Arrested Development

Friday, December 19, 2003

Now, when Entertainment Weekly goes out and refers to a show as this season's Freaks and Geeks, I pretty much feel obligated to like it. Add in a number of crew members from the late, lamented Undeclared - notably producer Victor Hsu and director Greg Motlolla (whose The Daytrippers is an unheralded 90's indie comedy classic - and you'd think I'd have found a winner. And, just to sweeten the deal, throw in David Cross, who is, for my money, one of the funniest comedians around (despite a willingness to do some horrible material).

I hate this show.

Or, more precisely, I hated the first few episodes. Not remotely funny. Trying so very hard to be "quirky." Just generally annoying. Others continued to heap praises upon it, and I just didn't get it.

And then a funny thing happened. For a couple episodes, David Cross disappeared. And they brought in Liza Minelli. And it got funny. Really funny. Everything sort of fell into place, the writers stopped trying so hard, and it started to feel like a real show. A real show I could actually enjoy.

Which, as an avowed David Cross fan, is a difficult thing to say, but I think I've nailed down the problem. While David Cross is funny, he's always funny in his own way. On a show like this, where they are trying for a very specific and delicate style of humor, throwing in a wrong note completely ruins the whole thing, and, since David Cross can really only do one tone, he threw off the balance they needed. Much like Will Farrell's dismantling of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back or that episode of Undeclared, introducing the wrong style of comedy can completely ruin a fledgeling TV show. (I would like to go on the record as stating that, unlike Will Farrell, David Cross is at least funny in the context of his stand-up act, or on Mr. Show. Will Farrell is never funny. Ever.)

Rating: C (Needs more Liza, less David)

Reviewed by Padgett Arango
Contents
The Hills Have Eyes 2

Hostel Part II

Six Degrees

Shark

Jericho

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Justice

The Hills Have Eyes

Love Monkey

Out of Practice

Head Cases

Crunchwrap Supreme

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Batman Begins

Garden State

Hero

13 Going On 30

LAX

Starman

quirkyalone.net

Kill Bill, Vol. 2

Line of Fire

We Shall All Be Healed

Happy Family

Arrested Development

Love Actually

A Minute with Stan Hooper

Tarzan

Karen Sisco

Stop All the World Now

Cold Case

Skin

10-8

Joan of Arcadia

Eve

Luis

Lost In Translation

House of 1000 Corpses

Bubba Ho-Tep

Darkness Falls

Pirates of the Caribbean

The Amazing Race

Treasure Island

FearDotCom

Adaptation

To Hit Armor Class Zero

Without A Trace

8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter

Life With Bonnie

Jalapeņo Cheeseburger

The Mothman Prophecies

Happy Campers

The Man Who Wasn't There

Kiss of the Dragon

Josie & the Pussycats

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Dr. Pepper

Know By Heart

Waking Life

L.I.E.

Thirteen Ghosts

Earthlink presents Chang and Eng

New York and Country Bar

Change

Motivation and Water Tower Grammar

Crossing Philly

Makeout Club

Undeclared

The Gap

The Abolition of Work

3000 Miles to Graceland

Kolobos

Duets

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Diesel Sweeties

The Cold Six Thousand

The Grilled Stuft Burrito (Rebuttal)

60 Second Wipeout

The Patriot

Grilled Stuft Burrito

Cowgirls

Crystalline

Frankenfinger E.P.

One Force Down

Shake

Both Our Secrets

Happy Birthday Captain Columbus!

Fight Club

Whatever It Takes

Committed

That Skinny Motherfucker with the High Voice?

Joe Dirt

The Veggie Whopper

Taco Bell Nachos

Palmetto

Godzilla vs. Monster Zero

The Terror of Mechagodzilla

To The Center

Infiniti+Infiniti

American Psycho

The Del Shredder

What Lies Beneath

The Cheesy Gordita Crunch

Bring It On

Chill Factor

Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars

Bad Company

The Blair Witch Project

Hyacinths and Thistles

Lake of Dracula

We'll Have a Time

Home Depot

Snow Day

The Virgin Suicides