TV reviews

Arrested Development 5×07 – ‘Rom-Traum’ – TV Review

I get it now. Why the powers-that-be have only released half a season of Arrested Development on Netflix. It’s because they knew that viewers wouldn’t make it through all 16 episodes in one go. I rate myself quite highly as a binge-watcher, especially of thirty-minutes-or-less comedies, and yet I struggled to make it through this half-season. And quite frankly I’m running out of things to say about the show that aren’t just ‘Oh god is it over yet?’. But perhaps by the time that the rest of the season drops, the memories will have faded sufficiently for me to jump back in, like forgetting the pain of a hangover by the time that Friday night rolls round again. Forget-me-nows, anyone?

In episode seven, ‘Rom-Traum’, we finally see some payoffs to long-running set-ups and storylines, and whilst it might be gratifying to get some answers, one wonders whether at this point they are actually contributing anything to the comedy or to the overall story. Do we really need to revisit Marky Bark’s ostrich farm and his ‘divine spirit’ costume, so that Tobias (David Cross) can wear it? It feels like we’ve done this already. We got the joke first time round. Do we need to hear it again? Too much of this season seems to be old catchphrases, shouted in our faces.

Some payoffs are worthwhile, such as George Senior (Jeffrey Tambor) discovering that his emotional turbulence is the result of Lucille (Jessica Walter) secretly feeding him estrogen pills. Rewind a couple of scenes and we have Maeby (Alia Shawkat) and George-Michael (Michael Cera) discussing this exact thing with regards to Stan Sitwell (Ed Begley Jr.), and concluding that not even their Gangie would do something so horrible. I can’t help but think that these conversations would have worked better, and on previous series would have been scheduled, a couple of episodes – rather than a couple of scenes – apart. Remind me again: what’s the secret to good comedy?

I have to admit to enjoying the ‘is Gob gay?’ storyline, although whether or not character growth in Arrested Development is a good thing is up for debate. But the huge mistake that Gob (Will Arnett) makes with Laguna Closet Conversions, and their subsequent designing of a trick (sorry – illusion) for him and Tony Wonder (Ben Stiller) has me amused and intrigued. I also chuckled at the Fourth of July parade being held on the second, as a response to the anticipated blowback from Cinco.

Anyway – just one more episode to go before we can all take a break and get back to our season one rewatch.

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