None of us knew what to expect going Arrested Development Season 4--would it be linear (yes, sort of), could all of the old gang return (yes, almost entirely), how many Bluths would chicken dance at once (none! WTF?)--and now that some of us are coming out of it, there are still some questions. Here are a few of the biggest unresolved issues I was left with as the credits for episode 15 faded to Netflix red. (If you can answer any of these questions, please let us know via the form at the end).
3. Seriously, Why No Chickens?
George Michael almost broke out in a chicken imitation (curse those matador pants!) and Michael referenced a chicken sound, but that no Bluths did their chicken routines, not even Gob, seemed strange, especially given how many call-backs were spread throughout the series and how silly some of the other bits got. Nevermind that this series was filled with birds, specifically ostriches, and nobody tried to imitate those, either.
This might not seem like a big deal, but in the world of AD where there’s a visual joke near the high school that show’s the team’s mascot is the Ostrich, the absence of something that was formerly repeated is as notable as its presence. Perhaps the writers felt it was overused, or the actors hated them, or the poultry council sued, I have no idea. Either way, the movie better open with a huge musical number that involves the entire cast and score of extras doing poor chicken imitations.
2. What made George and Oscar switch personalities?
After the twin brothers share Maca root (probably/unfortunately watered with kaka water), they have a vision of a psychic shaman who essentially tells them they’re going to switch personalities. The mystic’s prediction essentially comes true--Oscar takes on George’s commanding, ruthless, macho personality, while George becomes passive, sensitive, and, eventually, transgender--but since the shaman was actually a backlit Marky Bark in an insane Ostrich costume saying things he thought would scare them off their property and away from his family’s Ostrich farm, it’s unclear what the real cause is behind the Freaky Friday-esque switch. Sure, it could be psychosomatic or just arbitrary, but that’s not the usual AD way.
I thought that perhaps the Maca root (and/or the fact it’d been tainted with fecal matter) might have tampered with the hormones a bit, or that the sweat lodge had cooked some testosterone out of Oscar’s brain while mystery soy in the $20,000 lemonade or something might have brought out George’s feminine side, but as is, the change and/or George’s high estrogen count isn’t really explained, not even by Dr. Norman.
1. The Big One-- What Happened To Lucille 2?
There are a handful of major events that bring all the characters together, but the first event we see in the series, but the last to happen chronologically, is the big Cinco de Quatro celebration, which is also where Lucille Austero disappears. The whole Bluth family is there, and most have important interactions with her (except George Michael, who, as he points out in an earlier episode, never actually met her during the series), but not all are suspects in her disappearance. Buster is caught on camera near the staircar where she vanished, so he’s arrested, but Lindsay, Michael, Gob, Oscar, George, and Lucille 1 are also worthy suspects (and Sally Sitwell, while we’re at it).
The mystery will seemingly be the plot of the hypothetical AD movie (as will the movie-within-a-movie), and since the series begins with Michael’s downfall and ends as season 3 did, with George Michael punching an elder member of his family in the face, it’s worth considering whether the movie would chronicle the “final” descent of George Michael’s punchee/the formerly righteous Michael Bluth. Not only is he shown sinking to new levels over the course of series 4, but he threatens Lucille Austero in their final moments together (which seems a little obvious, but still). Lucille’s fate is the major cliffhanger of the series, so let’s hope the movie comes along in less than six years (and doesn’t end up in the hands of Jerry Bruckheimer).
Also, the minor issues: if Mary-Lynn Rajskub’s character had no lines, does she still make SAG minimum? What did P-Hound’s “You’ll never get a flight this time of year” line mean (when he, Michael and George Michael were discussing the availability of the inflight magazine)? Did Google really not allow the use of their name, or was that just a running joke (since most TV shows can’t get/afford use of the Google name or anything that sounds remotely like it, e.g., The Good Wife’s invention of “Chumhum”)? Is George Michael a padre? Were the writers unaware that Kate Spade is actually David Spade’s sister-in-law? And when the Mystery Science Theater 3000 silhouettes first appeared, how come the entire internet didn’t just explode?