Friday, May 24, 2013

A Love Letter to Arrested Development

Back in the year 2005, I was a poor college student living with his parents at his sister's house. I was working at Mardel at the time and had not yet fully come to terms with being gay. I am not implying that the former caused the latter but there was definitely a correlation since I was still deeply religious at that point. In fact, one of the reasons why I first applied to work at Mardel was because they closed early on Wednesdays and were closed on Sundays so people had a chance to attend church. Being so devout did have its caveats though. It hindered my accepting myself for a couple of years. I had known I was gay for a while and had been fighting occasional bouts of depression for a few years. Around this time, I stopped reading as much and delved much deeper into my TV addiction. Granted, I haven't watched TV in its traditional sense in a long time. I always either stream content online or wait til shows come out on DVD and watch entire seasons at once. 2005 was a few years before Netflix became relevant so streaming was not a practical way to watch shows for me. However, there was this chain of video rental stores called Blockbuster, you may not remember them but they used to be huge back in the day, which fed my addiction before the Netflix days. Blockbuster had this membership program where you could rent as many movies as you wanted for a flat fee every month. I took full advantage of this offer and soon found myself wandering the aisles in search of something to rent that seemed entertaining.

They say you always remember the details of important times of your life. Unfortunately, I think that is a bunch of b.s. I don't remember much about that day. I remember I picked the first disc of the first season of Arrested Development because the cover looked interesting. I was so tired of picking up stuff that turned out to be boring duds that I did not have much hope for it. I drove home went into my room and popped the disc in the DVD player. I went to the episode menu and was annoyed to find two versions of the pilot: the regular version that aired and the extended version. I believe human beings like to have choices. I also believe that too many choices make people unhappy. At least, they make me unhappy. I decided for the extended version, which would seem normal to me as I had no frame of reference since I did not know the aired version, and plopped myself down on the bed half-expecting to fall asleep out of boredom.

That was the beginning of a love affair that has lasted eight years and has even survived the cancellation of the show seven years ago. The show captured my attention with "Breakfast." It made me giggle like a schoolgirl with "Ten cents gets you nuts." It made me relate to Tobias when he said, "No. No, I am not gay, Lindsay. How many times must we...?" It brought a tear to my eye when Buster declared that "obviously, the blue part on the map is land." And, I was hooked when I saw my first ever "On the next Arrested Development..." which held promises that were not always fulfilled. It used a full arsenal of tricks, I'm sorry, illusions, to draw me in even further and make me lose myself for two seasons in the convoluted world of the Bluth family.

One of the biggest regrets in my life was never watching the show while it was still on the air. Although I found out about it while it was still airing, I was unaware of that and just looked forward to the time the next season would be released on DVD. Little did I know that, because of a lack in ratings, that season would only contain thirteen episodes and would be its last.

Since its cancellation, I have watched all three seasons at least once a year. I bought "The Final Countdown,"  not because it is a great song, but because it is the one Gob plays while performing his illusions. I have watched all the episodes that have a commentary track and wondered why they even called it a commentary if they hardly ever reference the episode. I have teared up, not to say cried, every time I watch the last episode on the Queen Mary. I would often recite most of it as it played to the point that my parents started questioning my sanity for watching the same thing over and over again. But it was not me that was crazy, it was the people at Fox that had cancelled the show that were crazy. I soon found out that there was a huge and growing following of people who had discovered and appreciated the greatness that is Arrested Development. I signed so many online petitions to bring the show back and this weekend, this weekend it all pays off my friends. Arrested Development is coming back. A new season will be debuting on Netflix on Sunday, May 26.

I am giddy with anticipation. I have re-watched all three seasons in order for it to be fresh on my mind and not miss a single callback which they are sure to include for their devoted followers. I am even making BF watch all three seasons before Sunday (it is now Friday and he just started the third season), even though he does not really love the show the way I do. Then again, not many people love the show the way I do. I even went out and bought me this shirt someone told me they were selling at Target,
I made sure the size is not shown on the picture because I was not comfortable disclosing it. My obsession with Arrested Development though is fair game.
Yes, I plan on wearing that shirt all day Sunday. For the rest of the weekend, I will be wearing a t-shirt given to me by an old friend which features one of Matisse's blue nudes as Tobias in his never-nude cut-offs and blue man group paint. I am making this an Arrested Development weekend, not to offend anyone who takes Memorial Day seriously. Honestly, Memorial Day enthusiasts should just let me have this one. They get to celebrate Memorial Day every year but Arrested Development only rises from its own Phoenix ashes once in a lifetime.

I can hardly wait for the new episodes. Will I be disappointed? Maeby. Does it matter? No. Yes, Arrested Development is a great show. No, it may not be the best show ever for everyone else. For me, though, it was the show that made me laugh out loud during a very dark time in my life. It was the show that, for a moment, made me forget the hell that I was living through. I sat down to watch it that first time expecting to be disappointed but Arrested Development, with its witty sarcasm and dark humor, reminded me that there were things in life that I liked. It pointed out that my own tendency towards dark comedy was okay and that being different was okay. It showed me a family of misfits that still cared for each other and made me care for them at a time when I barely even cared about myself. It's for that reason, along with the show's great qualities of course, that Arrested Development will always be the best show for me. So, with a tear in my eye and a glimmer of hope and anticipation I say, "Welcome back, Arrested Development. It's been too long."

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So What if I am not Typical? I'm Still Fun. by Not Typical, Yet Fun is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.