Arrested Development’s fifth season arrives on Netflix this Tuesday and will resonate with fans due to the sharp writing and commitment to continuity.
Some might be a little taken back by the show building upon the storylines from season four, but in reality, it does make a ton of sense. Arrested Development has always made a point to highlight the absurdity that stems from family dysfunction. Why would we gloss over so many unresolved storylines from the previous season? So what if everyone on the show has aged. We aren’t here to admire the appearances; fans want to know what schemes are being cooked up by the Bluth’s this time.
Michael (Jason Bateman) and George Michael (Michael Cera) are still dating Rebel Alley (who is supposed to be Ron Howard’s illegitimate daughter played by Isla Fisher). Lindsay (Portia De Rossi) is trying to gain her mother’s affection by running for political office and engaging in fear-mongering. Tobias (David Cross) and Lucille (Jessica Walter) are together more often this season, especially since he’s now her court-appointed therapist. George Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor) and Gob (Will Arnett) are going through an identity crisis (one that involves accidentally taking too much estrogen and the other magician named Tony Wonder played by Ben Stiller in season four). Buster’s story arc is without question the best of the new season and could quickly be ruined by giving even the littlest of details.
Easily the biggest takeaways from this new season are how strong a performer Walter and Hale can be. At times, he will make use of his whole body to embrace a moment resulting in hitting a comedic beat even harder. Whether it’s a posture, the positioning of his fake hand, or busting into a fake Lucielle impression, Hale’s comedic genius is entirely on display in season five.
Walter is perfect in the fifth season spewing those acerbic one-liners which only Lucille can get away with and in doing so reminding the world why she’s the most essential member of this cast. Arrested Development wouldn’t nearly be as well received without her performance as the matriarch of the Bluth family. Mitchell Hurwitz (the show’s creator) understands this. The same can’t be said about Tambor. In light of recent events and especially with how the new season unfolds, it wouldn’t shock me to see him departing the show.
The rest of the cast play essential roles in the execution of season five. What was different this season was how the writers did an effective job of weaving in all of the cast into the main storyline (again can’t say much without ruining it). Doing this allowed for the chemistry to build between the cast members which at times seemed missing in season four. Maeby (Alia Shawkat) and George Michael (Cera) certainly have an interesting dynamic this season which involves pain meds and being kissing cousins.
Overall, the new season of Arrested Development has very little lag and returns to what made the show a success in its first three seasons. It’s undoubtedly binge-worthy and sets up for an inevitable (yet entertaining) sixth season.