Friday, March 15, 2019

REVIEW: 'Arrested Development' - Michael Returns to the Family Company Once More in 'Unexpected Company'

Netflix's Arrested Development - Episode 5.09 "Unexpected Company"

Buster fails to show for his own prison release party. Michael examines company financial records. George-Michael seeks Anonymous' help to deceive Rebel.

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.

"Unexpected Company" was written by Hallie Cantor and directed by Troy Miller

This is actually a pretty stiff return for Arrested Development that actually finds itself over-explaining every single plot detail and catching the audience up on everything that is currently going on. That may be appreciated for those viewers who haven't seen any episode since May 2018. But for those watching the season straight through, it could be really annoying. As such, Michael becomes co-president of the Bluth Company with Gob. He is right back to the job that he has long had in the family even though he doesn't like it. However, that story is mostly about getting him caught up on some of the illegal things that his parents are doing and how they are trying to pass all of the blame onto Gob. Meanwhile, there is the sense that what is going on with Gob and him questioning his sexuality could be important and meaningful. The show just refuses to commit to it fully. Instead, it just wants to live in the ambiguity of Gob being this hyper-masculine guy who pushes the idea of being gay away. That has worked on occasion in the past. But it's no longer as humorous as it once was especially when coupled with the idea that Tony Wonder was killed during their joint magic trick that went awry. Sure, it's unlikely that that death will actually stick. Of course, the show can only bring so many characters back from the dead. Lucille 2 is still living in that uncertainty as well. There has been no more clarity as to what happened to her the night she disappeared. She could still be alive as well even though all of the evidence points to her being dead. Sure, the situation allowed Buster to be released from prison sooner than expected. But he is only getting into more trouble now by going on the run with Oscar. Neither of them are aware of the work that Michael did to alleviate the situation with the District Attorney. So now, it's just suppose to be funny because they are chained together and making fun of how this situation would be mocked in silent films. That is a meta moment because the moment Buster was broken out of custody was done as a silent film. However, it's a running joke that loses its luster very quickly. Stan Sitwell being scared of what they are capable of doing could be intriguing. It ensures that they won't get very far as fugitives. But it also promises to keep them isolated which has never been a great quality for this cast and the overall storytelling. That concern is on perfect display when it comes to Tobias too. He has struggled to remain relevant this season. His immediate connection to the Bluth family has disappeared. Since Portia de Rossi only wanted to return in an extremely limited capacity, it has made Tobias feel adrift and separate from everyone else. As such, he is holding onto a completely new family that he is making for himself even though he is keeping Murphy-Brown and DeBrie in the attic of the model home. That situation isn't that great. And finally, the show is attempting to make the audience really uncomfortable when it comes to George-Michael continuing to deceive his girlfriend and George Sr. attempting suicide. It wants the audience to laugh at those moments. It's just really difficult to do so. Sure, it's amusing how George Sr. & Lucille wish to keep their adult crimes shielded from George-Michael and Maeby who are doing the exact same thing considering they are no longer children. And yet, it also seems painfully clear that there will be no rewarding resolution until much later this season to any of this.