Wednesday, October 05, 2005

They Dumbed Down My Show, Damn Them

If anyone watches Arrested Development, you're familiar with it's brilliant sharp tongued quips and character interaction that is often unleashed at a frenzied pace. You're also aware that the ratings sucked the first two seasons, despite several Emmy Nominations, and a few wins.

I bought the season 1 DVD set, and it's one of the funniest seasons of any show, ever. I know season 2 is just as funny, if not moreso, if that's even possible. Well, imagine my shock when the first 3 episodes of the third season were noticeably lacking in the laughs category. Don't get me wrong, I laughed enough. But the non-stop stream of intelligent dialogue is gone. It's more deliberately paced, with a lot less of it. Which brings me to the other change-the narration from Ron Howard. It's as though there are longer lapses between narrations this season, and they are more about what's happening on screen then ever before, and in fact did something that really annoyed me. Jason Bateman(Michael Bluth) was saying something about "american males being in a perpetual state of Arrested Development"(get it?), and Ron Howard quips "Hey, that's the name of the show!". What?! What have they done to my show?!

Then I realized the dilemma of AD.

In order to stay on TV, AD has to get better ratings. But it's too smart a show to drag in the masses who'd rather watch King Of Queens, or any other laugh track induced yuck fest full of punch lines. AD never told outright jokes for laughs. It had much in common with Seinfeld, and Curb Your Enthusiasm in this regard. It relied on wit and situations. And some massive innuendo. It appears they have dumbed it down with the hopes it can gain viewers. Unfortunately, it won't gain them, it'll lose them. I understand the rationale, strictly on a survival plain, but isn't it better to go out on top after three seasons than to have a mediocre third season, and flame out?

Here's hoping the season picks up steam, and gets that bite back.

1 Comment:

Tim Clague said...

Yep. (plug alert) I agree completely. And something has to change. On my blog (there it is!) we've been talking about how big media output must be coming to an end. I've mainly been looking at this from a film point-of-view. But I'm convinced that the future will be smaller shows that require smaller audiences. Does this mean lower budgets? No. It means less mega-corps taking all the cash for marketing. Basically big companies are getting the way now of the film maker to audience relationship. They need to get out of the way.

Tim Clague
My Blog