‘Arrested Development’ Season Four Recap-A-Thon, Episode 8: “Red Hairing”

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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 8: “Red Hairing,” which explains how Lindsay ended up with that red hair, and other matters.

We’ve got two key events that have served as common intersection points for most of the Bluths thus far in season four: Lucille’s trial and the “Cinco de Cuatro” celebration. Lindsay’s second episode, “Red Hairing,” begins with the former and concludes with the later, as she discovers her mother was, in fact, sent to prison, abandoned by her family, a failure for which Lindsay will “never be able to forgive herself”—as the narrator is almost entirely able to say before she starts wondering about the penthouse.

The episode’s primary focus is Lindsay’s relationship with Herbert Love, whose philandering and sexual harassment accusations are deployed here to make the Herman Cain connection just a little bit clearer. When they meet at his fundraiser (a scene glimpsed in George Sr’s episode “Double Crossers”) she’s helping Marky with a plan to sabotage the event—which gives Maeby a foreign feeling of respect. But her mother lets her down soon enough; Lindsay and Herbert have sex, he gives her some jewelry (trying and failing to do the Pretty Woman thing), and is soon hired on to her campaign as a “key advisor”: “She’s gonna need a key to my room, and I’d advise you to use it.”

There’s some pretty good laughs in this one, even if mining Cain for comedy material feels more than a touch dated. But one thing that’s particularly good about the structure of these episodes is that it gives us the opportunity to spend more time with these actors than before; Portia de Rossi was always funny as Lindsay, but never really dominated a storyline the way she has in these episodes. She’s up to the task—I particularly liked her pained attempts to throw money away (“she didn’t have the muscle memory for it”).

Concerned but not urgent side note: anybody concerned about the nasty edge that some of the comic racism has this time around? It seemed softer in previous years, and while it’s not hard to guess what the end game is (how far can we push these characters?) it’s a little risky, comically speaking. Maybe it’s the joke-free Annyong return that left this viewer with such a sour taste.

WELCOME RETURNS:

  • Banners (back in seventh grade, Sally Sitwell ran a “more fact-based campaign” than Lindsay)
  • A Gene Parmesan reference—too much to hope for an appearance?
  • Linday’s alias, “Cindy Featherbottom”—apparently related to their one-time British maid
  • “Oh, God. He blue himself.”
  • “No touching!”
  • “It’s like we finish each other’s—“ “Sandwiches?! What’s the point in raising funds if I’m eating sandwiches?”
  • Annyong, though kind of wasted in a weird throwaway

BEST LINES:

  • “I’m surrounded by squalor and death, and I still can’t be happy.”
  • “We’re not moving in, we’re occupying a space with central air.”
  • “Looks like we’ve got another high-end hooker in here.” “Thank you, mother!”
  • “I’ll be out on parole by the time you work up a tear.”
  • “I thought you were supposed to be sticking it to the man, not the other way around.” “Maeby! Do you think he likes me that way?”
  • “Jail is a lot like Swappington’s, except there’s only one thing to swap!”
  • “Now that is one redhead I do not wanna have sexual relations with.”
  • “Let me rephrase that more kindly: I hear you’re hooking now!”