I was aware of Arrested Development while it was airing in 2003-2006; it even had a couple of things going for it. Columnists whose judgment I trust championed it, and Jason Bateman’s sorta hot, in a Nathan Fillion-lite kind of way.
Unfortunately, 2003-2006 fell smack dab in the middle of my college years, also known as “The Age of Not Being Allowed a Television in the Dorm and Thus Having to Tape 8+ Hours of TV Every Week and Watch It All on Saturday.” Those were dark days, my friends. Dark days. At any rate, I’ve now seen the light. In this case, that involved several weeknights with my laptop, an Arrested Development disc or two, and a fridge pack of Diet Coke.
Wikipedia describes the show as a “riches to rags” story, which is actually not bad if you’re going for succinctness. There’s no easy way to explain Arrested Development, but it’s very smart, witty, dry, and occasionally dirty. Maybe it was too smart for the general audience; you don’t often see the sentence “The show is highly intertextual and reflexive, features commonly associated with postmodernism” applied to primetime network programming. It’s usually more along the lines of “Hosted by Ryan Seacrest” or “Now with whistling monkeys.”
If nothing else, enjoy this 8-minute highlight reel. I did.