Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Baby Thoughts

My wife is pregnant and is due to give birth in a couple of weeks. We both generally don't like the attention that comes with being pregnant. She didn't want a baby shower and I told no one at my work that my wife was pregnant. Most of my life has been spent avoiding people asking me questions and when you have a baby people ask you all kinds of questions. I hate answering questions and having people stand in my office while I talk about my personal life isn't my idea of a productive day. My wife hates having the focus on her because she feels stupid that people will travel from all over to give her a baby shower. She's weird in that way. I have noticed a few funny things about baby preparation and some traits of future parents of babies through this whole process though.

Getting ready for the baby really isn't that hard. It's hard, in that you don't want to do it because you have other things you would like to do, but putting the crib up took 45 minutes and painting the nursery took half a day to do. I'm not mechanically inclined, but this baby stuff is pretty much idiot-proof to put together. The hardest part about the whole process has been having to adapt to my and my wife's new walking style. We both walk very fast and now she can't move as quickly as she used to. I'm still ready to burn rubber and speed-walk around, but she trails behind, so I have to slow down which really messes me up. Other than that, you just have to get mentally prepared for the baby, which entails daily reminders to yourself that you are having a baby, because there's no real way to get mentally prepared.

A lot of comedy in pop culture comes out of parents putting up a crib, a changing table, and the various other contraptions the baby will eventually ignore completely or absolutely despise, making the very effort spent putting these contraptions together useless. Other than the changing table, which briefly tested by ability to not just throw the parts into a living room bonfire and cackle while the entire house goes up in flames because I have no idea how to control a fire, it wasn't incredibly hard to put together the baby stuff. We have bought three different types of baby pacifying contraptions. She has the option of laying down, swinging, swaying, gently swinging, gently swaying, moving back in forth (not to be confused with swaying) or barely being reclined. So when the baby is crying or upset we have three options to put the baby in to pacify her (oh, we are having a girl). I have zero doubt she will hate all of these contraptions and be pacified most by being place on top of the television or placed in the freezer. Babies are weird that way. But overall, the hardest part about getting ready for the baby is trying to find baby furniture that won't fall apart when you place a baby on it. It's pretty easy to put this stuff together and I am not mechanically inclined. I'm sure other people have had the same experience.

Now I can be one of those "I'm too busy" people. This is the best part. For a few years now, I have tried to contact some of my friends and been hit back with the "Sorry it took so long to get back to you, things have been crazy around here. You'll find out when you have kids." There's nothing like being talked down to like that. I call these people "Children Snobs," even if they are often my best friends. It's great to join this club. Now I can use my children as a cover for why I don't keep in contact with my friends. I know raising a kid is hard, tiring and takes up time. Trust me, I get it, and I can't wait to be a part of this club so I can now treat everyone who doesn't have children like they work 10 hours a week at Starbucks and have absolutely no concept of having responsibility in life. The insinuation from these Children Snobs is that they are very busy and don't have the time you have to keep and maintain the relationship. You call them, but only because you have the time these Children Snobs do not have. Once you have a child, then you will understand just how busy you truly can be. There's nothing like being looked down on by the Children Snobs for daring to not have children and therefore being completely incapable of understand the responsibilities that life with children entails. I feel fortunate I can finally understand what it is to be truly busy. I've spent most of my life just sitting around doing absolutely nothing. I get to be a Children Snob, so expect to never hear from me again.

Future baby parents have everything planned. My wife and I went to birthing classes and it was hilarious to me. I'm not ever going to be a perfect parent and I realize that, but these eager first-time parents blew my mind. Some of these couples seemingly had their children's entire life planned. I'm pretty sure a few of the parents in this class were already working on college applications and buying long-term care insurance for their children. I get the feeling these parents will start picking up nursing home brochures for when their little one finally retires and needs a place to live. After all, this small child may never have children and how on Earth would the child understand the responsibility required to live his/her life without having children, so a nursing home is the best thing to look into at least 65 years in advance.

Hey, different strokes for different folks, but there were women who had "a plan" for their birth in these classes. I think that's cute and admirable. But...the shit is going to go down how the baby wants it to go down though. Just be prepared and roll with the punches. Have a birth plan, but don't go announcing your plan because you may feel stupid when it doesn't work out the way you planned. We haven't even named our child yet, though to our credit we have it narrowed down to four names (none of which are Justina Upton as I suggested). We were the only couple in the class who had not named their child yet. I have to see her first before I can name her. We narrow it down to two names and then whichever one we like (or the one she most looks like) that's her name. People ask me, "What are you going to do if she is born and she doesn't have a name yet?" Well, we would then name her. You know, she's not a dog. It's not like if we don't give her a name immediately upon birth she will wander off and find a new home.

There's nothing wrong with going ahead and naming your child, but I looked around the room and saw the potential for helicopter parents. I can see it already starting. Again, I'm not perfect nor do I think my way is always the right way, but I can see the control freak in some of these parents beginning with one mom explaining to the class "that she will not be having a C-section" or relaying stories from when their sister had a baby and that's why their child will have a natural birth with no drugs involved. I fear for these people who have a plan and I'm not confident they can roll with the punches. I can't imagine these people surviving at a restaurant when their two-year old is taking a crap in her diaper while hiding under the table. That is against the plan and is how heart attacks happen.

Pregnancy causes people to play guessing games. I'm guilty of this as well. Everybody just HAS to guess when the baby will come. "Here's when I think the baby will come" is what I often hear. I do it too, but it's like people can't resist trying to guess when the baby will be born. Pregnancy turns people into game show contestants. They have to take a spin at what hair color the baby will have, if the baby will have hair, whose eyes it will have or whether she will like sports or not (the answer: yes). My entire workplace has put in a guess as to when the baby comes. It's irresistible to these people that they accurately guess the date of birth. I also like when people constantly, and I mean constantly, ask if you have picked out a name. I have said repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly that no name will be picked out until either (a) the baby is born or (b) we are preparing for my wife to go into labor. We want to get this name thing right. Yet, we get texts asking "Any more baby names or have you come to a conclusion on the name yet?" No. There will be no more suggestions on baby names, and no, zero conclusions have been reached. Thank you, and I said good day. I started telling people we are naming her "Shi-teed Uh-sol-ee" which spells out as "Shithead Asshole." I'm thinking she would get picked on with that name. I could be wrong.

And of course people will suggest names, which isn't so bad, but at a certain point we got too many suggestions. I can't narrow down a list of 50-75 names. I have a hard time eating at Chili's because there are 20 menu items I could order, how do you expect me to pick out a name from 50-75 names? That's too much. Plus, people will walk up to my wife and act shocked she is due in a couple of weeks. "Wow, you are so small, I thought you were (fill in the blank) weeks" they tend to say. Thanks for saying my wife should be a much fatter than she currently is. I think she looks great, but her self-esteem isn't at an all-time high now that she struggles to tie her shoes and reminding her she could be so much bigger sounds great, but isn't exactly totally uplifting. Why can't people have come up to her before she was pregnant and say, "Wow, you are so small!" Now THAT would be a big self-esteem booster. Plus, don't ever watch the movie "Alien" and then have a child. If you are going to watch "Alien" then don't ever have kids or if you plan on having kids don't watch "Alien." It is a little creepy to see a baby leg/arm/foot/elbow/head causing my wife's stomach to extend oddly out to the right, left, or top. If the baby is busy getting comfortable and causing my wife's stomach to roll around I feel like a chest-burster is about to pop out. I'm scarred by that movie. Now if we were having a chest-burster and not a human baby then we would definitely need to name the chest-burster immediately. Those things do tend to run off immediately after birth.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

"Man of Steel": My Review

I went to see "Man of Steel" this past weekend. It got me thinking about the direction movies based on comic books seem to be taking. Shortly put, I'm not so sure about the "Justice League" movie that Warner Brothers is talking about (and surely will be) making. If "Man of Steel" was the first step to this eventual Justice League movie then it wasn't the best of starts. My short review is that "Man of Steel" started off very promising and then compromised this in favor of the last hour being action that became mind-numbing and quite frankly a little boring. "Iron Man 3" was sort of this way too and it seems to be the trend at the end of a comic book movie to have a ton of CGI and long action sequences that eventually get a little tiresome. There's only so much "guys throw themselves into a building while fighting" you can handle in a movie. "Man of Steel" is almost like two movies. One movie that is about Superman's origin story and the other is an all-out action movie. I realize there has been action at the end of most Marvel's superhero films, but "Iron Man 3" and to a greater extent "Man of Steel" took the action at the end of a film to new levels.

I have never read a comic book, much less a Superman comic, but I have seen every incarnation of the movie (well, since 1978) and am not sure how "Man of Steel" fits in with them. Much like the character of Hulk, I'm not sure Superman is an easy character to put on screen. The only real way to make his story interesting is to throw kryptonite at him or have him face an alien of equal strength. I realize other Marvel characters like Thor have this same issue, but I feel like his story translates better to the screen than Superman's does. I've always enjoyed the Superman movies (there were even good parts about "Superman Returns"), but I'm never watching the films (even "Superman" and "Superman 2") and thinking "I can't watch to re-watch that movie." "Superman" from 1978 was very good, but then it had the whole "backwards time travel" thing at the end which basically served as a mechanism that Superman could use any time he wanted to change the past. It was kind of a lazy plot device in my opinion, even if it is completely within Superman's ability and range. I believe "Superman 2" (the Richard Donner cut) is probably a superior movie to "Superman." "Superman 3" and "Superman 4" were just not very good, there's no way to get past that. I think Superman isn't the easiest of characters to bring onto the big screen is my basic point.

(Potential spoilers ahead) So I came into "Man of Steel" ready to be impressed and excited, yet without any preconceptions or worry it would not meet what I expected from it. The first hour or so of the movie, which I know many reviewers hated, really got me into the story. I thought the idea of Superman trying to fit into the world was compelling and the way it was presented made you believe that a person like Clark Kent who never felt entirely like a member of Earth would have issues with his powers and what to do with these powers. Clark Kent was lost as a child and seemed lost as an adult as well. He's told by his father that he can't reveal himself to the world because they aren't ready and won't accept him, but he keeps running into situations where he can help others with his capabilities. So while Clark knows he isn't like other people, he also doesn't know whether he should reveal who he really is, despite the obvious benefits to Earth if he did.

Clark Kent is lost for most of the beginning of the movie and I know other reviewers have found this part of the movie to have too much gravitas, but I enjoyed Zack Snyder (more on him in a minute) giving a different twist on Clark's story before he became Superman as an adult and showing how he really wouldn't feel like he was part of Earth. He was born on a different planet and the only thing he has in common with humans on planet Earth is that he looks human. He can do things others can't and he can't really show everyone who he truly is because he doesn't feel he would be accepted. He's not like Batman in that he can run around Gotham City as Bruce Wayne and live some sort of fulfilling life outside of his role as Batman. Clark is a reporter (well, not in this film) and he doesn't have much else that gives him meaning to his life other than being Superman. Being Superman seemingly shades everything he does. He doesn't have a double identity like other superheroes, but lives as Superman all the time and tries to keep this from nearly everyone he meets.

Clark isn't extraordinarily wealthy so he doesn't have a bunch of cool toys screenwriters can use to further the plot. As exciting as Superman is, Clark can be equally as boring. Money can't buy happiness, but it certainly does make it easier for a screenwriter to write about a comic book character's life when he isn't being a superhero. So I enjoyed the first hour of the movie and thought we were on pace for something good. Clark/Superman would find his place in the world, defeat Zod, and then we could get to a sequel in 2016 or 2017 where we learn more about Superman and he recovers from the villain he helped face in "Justice League," which I assume is coming out in 2015. It was pretty clear what would happen and I assumed they were taking the Marvel track to creating an entire universe of characters that could be spun off and huge profits would be raked in and the studio and moviegoers would be happy. Then it fell apart for me. All sense of gravitas feel apart and the action started.

The last hour was just too action-oriented. I realize a person complaining about the action in a Superman movie is a person who is probably a moron or has unrealistic expectations for the movie. The entire last hour of the movie was action though. It was straight action all the way through and General Zod and Superman collided into buildings approximately 30 times and the military was called so there was shooting and fighting to where I wasn't always sure what was happening. People died, Superman/Zod never got bruised, and then I found myself wishing these two would just stop fighting and we could find a way to go back to furthering the plot of the movie. Except there was no more plot. Superman was lost in this world and eventually chose the citizens of Earth over Zod during the climax of the film, which I came to believe was supposed to be a dramatic moment. I'm sorry, was that ever in question that Superman would side with Earth over Zod? Was the moviegoer supposed to think Superman would side with the guy who killed his father and then tried to kill him? Plus, it's not like Superman had any memories of Krypton, so he has no emotional ties to the planet other than seeing his father through a hologram (or a download of some sort), but again, his father is dead. Superman can see his father when he inserts a key and downloads Jor-El, but Superman has no ties to Krypton. So of course Superman favors Earth over Krypton. This conclusion lacked a sort of drama for me.

Superman snaps Zod's neck, which inexplicably is what killed Zod considering these two had just flown through dozens of buildings. I guess crashing into a building and getting the shit beaten out of him isn't enough to kill Zod, but a quick snap of the neck does it. Also, why didn't Superman just snap Zod's neck as he flew quickly towards Zod? He tackled Zod dozens of times, couldn't he just snap Zod's neck while tackling him? That's right, Superman didn't want to kill Zod. He just thought Zod would stop destroying Earth out of the kindness of his heart. Comic book lovers and Superman fans know that's just how Superman is, but it just seemed silly to me. The action of the last hour was as mind-numbing as the first hour of the movie was exciting for me. I grew bored with the action, which is never a good thing when watching an action movie.

The actors did a good job and it was well-cast. Henry Cavill was pretty good considering he isn't playing a character, but an archetype. It's not incredibly easy to play Superman and display some emotion. Superman is not like Iron Man who can crack wise and be snarky. Frankly, Superman is kind of a boring guy. He doesn't have a ton of personality, so Henry Cavill does a pretty good job with the role because he does show some personality in the role. Amy Adams is dogged, which is seemingly all the role of Lois Lane involves. She was dogged, so that's doing a great job in the role of Lois Lane. I'm mixed on Michael Shannon as General Zod. I didn't buy into him much during the action scenes (of course I didn't buy into much during the action scenes), but I thought he did a decent job. When I heard he was cast as General Zod I thought we would be in for a treat with Shannon in that role. It wasn't really a treat, but Shannon wasn't bad. Not to mention, there wasn't one "kneel before Zod" during the movie, which disappointed me a little bit. I have this weird Kevin Costner thing where I didn't like him when he was a younger actor, but now I seem to really enjoy him as he has gotten older. I thought he did a really good job as Jonathan Kent and I wish we had seen more of him in that role. Diane Lane did a good job with a pretty non-descript role while Russell Crowe matched up well with Michael Shannon in early scenes as Jor-El. The casting was actually pretty good overall. I generally liked the movie and much of the reason for this was the casting.

Now Zack Snyder as the director. I had very low hopes for Snyder when I found out he was directing this film. I am not a fan of his really. What we got is pretty much what I expected from him. His filmography includes "300," "Sucker Punch" and "The Watchmen." I probably wouldn't dare let him near a rebooted superhero franchise, but I'm not the brilliant decision makers in charge of "Man of Steel." I simply didn't trust him as the director based on the amount of crazy CGI his movies seem to involve. Snyder did a good job in the beginning of the film, but the action sequences are really just a clusterfuck. I could barely see what was going on at times and there was just a lot of fighting that basically involved the characters flying through buildings. I thought two years ago when Snyder was announced as the director he wouldn't have the vision required to reboot the Superman franchise and I feel pretty confident I was correct. Still, he did a great part in the beginning of the movie setting the mood he was trying to set and engaging the audience, but he just couldn't help himself and turned the last 60 minutes into a CGI-fest.

There were no exciting Easter eggs and there was no postcredit scene. I thought Warner Brothers was using Superman to set up a "Justice League" film, but they didn't seem to try and do that. Rather than move forward the overall idea of a greater universe outside of Superman, they more teased that there was a greater universe without going into too many specifics or trying to show they had any interest in investigating that greater universe during the "Man of Steel" film. There were a couple views of Lexcorp trucks and the Lexcorp building. That IS something, but not a whole lot. There was also a Wayne Enterprises satellite that was shot down by General Zod, but this was explained in interviews by Snyder as an homage more than a hint of things to come. I don't think the lack of exciting Easter eggs or a postcredit scene is necessarily a knock against the movie, but I was hoping there would be more of an introduction to the overall potential "Justice League" universe. I've read there were Easter eggs all over in the film and while it appears there were a few, where Marvel succeeded in their films leading up to "The Avengers" is they managed to hook the casual viewers who saw their standalone superhero films into getting excited for "The Avengers." It was a bit of a disappointment "Man of Steel" didn't tease a larger universe and I think if Warner Brothers wants to really do a "Justice League" movie they need to tease the overall universe in their standalone superheor films. Maybe they don't need to do this and Marvel has spoiled us.

So just looking at Superman as a standalone movie, which is how we are supposed to view it, I think it was a decent re-re-introduction to Superman. If there was a sequel I would probably watch it depending on the plot summary and who is cast as the villain. It's hard to read criticism of Henry Cavill because there isn't a lot of emotional depth involved with playing Superman/Clark Kent. He's kind of an aloof guy and weird guy, which is how the script forces Cavill to play the role and I thought he did a satisfactory job. My biggest issue is that the action felt stale. It felt like it had all been done before and seemed very by-the-numbers. I can accept those who didn't like the downer emotional aspect of the first hour of the film, but I thought it made sense for Clark Kent/Superman to question his place in a world that didn't initially know who he truly was and would have treated him like the villain Jonathan Kent thought they would see him as.

"Man of Steel" was a good re-re-introduction to Superman, but I think Warner Brothers is more focused on promises of bigger things ahead, but for a movie that is supposed to be standalone, it wouldn't make a lot of sense to me if a sequel to "Man of Steel" is never made (which I doubt a sequel won't be made) and "Justice League" is never made. If a sequel to "Man of Steel" is never made then the film would be an improvement on "Superman Returns" and the series would probably get re-booted sometime in the future. I would remember the 2013 reboot and how a different view of the Superman was shown. I will remember it was a movie that tried to humanize Superman and then delved into excessive special effects. If a sequel is made (which probably will happen) and "Justice League" is also made then I will remember "Man of Steel" was supposed to be a standalone film that only seemed to serve the purpose of re-re-introducing the character of Superman for the purpose of making more superhero movies and expanding the franchise. I have no problem with that, but the movie seemed to initially want to have a different take on Superman and then decided against going all the way. It wasn't a disappointment, but it was a movie that managed to disappoint me in some ways. I will just wish that wasn't all "Man of Steel" ended up being to me.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Four Reasons Some People May Be Disappointed in the Season 4 "Arrested Development" Episodes

I have been reading some complaints about Season 4 of "Arrested Development" in comments online. I was responsible for a few of these complaints myself on Twitter after watching the first two episodes. I didn't think they were up to the previous standard set by Seasons 1-3 of "Arrested Development." I haven't changed my mind completely, but now that I have watched the majority of Season 4 I can see why some people are disappointed in a way by Season 4. I think there are four reasons some people have been disappointed and it isn't entirely the show's fault, but some reasons for the public's disappointment are the fault of the show. Don't get me wrong, I have really enjoyed the majority of the episodes, and comparing Season 4 to Seasons 1-3 is probably going to be a losing battle. Seasons 1-3 were superior television and it isn't easy to duplicate these seasons. It's probably near impossible. I think there are four reasons the new season of "Arrested Development" could not measure up to Seasons 1-3 and these could be a few of the reasons some fans have been disappointed. 

1. These episodes are only intended to be a prologue to a movie

The reason Mitchell Hurwitz did Season 4 of "Arrested Development" is because he is intent on doing an "Arrested Development" movie. He found it too difficult to catch viewers up with what each of the major characters had been doing in a short span of time when writing the movie, so he decided it made sense to do an entire season to catch the viewers up on the Bluth family's adventures since we last saw them at the end of Season 3. So a lot of Season 4 consists of catching up with the characters and furthering the plot at the same time. It sounds easy to do, but 5-6 years time for each character must be covered in a 30-something minute episode. It can be quite difficult to cover a lot of time plot-wise and still maintain the situational comedy. Granted, "Arrested Development" isn't entirely a situational comedy, but a lot of the comedy comes from situations and dialogue that exists between two or more characters. The show has to speed up to catch up with the characters while also slowing down enough to maintain the humor of an ostrich running around loose in a room or a swarm of bees stinging a group of people. Therein lies a lot of the reason why I think Hurwitz chose to do each character's plot separate from each other. It allows time to fill in the narrative, but also jokes that don't seem like much in the first place can turn into a punchline down the road. The jokes begin to accumulate and make more sense as the season wore on. Basically Hurwitz has his cake and eats it too, but potentially at the expense of the audience being lost initially. Of course with a dedicated audience like "Arrested Development" seems to have, Hurwitz knows they will wait a couple of episodes for the punchline to come.

So these Season 4 episodes serve as the beginning to what (hopefully) will be a movie. The purpose of these episodes seem to be to catch the audience up on what the Bluth family has been up to. I'm not a writer, but I imagine it is hard to further the narrative over a few years while still giving enough time for running jokes and situational comedy.

2. The production schedule

One of the issues with getting all of the actors back for Season 4 of "Arrested Development" is none of the actors are essentially committed to the series anymore. They have other acting jobs that are more permanent, so they weren't all available at the same time to shoot the episodes. So the actors each ended up having their own episodes that almost feel too character-specific heavy to be "Arrested Development." We get 37 minutes of Lindsay Bluth in one episode, partly because Portia de Rossi's schedule did not necessarily allow for her to shoot scenes with the other principal actors. It's sort of like if Led Zeppelin promised a reunion album, but first we had to listen to each band member (minus John Bonham of course) do a solo album. Obviously this isn't the best analogy, but we have to learn about each principal character on their own before we get to see them shoot a movie where they will (hopefully) interact with each other more. The production schedule and the actor's availability prevented the episodes from featuring all of the principal cast members in all 15 episodes. So what we have are essentially 15 episodes which feature one specific actor/actress in each episode with cameo drop-ins from the other principal cast members. It's sort of not fulfilling to watch at times because I don't personally care to watch 37 minutes of Lindsay Bluth and then 34 minutes of Tobias in back-to-back episodes. It's what the production schedule called for though and so that's what we got. This leads me to my next point. 

3. The strength of the series is the characters can't carry an entire episode

The strength of "Arrested Development" isn't in the single characters of the show. Each character has attributes many people find to be funny. Michael is sarcastic, G.O.B. is an idiot who makes bad decisions, and so it goes. These attributes work very well together when the family interacts with each other. The problem lies in Season 4 of "Arrested Development" when you take these characters away from interacting with each other and make them single characters in a 30 minute long story. Yes, as I said above, the production schedule necessitated this, but the strength of "Arrested Development" lies in each of the characters interacting and playing off of each other and that wasn't able to happen as much during Season 4. Tobias' character works well when he is the comedy to Michael Bluth's straight man (no pun intended). Tobias can feel like just another closeted homosexual actor wannabe when his story isn't combined in some part with Lindsay or his latest adventure takes up a good portion of the screen time. His antics don't get old, but they tend to wear on the viewer and aren't quite as funny when put on screen in a 30-plus minute episode. Don't get me wrong, his story is still somewhat enjoyable, but it's more fun to have members of the Bluth family pop up and play off of each other rather than have to carry their own storylines for a full episode.

Isn't that what makes an ensemble comedy so great? It's not the individual characters, but how the parts of the characters as individuals don't add up to as much as the parts of the ensemble as a whole. Unfortunately, "Arrested Development" isn't the Avengers. They all aren't strong characters on their own who come together for one great purpose or carry an entire movie or episode. Their great purpose is for each of these characters together and being together while playing off each other makes them exciting and funny to watch. One of the major issues I had with Season 4 (and again, it was really good to have them back) was these characters I really enjoyed weren't always in the same room or plot line as each other. Lucille and George Bluth are funny characters, but they also need grounded characters like Michael Bluth to play off of each other. So I think a lot of the problems that some had with the show had to do with the characters of "Arrested Development" not always being in the same room as each other. The so-called "magic" during Seasons 1-3 had to do with these characters being around and interacting with each other and Season 4 didn't always allow for that to happen. So that could be disappointing for some fans watching the new episodes.

4. Nostalgia hurts the new episodes

My wife and I used G.O.B.'s theme for his magic act, "The Final Countdown" by the band Europe as the entrance song at our wedding reception. I love the show. I still say "Arrested Development" quotes at times and it's one of my favorite shows of all-time. So to an extent, the new episodes just simply weren't going to match up with my memories of the show. I don't want to project my feelings onto other people, but I have a feeling this goes for others as well. A lot of really good comedies aren't entirely funny until they have been re-watched a few times and the jokes start to sink in a little bit more. That was the case for Seasons 1-3 and could be the case sooner or later for Season 4. I do like "Arrested Development" and Mitchell Hurwitz didn't try to replicate the past or continuously use old jokes in the new episodes. There were callbacks, but not as many callbacks as could have been forced into the episodes. This was a good and bad thing. It was good because I have a feeling time may be more kind to the show when the new jokes start to take hold on the fans. It's a bad thing because fans could see Season 4 as a new show with new jokes, where the characters don't interact with each other, and the episode format doesn't feel as connected to the Seasons 1-3. But again, "Arrested Development" has pretty dedicated fans who probably won't mind giving the show the time necessary over the 15 episodes. It's not like these new episodes were made for casual fans of the show anyway.

I think the nostalgia for the earlier episodes (me included) hurts Season 4 a bit. It's almost like nothing was going to live up to the memories I have of the original three seasons. It's not fair, but it's also not very good writing to simply tell the same jokes that have already been told. I'm glad the writers didn't go in that direction, but Season 4 probably wasn't going to live up to my memories. I think if I am patient with Season 4 I could learn to like it as much as I have loved Seasons 1-3. Well maybe, but I think I will end up enjoying Season 4 of "Arrested Development" the most when some enterprising person edits all 15 episodes into 22 shorter episodes with each character's story mixed in together so that each episode doesn't focus on just one character. I'm betting it happens and it's probably not a terrible idea to give it a try. Of course, having any "Arrested Development" to watch beats the alternative.