Tuesday, September 01, 2009

There's money in the banana stand

Out of all of the TV shows I've loved, my opinion of Arrested Development underwent the most dramatic turn. Watched the pilot years ago, and didn't find most of it very funny, and had no desire to watch any more episodes. Yet giving the pilot another chance a year later resulted in a quick change of opinion, and then led to watching the entire series. I was now a fan of this show that so many people I knew had praised, so I was now in the proverbial know.

I, like most AD fans out there, am patiently awaiting the arrival of a full-length feature film, but frankly, when I saw Noel's mention of a documentary on the show, I became way more interested in that.

Other than a few behind-the-scenes featurettes and the commentary tracks on the DVDs, there's quite a story to be told behind this show. I hear so much about what gets mangled by a TV network in order to appeal to the most amount of people, so when a show like this got on the air, there's something very peculiar. And, just a friendly reminder: this was not a show that was yanked after two episodes. There were two full seasons and a semi-full third season, and in my opinion, not a single bad episode. That kind of equation is way better than a show that lasted ten seasons and had maybe fifteen fantastic episodes.

Sure, there is an element hinted at in the documentary's trailers about how the show was never a blockbuster hit. That plot point is almost always made with a show that seemed under-appreciated in its initial run. Yet when you talk to people who love the show, they don't hold back their love for the show. I wouldn't say it's a love-it or hate-it kind of thing. The ones that really remember the show not only love the show but constantly quote from it.

I remember hearing on the Police Squad! DVD about why the show didn't grab a large audience: because people had to actually watch the show to really get the humor. While that might sound like a "duh" kind of assessment, it proved very true with a show so hooked on visual jokes and crafty wordplay. I think the same applies to Arrested Development. But this was not a show that was yanked after six episodes.

Seeing how this documentary has been in the works for a while, I think we'll get to see that before any feature film materializes. Frankly, I'm rather shocked and amazed that something already has been cooked up for a show that was on only a few years ago.

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