I’ve been a big fan of Arrested Development since partway through the second season. I started watching a few episodes and realized that it was probably the funniest thing I’d ever seen on television. Brinestone and I snagged the first season on DVD from the library (hooray for the Salt Lake County Library System) and watched them all in a weekend. We’ve been hooked ever since.
Unfortunately, however, it seems that not many other people are hooked. Ratings have been disappointingly low, even though DVD sales have been good—even though it’s won all kinds of awards and has been lavished with critical praise. What gives? The problem, I think, is that Fox has no idea what to do with a show that smart. They’ve held on to The Simpsons even though the quality has tanked, and then they’ve gone and killed off great shows like Futurama and Firefly.
Fox’s solution to the poor ratings was of course to cut back the number of episodes for the second season. When that didn’t work, they moved it to a different timeslot and then almost halved the number of episodes for the third season. Inexplicably, the show still failed to take off. So what did they do next? They embarked on a brilliant endeavor of not showing it. That’s right: for weeks it was preempted by reruns of Prison Break or House.
Meanwhile, of course, they’re promoting the heck out of Skating with Celebrities, which sounds like the worst reality TV show concept since . . . well, ever. Their next bold move to try to save Arrested Development is to pit the last four episodes of the show, all back-to-back, against the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. It’s almost mind-numbing in its brilliance. Fox marketing executives will surely be patting themselves on the back for this one.
Rest in peace, my dearly beloved show. You were too good for this world.