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I don't understand the question, and I won't respond to it: AD Criticisms from friends


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#211

Mibbitmaker

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Posted Sep 26, 2005 @ 3:56 PM

I only knew of the show because of his recent appearence on Late Night w/ Conan. It is one of those things where you don't have to know it really exists to find it funny, but it does add to it if you do know.

#212

Mean Mr Mustard

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Posted Sep 26, 2005 @ 4:41 PM

Well, I wasn't planning on providing empirical evidence for each critique I have of the show, given this is the AD Criticisms thread and all, but to give examples of a few jokes I found stale: Kitty, yet again, exclaiming her "say goodbye to these!" line; the Blue Man Group jokes; the Steve Holt storyline; and even going back to "I've made a huge mistake." At least the Mrs. Featherbottom bit is over and done with.

As I've said before, Arrested Development is incredibly better than most of the network shit out there, which is why I watch it -- but let's just say I know where DHarveyOswald is coming from when talking of season two's overkill of "in" jokes. But hey, that's just my opinion, to which I'm entitled -- I hope tonight's show is better.

#213

marlaas

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Posted Sep 26, 2005 @ 4:53 PM

but to give examples of a few jokes I found stale: Kitty, yet again, exclaiming her "say goodbye to these!" line; the Blue Man Group jokes; the Steve Holt storyline; and even going back to "I've made a huge mistake." At least the Mrs. Featherbottom bit is over and done with.


You're not alone. I, too, am weary of watching the same jokes, (a few of which I didn't find amusing the first time around!) repeated ad nauseam in the name of 'continuity.' My main concern isn't even as much that new viewers won't appreciate the callbacks---instead, I'm selfishly annoyed that this old viewer has to watch the same jokes over and over until they're, IMO, way past the point of played out.

I do like the show, and even named it as one the six or seven shows that my mom, a newly appointed Neilson family (woo hoo!) *must* start watching in order to maintain a healthy parent-child relationship. However, as a couple of others have noted, you can still be critical of shows you like and appreciate, and I for one am really getting eager for AD to move on to new jokes and material and leave some of these stale ones behind.

ETA: Tonight's episode reminded me of another joke I'm long past sick of---the ubiquitous chicken dance. I always found this incredibly stupid, but by now I'm ready to change the channel every time they show it yet again.

Edited by marlaas, Sep 26, 2005 @ 7:50 PM.


#214

Tubelcaine

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Posted Sep 27, 2005 @ 9:49 AM

I suppose one of the problems with recurring jokes is, if it's one you didn't particularly like in the first place, you obviously aren't going to care for it over and over and over.

Example: I never thought the Kitty boob jokes were funny, so every repeat of them was just as unwelcome. However, something as small as "I've made a huge mistake" gets a smile out of me every time. It's not hilarious, just a little line of recognition that I appreciate.

I do think this show can re-use jokes to a fault... the set-up should not be so convoluted and nonsensical just for the sake of trotting out the chicken dance again, even though GOB's version will forever crack my shit up.

However, as a couple of others have noted, you can still be critical of shows you like and appreciate, and I for one am really getting eager for AD to move on to new jokes and material and leave some of these stale ones behind.

I love AD, and I agree. It certainly wouldn't hurt to start a new canon of jokes that can be referenced, with a few oldies thrown in just every once in a while.

#215

middleman

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Posted Sep 27, 2005 @ 12:28 PM

Sometimes (for me, anyway) a joke that wasn't particularly funny the first time grows on me over time. I didn't think the chicken dance in Season One was particularly funny. Its reappearance in Season Two, however, I found hilarious.

And while "say goodbye to these" is certainly a joke which wouldn't be funny on its own if they simply repeated it, in its most recent incarnations, it hasn't been the joke but the SET-UP for a new joke. (Last time it was Tobias' "take these back, Michael" and this time it was "Those are blue, too!") It would bother me if they simply repeated a joke for the sake of repetition, but they usually find some clever variation on the running gag.

#216

18matt

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Posted Oct 19, 2005 @ 11:31 AM

Ok, so the other day I was at work and I started raving about AD (as usual), and one of my coworkers was like "I tried to watch that show once, but after like 10 minutes, I had to change the channel."

Mystified, I asked him if he knew what episode it was. He didn't, but he did remember one thing, and then he said the two worst possible words pertaining to AD: "Martin Short."

I cringed. I desperately tried to explain to him how if there is one episode that should not be used as a barometer for the quality of AD, it's that one. But I could see in his eyes that my words were lost on him.

Damn You, Short!

Edited by 18matt, Oct 19, 2005 @ 11:31 AM.


#217

Summer InA Bowl

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Posted Oct 27, 2005 @ 9:12 AM

I'm going to be devil's advocate here. I hate Arrested Development. I've seen it three times- all three times when I made a point to watch it- and it hasn't made me laugh once. I don't like any of the characters. Even Jason Bateman's character annoys me. Dysfunctional family shows are kind of fun if you can relate to them, but these characters don't seem realistic to me at all.

It bugs me that there aren't more people who feel the way I do. I think, with all the awards and critical acclaim it gets, AD is a show that smart, educated people are "supposed" to like. But I consider myself an intelligent person and I don't like this show at all.

#218

vcalzone

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Posted Oct 27, 2005 @ 9:37 AM

It's always nice when someone plays Devil's Advocate as respectfully and sensibly as you just did. Which episodes did you see, if I may ask? Were they in a row, or were they spread out over time?

#219

Tubelcaine

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Posted Oct 27, 2005 @ 9:38 AM

Bold move, Summer :-) Just out of curiosity, did you watch those 3 episodes in order, like were they the first three episodes?

I think it is false and dangerous to assume that all smart, educated people would have the same taste, especially when it comes to comedy. AD is obviously the type of show that divides as much as it unites... otherwise it'd be doing a lot better ratings-wise. AD fans don't do anyone a favor by claiming that all smart people must like AD, or that if you don't like it you must be dumb.

At least you give reasons that make sense (not liking the characters... I could see how that would be a big sticking point).

ETA: uh, you read my mind, vcalzone.

Edited by Tubelcaine, Oct 27, 2005 @ 9:38 AM.


#220

hcwoodward

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Posted Oct 27, 2005 @ 9:49 AM

I think it also matters if you need/want to like the characters on a show or to find them relatable or realistic. In certain shows that's all I want and what matters most (which is why like Boston Legal doesn't work for me at all -- the premise is too real for the absurdity of its characters), but in my comedies, it's less important.

And most of us AD fans have found that eventually everyone on AD starts to make a kind of sense, to seem real, to be really loving...

(ah, but you made sense starchy, whereas I made typos... sigh.)

Edited by hcwoodward, Oct 27, 2005 @ 10:42 AM.


#221

starchystarch

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Posted Oct 27, 2005 @ 9:59 AM

I don't want to characterize or judge anyone who doesn't like AD. Backing away slowly, hands in the air.

I for one love it. To me enjoying a show is hardly ever about relating to the characters or identifying closely with them. With AD it's the tone -- something sorta undefinable -- that i really dig. These people are almost entirely not people i would like to know or hang out with or have as relatives or bosses or employees. But the way nearly everything they say reveals far too much about them than they can comprehend -- it's brilliant (to me)! I get sick from laughing too hard and long.

I see AD as the latest reincarnation of the Larry Sanders Show -- another one-camera sitcom done in a semi-documentary style that featured a whole world of characters who were basically just different shades of jerk, and that a lot of people didn't like so much. Only AD is so much faster and crammed with incident; maybe we're just getting used to multitasking. On that show and on this one, characters walk around acting out their personalities in the most oblivious ways. It's kind of ugly, and maybe that's why some people can't bring themselves to care (?).

(ETA hey hcwoodward, that's sort of what i almost meant to say: I just spent too long typing.)

Edited by starchystarch, Oct 27, 2005 @ 9:59 AM.


#222

Summer InA Bowl

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Posted Nov 1, 2005 @ 12:27 AM

I know one of the episodes I saw was the season 2 premiere. I'll have to get back to you on the other two because I don't know episode names...have to look them up. They were both in the first season, though.

#223

RabidChipmnk

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Posted Nov 7, 2005 @ 7:37 PM

A happy story here: I've totally converted two more of my friends. One of them was actually like, "You're so much funnier now that I've seen the show!" Yay. The other one was more subdued about it, but later kept bringing up the show in conversation. Mwahaha, he's totally addicted...

#224

silvyme

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Posted Dec 12, 2005 @ 2:29 PM

I just got recently obsessed to the show. I knew about it since it came out, but truthfully I just didn't watch tv until last year. And I really do not like Fox so I didn't even give it a try. So anyhoo, after I was obsessed I tried to get everyone I know obsessed too. But I got a lot of resistence.

Some of the complaints include the fact that they do not want to see a show that isn't going to be around. My dad who really doesn't like any American comedies loves the show. He has a hard time with English and pop culture jokes, but he gets AD jokes. And he loves the callbacks because you can find them funny even if you don't understand the context. He loves the political undertone too... so I do think the show is unique since it attracts him.

My SO thinks the show is okay and will watch it with me, but he will not watch it on his own. He said that it is enjoyable, but he just doesn't feel invested.

Three of my friends hate it. They think the show is pointless. They expect it to have a point because there isn't a laugh track. They feel that there is no growth at all in the characters. They think the only thing they see the characters doing is picking up each other's mannerisms (which I think is excellent).

#225

Yoohoostereo

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Posted Dec 12, 2005 @ 3:25 PM

They feel that there is no growth at all in the characters.


Perhaps your friends don't understand the word play with the title of the show. If the characters did have growth, then the title of the show would be pointless, excluding the scandals with the development company.

#226

TurbinesToSpeed

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Posted Dec 12, 2005 @ 4:01 PM

what shows are they watching where the characters have growth? Everyone loves Raymond? Every episode's plot is "ray says something to offend his wife, then spends the whole show moping about it until he apologizes"

It's the "Home Improvement" plotline. Again, and again, and again. Nobody from Seinfeld ever learned anything. Even the Simpsons, though they learn lessons each episode, never remember them the next.

Edited by TurbinesToSpeed, Dec 12, 2005 @ 4:03 PM.


#227

samsnee

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Posted Dec 12, 2005 @ 9:09 PM

I thnk if you watch the show enough though, you ultimately see that the family does care for one another. George obviously loves Lucille, and even though Michael may sometimes think to leave, ultimately he knows family first. Except for Tobias. No one cares about him.

#228

silvyme

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Posted Dec 12, 2005 @ 9:28 PM

I agree with you guys and believe me I tried to defend the show in every way possible. But that's their criticism of AD.

As I said, all three of them think the absence of a laugh track means that it is a pseudo drama or something. LIke 99% of the dramas have character growth!

#229

chrisarah

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Posted Dec 13, 2005 @ 9:41 AM

Last night, after watching the episodes of AD, I called my family to remind them to watch it (I'm on the East Coast and they're on the West Coast, so it hadn't aired yet). My mom called me after it aired and put her boyfriend on the phone- it was his first time watching AD and he loved it! Although he was surprised I like something so "twisted." He's going to watch it from now on. I am quite excited, he initially resisted watching it and refused to watch with my mom last week.

#230

swestworld

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Posted Dec 27, 2005 @ 11:28 PM

Success! Converts! In this forum I have often bemoaned the fact that I bought my parents the first season DVDs over six months ago but they never even bothered to remove the shrink wrap, let alone watch them. Well last night, since my fellow AD-loving sister (another of my converts) and I were both home for the holidays, we brought our combined pressure to bear on our parents and managed to get them to agree to watch the first three episodes. And we sat down to watch and they proceeded to laugh their ASSES off nonstop--like, uncontrollable, helpless, doubled-over laughter. They kept wanting to watch another and another--I think we ended up getting through six episodes altogether. And since then they haven't been able to stop talking about how funny it is. They've been chuckling all day about the description of Lucille 2 as a "brownish area with points" and Lucille's, "Here Buster, have a candy bar. No, I'm withholding it. Look at me, getting off!"

Just wanted to share...two and a half years into the series and it's still winning new viewers.

Edited by swestworld, Dec 28, 2005 @ 10:31 PM.


#231

MichaelKnight

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Posted Dec 28, 2005 @ 1:40 AM

three and a half years into the series and it's still winning new viewers


If only they would come 2.5 million at a time...

Most people are put off for the various reasons mentioned, but also FOX shows generally don't appeal to mass audiences. Currently, I would say The Simpsons, Family Guy, House and NFL Football are its biggest draws (maybe 70's Show, too), and at any given time, there's really maybe only 3-5 shows on that net that do anything with big audiences.

NBC has kept plugging The Office, and has watched its 5 rating go up to almost 9 in a little over 10 months. That's very impressive, and indicative of what an actual promotional department can do. NBC has influenced audience taste before. They stuck with Seinfeld, etc. etc.

FOX appeals to specific tastes. ABC and CBS play on the family, moral, heart stuff, and NBC somehow changes the tastes of the viewing public.

People who watch Raymond generally won't switch to FOX. Thus, they won't watch AD.

#232

silvyme

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Posted Dec 28, 2005 @ 2:16 AM

You forgot Prison Break, House, and to a certain degree 24. And as far as reality shows, AI is a monster. So I don't think Fox is as bad as that.

I am still struggling with my friends over here. A couple of my friends were all excited until I told them that there is great continuity. Now they feel like they have to watch it all together for it to make sense. They did promise to rent DVDs in the very near future.

#233

MichaelKnight

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Posted Dec 28, 2005 @ 2:40 AM

silvyme, thanks for the American Idol reminder. I had blocked it out, but it is absolutely the biggest exposure for the net.

Prison Break does fine, but it's not like it's a world beater. I think L&O and other shows on the big three regularly beat its ratings. Please do disprove that notion.

Most of my friends love AD. The one thing I am (and these AD-loving friends are) wary of is the obsessive AD fan who goes too far and insults the "comedy intelligence" of those who don't dig the show. People have different tastes.

We all agree this is a show that absolutely warrants mainstream acceptance. Hopefully, another net will snap up the show and give it the exposure it deserves.

#234

CycloneBill

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Posted Dec 28, 2005 @ 12:58 PM

I've converted a few people but have had a couple other reject it. I always get them started with the Pilot and the usual criticism I get is that 'it's not funny'. Or they'll watch the first 10 minutes of another episode and conclude it's not funny and demand I shut it off.

These are the same people that watch NBC Office/My Name Is Earl, whatever that implies.

#235

Mibbitmaker

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Posted Dec 28, 2005 @ 8:19 PM

By all rights, those shows should have the same fans as AD. I suppose a case could be made that people not getting AD might like MNiE, since it's like a more accessable AD, in a way. The Office (US) has enough cynicism and edge to it to be closer to AD in tone, which makes "Office, yay; AD, boo" more puzzling (my mom, who doesn't watch AD, has seen both NBC shows; she likes "Earl", but not "Office"). It's kinda difficult to get a clear implication from that.

#236

Navin

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Posted Dec 29, 2005 @ 8:46 AM

My stepbrother lives in Germany and doesn't watch a lot of American tv. He's here for the holidays and my stepsister tried to get him to watch the first season. He didn't like it. He said he knows too many people who are completely selfish and spoiled, like most of the Bluths are, and it depressed him. I guess I can't blame him, since his very spoiled ex-girlfriend cheated on him and didn't tell him until after her baby (which he thought was his) was born.

Edited by Navin, Dec 29, 2005 @ 8:48 AM.


#237

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Posted Dec 29, 2005 @ 2:00 PM

The Office (US) has enough cynicism and edge to it to be closer to AD in tone, which makes "Office, yay; AD, boo" more puzzling


It seems like a lot of The Office (US) fans are drawn to the show because of the Pam-Jim relationship. AD doesn't have any soapy romances that the viewer is supposed to care about, with the possible exception of Maebe and George Michael. And even there, there's the cousin aspect which makes it more funny and weird than romantic.

#238

MsTaken

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Posted Apr 17, 2012 @ 9:51 AM

This was a really interesting thread to read after all these years of thinking about why this wasn't a bigger hit and a very recent AD rewatch. I actually agree with a few of the criticisms: I think many of the show's double (triple!) entendre dirty jokes were kind of eye-rolling, at least to me. I'm no prude, but many of them had a puerile "hee hee hee...let's see how many gross, junior high-level sexxxy references we can sneak past the censors!" feel. Humor's so subjective, of course, and I do think the show's ability to rapidly shift from the silly (gross out humor, slapstick, outlandish wackiness) to far more subtle and sophisticated wit was part of this show's brilliance. So I do see why people find some of those "blue/blew himself" and "put it in her brownie" jokes funny, but that type of humor just tends to feel dumb and juvenile to me, and AD's (IMO!) overuse of it sometimes marred an otherwise phenomenally clever and layered show.

I also fully concur with people who felt that the show's jaw-droppingly impressive continuity could (and often did) cross the line into simply recycling some of the same gags over and over to the point where it could feel a little self-congratulatory and more than a little repetitive. Sometimes the same jokes and themes were used in new and creative ways, but many really did just feel repeated ad nauseum, to the point where even a few things I initially thought were funny and clever elicited a certain "okay, enough; we get it already!" reaction.

All that said, one criticism with which I vehemently disagree is that the show had no heart. I'm actually blown away by how much subtle but undeniable poignancy and even sweetness this show had. In some ways, the sneakily insightful heartwarming stuff was even more consistently effective for me than the show's humor. On a related note, I've also come to disagree with the oft-repeated assertion that these characters were too dysfunctional and flawed to like or root for. I'm actually shocked by how endearing most of them and their relationships with one another became, and how their flaws, while comically exaggerated, were ones I could relate to all too easily (which, um, probably says a lot about me and my own family dynamic!) I've grown far more attached to these characters than I'd ever have imagined possible.