual. A couple minor returning characters played by Jeff Garlin and Clint Howard returned in blink-and-you-missed-them appearances, so I’m assuming they’ll get more screen time later in the season.

Funniest moment:
At the wedding, Gob claims that Jesus ran into a cage only to emerge three days later, but for his illusion he’ll beat the record by two full weeks. Europe’s deservedly iconic “The Final Countdown” music plays, Gob dances, and the wedding guests couldn’t be more baffled.

Episode 8: Red Hairing

Rating: B+

arrested-development-red-hairing

Lindsey despises her new desert life full of garbage and stoned lizards, so she occupies her mother’s apartment with Marky Bark and a humungous ostrich. Marky works out plans for a glitter bomb for the severely conservative Herbert Love and he needs Lindsey’s help, but she’s more interested in helping out Love’s opponent, Lucille 2, by making “Lucille 2 for Congres” posters. I can’t remember these two characters having any scenes together before, so it was nice to see them bond. Lucille 1, meanwhile, is busy serving hard time with tennis matches and hot rock massages, and ominously reminding Lindsey every chance she gets that she’s a lot more like her mother than she believes.

At the banquet for Herbert Love, Lindsey unexpectedly runs into her father and her daughter before meeting the man that she’s supposed to help glitter bomb. Going by the name Cindy Featherbottom, the red-wigged Lindsey flirts with Herbert and misses the cue to help out Marky Bark, who proceeds to blue himself and then get arrested. Lindsey becomes Herbert’s key advisor, which means she gets a key to his room and is advised to use it when he calls her. When rumors spread of Lindsey being his new hooker, Lucille 2 ditches her for Sally Sitwell. Herbert then mysteriously falls into a coma and Lindsey takes his place in the election, going from a left-wing political activist to far-right candidate in just a couple hours.

This episode covers so much ground that it required a longer running time than the previous ones, but fortunately it has such a speedy pace that it never drags on. It answers a lot of questions we had about previous episodes and gives us new material to ponder about, especially when it comes to Michael and his son.

Funniest moments: every scene with Lindsey and Mr. 9-9-9

Check out my reviews for the first four episodes of Arrested Development, Season 4 here.

So what do you guys think so far? Out of the first 8 episodes, which ones were your favorites and least favorites?

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