I Just Blue Myself: Will Arnett Confirms Arrested Development Shooting This Summer

April 20, 2012

I Just Blue Myself: Will Arnett Confirms Arrested Development Shooting This Summer

We’ve all heard the rumors. Every few months since 2006 when Fox cancelled Arrested Development, fans wait with anticipation like children on the steps of a childhood cabin until time and time again, disappointment wins out. Our hopes of seeing George, Michael, George Michael and the rest of the family felt as empty and fake as a HomeFill.

But then, some tangible news. Netflix announced that it would air 10 new episodes in anticipation for an Arrested Development movie. Huzzah!

Even more good news came today after Will Arnett let it slip that the cast would start shooting the episodes for Netflix this summer. Everything was going to be all-right. Finally, some good news from this guy!

So, it’s (unofficially) confirmed (sort of)! The campaign to Save Our Bluths looks like it scored a major victory now that the principle cast, writers, and creator Mitch Hurwitz are all on board and has, by Arnett’s account, an actual start date. But if I could take off my receptionist’s skirt and put on my Barbara Streisand in the Prince of Tides ass-masking therapist pantsuit, I have to say that Fox might have made the biggest little mistake of its life by not having more faith in this series.

It all started in 2003. Arrested Development premiered to rave reviews and poor ratings. In its first season alone, Arrested garnered 7 Emmy nominations and won in the Outstanding Comedy Series, Directing, and Writing categories. This show was a critical darling from its inception.

It was a crazy phenomenon – ratings were so bad, but its influence was so pervasive. One of the most quotable and inside joke-laden series in the past decade, fans of Arrested Development spoke their own language. They were connoisseurs of comedy. Many critics were quick to point out that, although unbelievably funny, Arrested Development was a slow burn. A show so self-referential has the danger of becoming overly exclusive. After all, the last thing a network executive wants to watch is a show he doesn’t understand – or one he thinks cannot possibly appeal to the most passive and disengaged of viewers.

It technically doesn’t matter if you ever watch what’s on TV. Television is an excuse for commercials, not the other way around. As loudly as network execs like to boast about wanting quality in the lineups, they would take a show about hoarders above Masterpiece Theatre if it meant a few more eyeballs.

Ay, there’s the rub. Granted, Fox allowed Arrested Development (almost) three seasons to try and build an audience, eventually, ad sales win out. They always will – that’s the business. But frankly, Fox seemed to have it out for Arrested since it premiered. In an effort to increase ratings, Fox made the classic blunder of moving the show around too much. It seemed like every other week Arrested’s timeslot was changing. How is anyone supposed to watch your show when nobody knows when it’s on? When it was finally cancelled, Fox seemed to put one more thumb in the eye of the show by scheduling its finale opposite NBC’s coverage of the 2006 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies. Does that seem fair to a show that won six Emmys? How can a network fail so completely to market a show with that kind of acclaim?

I could not be happier that Arrested Development now has an official start date. This show deserved better than how it was treated. With any luck, Netflix realizes what an opportunity they have to branch out with their original programming. The pedigree of this show mixed with the six year fervor of the die-hard fans seems like a can’t-lose scenario.

After all, if Arrested Development has taught me nothing else, it’s this: There’s always money in the banana stand.

Ashley Sims is a comedy writer and blogger from Atlanta, currently living in Brooklyn. She watches way too much TV and writes to support her brunch addiction. Follow her on twitter @ashsims.

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