Tuesday, November 15, 2005


It was announced last week that the Fox television "network" was reducing the order on episodes of Arrested Development from 18 to only 13. It doesn't take a genius or television insider to see the writing on the wall here. The show is clearly going to be cancelled.

This is a ridiculous move on the part of Fox, who have only themselves to blame for a) failing to market the show adequately, b) continually moving its time slot, making it hard for people to follow it, c) going weeks on end without showing any episodes, thereby slowing down its momentum, and d) setting it up for failure by putting it up against ratings juggernauts (Desperate Housewives) or established shows with loyal followings (King of Queens).

Let me say this: I am not passionate about a lot of television shows (though I do think we are going through a tv-comedy renaissance of sorts, with excellent shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Daily Show, Scrubs, King of Queens, and recent shows with a lot of potential like My Name is Earl and The Office). But I am severely passionate about Arrested because it is one of the few truly intelligent shows on TV.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that it may be as brilliant as The Simpsons, and anyone who knows my affinity for that show knows that's a claim I wouldn't make lightly. The difference is that while The Simpsons makes brilliant use of satire of all of American culture, Arrested is equally satirical, but mostly contained within its own story lines. Both shows reward you for paying attention, but in my opinion, the payoff is better over the course of several episodes with Arrested. It's one of those shows of which you could easily watch 5 or 6 episodes in a row without wanting to watch something else.

Maybe the show doesn't get a lot of ratings, but it's not that far behind other shows overall. Besides, here is a brief list of shows that Fox will keep on the air, all of which I am willing to bet are inferior to Arrested:

  • That '70s Show
  • Stacked
  • Trading Spouses
  • Reunion
  • Cops (ok, well Cops actually is pretty awesome)
  • The War at Home
  • American Dad (I would actually put Family Guy on this list, though I know I'd get a beating for it, but yes, Family Guy is severely overrated, IMHO)

I'm sure there are others I'm not even thinking of. The best I can hope for is that Mitchell Hurwitz (Arrested's creator) shops it around to other networks that know how to market a daring comedy. (NBC perhaps? They've had luck in the past.)

If you've ever seen the show and love it, or even if you just find it midly amusing, click here to petition this travesty. Don't let Arrested become one of those "brilliant-but-cancelled" shows. American culture is very much a breeding ground for mediocrity when it comes to the arts. Look at the top movies and best-selling music in our country right now. We need to foster the few good, creative enterprises that actually mean something. I think a decade from now, people will rediscover the Arrested Development DVDs and will realize how ingenious it is. It's already a cult favorite, let's just hope it's not one of those cults where everybody has to die.


d. dunford said...

Word on the street is, because of the level of talent that AD has and maintains, it's far more expensive to shoot than your average Fox sitcom.

In any case, this sucks donkey balls. I just hope that this show goes out in an outrageous, outstanding fashion.

Maybe the thirteenth episode could have Ted McGinley sub for Ron Howard, or somethin'.

the sightspeed guy said...

I agree. I've never been devoted to any show, being that basic TV generally sucks, but oh my, Arrested Development, how you stole my heart. I've got hopes tho. The best Save AD website (found here: http://www.myspace.com/arresteddevelopment) suggests postcards. I'm trying to rally a local movie theater to show AD in January to drum up public support, plus my own online call-to-arms: http://sightspeed.blogspot.com/2005/11/save-arrested-development.html. Here's for hopin.

JT said...

i love the list of recent posts...after "kay bailey's short term memory" you have "Football Rant-part one of two" and then never have part two. Billy ball's short term memory is up for a post, no?