Now the story of a great television show that got cancelled and the diehard viewers who had no choice but to keep yelling and screaming until Netflix brought it back for another season, seven years later. It’s the Arrested Development Season Four Recap-A-Thon, Episode 2: “Borderline Personalities,” which brings us up to date on George Sr., aka “Father B.”
George Sr.’s California desert property mentioned in the previous episode is, in fact, a “desert sweat lodge,” where he’s running a “sweat and squeeze” operation—sweat out wealthy CEOs, and then sell them lemonade refreshment for thousands of dollars. As usual, twin brother Oscar is key to the con: he does the sweating, George does the squeezing. But that’s the short game; George is sitting on the land because the government needs it for a border wall (and not, as he first thinks, a George W. Bush memorial), though that plan, unsurprisingly, is proving easier to devise than execute.
“Borderline Personalities” is filled with clever side gags, like Halliburton Teen, the badly Pixelated Google logo, and the appearance of Young Barry, his dubious legal logic already intact (he’s played by one “Max Winkler,” and it’s safe to assume the last name is not coincidental). This one is co-directed—as was the first, as are apparently all this season—by creator Mitch Hurwitz and Troy Miller (a vet of Mr. Show and several other fine series). The timing, it must be noted, is just a little off—much of that seemingly due to the awfully cheap-looking green-screening of the two Jeffrey Tambors (and, at one point, of Winkler).
But this much must be noted, and commended: the episode is written by Jim Vallely and Richard Rosenstock, both vets of the original show as producers and writers (their credits include such classic episodes as “Mr. F,” “Meat the Veals,” “Marta Complex,” and “Not Without My Daughter), yet thus far, the show is markedly light on running gags from the original series. There have been a couple, here and there, but they seem more interested in creating new ones for this run (like the in-flight magazine photos, or the thought-captioning that begins with Mary Lynn Rajskub but is moving to others as well) than coasting on old favorites. That kind of thing is harder to do, and takes longer to establish (and thus longer to pay off with big, familiar laughs). But it’s a hell of a lot more admirable.
- Dan Harmon! He knows a thing or two about making a TV show that’s too clever for its time.
- A grizzled and very funny John Slattery (“a disgraced anesthesiologist”)
- Stan Sitwell
- Oscar (“not a member of the Balboa Club”)
- George Sr.’s Caged Wisdom series (“This time he had to be actually ordained… but fortunately there was a Phoenix for him too”)
- The red hair and freckles on Lucille Austero’s foster kid
- A wink (but to Lucille, not from her)
- “The family met up at the beginning of a fourth season… that would never come.”
- “Maritime law—which I just found out is a real thing!”
- “You said that, I remember, right after Lupe got the bleach stain on your teal blazer.”
- New maritime court cameras: “They make us use the waterproof ones.”
- “Squeeze had two meanings.”
- “It’s almost like adultery!”
- “I don’t know what you saw, but I got an ostrich and no boner.”
- “I used a lookalike named Stewart to take the California Bar for me. But you knew that, right?”