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Arrested Development | review | dvd | Lollipop
(Fox Home Entertainment)
by Jessica Parker
It's been a long time since there was a sitcom with enough wit and humor to keep up with smarter viewers (you know, when Joey or Malcolm in the Middle just isn't doing it). Even with that, the brilliance of Arrested Development's first season never garnered much in ratings, but it did grab the attention of the Emmy voters to win Best Comedy in its debut season, beating out seasoned series' like Sex & The City, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Everybody Loves Raymond, and Will & Grace (the last of which really shouldn't have been nominated in the first place). But now everyone can enjoy what they missed last season with the new DVD, which comes with features that only enhance the hilarity.
Arrested Development centers on the disaster that is the family Bluth. Michael Bluth, played with great sarcasm by '80s star Jason Bateman, is the only "normal" family member. He takes it upon himself to save the family real estate business and keep everyone together after the former Bluth Company president, his father George (Jeffrey Tambor), is arrested for embezzlement. The series plays like a bunch of crazies and one sane guy.
Every cast member acts their role to its utmost potential with side-splitting results. Will Arnett plays Michael's older brother, Gob (pronounced "Jobe"), a failing magician who rides a scooter, used to be a "hot cop" stripper, and generally doesn't make sense. Michael's twin sister, Lindsey, played by Ally McBeal vet Portia De Rossi, lives off her parents' money, but married a hopelessly inept psychologist-turned-actor Tobias Funke (David Cross) to piss them off. The youngest brother, Buster (Tony Hale), still lives with his mother in an on-the-brink-of-creepy maternal relationship. Jessica Walter plays Bluth mother Lucille, a character who ranks her children and pits them against each other to get her way. Rounding out the cast is George Michael (Michael Cera), Michael's only son of a wife who died two years previous. George Michael, a 13-year-old dealing with the high expectations of his dad, his hormones, and an awkward crush on his cousin Maeby Funke (Alia Shawkat), is played with breathy earnestness. Everyone but Michael and his son are greedy and self-involved, but it's still funny family comedy. Throw in recurring guest roles by Henry Winkler, Liza Minelli, and Carl Weathers and you've got the best damn show on television right now.
Arrested is narrated by none other than Ron Howard, who also executive produces the show that was created by Mitchell Hurwitz. On the DVD, the cast has commentaries on three episodes, and their chemistry onscreen translates offscreen to the point that you feel like you're laughing along with old friends. Many other featurettes and deleted scenes – all worth watching – make the DVD a must-have for fans who saw the show when it first aired. With characters and one-liners that'll have you bent over in laughter, Arrested's first season marks the next great television classic.