Is it me (it probably is just me, which is why I don’t change out of my sweatpants very often) or is it becoming more and more pointless to even bother? It’s, like, they always win. Why do they always have to win?
Arrested Development: canceled. Well, not canceled, but disowned by Fox, which has shelved the sitcom for the rest of November (this, after shelving it for four weeks during the baseball playoffs). It is scheduled to return in December to play out its remaining half dozen episodes, which is sort of like allowing us to watch a comatose buddy wither away after the feeding tube has been pulled.
The show spoke to me and my friends for many reasons, not the least of which is the proud lunacy of the Bluth family players: Will Arnett, as the self-aggrandizing, self-hating Gob, a bumbling magician who rides a Segway and has a black hand puppet named Franklin; Michael Cera, as the adorably tentative George-Michael, who dutifully runs the clan’s chocolate-covered banana stand; and David Cross, as the orally fixated in-law, a would-be actor (“act or,” as he pronounces it) who honed his craft under the guidance of Carl Weathers. Of course, my entryway into the series was my uncrushable desire to see Jason Bateman succeed, something he had done so little of since his heyday as a Tiger Beat pinup, despite the fact that he possessed talents that went way beyond his tenure as The Hogan Family bo-hunk. Bateman, of course, did succeed, beyond anyone’s loftiest expectations, even mine, in the role of Michael Bluth, the family’s sanest member — sane being defined here as a person who doesn’t derisively cluck like a chicken at a sibling’s misfortunes, who doesn’t adopt and hideously neglect a sarcastic Korean boy to make her youngest son jealous, who doesn’t paint himself blue in the hopes of being an understudy for The Blue Man Group, or who didn’t have a hand bitten off by a seal. Bateman won an Emmy Award for best actor, god damn it, and he made at least one silly girl I know confide to me, more than once, embarrassingly, really, that “he’s a cutie.”
But success, as we all know, is relative. Four million people watched the installment of Arrested Development that aired last Monday, a terrible figure even for Fox. Despite the kudos, the show has been dying, like the English Patient, almost since the moment it appeared on screen, a stillbirth that somehow stole a little life. As such, I guess I should be happy that a show of its caliber and obvious cult appeal lasted as long as it did; when all is said and done, we’re looking at 53 episodes, a huge amount when you consider that The Office only ran for twelve episodes. But I will never be happy about this, and am currently refusing, like a guy dumped by his slut of a girlfriend, to ever talk to Fox Television again, at least not until I get that drunken booty call known as Celebrity Boxing: TV Teachers: Gabe Kaplan v. Howard Hesseman.
I know from experience that the absence of Arrested Development won’t hit me until next season. That’s when you’ll start seeing familiar faces appearing in truly mediocre sitcoms. You’ll turn on ABC and, in a show designed around the immense talent of Rita Rudner, you’ll see Tony Hale, the guy who so perfectly played the multi-phobic Buster, sitting on a couch and struggling to be heard over a laugh track. You’ll see Jeffrey Tambor as a intolerant rabbi on whatever new show that follows Two and a Half Men. And they won’t be funny in those roles, because those roles won’t be funny, and it will be quite hard to take. Not too long ago it happened with the cast of Freaks and Geeks, most heartbreakingly when little John Daley appeared in a very shortlived Geena Davis vehicle. (Incidentally, Daley turned up on Kitchen Confidential, which Fox canned on the very same day as Arrested Development.)
At any rate, the DVD sets of seasons one and two are a small comfort. I will always be able to pop in the episode “Sword of Destiny,” in which Gob walks into a Chinese herbal remedy outlet and tells the storekeeper that he wants something to give his “dingle less tingle.” I will always be able to hear the Asian dude yell to someone off camera, “Tea for dong!” But yeah, we lost.
WHY I’M ANGRY TODAY
Milk just bought on Thursday has already curdled. It makes no sense.