Sunday, March 17, 2019

REVIEW: 'Arrested Development' - Michael Makes Another Big Announcement to Save the Family Again in 'The Untethered Sole'

Netflix's Arrested Development - Episode 5.13 "The Untethered Sole"

Buster's brief appearance in a TV weather report puts the Bluths back in hot water, but Michael has a plan involving his son's definitely real company.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Netflix's Arrested Development.

"The Untethered Sole" was written by Chris Marrs and directed by Troy Miller

This is an absolutely dire episode. There is nothing that happens here that is even lightly amusing or funny. The show does go for some broad, visual punchlines. It just fails in every single one of them because it seems like the show is increasingly trying to one-up itself with the kind of destruction its characters are capable of doing. It has completely lost the narrative thread when it comes to the financial pressure the entire family is under at the moment. The stress should be immense for George-Michael because the entire family is counting on Fake Block being a profitable success within the next month. But instead, he is such a minor character in this episode. He is treated as an afterthought despite Rebel breaking up with him after learning he has sold the company. That may be the point. Michael doesn't really value the experience or knowledge that George-Michael brings to the company or the family. That's why they were once estranged. And now, he is falling back into the same routine as before. George-Michael doesn't know how to be honest with his father. It's because of that that Michael feels confident in continuing to tout the wonders of the Fake Block software and how it can ease the concerns of the Chinese investors while getting the wall project back up and running. It's all incredulous though. The season has made a big deal about the money and how everyone is lacking it because of their horrible instincts. However, George-Michael is absolutely in the right for firing his father from their company. Michael has become so presumptuous. He believes that he is the savior in any given situation when it comes to the family. Tobias actually crafts a possibly winning strategy for Buster and his new trial. The family can say that he is a wounded veteran of the Iraq war suffering from PTSD while the police are barely putting together a case without any kind of physical evidence that a body was dropped into the ocean. It turns out that it's more damning that the local weather report caught Buster committing that act than the stair car suddenly turning up at the police precinct. But Buster is also minimized here. He is nothing more than an oblivious punchline who has long been subjected to his mother's cruelty. That has always been the hook for the character and his stories though. However, the show probably goes too far in that opening flashback. There is really no purpose to it either. The show clearly got real-life couple Cobie Smulders and Taran Killam to play the latest versions of George Sr. and Lucille at a young age. This flashback is also more focused on the children. But again, it just hits the broad characteristics that have always been present with them. It's one thing to see how crazy this family is when all of them are adults struggling to function on a basic level. It's another thing entirely when it comes to seeing the siblings as children who fundamentally need their parents in order to help them grow as people. This family has always been dysfunctional. But this also shows just how differently certain aspects play occurring to the age of the characters. The fourth and fifth seasons of the show have played differently than the first three. That may in part be because the creative team doesn't quite know how to write towards the silliness of the current political era. There are no insights to the wall project that haven't already been mocked or pointed out a million times. So, this show is no longer adding anything of value to the overall conversation. That is very disappointing.