How did a show so knowing it once had Henry “Fonzie” Winkler jump a shark, jump the shark itself? From Mr F to “Her?”, from “Marry me!” to Motherboy, Arrested Development’s smart callbacks and Easter eggs have maintained its cult following well into the fickle streaming age. As well as being highly meta, the series – which originally aired on Fox from 2003 to 2006 – borrowed from the single-camera world of reality TV to create a fresh and frantic portrait of a decadent, dysfunctional family. Without AD we most likely wouldn’t have 30 Rock or Community, or Michael Cera and Alia Shawkat (who has wowed of late in Search Party). Fast-forward to 2018, however, and the idea of the Bluths returning may well send fans fleeing their screens quicker than Buster evading a loose seal. But how did a series so knowing that it once had Henry “Fonzie” Winkler jump a shark, jump the shark itself? Back in 2013, Netflix launched a new series of AD, which had acquired legendary status since its cancellation. The third series had ended abruptly, leaving a definite sense of unfinished business. Indeed, its finale contained plenty of plot points that could have been shark-jump material, had they been deployed earlier on – such as Lindsay finding out she wasn’t a Bluth and Lucille’s adopted son Annyong revealing himself as the source of the family’s ruin. But here, right at the “end” of Arrested Development, they felt just on the right side of surreal.
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