Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Arrested Development

My little sister, God bless her, got me the DVD set of season one of "Arrested Development" for Christmas. And after watching several of these, it has come to me that the entire Bluth family operates fairly well as a metaphor for post-2000 America. Bear with me, this is a very English major moment.

I mean, each Bluth family member operates as a part of what America has become. Lindsay and Tobias are the kind of liberals even liberals hate- a self-absorbed, spoiled creatures who do little more than pay lip service to causes, while benefiting from the very institutions they profess to hate. They are the Hollywood liberals. Then you have Lucille, spoiled, self-important but entirely dependent on others for everything she enjoys (she can't unload her car by herself, so starts calling up illegal immigrant maids she has employed in the past). She's the American middle class. You have Michael, the disliked but well-meaning leader who tries to accomplish as much as possible, but is constantly shut down by his family's more inept counterparts (Michael = the Democratic party). And Maeby and George Michael, the next generation of Americans, are just trying to figure stuff out while they deal with their parents' mistakes. The metaphor doesn't play out perfectly in all respects, or in all characters, but it's there, and I don't think it is by accident.

I think this is why the show appeals to me so much. And probably why it got cancelled. There's no way these people could have eventually succeeded. And that does not bode well for us.

10 comments:

  1. Weird previous life connections: the mother is the DJ-stalker in "Play Misty for Me," and Maebe played the young refugee girl with the cast on her arm in "Three Kings." Not to mention Jeffrey Tambor, a/k/a the guy who loses his shit and starts throwin' plates in "...And Justice for All."

    As for that theory, if you listen to the commentary, a lot of characters are archetypes formed by Mitchell Hurwitz' own parental issues.

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  2. Although there are some images that are definitely symbolic of America.

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  3. Buster, obviously, is the entire staff of National Review's "The Corner."

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  4. Rumor has it that "Arrested Developement" may be picked up by Showtime. Hmm, the Bluths without network censorhip... The thought is actually a little frightening (in a "holy shit, I am on the scariest roller coaster in the world" kind of fashion).

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  5. i too, have been watching season 1. how do you think the whole "i'm in love with my cousin" translates into your metaphor? perhaps all the freakish cronyism inbreeding that happens among republicans??? although, george michael is a bit of a flip-flopper when it comes to pleasing maeby...

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  6. "They're called illusions, Michael. Tricks are something a whore does for money. [notices gape-mouthed children] ...Or candy!"

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  7. And the Banana Stand represents the social saftey net.

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  8. The funny thing is, in the extended pilot, GOB says "... or cocaine" at the end of the tricks line.

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  9. Nice analysis. As a fellow English major, I appreciate it.

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  10. Hmm, of course a show like that wouldn't last long on a Newscorp channel.

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