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RUNNING TIME: 396 min.
• Deleted Scenes
• Campaign Videos
“How funny can incest, closeted homosexuality, and grievous bodily harm actually be?”
Jason Bateman. Jeffery Tambor. David Cross. Will Arnett. Tony Hale. Jessica Walter. Portia De Rossi. Guest stars galore.
Nothing could satiate Bruce Banner’s balloon rage.
When I reviewed the first season of Arrested Development I was pleasantly surprised at how they pushed the envelope in terms of questionable taste and the sort of humor they inflicted on their audience. A lot of the jokes are sneaky smart and dovetail into one another with a grace rare in comedy, let alone mainstream network comedy.
This second season takes a lot of the same themes, well all of them really, and takes the whole show to a new level.
Once he was off the juice, Barry Bonds was a much different player.
There are a host of reasons why this show has reached new levels of comedic gold, not the least of which is a new sense of confidence after surviving the axe only to emerge a critical darling. Battling potential cancellation every step of the way but backed by good DVD sales and a vocal fan base, everything is cranked up a notch this time around and there are some truly memorable jokes and most everyone gets in on the act.
The best moments involve the continuing failures of magician/eldest son Gob (Will Arnett, who owns the show), Martin Short’s absolutely nuts handicapped “uncle”, the vicious interaction with Jessica Walters’ “C-Word” of a matriarch, a racist puppet, and the loss of one slightly retarded hand.
The timing of the show is its weapon, with Ron Howard’s narration (still not a big fan of it, but it’s more in tune with the viewer this year) carrying us through a whole bunch of interwoven gags that usually build up to one larger payoff. It’s not unlike Curb Your Enthusiasm in how the snowball gathers momentum, except there’s a considerably larger amount of storytelling here. Even though the plotlines revolving around Jeffrey Tambors’ dual role of Daddy and Uncle Bluth get tiring, most everything else is a joy to watch. This season, Tobias Fünke (Cross) goes deeper into his paper thin homosexuality, the results of which are often hilariously unsubtle. George Michael (Michael Cera) finds a hideous religious girlfriend, which opens up some pretty sharp jabs and threatens his nearly incestual relationship with his cousin Maebe (Alia Shawkat, probably my least favorite on the show). Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) gets a little more proactive and also starts to be a little more aggro in the way he approaches life and his mother drinks a whole lot, screws a lot, and causes no shortage of turmoil.
Frankly, the story doesn’t arc as much as gently curve but the beauty here is watching the madness unfold. Honestly, the stringent rules of network TV help this show, forcing it to be really creative in how it approaches taboo subjects. Something about this second season is near perfect.
Here’s how good this show is: Martin Mull is funny on it.
"Thank God for Rear Admirals!"
There’s also a fun blooper reel which is mysteriously reproduced on the discs as if they wanted Netflix renters to be assured they got something when their discs were sent (stupidly) piecemeal. The commentary tracks are terrific, not for the information they convey but rather the banter between the cast and crew that makes you wonder just how brutal it could be if there wasn’t studio executives checking over these. They already push the envelope wuite a bit and take as many jabs as they can. Mitchell Hurwitz and his cronies are a vicious and splendid lot.
"Thank God for Rear Admirals!"
Don’t miss this DVD at any cost.
9.0 out of 10