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Arrested Development: The Complete Series (Seasons 1-3 Bundle)
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In this five-time Emmy®-winning comedy's hilarious second season, Michael Bluth, once again determined to be free of his dysfunctional family, packs up the car and his son George-Michael and heads for Arizona. But he's soon pulled over by the police who tell him that his father, George Sr., has broken out of prison. Due to the company's shady business deal with Iraq, Michael could face prison time, so he returns home to clear his name even as George Sr. secretly flees to Mexico, Tobias decides to be an understudy for the Blue Man Group, and Lucille begins a torrid affair with her husband's twin brother, Oscar.
In this Emmy®-winning comedy's hilarious third season, Michael Bluth finally realizes that it's his Uncle Oscar serving time in prison, not his father. Reluctant to spring Oscar due to the effect it may have on the family business, Michael decides that the only fair thing to do is to find his father and place him under house arrest. Yet once found, George Sr. insists he was tricked into working with the Iraqis, leaving Michael no choice but to investigate his father's outrageous claim. But it isn't until Michael and Buster go to Iraq on a rescue mission to save Gob that the depth of the devious plot is revealed...and Michael learns which family member is the real brains behind all the madness.
Season One: Winner of the Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy its first year out, Arrested Development is the kind of sitcom that gives you hope for television. A mockumentary-style exploration of the beleaguered Bluth family, it's one of those idiosyncratic shows that doesn't rely on a laugh track or a studio audience; it's shot more like a TV drama, albeit with an omniscient narrator (executive producer Ron Howard) overseeing the proceedings. Holding the Bluths together just barely is son Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman), the only normal guy in a family that's chock full of nuts. Hardworking and sensible, Michael's certain he's going to be given control of his family's Enron-style corporation upon the retirement of his father (Jeffrey Tambor). The fact that he's passed over instead for his mother (Jessica Walter) is only a blip when compared to his father's immediate arrest for dubious accounting practices, and the resulting freeze on the family's previously limitless wealth.
Bereft of money, and even less family love, the Bluths have to band together in their moment of need--not easy when everyone's looking out for number 1. In addition to his scabrous parents, Michael has to contend with his lothario older brother (Will Arnett), his basically useless younger brother (Tony Hale), his greedy twin sister (Portia DeRossi), and her sexually ambiguous husband (David Cross). Michael's only comrade in sanity is his son George Michael (Michael Cera), but then again, the teenage boy harbors a secret crush on his cousin (Alia Shawkat). A peerless ensemble led by the brilliant Bateman (who ever knew he could be this good?), all the actors are pitch-perfect in their roles, delivering the dryly funny, sometimes absurdist dialogue with the speed and flair of classic farce. The unusual tone of Arrested Development takes a bit of getting used to--it's far different from anything you'll see on TV, even HBO--but once you buy in to the Bluths' innumerable dysfunctions, you'll be laughing your head off for hours.--Mark Englehart
Season Two: The axe of cancellation dangled perilously over Arrested Development during its second season, but the award-winning comedy fought against fate to deliver a hilarious if scattershot 18 episodes (reduced from the original show order of 22), and stayed alive for the beginning of a third season. Most likely, the creators and actors knew the clock was ticking down, so they didn't hesitate to throw their all into these manic, hilarious episodes, which have only the thinnest of plot arcs but an electrifying energy that makes them hard to resist. Some of the story antics were more of the same: good son Michael (Jason Bateman) tries to keep his company afloat, but is often foiled by older brother Gob (Will Arnett); the precarious marriage of Lindsay (Portia de Rossi) and Tobias (David Cross) undergoes a trial separation; and young George-Michael (Michael Cera) fights his attraction to his cousin Maeby (Alia Shawkat). Other show developments, though, were new and stunningly, uproariously bizarre: Buster (Tony Hale) joins the army, but later finds his hand bitten off by a seal (yes, a real seal), and Oscar (Jeffrey Tambor), the hippie brother of jailed George Sr. (also Tambor), rekindles an affair with sister-in-law Lucille (Jessica Walter), which may have resulted in Buster's conception years ago.
Jokes flew fast and furious, as did guest stars--Ben Stiller, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Christine Taylor, Thomas Jane, Ed Begley Jr., Ione Skye, and Zach Braff among them--making it hard to keep straight who was doing what and why. No matter, as each of the episodes was in and of itself was a perfect gem of comedy, strung together by sharp writing and fantastic performances. In addition to the regular cast, both Liza Minnelli, reprising her role as "Lucille Two," and Martin Short, as an, um, eccentric family friend, deserve special mention, with the episode both appeared in, "Ready, Aim, Marry Me," a frenetic exercise in slapstick farce. Typical examples of the show's offbeat humor were found in "Afternoon Delight," in which various members of the Bluth family discover the true meaning of the '70s ballad, "Meet the Veals," wherein the Bluths encounter the conservative parents of George Michael's girlfriend, and "Motherboy XXX," surrounding an unsettling mother-son traditional dance. The entire cast cohered perfectly through this season, and their give and take provided a perfect balance among the actors, all of whom were even better than the previous year. However, it's Bateman who should be singled out as the show's anchor, mixing dry sarcasm with impeccable comic timing. Despite plummeting ratings, Arrested Development didn't just keep its head above water, it swam with grace and hilarity. --Mark Englehart
Season Three: Arrested Development--one of the greatest comedies in the history of television--went out in a blaze of glory. The truncated final season packed more biting humor per minute than ever before. In only 13 episodes, dozens of intertwining storylines spun in all directions: In addition to the overarching story about the fractious infighting of the Bluth family and the family's housing development company being investigated for treason in Iraq (a plot arc that comes to a dazzlingly surreal conclusion), the put-upon "good son" Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman, Teen Wolf Too) pursues romance with a lovely British woman (Charlize Theron, Monster) who turns out to be woefully inappropriate; swaggering magician Gob (Will Arnett, Monster-In-Law) flees from his newly-discovered teenage son while still pandering for the affection of his self-absorbed father (Jeffrey Tambor, The Larry Sanders Show); flighty Lindsay (Portia de Rossi, Ally McBeal) and her sexually blurry husband Tobias (David Cross, Mr. Show) both get the hots for the family's new lawyer, Bob Loblaw (Scott Baio, Charles in Charge); and much, much more. It's difficult to describe what makes Arrested Development so brilliant. The ensemble is uniformly superb (Jessica Walter, as the family's boozing, scheming matriarch, is particularly devastating this season) and the surprising guest stars (including Andy Richter, James Lipton, Justine Bateman, and many others) are perfectly cast; the characters' abominable behavior defies conventional television notions of "likability", yet they only grow more endearing the more you watch; the humor embraces wild slapstick and sharp satire, often within a single scene; and the nimble documentary style allows for sly glancing references to jokes and scenes from long-past episodes, rewarding devoted fans. But the key is that, no matter how screwball Arrested Development becomes, the show offers a rich, textured, and wonderfully coherent world in which these characters feel genuine, a world completely unlike the flat, plastic simulacrum offered by the average sitcom. Arrested Development was true to itself to the end. Its followers will cherish it forever. --Bret Fetzer
Top Customer Reviews
Here are three seasons of laughs. The series begins with the arrest of the Bluth patriarch and continues as the clan's only responsible member, Michael (portrayed by Jason Bateman), tries to keep the family's business afloat while his mother, siblings, and other family members selfishly grab for every freebie and dollar. His mother, Lucille, is a cold, controlling alcoholic whose loyalty to her family keeps her one step from pure villainy. His siblings include an older brother, Gob, a magician (of little skill), a younger brother, Buster, a mama's boy who eventually loses a body part to a nasty seal, and a sister whose marriage is ... complicated. Throw in a long-suffering son infatuated with his cousin and an uncle who is the twin of his father, and you can see how complicated Michael's life becomes.
Not your average family, not your average TV comedy (this is NOT a sitcom performed live in front of a studio audience but is filmed more like a documentary with the camera floating around like an unseen voyeur -- think the old comedy series SOAP updated a la THE OFFICE). The jokes come fast and furious. It's all absurd and incredibly entertaining.Read more ›
As for the DVD set, in my mind, the only reason to own a TV series on DVD is if I feel I'll watch the shows again and again. And with these, there is no question in my mind. There's more to them than you can usually get in one viewing, and they just get better each time. The only concern for me is whether I should buy an extra set in case my primary set gets damaged. It's THAT good.
What else is there to say?
With some of the best writing in television since the early days of Seinfeld, Mitchell Hurwitz is an absolute genius making Arrested Development one of the best shows to hit television airwaves. Narrator Ron Howard fittingly tells the story of each episode with humor and a colliding sense of foreshadowing that has expectations running high for hilarious disasters to ensue.
Jason Bateman plays Michael Bluth, a family man and widower of his late wife, who comes into the business after his father, George Sr.(Jeffrey Tambor) is incarcerated for an Enron-esque scandal. The surrounding family, whose cast includes the equally exhilerating David Cross alongside newer faces Will Arnett and Michael Cera, adds ridiculous subplots that blend a healthy mixture of realism and surrealism.
Each episode somehow tops the predessesor and it's impossible to try to understand how a show of this magnitude and comedic epic was able to be taken away. Perhaps buying this DVD will help bring it back and as sorry as I am to say that the DVD enticed me into the television show, hopefully the same can be said of you reading this now.
More buyers means more viewers...
Come one, come all!
This is without doubt one of the most original, entertaining and genuinely funny TV shows you will ever see. It's utterly addictive, to boot.
Given that Friends aired for ten years, it's a mystery why Arrested was given only two and a half. A crime.
You will not be disappointed!
Buy and enjoy!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This show will always be #1 in my heart. Great cast, great comedy and all around deserving of critical acclaim.Published 4 months ago by Noura F.
This is one of the best television shows in recent history and it will always be a great shame that it didn't gain an adequate following while it was still airing in order to keep... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Megan
This has gotta be in my top 20 if not top 10 smartest comedy series. Each actor and actress is superb and perfect in their role. Makes me angry that I'm not that witty. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Katie L.
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