Matt here! The genius of Arrested Development is dependent on itself. Many viewers have commented on how the show becomes more and more impressive as it progresses – they’re right. Like many of the great television shows of the last decade (Mad Men and Breaking Bad, to name only two), Arrested Development uses memory to invoke thematic/narrative cohesion. Blue handprints on the wall aren’t funny by themselves. But through slow-cooked patience, little notes on the refridgerator and blue handprints on the wall become radically inventive comic nuggets. Instead of using self-reference to prove its own intelligence, the show twists audience awareness into a series of increasingly complex gags. I’m willing to submit that it’s the best example of 21st Century television comedy along with Louie.
Arrested Development uses the intelligence and memory of its audience as an advantage. Aside from the prescient political commentary, the show builds jokes through both intra- and intertextuality. But they’re not just jokes. They point towards the show’s favorite theme – incest. The Bluth family’s constant swapping of precious bodily fluids is emphasized by the jokes that tend to procreate with themselves. MORE