January 15, 2009

Development forcibly Arrested


I recently watched the last episode of Arrested Development. This followed, over a series of months, watching all of the preceding episodes of Arrested Development. Allah praise Netflix, DVDs, the Internet—a television show I watched not once while it was on the air, yet I've now seen the complete oeuvre.

I don't want to get too deep into Arrested Development here, because while I absolutely loved the show, the volume of fandom commentary on the subject online puts my tepid thoughts ("It was really funny," basically) to shame. One thing, though: It made me jealous. Jealous that I never thought of being that clever, that funny. Jealous I didn't become a professional actor, because I would've had a lot of fun playing Gob, I think. Or Buster, really. Or Michael, perhaps. And if I were 15 years younger, George Michael. Or 20 years older, George. (Not Tobias, though, but some haters might disagree.) Jealousy is bad, and I am not bad. Besides, I have it on excellent authority that Jessica Walter has always dreamt of being a bar game-show host, so there you go.

Arrested Development now joins the small fraternity of television series of which I've seen every episode. The advent of DVD makes this far more common than it used to be, of course, so the list is growing. But here it is, to the best of my memory, in no real order…

Arrested Development
Gilligan's Island—As a lameo 13-year-old, I watched this boneheaded garbage in reruns nearly every day after school, and I'm fairly certain not a single episode escaped me. Pathetic.
Batman—Same as above, except I'm proud of this one.
Extras—Great show, but sort of a one-trick pony, carried on the charm of Gervais. Mercifully brief.
Action—Not as good, but also thankfully short-lived. Pretty easy to absorb the whole thing on a two-disc set.
Freaks and Geeks—Another show that's easily consumable on a single DVD set. The hype is true; this was a remarkably smart and entertaining show. (Sadly, Apatow's career peak.)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer—Don't get me started… Liked it, didn't go crazy over it. Peer pressure carried me through seven seasons (and no, it's not time for Angel).
Entourage—Maybe an asterisk here, since more seasons await. Especially since I just dropped HBO, so I may be Pivenless anon.
Justice League/Justice League Unlimited—Best cartoon show ever, best film/TV adaptation of comic books ever, some of the best Justice League stories ever, best best best. The two-part finale was nearly perfect; I wish I could find a clip online, but the image of a talking gorilla being sucked out of a space-station airlock pretty much changed by life.
The Prisoner—Ah, geez. Hard to watch any of this show without watching all of it (17 episodes, I believe). This was basically one dismal week for my college roommate and me during the cold Minnesota winter of our senior year. I loved it, but damn, is it frustrating.
The Sopranos—One of my favorite lines: "Some of the things I could tell you would make your head curl."
The West Wing—Probably my favorite show ever. As I've often said, I'd literally—literally—give my right arm to live in the Bartlet-verse. A BQT regular and I once got in a heated back-in-forth West Wing trivia e-mail battle. I think it ended with a tie, though I was proud that I stumped her with, "What was the very last official act that Bartlet performed as President?"

I'm almost certainly forgetting something. Also, Seinfeld might belong on this list, I'm not sure. But considering that a rerun is on 85 percent of the time I turn on my TV, and it's been eons since I've seen anything that I couldn't recite line by line, I think the odds are good that I've made a clean sweep.

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As has been well and regularly established, Superman is kind of a dick.

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