Monday, April 11, 2005

Arrrested Develpment, The Office and the state of television

Most of you have heard me rant about the state of television and how it is an inherrantly inferior medium to film. TV hasn't really interested me in a long time. I don't like almost any of the shows that are on these days. And really, my life is better for it. I watch more movies, read more books and listen to more music. Still, there are some things that TV does well, though few and far between. Arrested Development is one of those things.

The show chronicles the exploits of the Bluth family and their change in fortunes after the patriarch of the family goes to prison (and then subsequently sneaks out and lives in the attic without anyone but his son Michael knowing). It's centred around Michael (Jason Bateman) who is the only normal member of the family and stuck with trying to deal with his crazy mother, his egomaniac older brother, his pathetic younger brother, his greedy sister, her ambiguously gay husband (played with gusto by none other than one of my favourites, David Cross), his uptight son, and his niece. Along the way they meet all kinds of crazy people, guest starring people as diverse as Liza Minnelli, Alan Tudyk, or Zach Braff. And most importantly is the seemingly omniscient narration by series producer Ron Howard. The show is unique, funny, and the characters all have their own little bits that make them hilarious and play nicely off of each other.

I guess comedy is really the way to go with television. I've always felt the most affinity for comedy television, be it The Simpsons, Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Monty Python, SNL, Conan O'Brien, Mr. Show; all are favourites. I think it works well. The Office has confirmed my suspiscions.

Ewan brought it over this evening, and I was sure I was going to like it. Even though I only got to see two episodes, Ricky Gervais is amazing as David Brent. This guy is hilarious. He has it all down, including the little ticks like playing with his tie, and a need to be the centre of attention. He's a fully realized character, but hilarious. Martin Freeman plays Tim, the character we relate to. He's going to make a fine Arthur Dent in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Lucy Davis (Shaun of the Dead) plays the office secretary and then there's Gareth the creepy sychophant to boss David Brent. Great way to start a series, and I can't wait to see the rest.

Either way, both of these shows show (nice little verb, noun repetition there) that television can still produce content that is of quality and not just mindless reality shows. So there's my ultimatum to the TV studios. I know that it can be done. No more excuses. I want quality entertaintment. And I know I can get it.

10 Comments:

At 3:30 AM, Blogger Johannes de Silentio said...

I completely agree on Arrested Development. I just bought the first season on DVD a couple weeks ago and have been rewatching those episodes since. It is definitely one of the funniest shows on television (which is why I'm so frustrated that Fox is cancelling it). The reason I became obsessed with Soap is actually because I watched an episode of Arrested Development over at my sister's place and she said that it was a lot like Soap. I then looked in to Soap and fell in love with it as well. I can't attest to the hilarity of The Office, as I am yet to see it. Everyone I know says I'll love it, so I will believe them until proven wrong. PS- You should watch Soap.

 
At 3:31 AM, Blogger Johannes de Silentio said...

That post took me like half an hour cause I was trying to figure out how to do italics in HTML.

Buy Soap.

 
At 11:14 AM, Blogger jessica said...

oh, i love the office. and i love all the awkward/nervous laughter.

i can't/won't watch the american one, but i bet there isn't nearly enough awkward/nervous laughter.

 
At 1:48 PM, Blogger Anders said...

Joel, would I be able to borrow Arrested Development Season 1? Because apparently everyone is sold out of it. I looked today.

And I may have to give Soap a try.

 
At 3:53 AM, Blogger Johannes de Silentio said...

You can borrow Arrested Development when I'm done with it. I have half of the last disc left I think. I'll let you know when it's available.

 
At 3:37 PM, Blogger Luke said...

Thank you for your kind words concerning my latest post, that means a lot to me.

 
At 5:52 PM, Blogger El Brucio said...

I'm still pissed about the cancellation of Andy Richter Rules the Universe, but I still watch enough TV. I think Arrested Development is a tad overrated, but still enjoyable. Regular TV shows I watch: The West Wing, The O.C., Degrassi (new and old), South Park, and then news and sports. Oh yeah, and I try to catch as many episodes of Six Feet Under as I can, but I can never figure out when it's on.

I think Seinfeld made all sitcoms less funny by breaking the mold...

 
At 5:57 PM, Blogger bschneider5 said...

I have to agree with silentio...Check mine out - Bradsblog

 
At 6:37 PM, Blogger jessica said...

i have never been able to figure out when six feet under is on either, but every time i see it it is brilliant.

 
At 6:45 PM, Blogger Ewan said...

That's why i always just resort to renting those tv shows. That way if it's that good (as 6th feet under is) i can just watch them one episode after another.

 

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