In these harsh and depressing economic and political times, Americans look for some place to rest their dreams of a brighter future, and apparently we've chosen....Arrested Development. For the past few years the cast and crew seem to have been under some sort of "play with the public's emotions" pact in which anytime they were asked in an interview, they would say just enough to help you believe the show would get revived as a feature film. Yesterday, at an Arrested Development reunion at the New Yorker Festival, the cast and creators took a bold new step in making promises they may or may not be able to keep. If the many many headlines, Facebook statuses, and tweets are to be believed, not just a movie, but a new run of TV episodes are as good as done. Call me a pessimist, or just call me someone who's actually taken the time to read what was actually said at this Festival appearance, but I don't believe the supposed AD second coming is a sound place to invest my hopes for the future entertainment of myself, my children, and generations to come.
Before you start accusing me of not being a true believer, of not being a true AD fan, let me state that I am still one of the only people I've ever met that watched the show when it aired - from episode one, to the end. I did not just jump on the hipster 'watch it on DVD/IFC years later' bandwagon. I was there from the start, watching it in whatever out-of-order/ different time slot every week capacity Fox forced us into. I was already watching everything else Fox was offering on Sunday nights (Oliver Beene anyone?), so it was natural for me to check out the new kid on the block. I liked it and I stuck with it until the end, and have spent the years since nodding knowingly as the rest of the world caught up with the Bluths. So don't tell me I don't really love AD - while the rest of you were watching NFL on Fox then turning off the TV to fall into a drunken nacho & buffalo wing induced stupor, I was waiting patiently for the game to end so I could stay up until 11:30 getting my fix of Fox's too often pre-empted Sunday night line-up. So yes, I'm a long-time fan, and I'm even hesitantly excited about the prospect of a movie and more TV episodes, but at the same time I'm old enough to know that some things are best appreciated for what they were, and not everything we love needs to be revived or go on indefinitely, as often longevity or revival can cast a shadow on something we once loved (The Simpsons anyone?).
So what are the real "facts" pertaining to the Arrested Development revival?
Fact #1 - The cast and creators are creatively on board. This is a long time coming and admittedly should not be downplayed. If you want to get something like this off the ground, obviously you need buy in from all those who should be involved. Any future AD projects would be sorely lacking without any one of the main cast. Except maybe....
Fact #2 - It could be really hard to see Michael Cera as George Michael now, and not just that Michael Cera character he's played in 50 movies since AD. I only recently started rewatching AD (Netflix Streaming) and have been asking myself the question - did AD create Michael Cera's trademark persona, or was it already a reflection of who young Michael Cera was? It doesn't really matter I suppose, but I don't think I can believe in George Michael anymore - there's just Michael Cera being Michael Cera.
Fact #3 - The cast being on board can be both a help and a hindrance to making this happen. Will Arnett is on another show that could very possibly get picked up for a full season and beyond. Jason Bateman and Michael Cera have launched significant film careers since the show ended and certainly require much larger paychecks than they once did. Their star power can make the project attractive to the studios, but it can also make it financially difficult.
Fact #3 - Creator Mitch Hurwitz has clearly said, even yesterday at the New Yorker Festival, that there are still a lot of stumbling blocks to overcome to get this made. No studio has announced backing of this project or plans to distribute it. Show me where the money is coming from, give me a website or a teaser trailer, and I'll become considerably less skeptical. In the meantime, I'll believe it's going to happen because the the cast and creators want it to like I believe my 7 year old daughter when she says she's going to save up enough money to buy herself a 3DS.
So while the rest of America seems ready to will this project into existence by ignoring the disclaimers and pretending that it's all green lights from here, I remain here sipping coffee from my Bluth Company mug, cautiously optimistic, but ultimately content to leave it as it is - a pretty perfect show that given the circumstances we're pretty lucky we even got three seasons of.