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Monday, September 26, 2022

The highly anticipated fourth season of the cult comedy “Arrested Development” has been out for over a week. So what’s the verdict? Can Netflix bring back your favorite shows from the grave?

Well, they certainly tried their best. For starters, the entire Bluth family is back and they are just as funny as ever. Your favorite jokes and running gags are in full gear. They’ve hired tons of hilarious guest stars. But it’s not quite the same as the old show you know and love.

This is partly because creator Mitch Hurwitz went in a different direction with how the episodes are plotted. Each one focuses on a single character’s story, while the rest of the cast orbits in and out to fill out the details. It’s an interesting attempt to revive the show without trying to live up to what it used to be, which might have disappointed fans. While it’s a good effort, the various plotlines fail to come together into a cohesive story that is satisfying.

There are a few other issues with this structure. The story hops from past to present constantly. This makes the individual characters’ plots bloated and hard to follow, especially in the season’s first half. The show also spends less time having the cast play off one another. More time is spent with the guest stars, who are still very funny, but it’s not quite as great as watching the Bluths together. The main reason for this seems to be that it was tough to schedule the cast together, which hurts the dynamic of the show.

The good stuff is there, though, and there’s plenty of it. “Arrested Development” relies heavily on wordplay and puns, and the writers have not lost their touch. The Bluths are still incurably self-centered, but there’s some good character development that keeps things fresh. The guest stars aren’t too distracting and Kristen Wiig’s and Maria Bamford’s performances are among the best. The cast delivers their jokes with aplomb. It really reminds you why people missed this show.

Think of this season, especially its first half, as the bridge between a show that’s been off the air for seven years and its new iteration. It’s a rusty experiment, but it’s not a failure. Here’s hoping Netflix gives us another, more successful fifth season with the Bluths. 

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