This bit of genius is courtesy of Galley Friend A.K. and not to belabor the obvious, but to really get it you have to click on the gags.
That said, I don’t know about you, but I’m really, really nervous about the new Netflixed Arrested Development.
When Santino hasn’t been getting fan-mail from Chrissy Teigen, making astute points about the state of the post-Seinfeld TV landscape, causing trouble by positing that Hillary! and Obama are in a Prisoners’ Dilemma, or catching the New York Times referring to murdered newborns as “fetuses”–can you tell that he’s been on an unbelievable hot-streak?–he’s been trying to calm the troubled hearts of AD fanboys who were alarmed by how un-funny the Arrested Development trailer was.
Santino’s point is that AD is such a coherent whole that very little of the show is funny by itself–you need the entire tapestry for any one thread to stand out. As such, no preview trailer is really going to sizzle.
He’s right about that. Even the show’s absolute funniest moments–”I have Pop-Pop in the attic.” “Get rid of the Seaward.” “I’m all grown up now.”–aren’t all that great until you know what’s both before and after them, thanks to Mitch Hurwitz’s brilliant use of call-forwards.
That said, what worries me isn’t that the trailer and preview clip aren’t funny. It’s that the feel of them is different.
What do I mean by feel? The pacing of the dialogue is different; the sensibility of the set; whatever audio filter they’re using on Ron Howard’s voiceover; even the bumper music has been altered. It’s all just slightly off.
Networks impose a tonal sensibility on the production of their shows. If you have never seen them before, or heard anything about them, I could show you episodes of 30 Rock, Big Bang Theory, Fringe, and Desperate Housewives and you would know instantly that these were shows aired by NBC, CBS, Fox, and ABC. (Of the networks, I’d argue that ABC has the least obvious house branding.) The production tone of these shows constitutes something like a watermark designating their network of origin.
What worries me about the Netflixed AD is that it looks like that watermark has been changed. All change is bad, obviously. But any change to a show that courted perfection worries me because it suggests that if the overall aesthetic was deemed malleable–why futz with the great bumper music except to scream, “Netflix OWNS this now and Netflix is DIFFERENT”?–then other parts of the production might have been, too.
Honestly, I hope this is all just nerd Kremlinology and that next October, when I’ve finally finished the new season, I’ll be as overjoyed as I was at the end of the first three. But if nothing else, I’d suggest people tamp down their expectations the slightest bit.