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Old 05-28-2013, 07:16 PM   #211
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Before I start this, I'm honestly not trying to crap on this thread. I really want to know the answer. (Yeah, you can see what's coming.) I'm assuming, based on the date of this thread start, that it is not strictly about the new set of episodes that just premiered, but the whole show, so that's what my comment is on.

I continually hear people rave about "Arrested Development," that it is one of the funniest, best, most awesomest shows ever in the history of television. I've tried to watch it before and it didn't click with me, so this past weekend, with a lack of anything else on, I pulled it up and started watching from the beginning. I thought to myself, "Maybe I didn't give it a fair try. Maybe I missed something the first time around."

No, alas not. I hated the characters. The characters that weren't out and out offensively annoying (the majority) were either stupid (Buster) or pathetic (Michael/George Michael), and I thought the plots were insultingly stupid.

Even in the first few episodes, I already see some of the oft-quoted lines, like "her," "No Touching," "Steve Holt" and such. And by the simple fact that they are repeated so often, I can only surmise that those are supposed to be funny in some way. But for me, there wasn't a single moment in those episodes that made me laugh, guffaw, snicker, grin, or even a mild "Mona Lisa" smile.

I made it to about episode 5 before I had to turn the TV off and go take a walk, lest I do severe bodily harm to myself. To paraphrase a line from the late great Roger Ebert: "I hated this show. Hated hated hated hated hated this show. Hated it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it."

I know humor is not only very personal, but also very difficult to quantify. That said, does someone feel up to trying to explain to me what exactly is so blasted amazing about this show? Again, I'm not trying to threadcrap - I just don't get what is supposed to be funny about this show, and would love to know.

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Old 05-28-2013, 07:58 PM   #212
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It may just not be for you. I will say this: the characters aren't supposed to be sympathetic. They're all flawed and I think some of the enjoyment of the show, for me, comes from the Schadenfreude it imparts as I watch them suffer from circumstances that are largely of their own making. I do find it intelligently written, too - there's lots of quick wordplay and there are many hidden "Easter eggs" peppered through the episodes - it's the type of series where the props in the background are all carefully and intentionally placed, often to great comedic effect. A small example - in the new season, a character attends a support group. In the background, there's a small flyer tacked to the wall. It says "Feeling Blue?" In and of itself, that's not funny. But the show rewards close attention and regular viewers would give that, at the very least, a Mona Lisa Smile. For me, that's actually the show's primary draw - the jokes thread through the whole season, indeed the whole series, so that what is only marginally funny at first eventually becomes very funny. Think of an orchestral piece of music - there are different refrains and the music has a definite start and end and is different along the way, but the more you listen the more you begin to pick up on motifs and how they are twisted and played differently at different times. That's what this show does. Five episodes may not be enough to see it. With most shows I'd say that's giving it a fair shot. With this one, I almost think you have to watch the full season twice over to really appreciate how well crafted the episodes are and how they actually all tie together. It's a big commitment, though, to be sure. Not everyone likes all types of music, and this may be a piece that you simply wind up not enjoying.
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Old 05-28-2013, 09:23 PM   #213
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I don't think I agree with everything danterner said, or at least implied. If you watched 5 episodes and actively hated the show, you should definitely stop watching. It's obviously not your cup of tea. That's OK! You do not need to "watch the full season twice over" to get the humor. I thought even the first show was very funny. It's true that the more you watch the more you get, but you should still find it funny the first time or it's not for you.

I do think maybe you're taking it too seriously, though, Loadstar, if you got such a visceral reaction from less than 2 hours that it forced you out of the house! That might be part of the problem; AD is almost as much a send-up of TV as it is anything else. As danterner said, none of the characters are supposed to be appealing. They are all ridiculous in their own way; most are ridiculous in virtually every way. Many of us find that funny. If you prefer shows that have some characters you can identify with, with at least nominal "good guys" and "bad guys", you definitely won't like AD.

I'm not sure we can help with your question, though. Just like you can't explain to us why you hate this hilarious show so much, we can't explain to you why we find it so hilarious.

But for those that are on the fence, I wouldn't put AD in the category of "cringe comedy", like say The Comeback or even Curb Your Enthusiasm. I never remember getting that feeling watching AD. I guess because the characters are so far out there that you don't identify with them enough to cringe.
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Old 05-28-2013, 09:32 PM   #214
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I loved AD with a passion since the pilot episode. The second episode, Top Banana, I think it a flawless episode. I enjoy the absurd characters, the obvious humor, the wordplay, the quick wit and the sight gags. I think it combines the best of physical comedy, obvious comedy, and subtle comedy.

It is clever, fresh and fun. But if it's not for you, it's not for you! Don't feel like you have to force yourself to watch.

I'd be curious to know what comedy shows you do like or love.
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Old 05-28-2013, 09:59 PM   #215
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I do think maybe you're taking it too seriously, though, Loadstar, if you got such a visceral reaction from less than 2 hours that it forced you out of the house!
Well, it didn't actually make me leave the house (mostly because it was pouring) but I did turn off the TV and walk away from it for a while. As you noted, the visceral reaction I had surprised me, the level at which I haaaaated the show, which is why I wanted to find out what others saw in the show that I wasn't getting.

To respond to Zevida, for what I find funny, it varies. For a standard three-cam live audience sitcom, I enjoy Big Bang Theory. For a less standard comedy, I enjoyed Better Off Ted (and on that, I did find some common traits between Portia De Rossi's characters on the two shows that I found somewhat interesting). For British comedy, I enjoy stuff like Red Dwarf and A Bit of Fry and Laurie (but despised a show like The IT Crowd.) For dramas, I think some of the sarcastic bon mots from an acerbic character like the title character on House were hilarious, as is the repartee between the characters on a show like Castle.
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Old 05-28-2013, 10:45 PM   #216
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You know LoadStar, your discussion reminds me of an old show that had some similarities to AD: Police Squad.

It was unique when it aired, and required viewers to watch closely. Rewatching later (it was released on VHS a few years after it aired), there were things not noticed when it originally aired. There were recurring jokes and lines, episode to episode (only 6 episodes were produced). It was also canceled because the wisdom of the time was that it demanded too much attention from viewers, who didn't watch TV that closely.

A funny thing happened years later, of course. The producers made a movie version of the show, which is now universally loved (The Naked Gun). It repeated many of the jokes and gags from the show verbatim, and quite honestly, wasn't near as funny as the show. Yet it remains on top comedy lists to this day, while the TV series remains a cult show.

Thanks for the honesty. I think AD is just one of those shows that people are passionate about to the point where they just can't believe anyone would dislike it.

Greg
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Old 05-28-2013, 11:08 PM   #217
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Police Squad! was just a cop show version of the movie Airplane!
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Old 05-28-2013, 11:25 PM   #218
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Police Squad! was just a cop show version of the movie Airplane!
And Airplane! was just a disaster movie version of A Fistful of Yen.

The similarities still stand.

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Old 05-28-2013, 11:50 PM   #219
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Well, it didn't actually make me leave the house (mostly because it was pouring) but I did turn off the TV and walk away from it for a while. As you noted, the visceral reaction I had surprised me, the level at which I haaaaated the show, which is why I wanted to find out what others saw in the show that I wasn't getting.

To respond to Zevida, for what I find funny, it varies. For a standard three-cam live audience sitcom, I enjoy Big Bang Theory. For a less standard comedy, I enjoyed Better Off Ted (and on that, I did find some common traits between Portia De Rossi's characters on the two shows that I found somewhat interesting). For British comedy, I enjoy stuff like Red Dwarf and A Bit of Fry and Laurie (but despised a show like The IT Crowd.) For dramas, I think some of the sarcastic bon mots from an acerbic character like the title character on House were hilarious, as is the repartee between the characters on a show like Castle.
I'm surprised you'd like the absurd humor of Better Off Ted and not Arrested. But I think the key might be that you want characters to cheer for and like. If you can't enjoy unlikable characters then Arrested is definitely not for you. Even House is ultimately saving lives epwhile being a jerk.

Side track: I've heard others make the same comments about Portia's characters on the two shows. I couldn't find them more different. What did you find similar?

And really, if you didn't laugh when, after being put in charge, Buster objects that he's only had eighteenth century agrarian business classes and then says "are you at all concerned about an uprising?" then definitely pass on the show.
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Old 05-29-2013, 07:26 AM   #220
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As far as this show is concerned, I will say this: I finally became a Netflix customer this Sunday!
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Old 05-29-2013, 07:59 AM   #221
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Well, it didn't actually make me leave the house (mostly because it was pouring) but I did turn off the TV and walk away from it for a while. As you noted, the visceral reaction I had surprised me, the level at which I haaaaated the show, which is why I wanted to find out what others saw in the show that I wasn't getting.

To respond to Zevida, for what I find funny, it varies. For a standard three-cam live audience sitcom, I enjoy Big Bang Theory. For a less standard comedy, I enjoyed Better Off Ted (and on that, I did find some common traits between Portia De Rossi's characters on the two shows that I found somewhat interesting). For British comedy, I enjoy stuff like Red Dwarf and A Bit of Fry and Laurie (but despised a show like The IT Crowd.) For dramas, I think some of the sarcastic bon mots from an acerbic character like the title character on House were hilarious, as is the repartee between the characters on a show like Castle.
I assume you hated both Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
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Old 05-29-2013, 08:11 AM   #222
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I assume you hated both Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
I didn't hate Seinfeld. It wasn't a series I ever watched on a regular basis, but the couple of episodes I've seen here and there weren't bad.

Never saw Curb.
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Old 05-29-2013, 08:14 AM   #223
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Before I start this, I'm honestly not trying to crap on this thread. I really want to know the answer. (Yeah, you can see what's coming.) I'm assuming, based on the date of this thread start, that it is not strictly about the new set of episodes that just premiered, but the whole show, so that's what my comment is on.

I continually hear people rave about "Arrested Development," that it is one of the funniest, best, most awesomest shows ever in the history of television. I've tried to watch it before and it didn't click with me, so this past weekend, with a lack of anything else on, I pulled it up and started watching from the beginning. I thought to myself, "Maybe I didn't give it a fair try. Maybe I missed something the first time around."

No, alas not. I hated the characters. The characters that weren't out and out offensively annoying (the majority) were either stupid (Buster) or pathetic (Michael/George Michael), and I thought the plots were insultingly stupid.

Even in the first few episodes, I already see some of the oft-quoted lines, like "her," "No Touching," "Steve Holt" and such. And by the simple fact that they are repeated so often, I can only surmise that those are supposed to be funny in some way. But for me, there wasn't a single moment in those episodes that made me laugh, guffaw, snicker, grin, or even a mild "Mona Lisa" smile.

I made it to about episode 5 before I had to turn the TV off and go take a walk, lest I do severe bodily harm to myself. To paraphrase a line from the late great Roger Ebert: "I hated this show. Hated hated hated hated hated this show. Hated it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it."

I know humor is not only very personal, but also very difficult to quantify. That said, does someone feel up to trying to explain to me what exactly is so blasted amazing about this show? Again, I'm not trying to threadcrap - I just don't get what is supposed to be funny about this show, and would love to know.
"Arrested Development" is intelligent TV. You don't like because you aren't smart enough to get it.





Seriously, I f'ing hate that response. Just chalk it up to "it ain't for me" and move on. I love it and did from the first episode. But, I can see how others would not. I can't even put my finger on why I like it so much. I'm not going to chalk it all up to "smartly written". It just grabbed me. It didn't grab you. Move on to what you do like and forget about AD.

I've been a sci-fi geek my whole life. Got my first taste of "Dr. Who" a year or two ago and was amazed by how bored I was. Didn't even make it a full episode. I'm sure there are rabid fans who could point out 100 reasons why I should try again but I'm not going to bother.
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Old 05-29-2013, 08:26 AM   #224
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I didn't hate Seinfeld. It wasn't a series I ever watched on a regular basis, but the couple of episodes I've seen here and there weren't bad.

Never saw Curb.
I don't think you'd like Curb. I think you'd hate the characters too much.
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Old 05-29-2013, 09:27 AM   #225
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I didn't care for AD until I started watching from the beginning. Before then I thought it was vastly overrated based on randomly watching random episodes.

As to scottjf8's question... I thought it was a good season overall. The first few were underwhelming but it consistently picked up steam and the last 7-8 were great.
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Old 05-29-2013, 06:32 PM   #226
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Yes, it is absurdist comedy. The family, and the situations they find themselves in, are totally absurd. The show is filled with puns, visual jokes, and self-referential humor. And it has 9 interweaving stories in every episode. It even has slapstick from time to time.

Michael tries to be the everyman character, surrounded by increasingly absurd characters, all of whom believe they are the normal ones. The plots, if you can call them that, are barely there, but the characters are broad and it's their interaction, and the wordplay that goes with it, that makes the show.

Also, the narration. Ron Howard is wonderful as the narrator.

I find it hilarious.
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Old 05-29-2013, 09:39 PM   #227
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I think AD, Curb and Seinfeld are three of the funniest shows ever to be on television. I never get enough of any of them and I watch and rewatch all the time.
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Old 06-02-2013, 09:07 AM   #228
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Are the new AD episodes in HD?

All of the old show was in SD, yes?
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Old 06-02-2013, 10:57 AM   #229
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Are the new AD episodes in HD?

All of the old show was in SD, yes?
All of the old show was HD. The new season is HD as well.

Greg
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Old 06-02-2013, 05:14 PM   #230
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All of the old show was HD. The new season is HD as well.

Greg
How can you tell on Netflix? as far as I can tell, the netflix resolution for anything (movies, shows) is DVD quality at best. As a new customer, I'm extremely disappointed with the video quality.
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Old 06-02-2013, 06:56 PM   #231
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How can you tell on Netflix? as far as I can tell, the netflix resolution for anything (movies, shows) is DVD quality at best. As a new customer, I'm extremely disappointed with the video quality.

What are you watching it on? The quality on my AppleTV is great compared to say, my TiVo.
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Old 06-02-2013, 07:55 PM   #232
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How can you tell on Netflix? as far as I can tell, the netflix resolution for anything (movies, shows) is DVD quality at best. As a new customer, I'm extremely disappointed with the video quality.
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What are you watching it on? The quality on my AppleTV is great compared to say, my TiVo.
I watch on my Panasonic Viera and it looks fabulous. I've done a side by side comparison between my 16:9 DVD's and Netflix, and Netflix looks much better. That said, I haven't compared a Blu-ray to Netflix.

Greg
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Old 06-02-2013, 08:00 PM   #233
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I watch on my Panasonic Viera and it looks fabulous. I've done a side by side comparison between my 16:9 DVD's and Netflix, and Netflix looks much better. That said, I haven't compared a Blu-ray to Netflix.

Greg
I didn't say what display I was using. I'm using my 61 inch DLP.

I have three different devices hooked up to it that can stream Netflix (TiVo, Apple TV, and Roku).
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Old 06-02-2013, 08:09 PM   #234
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Reading this thread, my random comments

AD can be a very acquired taste, I know myself and my friends that love it didn't like it the first time around

LoadStar - Did you watch previous seasons or JUST season 4? 100% a show you at least the first time, need to watch in order.

Just finished the season and thought it was pretty good, not as good as the others. But I bet it will grow on my a lot with each re watching, like the other seasons .
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Old 06-02-2013, 08:13 PM   #235
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I didn't say what display I was using. I'm using my 61 inch DLP.

I have three different devices hooked up to it that can stream Netflix (TiVo, Apple TV, and Roku).
What I meant is that I'm watching it directly on the device, vs. another one hooked through HDMI. I'm quite happy with the quality, to the point of not comparing with my other devices (WDTV Live & Samsung BD).

Greg
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Old 06-02-2013, 08:26 PM   #236
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Originally Posted by MikeMar View Post
Reading this thread, my random comments

AD can be a very acquired taste, I know myself and my friends that love it didn't like it the first time around

I watched the pilot several times before I made it to episode 2. I just didn't see the appeal after one episode. It was mostly because of the parise it received here that I kept going back and watching again.
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Old 06-02-2013, 08:34 PM   #237
ct1
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It's kind of like the Simpsons.

Yes, the primary story is stupid and the characters are stupid.

We watch at a meta-level above that though. The inside jokes, the weird convoluted connections, etc. make it appealing beyond that primary level.

Having made it through a bunch of episodes on season 4, I can see I'm going to have to go back and rewatch these to catch everything and admire the sheer ingenuity of such a complex story.
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Old 06-02-2013, 08:48 PM   #238
LoadStar
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LoadStar - Did you watch previous seasons or JUST season 4? 100% a show you at least the first time, need to watch in order.
I started from the beginning, season 1 episode 1. I made it through to season 1, episode 5 before I bailed.

I haven't seen any other episodes.
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:35 AM   #239
waynomo
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Originally Posted by gchance View Post
All of the old show was HD. The new season is HD as well.

Greg
Hmmm, I was just assuming the old was in SD, because that is what IFC is currently broadcasting on their HD channel. I certainly don't remember from the first time I watched it.
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Old 06-03-2013, 09:10 AM   #240
LoadStar
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All of the old show was HD. The new season is HD as well.

Greg
As originally broadcast, no, it wasn't in HD. FOX didn't begin broadcasting in HD until 2004, AD's second season, and even then it was only limited programming such as the NFL game of the week. AD didn't become available in HD until after the show was off the air.
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