A great tragedy of our time was the cancelation of one of the best television series ever created: “Arrested Development.” For those who don’t know, “Arrested Development” aired on Fox for three seasons, from 2003 to 2006. Created by Mitch Hurwitz (COL ’85), the show centers on the Bluthfamily, a once wealthy  and seriously dysfunctional family, as they try to maintain a lavish lifestyle while dealing with their financial woes. The show received six Emmys and critical acclaim, but it was nonetheless never able to achieve high ratings or viewership.

The structure of the Bluth family is complex, as are the lives of its members. The anchor of the family is Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman), who tries to keep the family members together despite the fact that they are all selfish and manipulative. Michael’s son, George Michael (Michael Cera), also strives to maintain a balance in the family but must constantly withstand the pressures put upon him by his father. The patriarch of the family and Michael’s father, George Bluth Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor), caused the whole financial mess by lying to shareholders of the family business. George Sr.’s wife, Lucille (Jessica Walter), is the most manipulative and most critical of every other family member. Lucille retains utmost control over Michael’s brother, Buster (Tony Hale), who has been conditioned since birth to rely on his mother. The other brother, Gob “George Oscar Bluth” (Will Arnett), is a mediocre magician who spends most of his time carrying out his father’s plots to undermine Michael.

You might now realize one of the reasons why some people found it hard to keep track of the characters. Just listen to the names of the family members: George, Michael, George Michael, George Oscar (“Gob,” pronounced like the Bible’s “Job”), Buster (whose real name is Byron) and Tobias Funke. As Tobias once said to a lawyer named Bob Loblaw, “You, sir, are a mouthful.” By the way, that very same lawyer has a law blog called “Bob Loblaw’s Law Blog.” See if you can say that five times fast without giving up on life.

Even though I had planned on writing a column on “Arrested Development” for a while, as fate has it, the biggest news about the series arrived only a few days ago: “Arrested Development” is coming back! Even better, the new season will lead into a full-length feature film. All excitement aside, I can’t ignore what many fans might fear: that the revival of the series might disappoint viewers.

This wouldn’t be the first time that a cancelled show came back only to underwhelm viewers.

“Futurama” is a great example of a show being revived and then disappointing audiences. “Futurama” originally aired from 1999 to 2003 and received critical acclaim, earning 10 Emmy nominations, but was cancelled by Fox due to low ratings. After being off the air for several years, the show was revived by Comedy Central and episodes are slated to run into 2013. What used to be a witty comedy with lovable characters is now a watered-down sitcom with predictable plots and meaningless story arcs. All pessimism aside, the new season of “Arrested Development” will be a nine-episode mini-series, with one episode for each main character, that will then lead into a full-length feature film.

This peculiar structure seems to ensure consistent storylines and a solid plot for the overall story of the Bluth family. However, if the new episodes turn out to be a bust, I might just move to Portugal … good ol’ South America.

 

Steven Piccione is a junior in the CollegeHe can be reached at [email protected]. HULU SAXAappears every other Friday in the guide.

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