Column: Arrested development

By Eric Naing

I honestly can’t say that I consider anything I’ve ever written to be terribly important, but there’s a first time for everything. Right now, one of the greatest injustices mankind has ever known is being committed. No, this has nothing to do with African genocides or North Korean nukes. What I’m talking about is the possible cancellation of the absolute greatest television show ever: Arrested Development.

After a week of papers, tests, illness, etc., the only thing I can truly count on to make things all better is an episode of Arrested Development, Sundays at 7:30 p.m. on FOX. According to the official Web site, the show “revolves around Michael Bluth, the ‘normal’ one in a family of crazies, who is forced to stay in Orange County and run the family real estate business after his father is sent to prison for shifty accounting practices.”

I know this doesn’t exactly sound thrilling, but trust me, this is comedy gold. The cast includes the hilarious Jeffery Tambor, Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi and many more. This is one of the greatest ensemble casts in television history, even rivaling those in shows such as Cheers and Seinfeld. And for all you Mr. Show fans, be sure not to miss David Cross as Tobias F nke, a former doctor turned aspiring actor with an ambiguous sexuality.

Common situations in the show include Tobias leading a troupe of male strippers in a gang war, a one-armed man teaching you not to do certain things and out-of-context karaoke renditions of the song “Afternoon Delight.”

The show won five Emmy Awards for outstanding comedy series, writing, directing, casting and editing and was selected as the American Film Institute’s 2003 Program of the Year. Critics from Entertainment Weekly and the New York Times both called it one of the best shows of the year.

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    Unfortunately, whether it is due to FOX’s inadequate marketing or the inability of the American people to know something brilliant when it’s right in front of them, the show has garnered relatively low ratings. Recently FOX has decided to cut back on the number of episodes being produced this season and replace it with the fatally unfunny American Dad. While FOX denies that it is canceling Arrested Development, cutting episode production (especially before May sweeps) and shifting a show’s timeslot is never a good sign.

    Of course, I’ve grown to expect this idiocy from the network that unleashed the horrors of The Simple Life on us. FOX almost doesn’t deserve Arrested Development. Even its mainstays such as The Simpsons have been getting rusty lately. And don’t get me started on the show replacing Arrested. American Dad, another animated show from the creator of the criminally overrated Family Guy, manages to take all the conventions of Family Guy (terrible art direction, generic characters, obvious pop culture references, etc.) and make them even less funny than before.

    Having brilliant shows get cancelled is an unfortunately occurrence in television history and FOX is by far the biggest culprit (cough, Futurama, cough). Seinfeld had a weak first couple seasons (arguably much weaker then even Arrested’s first two seasons) but since NBC gave it a chance, it eventually developed into one of the greatest comedies ever. I’m sure if FOX were given Seinfeld, it would have shelved it in a heartbeat in favor of When Rabid Squirrels Attack or yet another animated show featuring a stupid dad.

    My position as a columnist is a privilege and I feel I must use it for good. So I implore you, please watch Arrested Development Sundays at 7:30 p.m. on FOX or buy the first season on DVD. It will be the best decision you ever make. And I swear to god FOX Network, if you take this show away from me I’ll hunt each and every one of your executives down and force them to watch American Idol until their brains melt (which should only take about seventeen minutes).