"Arrested Development" creator Mitch Hurwitz warned fans not to binge-watch all 15 new episodes of the new season, which became available Sunday on Netflix. But we did it anyway, and after a seven-and-a-half-hour Bluth-a-thon, feel pretty good about offering up the following tips (but no spoilers!) for the Bluth-deprived hoping to pull off the same feat.
Temper your expectations
We know, the show was much beloved before it went off the air. But even though the new batch of episodes features the same cast and writers, don’t expect everything to be as it used to. In other words, the Bluths may be back, but they certainly aren’t the hijinks-prone family fans left on the deck of the RMS Queen Mary seven years ago. The family is now a much more somber -- albeit still wacky --- bunch with much bigger problems and more intricate story lines.
Some of the characters come off differently than expected, and, at times, seem downright unlikable at first. For instance, we meet a very different Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman). Instead of the put-together family man fans are familiar with, Michael is so clingy and needy toward his son, George Michael (Michael Cera), in the first episode, it will make you wonder, “Who is this guy and what has he done with our Michael?” Hang tight. The Michael Bluth fans know and love is in there --- it just takes several episodes to find him.
Some of the regulars (as well as some of the favorite running gags) don’t even make appearances until the third or fourth episode. But patience, grasshopper.
The new episodes play out as individual vignettes, all loosely tied together by common plot lines. Each focuses on a particular character, allowing fans to see events from the point of view of that central Bluth.
Let it be known, these are certainly not episodes you can watch while distracted. Put your phone down, get a babysitter and focus at the task at hand. The story lines tie into each other as the episodes progress, so you’ll want to devote your full attention to make sure you don’t miss an important moment or conversation that you’ll need to know about later on.
This new format, while completely different from the standard episodic treatment you used to get on television, is a worthy effort. There are enough touches of original Bluth-isms to satisfy even the biggest “Arrested Development” fans — from hook-hand jokes to the familiar sound of “The Final Countdown," it's all in there.
Make sure you have an ample supply of snacks (frozen bananas, perhaps?) because it’s going to be a long night!
Although it was fun to binge-watch all 15 episodes, we wouldn’t recommend it, especially to rabid “Arrested Development” fans. After about seven episodes, the ability to catch the jokes -- which are essentially why we love this show -- was significantly lessened. Take Hurwitz's advice: Enjoy the Bluths at a leisurely pace. You'll be rewarded.
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