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Monday, May 27, 2013

Farhad Manjoo writes in Slate that ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT was ahead of its time in a specific way:  it was so jam-packed with jokes that flitted across the screen, and foreshadowings of bizarre events, that audiences can only appreciate it in its full glory on a DVR. But the show came out before many people had DVRs. Now 46% of the audience does.
Some of Arrested Development’s best jokes are on screen for just a few seconds—quick shots of yearbook quotes or Tobias’ blue handprints. (Arrested Development owes a huge debt to The Simpsons here, a show in which every bit of on-screen text is a joke that can to be decoded by freeze frame.) The show is also obsessed with continuity. “We wanted the rules of the world to be consistent,” Hurwitz said during a recent conference call with journalists. “If somebody smashed a hole in the wall, we wanted that hole there the next week. People who ended up seeing it back-to-back really got a distilled sense of that.”
... Once the show was issued on DVD, new audiences could finally see the show as a self-referential, endlessly rewatchable whole. And once they did so, people noticed something amazing—they could watch each episode a second, third, or fourth time and keep seeing new stuff. For example, it turns out the show was subtly foreshadowing Buster’s missing hand long before that tragic seal attack, and it was constantly dropping hints about Annyong’s planned revenge on the Bluths. Also, Tobias was probably an albino black man.

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