Arrested Development Review: "Colony Collapse" (Episode 4.7)
Now the story of a TV critic who always loved GOB the best and then she had no choice but to cover his episode of the fourth season.
It’s Amy’s Arrested Development review.
When Paste assigned writers to review the new fourth season of Arrested Development, I was randomly assigned episode seven, which turned out to be the GOB (Will Arnett) episode. I can only take this as a cosmic sign that, as I’ve long suspected, I share a special connection with the eldest Bluth brother.
As delighted as I am that the fates conspired to have me discuss my beloved GOB, as I watched the first six episodes, I became increasingly anxious for the GOB-centric episode. Really we are going have a whole 28 minutes focused on Tobias before GOB?
But thankfully “Colony Collapse” was worth the wait. Picking up with GOB pursuing George Michael’s (Michael Cera) girlfriend Ann (Mae Whitman), the always desperate-to-be-loved GOB inadvertently gets engaged to Ann (a “marry me!” gone horribly wrong). Ann was always one of my favorite recurring characters. She remains so boring and non-descript that everyone forgets she’s there and no one can remember her name—not even her fiancée GOB. (This time she’s “and,” “blank” and “mouth”).
“Colony Collapse” features an extended Entourage spoof complete with a teen sensation Mark Cherry (who is baby-faced just like the television producer Marc Cherry). Mark Cherry and his boys all frequent the club “And” owned by Jeremy Piven (whose façade is in the opening credits to Entourage). I’m kind of for any dig at Piven, so good times.
There were great callbacks to the show’s original run, including the “Final Countdown,” the return of GOB’s son Steve Holt (a nearly unrecognizable Justin Grant Wade), GOB attempting to resurrect the Christian magic act, GOB telling Ann they will have their nest-egg/nest-Ann, and Ben Stiller’s Tony Wonder in a nearly silent cameo (“I’m here, I’m queer and now I’m over here”). But come on, couldn’t we have at least one true and classic “Come on” (his whimpering ones to Ann don’t count) or one twirl around the block in a Segway ?
“I have no one in my life who cares for me," GOB laments towards the end of the episode. He’s always searched unsuccessfully for acceptance from his own family. Eventually his Entourage family casts him aside (to the tune of Mark Cherry’s hit single “Getaway”) and GOB doesn’t want anything to do with Ann’s family—the one family that is so willingly to accept him. When Steve Holt calls him, he doesn’t see a son reaching out, but a boss who is “on my ass.”
Part of the fun watching these new episodes is trying to piece together the time line. We still haven’t gotten to the point where Michael returns to the model home to find GOB there with a woman. Is it Ann? Michael’s love interest Rebel (Isla Fisher)? In “Colony Collapse,” more and more pieces start to fall into place and make sense while giving us new things to wonder about (why was Maeby being chased down the hall holding an Opie?).
GOB weaved his way into several season four plots—including picking up Tobias’ meth addict girlfriend, Debrie, in a limo and nearly hitting Michael (Jason Bateman) after he’s met Rebel (Isla Fisher). Michael is humming “I met a girl” to the tune of “Getaway” (a callback within a callback).
This episode was more traditionally just out-and-out funny that the previous six. GOB pronouncing Job from the bible as “job,” as in the place that pays you to work. Michael wondering if GOB’s greatest illusion will be convincing others that he actually loves the bride. GOB trying to convince George Michael that things are okay between them by constantly repeating “Are we good?” with varying degrees of intonation. This was the first episode of the new batch where even if you didn’t know the show or the family, a viewer could drop in and still find quite a few things hilarious.
And it also had quite a bit of heart. “Your whole life is an escape act,” Michael tells him. I always loved the gravel-voiced GOB because he’s hilarious but also because Arnett somehow made him sympathetic amid all the buffoonery. And no one, NO ONE, does a dead pan delivery like Arnett. “And you’ve got some mice to scoop out of the sea,” he tells Ann in the uproarious cold open. Arnett’s pitch perfect mix of humor and pathos also made the episode’s frequent use of “Sound of Silence” an excellent choice. And that is why every Arrested Development episode needs more GOB.
• Coming in at 35 minutes, episode 7 is the longest one so far.
• My guess is that we’ll be hearing “He’s not coming back” again and again.
• This message from GOB’s one-night stand on the bathroom mirror “Hey Joe with a bee. Fun night. P. S. I have sifulus.” Debrie, is that you?
• I am concerned that we are at the half-way point and we haven’t had nearly enough George Michael and Maeby. Are these two dating? I can’t through the remaining episodes fast enough.
• It’s impressive how many original cast members returned—Alan Tudyk and Ione Skye as Ann’s parents remains casting perfection.
• Lots of fun sight gags in this episode. My favorite is the Holy Eternal Rapture church with a shepherd stick looking like HER?
• As subversive as Arrested Development has always been, the anti-abortion TV show “Embryo Dan—It Would Have Been a Wonderful Life” seemed more incendiary than is typical for the series.
• I’ve been re-watching the original series with my husband who had never seen the show (and I still married him, I know). He hasn’t found the show nearly as hilarious as I do and, in particular, isn’t as charmed by George Michael and GOB. My working theory is that in 2003, we had never seen Arnett and Michael Cera do their thing before. Now it’s what they both are known for. And voice-over narration, inside jokes and callbacks are so much more prevalent in today’s TV series. I’m glad I was a fan the first-time around when the show and its actors were pioneers.