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 13: “It Gets Better,” which tracks through the collegiate years of young George Michael Bluth.
As the episode begins, we find George Michael surrounded by sycophants; his software has apparently made him a very rich young man, and (for perhaps the first time) a happy one. His previous college years have been a bit of a nightmare, from his unfortunate arrival on the stair car (which makes an immediate scene) forward. He barely makes friends. He subjects himself to an unfortunate medical study for extra money (that’s how we know exactly why he’s such a bad kisser). But before his senior year, he goes to Spain, grows a mustache, and is “opened up sexually” by an attractive senorita. (Shades of Michael Cera’s own recent forays into Latin cinema.) He returns to California, newly sexually confident, puts up an Almodovar poster in his dorm room, and prepares to unveil “George Michael 2.0.” And that’s when Maeby returns to the scene.
Each episode of season four is just a little more confident and a little more like old times. This one is particularly noteworthy for tinkering with convention: there is, first of all, the narrator’s very long voice over as George Michael decides whether to lie about FakeBlock. It’s, as far as I recall, the longest in the show’s history—41 seconds, according to George Michael’s “unfailing internal clock.” Also fun is the back-and-forth of Michael and George Michael’s lying voicemail messages, which up the ante on the usual “minutes later”-type on-screen text into a flurry of “Moments later,” “Moments earlier,” and “Moments earlier and later.”
And, true to form, even more is revealed about that family meeting all those years ago. George Michael was there too. It was, in fact, his graduation party. They sang “Happy Birthday” to him.
IMPORTANT PARMESAN/MUSTARD UPDATE:
- Commentor Michael Henley makes the following brilliant suggestion about the Parmesan cheese and mustard snack touched upon last time: “Is the parmesan/mustard thing perhaps an oblique Martin Mull reference? Since he’s played characters named both? Maybe that’s a stretch…” On any other show, it would be a stretch. On this one, I’m totally buying it.
- Nadine Velazquez (from My Name is Earl and Flight) as George Michael’s Spainsh lover, Rosalita
- Maria Thayer (from Forgetting Sarah Marshall) as Tracie B (as in Bluth, as in George Michael’s mother and Michael’s late wife) in the vintage commercial
- Tom Saunders! Called it.
- George Michael’s internal clock (explained, this time around)
- The Cornballer
- George Michael gets so close to a chicken dance. Agonizingly close.
- “That makes you a hop-on!” (You’re gonna get them.)
- George Michael’s Star Wars YouTube video
- “Boom! And that’s what we call only being down by three.”
- P-Hound: “Was she your first?” George Michael: “Cousin? No? Why would you think that?”
- “Well, I wouldn’t put all my Annes in that basket.”
- George Michael, of his father: “Did he look betrayed to you?” Maeby: “He kind of always looks that way.”
- “Y’know, it was like when you told that girl you were George Takei.”
- Narration following Maeby’s “into bed” remark: “It was that. That’s what made him change his mind.”
- “I’m Andy Richter! I probably make like… eight thousand dollars a day or somethin’!”