Reviews, Recaps, and Personal Thoughts on All Things TV

Archive for March, 2014

The Walking Dead, 4×14: That Scene. No, Not That One. The Other One.

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I want to talk about the events of last night’s The Walking Dead episode, ‘The Grove.’ But first I have to say: SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS. So read only if you, y’know, want to be spoiled.

I have refrained from writing about The Walking Dead until now because I love the show so much that I feel like I can’t articulate it well. Whereas scathing criticism comes naturally to me, when I try and talk about things I love, it always just comes out as a string of, “OMG FDIFJDLF THAT WAS AMAZEBALLS, I CAN’T EVEN. OMG.” Which, y’know, nobody wants to read (except Tumblr, with accompanying gifs). So I’ll do my best here but just know that I don’t have anything but sheer praise and worship to bestow upon this show, and therefore have difficulty forming coherent sentences.

Every week I am astounded that The Walking Dead manages to outdo what it did the previous week. The back episodes of season 4, following its winter hiatus, have been the strongest and most compelling episodes of the series so far. With the characters separated into various groups (and most convinced that everyone else is dead) following the tragic events at the prison, each episode either focuses on one group, or a handful of groups. Rather than being disjointed, these episodes unite each arc under a common theme. Particularly strong were the kinda-bottle episodes that focused on only: Rick/Carl, Beth/Daryl, and now this episode which centered on Tyreese, Carol, Lizzie, and Mika. Removed from the action and the larger cast as a whole, these character-centric episodes allowed the deepest and most intimate examination of humanity in this new post-apocalyptic reality that we have seen on this show yet.

‘The Grove’ contained revelations that the fans have been waiting for all season, with paramount suspense. We (and by “we” I mean “I”) thought we knew what those revelations would be but The Walking Dead never fails to surprise. I’m referring specifically to who killed Karen and David. Because I thought (and I think a lot of the internet thought as well) that it was always Lizzie, and that Carol covered it up and took the fall for it. But we learned in this episode that it was, in fact, always Carol. I hate being wrong. But what I like is that with it always being Carol who committed that crime, it seems that Carol really didn’t have any idea how sick Lizzie truly was.

Which I find strange because Lizzie has consistently said odd things throughout the season, with an eerie detachment from emotions. Why did no one find her behavior disconcerting? She always struck me as manipulative and sociopathic, if not schizophrenic, and it seems her younger sister was always aware that there were some mental health issues present. No one picked up on this? Is it because this new world of zombies has forced everyone to develop a detachment from their emotions? But Lizzie’s just a kid.

Particularly concerning in last night’s episode was Carol’s non-reaction to Lizzie’s dramatic and borderline psychotic reaction to Carol killing a walker that Lizzie was “playing tag” with. Lizzie screaming, “YOU KILLED HER! SHE WAS MY FRIEND! WHAT IF I KILLED YOU? YOU KILLED HER! YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND.” Carol walked away from that encounter seeming to think that Lizzie was still just confused about what walkers really were, and perhaps had thrown a temper tantrum. (But Lizzie is like, what, nine, ten? Do ten year olds still throw temper tantrums?)

Equally chilling was the scene where Lizzie fed a walker a mouse, and told her sister that she could hear them, that they wanted her to be one of them, and that maybe she should join them so that she could prove to everyone that she’s right. She stretched her hand out for the walker to bite her, but then a bunch of walkers showed up (as they always do, to literally push the plot forward by chasing the characters). Lizzie ended up having to kill some of them herself, though she wasn’t happy about it. Carol asked her later did she now understand what they were and Lizzie responded, “I understand what I have to do now.” That is not what Carol asked, Lizzie! Carol, open your eyes!

I admit, while I did think Lizzie was going to attempt to kill someone else, I thought it more likely she was going to kill herself–to come back as a walker and prove to everyone that they’re still people. Or at least they’re something else altogether. What actually happened was…horrifying. Lizzie, killing her sister. Carol and Tyreese returning from hunting to find a knife in Lizzie’s hands, her hands dripping blood, her sister on the ground beside her, stabbed to death, and baby Judith perched on a picnic blanket, unaware of the horror unfolding at the world’s worst picnic.

As Carol and Tyreese rushed forward, terrified yet calm, Lizzie says, “Don’t worry. She’ll come back. I didn’t hurt her brain.” Then she mentions how she was just about to do this to Judith too. Carol steps forward but Lizzie pulls out a gun and points it at Carol and insists that they have to wait for Mika to come back. Meanwhile, I’m sitting on my couch clutching my cat and screaming, “SOMEONE PICK UP THE BABY. GET THE BABY.” Carol manages to coax Lizzie away with the false promise that she just wants to tie Mika up for when she comes back. She sends Lizzie off with Tyreese and Judith (um, sending Judith anywhere with Lizzie would not have been my first instinct, but OKAY) and then Carol breaks down and cries, before stabbing Mika in the head to ensure that she doesn’t turn.

The episode concludes with Carol doing what needed to be done. She takes Lizzie out into the grove (y’know the grove of ‘The Grove’). Lizzie begins to cry and begs Carol to not be mad at her for pointing her gun at her. (Not for, y’know, murdering her sweet younger sister with the intention of murdering an INFANT next. Just don’t be mad she pointed a gun.) Carol tells Lizzie to look at the flowers, to just keep looking at the flowers, and then Carol kills Lizzie, executes her really, but it had to be done. How very Of Mice and Men.

And I sat there and thought that while I can sit on my couch in my heated apartment as someone not in the midst of an apocalypse and say assuredly that killing Lizzie was the right thing to do and absolutely had to happen, I can also recognize how complicated that actually is. Carol had to murder a child. Granted, one that was dangerous, sick, and could not be trusted. But a child nonetheless. It added another layer to this world of The Walking Dead. The choices that these characters have to make. Where are the lines of right and wrong as they are newly defined in this world? And how does anyone live with themselves after making decisions like this? These questions aren’t new–The Walking Dead has been asking them from the beginning. But every season, the circumstances surrounding them get more chilling, complicated, and difficult. Who will Carol be after this? She lost her daughter. She killed Karen and David to protect the rest of the prison from the flu outbreak and it didn’t work. She swore to protect these two little girls–these surrogate daughters–and failed. She had to kill one of them. What impact does that have on her going forward?

And can I love this show more?

But I actually didn’t write this to talk about the scene where Lizzie kills her sister. Or the scene where Carol kills Lizzie. I wanted to talk about the scene where Tyreese tells Carol about his nightmares (which is the scene right before they stumble on the nightmarish image of Lizzie brandishing a bloody knife over two children, one of which is dead). This scene absolutely blew my mind. Carol in the foreground, Tyreese in the background, clutching a gun. With Carol’s back turned to him, Tyreese explains that he thinks they should stay at this house they’ve found instead of heading towards this alleged sanctuary called “Terminus” because they’re “not ready to be around people yet.” He then proceeds to tell Carol that he has nightmares every night about Karen, and “some stranger” who kills her. The whole time clutching his gun and the whole time Carol refusing to turn and look at him.

The brilliance of this scene lies in the suspense. We, the audience, know that Carol knows who killed Karen and David (though we didn’t yet have confirmation that it was Carol who did it), and Carol knows who killed Karen and David as well. But at the same time, the audience suspects that Tyreese also knows–the way he’s talking, clutching his gun. And Carol suspects it too. She standing there waiting for Tyreese to take his vengeance, and the audience is sitting there watching and waiting for it to happen as well. But the scene ends with Tyreese still unawares who killed them, still trusting of Carol completely.

It was mind-blowing! That level of suspense for a secret that only the audience and Carol share in this scene. The way The Walking Dead tricked us into believing one thing and doing another. And this is what I love about this show. The zombies are scary, and it’s true that you never know when they’ll show up and when someone will die (though it’s pretty obvious when they’ll show up at this point–which is at every opportune moment). But the scariest parts, the most suspenseful parts, are when the audience asks itself, “What will these characters do to each other?” 

Which is so much more compelling. These characters aren’t afraid of zombies anymore. They basically take them down as though swatting particularly large and pesky flies. They’ve become desensitized to them. But they fear each other. And themselves–the people they’ve become. And the parts of the show that are scariest to watch are the interactions between the humans as they struggle to hold on to humanity within themselves.

So, y’know: OMG FDIFJDLF THAT WAS AMAZEBALLS, I CAN’T EVEN. OMG.

What Sexual Assault, Redemption, and Gossip Girl All Have in Common

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Recently, through a combination of boredom, a need for escapism, and the convenience that only an $8 Netflix streaming subscription and the internet can give me, I decided to begin watching Gossip Girl. I am not ashamed to say that I was pretty instantly hooked, and have been watching it non-stop for the past week. (I’m actually not ashamed to say anything, but that is a different article entirely.)

Gossip Girl ran from 2007 to 2012 so I’m probably the only person who watches Gossip Girl that also doesn’t know what happens beyond season 2, episode 4 of Gossip Girl (just give me a week and a half). And I’ll admit that it’s been a fun nostalgia trip to see everyone carrying Razr cell phones and texting on a regular number pad, but I’m writing this article about something a little more serious than that. (And I know what you’re thinking: Gossip Girl? Serious? And yes.)

For those of you who don’t know, Gossip Girl is a show about the upper class teenagers of New York City. They’re rich, spoiled, entitled, and manipulative. They drink and do drugs and struggle for power in their preppy private school where popularity has laws and rigid rules, and there can only be one queen. They are also all really, really ridiculously good-looking that you could watch the show on mute and still appreciate the sculpted artwork that is their faces and bodies.

All of the action focused on these characters is narrated by Gossip Girl—an anonymous blogger that, through the help of tips and cell phone photos snapped by passers-by—manages to chronicle the soap opera lives of these trust fund babies and share it with her readers (which, apparently, are literally everyone).

In the beginning, most of the characters Gossip Girl blogs about are, by no accounts, good people. And, duh, everyone knows that behind their shallow exteriors, they all have secrets and pain and pressure and just want to be loved. But some are worse than others.  And that brings me to Chuck Bass.

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In the beginning, Chuck was the most despicable character of all. Billed as the resident “bad boy” of the show, this went beyond smoking pot before class. In the first episode, Chuck straight-up sexually assaults a freshman. He tries to get her drunk, get her alone, and then forces himself on her despite her shouted “No’s” and “Get off of me’s.” Luckily, she is rescued by her brother and Chuck is punched in the face but then that’s kind of it.

The whole scene made me sick, as depictions of sexual assault assuredly should be difficult to watch. But what was worse was how after it was over, no one seemed to care anymore. The character that he assaulted, Jenny, assured her brother that she was fine then and would continue to be fine, before they had even left the party where it happened. Chuck’s friends seemed to find the whole thing entertaining, reveling in the chance to watch a freshman get ruined.

The next day, Jenny went to Blair Waldorf’s house (she’s important in this story too), the Queen B and most popular girl in school. Jenny wants in with the popular crowd, and she went to find out from B if Chuck was saying anything about her. Blair responded, “Not yet. Chuck likes to brag about his conquests, not his victims.” And then proceeded to tell her that there were just certain things she’d have to accept if she wanted to be a part of this world.

The entire thing was unnerving. It seems that Chuck’s friends both found his antics amusing as well as simultaneously not caring. And the victim herself brushes it off as though it were a prank or hazing ritual. We see Chuck attempt to assault two people before we finally witness any redeeming qualities in him. Oh, did I mention that Chuck is also incredibly good-looking? That should in no way be a redeeming quality but I think for audiences (read: me) it often is.

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Chuck’s first moment of redemption comes in episode 7, in which he demonstrates a desire for business acumen and proves to his father that he can make a worthy investment in a burlesque club. Blair Walforf, someone who has always had Chuck’s friendship and respect, has broken up with her boyfriend and in a moment I assume is supposed to be seen as free and wild, gets up on stage to dance. Chuck is absolutely mesmerized, and sees Blair in a way he never saw her before. He is instantly smitten.

On the way home together in the limo, Chuck tells Blair how amazing she was on stage that night. Blair pulls herself close to Chuck and kisses him. Chuck says, “Are you sure?” And Blair kisses him again, and again, and again (and then off-screen Chuck takes her virginity).

Now. At the moment Chuck says, “Are you sure?” I found myself thinking, “Aw, that’s so sweet.” Before immediately thinking, “WHAT?!?” at my own mind for thinking that. But even while I was aware that I thought the fact that a character who sexually assaulted women finally asked a woman for her consent was sweet and how problematic that was, it didn’t stop me from still thinking it. I sat there in front of my laptop conflicted by how sweet I thought the entire thing was while also hating myself for letting go of his previous crimes as quickly as all of the other characters had let it go. As quickly as the show wanted the audience to let it go and see Chuck Bass as a bad boy who could be redeemed. And every episode since has been another piece toward Chuck’s redemption. And all of the bad things that he has continued to do (which are now “mistakes” and “slip-ups” as Chuck is truly a good person inside, afraid of who he really is) are no longer crimes, just bad things.

As a feminist, I don’t completely understand my reaction. How, as I’ve continued to watch the show, how little I’ve allowed myself to be bothered by this anymore because all I really want is for Chuck and Blair to be together, obvs. And I do love a good redemption storyline.

Which is true. Redemption storylines are among my very favorite storylines, be it in movies, TV, books, or Robert Downey Jr. coverage on E!. So what makes one redemption storyline easier to swallow than any other? Why should I feel guilty for watching Chuck’s, yet enthralled by watching, say, Jamie Lannister’s on Game of Thrones?

Because it is no secret that Jamie Lannister is one of my favorite characters from anything, ever. And it’s also no secret that his storyline throughout that series is not just my favorite story from the series but also in any series or story I’ve ever read or watched. But Jamie Lannister has done heinous things. And I forgave those—all without feeling any kind of guilt while doing so.

Recently, I went out to dinner with my family (at that most fine and magical of eating establishments, Outback Steakhouse). For whatever reason, I brought up Game of Thrones and proceeded to go on and on about how amazing Jamie is and how great his storyline is and how excited I am for this season. And my mother said that she doesn’t like Jamie. I responded defensively, “Jamie has one of the best redemption stories ever.” And she said, “But he’s just done too many bad things for me to like him.”

And it’s true. Jamie has done too many bad things. In the first three books, he had an ongoing incestuous relationship with his twin sister, fathered all of her children, murdered people to ensure no one found out, and pushed a child out the window with ease in the name of love for his sister. He had fought in wars, stabbed the previous king in the back, and no doubt murdered countless people in cold blood. He betrayed his brother by (oh my god, spoiler alert if you haven’t read the entire third book) allowing his wife to be sold as a whore. He did horrible, horrible things.

But then my brother said, “Yeah, well that’s kind of the whole point of a redemption story. They have to start as a bad person who does bad things.”

Which is true. That was who Jamie was in the beginning. But throughout the first three books and seasons, Jamie revealed that he loved his sister and had been with no other woman (okay, this ones a stretch but at least like kind of noble?), and that the reason he stabbed the previous king in the back was because that king was going to kill Jamie’s family as well as burn the entire city to the ground. Jamie is kidnapped and loses his sword hand—he becomes helpless, dying, and questions who he even is as a person without the only thing he’s good at: sword fighting. He becomes more human. He saves a woman for no other reason except that it was the right thing to do. And he is the one who reveals to his brother how he betrayed him. And he does it because he feels guilty about it. Jamie accepts that he was a bad person, and takes measures to fix it.

So why is that story okay but it’s not okay for Chuck to fall in love with Blair and try and be a better person because of that? Is it because he hasn’t sought penance for his previous transgressions? Is that even something that’s necessary to a redemption story, as long as the person changes throughout the course of it?

Is it because Chuck’s story takes place in the real world (granted, one so very far removed from most people’s reality), and Jamie’s takes place in a fantasy world that has supernatural elements? Should that make a difference? Is it because of the frequency of sexual assault in high school and college, among my age group, and the equal frequency that it is ignored, swept under the rug, overlooked, forgotten? Why would that be Gossip Girls’ fault? Was it Gossip Girls’ duty to confront those issues? Why should the show have to be political; they’re just trying to tell a story. Are they required to take a stance? To turn one character’s story into a teaching moment for the audience at home?

Is it just me? Am I bothered with myself because I didn’t feel more indignation for this? Because I accepted it readily and willing and with every intention of being wholly and completely interested in Chuck and Blair’s storyline, while knowing in my heart (like, what??? Who AM I? Oh, right, someone who spends inordinate amounts of time on Tumblr) that Chuck is a good guy? After all, I like redemption storylines. So are they all equal?

Years ago, back when South Park was relatively new, the show argued that you should either make fun of everything or make fun of nothing; that there was no grey area, nothing that was off limits. South Park was responding to criticism that sometimes the show went too far, and that there were some things you should never joke about. What they were saying in response to that was that they were allowed to make fun of the Holocaust just as much as they were allowed to make fun of superficial celebrities, and there shouldn’t be rules on if you were “allowed” to laugh at one and not the other. You either accepted that everything could be a joke, or you decided that nothing could be funny, because otherwise you’d be a hypocrite for laughing at anything.

It’s an interesting idea, one that has merit, but one that is also hard to swallow. Does this idea extend beyond comedy? Is a redemption story a redemption story, no matter what the bad things were that triggered it in the first place? Can I be okay that Chuck Bass is redeemed in the end, even if he’s never apologetic nor acknowledges sexually assaulting young women? Just because Jamie saved a woman from a bear doesn’t change the fact that he pushed a child out a window, and yet I’m still okay believing he’s a good person in the end. And what does all of this say about me as a person?

I don’t know if I know the answers to any of it, but I’m going to continue to think about this a lot, as I finish watching the entire series of Gossip Girl. I’m going to continue to think about this as I watch the fourth season of Game of Thrones. I think that it’s important that we all ask ourselves these kinds of questions when we consume television. Because, if you’re like me, a good part of your week is spent tuning in to watch shows and characters whose stories you want to follow. And I think that it’s imperative that we use these shows to learn things about ourselves. Because ultimately I think that it’s okay to consume any kind of television–to laugh at anything, to cry about anything, to feel strong emotions in any direction about anything—as long as you’re also asking yourself throughout: Why? Why is this my reaction and what does this say about me? It’s okay to consume anything as long as you’re critical about it.

I think with a show like Gossip Girl, you sort of sign a waiver as an audience member that you’re going to forget the previous storylines of characters and move on to the next at the exact moment that the writers want you to. It’s soap operatic in nature, which means that one day Nate could be dating Vanessa but then three episodes later he’s dating Jenny and you just have to be cool with that. And it works. On me, at least. It’s kind of scary because I feel like it works in a way that I am being tricked. But then again, I did say I watched Gossip Girl to alleviate boredom and facilitate escapism, and the show has done just that. Also…they’re so hot.

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Aside

The “I’ll Never Let Go, Jack” Television Theory

Every Monday at work, my coworkers get together and talk about the latest episode of Downton Abbey, which is a show I do not watch. They consistently complain about the plot, how boring it’s become, how dissatisfied they are with any number of events, and how the show should have ended after season 2. Yet simultaneously, they never fail to turn to me and say, “You should watch it!” I reply back, “Why should I watch it? You guys hate it.” And they say, “No, no, it’s really good!” And I say, “You said it should have ended after season 2.” And they say, “Yeah, but you should still watch it.”

Which I find to be interesting and confusing logic.

I have heard from any number of my friends that they are still watching shows that they think have peaked and can’t stand, but can’t bring themselves to stop watching. I like to call this the “I’ll never let go, Jack” phenomenon. This is true of books as well–so many of us start reading a book that, 50 pages in, we decide we hate, but feel compelled to finish anyway. Anytime I’ve done this with a book, the only thing I end up hating more than the book is myself.

So why can’t we let go? Nostalgia? A need to know what happens next, even if we don’t care anymore? A need to know how it ends? We can find those things out by Googling recaps; there’s no need to suffer through an hour of television every week, so why do we?

The answers may differ for everybody but my theory is that while nostalgia does play a giant part in it, I also think it’s because, deep down, we may still like the show despite the fact that it’s changed. Or at the very least, we desperately want to. And the part that we actually hate is that we like it now, or want to like now, even if it’s worse than the show we once thought was perfect. Perfection can’t last for 9 seasons. It can probably barely last for 5. Shows that continue on past their peak have run out of story lines to tell. They’ll introduce new characters and repeat the same kinds of things that made the show great with their original cast, but with a lesser impact because this very show already did it before. It can still be entertaining though, and you can still enjoy it in the moment, while simultaneously mourning the loss of when this show used to blow you away.

It’s our own expectations and standards that stop us from enjoying a show that maybe should have ended 3, 4, 5, seasons ago. Take Arrested Development for example. I’ve watched that series start to finish 3 separate times. I could quote to you any number of lines, as can so many people (probably anyone on the internet, actually). The show was sheer perfection, cancelled before its time, and worshipped and memorialized by so many  that Netflix decided to bring it back as a Netflix original programming. Suddenly this show, which had seven years to build a cult following after its cancellation in 2006, was going to be revived and try and recapture the magic that made it so incredible in the three years it was under-appreciated on regular television.

The pressure and expectations placed on this new season of Arrested Development were more than all the money that’s always in the banana stand. Netflix released all 15 episodes of season 4 at once and many, including myself, barricaded themselves in front of their laptops and binge-watched the entire season. The response and reception was mixed, and many felt that the show lost what it once had.

But I, personally, thought the fourth season was absolutely brilliant. Brilliant! Each episode focused on a different character (mostly to account for scheduling conflicts with the actors), with the storytelling non-linear, often slightly disjointed, but brought together in the end for one cohesive story. The creators put so much thought into this timeline, and stuffed the episodes to the brim with fun easter eggs for the diehard fans. One could spend quite a long amount of time dissecting every episode to find the clues, where the stories intersect, and piece together a more linear timeline of events. The season should be watched multiple times, and its format opened the door to a new kind of internet storytelling.

But more than that, I was fascinated by where the characters went in this story. The original three seasons of Arrested Development focused on the Bluths: a broken family of millionaires who lost everything when the patriarch was sent to prison for treason. Main character, and only competent son, Michael, had to take over the family business and try and save everyone. The hilarity of the show was in the ridiculousness of these characters, whose antics made the fact that they were despicable people hysterically entertaining (in a Seinfeld kind of way).

But season four opens with six years having actually passed between the events of seasons three and four (the character arcs follow the events in between 2006 and 2012). The characters are still ridiculous, still despicable and selfish, but somehow this is less funny than it once was. Whereas the characters of seasons one through three were outlandish caricatures, when we find them in season four, they are suddenly much more human and sad in their failure to change anything significant about their lives. And watching these truly pathetic people flail through life, even if it was funny at times, made me sad. At first this sadness disturbed me, and I would finish an episode and think, “What the hell?!?” I would feel angry at Arrested Development and I, too, felt let down and was ready to say they failed.

But, for reasons of nostalgia, I kept an open mind. And the further I got into the season, the more I realized that this was the only direction I believe the show could successfully go. You can’t bring a show back after seven years, and not change the way you approach the storytelling or even change the characters themselves. For instance, regarding the character of Tobias: The running joke with this character was that he was a closeted gay man. I was surprised when, in the fourth season, Arrested Development almost instantly buried this storyline and chose to come out and say that Tobias actually ISN’T gay. And then they took his character forward from there. They chose to not solely rely on the same jokes that people have grown to memorialize in favor of trying to do something different. Which should be commended.

They also chose to put a more serious spin on the characters overall, but in the seven years since Arrested Development was cancelled, we as the audience have grown and matured, and it’s only fair (and I would say necessary) that the show and its characters grow and mature as well, even if sometimes it’s not funny. There were moments where I was actually perturbed by where they took the characters–GOB’s very dark, sad, and confused “gay” storyline; Michael’s lonely inability to let his son go once he’s at college; Maeby’s failure to move forward at all with her life because she’s stuck still trying to get the attention of her parents, who still continue to ignore her. And I wasn’t sure if I should be laughing at these things at all (I actually teared up during the Maeby episode). And while a lot of season four was hilarious, there was also something distinctly unfunny about much of it.  But I liked that. I like a show that challenges me like that, and I like that Arrested Development chose to become that show.

Many would say (and I think have said) that a show as hilarious as Arrested Development has no right to become more serious. That’s not why people tune in. And I concede that the uncomfortable sort of comedy that makes Girls the show that it is and what Arrested Development chose to do is not for everybody, and there’s a certain betrayal that the audience might feel by that.

But it became very clear to me early into the fourth season that this show wasn’t, and never would be, the show that I had grown to love. Nor do I believe it could ever be successful falling back on what it was seven years ago (Arrested Development used to make Saddam Hussein jokes–these kinds of things aren’t relevant anymore). But that didn’t mean that the show still couldn’t be compelling, interesting, or hilarious and that I couldn’t grow to love this version of it as well. I simply had to accept that though I was watching the same characters, this truly was a completely different show. And once I accepted that, I could let go of my expectations or disappointment and see it as a wholly different beast, one that allowed the characters to grow as if seven years had passed for the both of use (oh wait, it totally did).

Now, I didn’t set out to write a review or critique on the fourth season of Arrested Development, so there is still so much to be said about that. But I think Arrested Development serves as a good example of the way that shows can change over time, and the need for shows to reinvent themselves to still be fresh. The way I see it, shows have two options: End when they’ve hit their peak, or try and continue and potentially disappoint the audience. Either way, I think fans will be unhappy, but loyal. After all, everyone I talk to still watches shows they loved and grew to hate. I urge these people to try and find some redeeming qualities in these shows, because if they insist on making themselves miserable by tuning in each week, perhaps there is some enjoyment still to be had.

All that being said, there are some shows that are just…truly terrible. For that…I have no answer for you. Viewer discretion is advised.