Netflix has released Season 4 of Arrested Development in its entirety, which means we'll be binge-watching the series' revival and sharing our reactions with you over the next couple of days. The recap below contains spoilers from Episode 13 - "It Gets Better." Read no further if you haven't seen the episode yet!
“Now the story of a family whose future was abruptly cancelled and the one son who had no choice but to keep himself together. It’s George Michael’s Arrested Development.”
Pretty much every major member of the Bluth family has received not just one but two standalone episodes so far this season, yet the kissing cousins who danced through one of television’s strangest “are-they-or-aren’t-they” love stories finally are settling into their own chapters. Last episode belonged to Maeby. This one belongs to George Michael.
Right off the bat, you realize that George Michael is a lot more popular at UC Irvine than his sad-sack appearance in the season’s premiere episode led us to believe. Granted, at the time, he was shouldering the load that was his dejected father, Michael. Here, in a play on David Fincher’s The Social Network, George Michael is the successful entrepreneur behind the Internet sensation FakeBlock, and it has made him quite the B.M.O.C. In fact, this George Michael 2.0 is completely different from the one who lost Ann Veal to his uncle, Gob, at the end of last season. He’s playing wood block in a band, and hoping to get into Julliard. He has confidence, close friends, and a plan. And he has a girlfriend who isn’t a relative – Ron Howard’s daughter, Rebel (who also is dating George Michael’s father, Michael).
“We should put these in cribs!”
The episode recaps what has happened to the character in the five years since the show last was on the air. Freshman year got off to a rough start, as the stink of the Bluth family still cast a shadow over this impressionable college student. But like most kids forced to live on their own, George Michael started getting by on his own charms and unique sense of humor. He meets a girl named Becky. He loses her to his friend Ray. He starts growing up.
But it’s on a study abroad trip to Spain where George Michael gets his first taste of freedom, adulthood … and facial hair. And when he comes back to college for his senior year, George Michael’s life away from his family finally is ready to begin. Until his father moves in.
“Boom. And that’s what we call only being behind by three.”
Season 4 of “Arrested Development” found its groove in the second half … a flaw of the design of the overall season. There’s legitimate joy in watching threads weave together and puzzle pieces snap into place, as when we finally see how Michael’s presence at George Michael’s college (way back in the first episode of the season) truly stunts his son’s personal, professional and sexual growth. With his cousin. We learn the actual meaning of Fakeblock, and how George Michael plunged into the lie of it just to keep his father in his heels.
Plus, “It Gets Better” has the funniest joke of the season so far – a 41-second Ron Howard monologue that puts a scene on hold while characters stand around, waiting to continue.
“But for the phrase, ‘As I live and breathe,’ he nailed it.”
As we have been saying, the season is ending on a far stronger note than it started, which is basically due to how this particular season has been structured. The first chunk of episodes relied so heavily on set-up, and we had to reach episode 10 or 11 before the big steps started to land with significant (and satisfactory) impact. In this sense, the title of the episode – “It Gets Better” – sums up the season as a whole up to this point. Can Arrested Development stick the landing? These last few episodes focusing on Maeby and George Michael suggest that we’re in for the best with two episodes left to go.
The Rest of the Developments
We get our first look at George Michael’s deceased mother, holding him on her lap as she discusses “BabyTock.”
We also learn the origin of the infamous Cornballer, as well as young George Sr.’s “foolproof” plan to use the faulty timers to create a race of baby geniuses.
Michael Cera’s mustache is an homage to his rebellious twin character in the 2009 comedy Youth of Revolt, right?
Kissing labs at UC Irvine employ gorgeous instructors – and disgusting plastic tools.
There are three woodblocking apps on “the market.” At least.
Chicken dances are hard to do in matador pants.
Some kids use O.S. to mean “Overtly Sexual.”
“I wouldn’t put all of my Ann’s in that basket.”
“Let’s solve for X” is the absolute worst pick-up line in the history of pick-up lines.
People “grow” very quickly in Spain. Maybe it’s from watching so many episodes of The Wizards of Waverly Place.
Want to know why people recognize Rebel? She was in the American remake of Dangerous Cousins, which George Michael signed up to Netfix to be able to watch.
And the math might be wrong – if it is, George Michael likely will take the time to correct us – but Andy Richter makes about $8,000 a day.
Read more Arrested Development recaps here.