Arrested-Development-Bateman-Isla-Fisher

Our second episode devoted to Michael (and fourth overall), “The B-Team,” gets us more in the swing of things.  One thing I’ve been enjoying is the little tweaks they make to each opening sequence.  You know how, usually the tagline is “and the one man who had no choice but to keep them all together?” For this episode, it’s aptly, “the one man who had no choice but to keep himself together.”  Perfect for the new, crazy Michael.

His outlook is promising this episode: he’s gotten himself a new job; one that doesn’t involve Lucille 2.  At Google, which is censored throughout the episode.  He angles for a company car, and ends up with one of the Google Earth cars—which is arguably worse than the infamous stair car, as it too excels at demolishing low-hanging banners and such.

As Michael drives his new car (to much heckling), he gets some interesting news from Barry—Ron Howard (AKA the narrator) wants to make a movie out of his life!  Meta, much?  Michael goes over to Imagine Studios to meet with him, and would you look at that!  It’s the return of Kitty Sanchez—apparently, she works for Ron, though according to the narrator, without benefits, health or otherwise.

He meets with Ron, bizarrely, in an old moon rover.  Apparently, Ron was inspired to make the film from Michael’s begging photo in Altitude—“A man with passion enough to beg?  That’s a character who’s story we really want to see.” Ron’s vision of the movie includes Michael’s late wife—apparently, the film will also be a vehicle for his redhead actress daughter (sound familiar?), Rebel Alley.

Michael’s about to give up on the endeavor when he learns that he needs signed releases from his whole, estranged, family.  But then Ron hands him some business cards that read, “Co-Associate Producer.”  We know how Michael likes his high-falutin’ titles.

If he wasn’t sure before, his resolve is decided when he runs into a beautiful actress (Isla Fisher) outside the studio—in another very meta moment, after bumping into her on the street, they joke about the movie cliché of the guy and gal doing just the same thing—and then they laugh over the fact that the guy never gets the gal’s name (what was her name again?).  They jokingly flirt, and Michael’s very rusty.  One of his pick-up lines is “My deceased wife had red hair.”  Apparently, the nameless girl just come from a botched audition, and when Michael finds out she’s an actress, he can’t help but name drop Ron Howard and show off his new business cards.  After hearing he’s a producer, she invites him to see her Scottish band play.

He realizes that he has to keep up the producer gig to keep her interested, so he goes home to get his father’s signature—it doesn’t go over so well.  George Sr. tells him to “go to hell.”  Undeterred, Michael returns to his new office at Imagine Studios, a tiny space with comically low ceilings—apparently his upstairs neighbor Bryan Singer wanted higher ceilings.  As his first task as producer, he asks Kitty for a directory of actresses.  She calls him a pig (along with a string of bleeped-out words), and after a misunderstanding, threatens to ruin his career like she did to Maeby’s.  I’m assuming we’ll hear about that more in Maeby’s episode, “Señoritis.”

Michael goes on to assemble his dream team (old friends Carl Weathers, Warden Gentles and Andy Richter), in a star-studded sequence that includes John Krasinski as an executive for Jerry Bruckheimer (no, he doesn’t make an appearance) and Conan O’Brien as himself.  Michael may not have the signatures he needs, but he’s found a screenwriter and some star power.  Ron Howard is pretty non-plussed, however, and sends Michael on his way to a new office in Orange County (closer to his family) so he can get the aforementioned signatures.

Though his new office is more appropriately sized, it doesn’t come without its bugaboos: the sign “Orange County Imagine” is nearly identical to a nearby radiologist’s “Orange County Imaging,” so Michael fields a lot of patients coming in for x-rays.  After an old man offers to leave a “sample,” Michael’s surprised with the entrance of George Sr, who comes with the peace offering of Mexican porn. They get to talking, and when George Sr. finds out the real reason behind Michael’s sudden interest in film making, he signs the release, no problem (“I didn’t it was about lying to a girl!  Give me the release”).

Armed with his signed release in hand, he runs off to see his mystery girl’s Scottish band.  Serendipitously, he runs into Ron (who doesn’t immediately recognize him) outside the club.  Ron explains that he didn’t mean for the father-son relationship in the film to focus on George Sr, but on George Michael.  Michael’s ready to throw in the towel again—he doesn’t want to betray George Michael’s privacy after their painful falling out—but the sight of his crush, on her way to her gig (she refers to him as “Mr. Movie Producer”) changes his mind.

When she finishes up her set, they get to talking.  They flirt, as Michael tells her about the film.  After they trade war stories about their sons (hers is 6, George Michael is…what, 21?), they end up in an entanglement in a photobooth, and Michael finally learns her name from a tattoo on her forearm: she’s Rebel Alley.  “Oh my God,” he intones, “I’m dating Ron Howard’s girlfriend.”  The narrator corrects him: “Actually, she’s his daughter.  But that’s kind of worse, don’t you think?”

This episode seemed to get more in the rhythm of the “vintage” Arrested DevelopmentI; it really got into the swing of things.  One thing I’ve been enjoying in the new episodes is the kind of can-do attitude.  It soldiers steadfastly on, viewing each episode as an opportunity for more fan service, more tongue-in-cheek, more puns.  A friend of mine told me that New Girl has three jokes per page, which is apparently a lot for a sitcom.  How many must Arrested Development have?

Spare quotes:

Prosecutor: That’s a low blow, Loblaw.

Bob Loblaw: A Bob Loblaw low blow.

~~

Kitty: I’m a D girl!

Michael: No, I don’t want to see them.

Kitty:  I’m not going to show you my t**s, you pig.

~~

Narrator: Like all bagpipe music, it was hard to tell if it was good music played horribly, or horrible music played well.

Arrested Development Recaps: Season 4

May 26: Episode 1- Flight of the Phoenix
May 27: Episode 2- Borderline Personalities
May 28: Episode 3- Indian Takers
May 29: Episode 4- The B. Team
May 30: Episode 5- A New Start
May 31: Episode 6- Double Crossers
June 1: Episode 7- Colony Collapse
June 2: Episode 8- Red Hairing
June 3: Episode 9- Smashed
June 4: Episode 10- Queen B.
June 5: Episode 11- A New Attitude
June 6: Episode 12- Señoritis
June 7: Episode 13- It Gets Better
June 8: Episode 14- Off the Hook
June 9: Episode 15- Blockheads