The Washington Post

The ‘Arrested Development’ comeback: Why it’s best to remain cautiously optimistic

Fans met the previously reported news of the potential return of “Arrested Development” — in the form of new episodes and that long-discussed movie — with predictable jubilation.

“This. Is. Awesome!!!,” wrote Celebritology commenter cfw730, concisely — and with many exclamation points — summing up the feelings of many.

But a few TV writers and critics are still a little wary about asking Ice to whip up some celebratory smoothies.

“I'd be happy to see these characters return — though given later Hurwitz projects, less excited than I used to be,” tweeted HitFix critic Alan Sepinwall. “But it's still all talk.”

Entertainment Weekly reports that Netflix/Showtime is in talks to air the initial batch of 10 episodes that will serve as a prelude (and, presumably, marking tool) for the movie. But still, to Sepinwall’s point, there are clearly a lot of maybes — and, yes, Maebys — to deal with before this thing is a go.

And then there are the natural concerns about the quality of new “Arrested Development” installments. Now that we seemingly no longer have to wonder about whether the movie — a project that has seemingly been discussed since Michael Cera hit puberty — will happen, is an addendum to “Arrested Development” what we really want? Or will it tarnish the legacy of a nearly perfectly executed TV comedy?

I humbly suggest that we approach the current situation with the same attitude frequently adopted by our “Arrested” hero, Michael Bluth: jaded and skeptical yet somehow simultaneously maintaining hopeful optimism.

There are reasons for that optimism. Mitchell Hurwitz has already made significant progress on the script and all the core cast members have committed to keeping their schedules open this summer to shoot.

And while Sepinwall’s concerns about Hurwitz may be valid — did anyone truly enjoy “Running Wilde”? Anyone at all? — he consistently excelled when he trafficked in the weird, wealthy, law-breaking universe of the Bluth family.

Plus he’s hardly embarking on this endeavor alone. He’s backed by a pretty unbeatable acting ensemble, with members who, despite the long break from assuming their roles as banana stand managers and Blue Man Group auditioners, know these characters very well.

If there is anything that Hurwitz and co. should do at this point, aside from actually making those episodes and that movie happen, it’s continue keeping their mouths shut about the key narrative details. Whatever this “really ambitious project” (Hurwitz’s words) involves, most fans would probably prefer to find out as it unfolds on their TVs and, later, in multiplexes.

During the New Yorker Festival, Hurwitz already hinted that in the new batch of episodes Buster may be experimented on by scientists in Cambridge, Mass., while Maeby may be shacking up with (what?) Cornell West. Which is just weird enough to pique our interests.

But to keep those interests piqued, it’s probably best to be strategic about additional teasers. And fans, rather than continuing to obsess over whether this latest Bluth promise will actually come to fruition, let’s just relax and see what happens. If you need to pass the time while you wait, well, there’s always Bob Loblaw’s Law Blog.

When she isn’t at a movie theater or writing about movies, Jen Chaney is ... um ... probably at home, watching a movie.


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