If the continued popularity of lists like this one is any indication, people are still discovering jokes from the first three seasons of Arrested Development ten years after it first started airing. The show was so full of obscure references, lines too quick or subtle to take note of, and details that take multiple viewings to really click in your mind that it was impossible to appreciate just how much comedy was hidden in its many layers. It’s why watching it over and over again, sharing your observations and favorite moments with fellow watchers, was immensely rewarding.
There are many who seem to believe that the fourth season is fundamentally different, the timing somehow a bit off, the tone shifted a shade or two darker, the comedy less prevalent, or at least perhaps less accessible. But my suspicion is that a lot of people are forgetting what it was like to watch Arrested Development for the first time. The first three episodes of the very first season were a bit of a challenge to get into. And it’s because we lacked context, both in terms of the story and joke construction, as well as the context that these writers and creators knew exactly what they were doing. This season feels so much like that first experience—at first it seems like the hype may have been overplayed, that this season is ultimately disappointing, and then things just start to click. Early episodes that initially seemed weak or slightly off play much, much better, and funnier, the second time around.
As more people continue to rewatch, we’ll hear about more of these hidden jokes that slipped by when many of us were watching at 4 a.m. on May 26th. Here are 10 jokes from season four of Arrested Development that I’ve noticed or have been brought to my attention that many viewers likely missed the first time around. It should be obvious that the spoiler-phobic ought not read on until they’ve joined the party and watched the entire season.
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