Photo Credit: The Kobal Collection
It's not often that a canceled TV cult favorite goes back into production. (There, there, fans of My So-Called Life. It just wasn't meant to be.) So the fact that there's some actual filming going on at the set of Arrested Development right now is, well, some pretty exciting stuff. No doubt fans are hungry for any insider tidbits about the revived show, and David Cross (who plays the ambiguously straight Tobias Funke) has offered some great ones about the highly anticipated fourth season to Rolling Stone.
First, a quick refresher: This irreverent, finely tuned ensemble comedy ran for three years on Fox, from 2003 to 2006, racking up critical praise, award nominations and even an Emmy win for best comedy in 2004. Then the show ended abruptly, because not enough people were watching it. But after a six year hiatus, the Bluth family is back, and in a unique way. The cast reunited earlier this month to start filming a fourth season, and Netflix will make all its episodes available at once, some time next year.
As for the idea that not enough people watched AD the first time around, Cross begs to differ. "It took [the networks] a while to figure out what everybody else already knew, which is that people aren't watching the show the night it airs," he said. If Fox had been hip to that fact, he says, it might not have let the show go based on the morning-after ratings numbers.
Cross also divulges that the season 4 storyline is so involved that the producers will have to add episodes to tell it all. "I think it's going to be 13 episodes, not 10," he says. "There's too much story. Some characters will have two-parters. Everybody sort of participates, sometimes in a bigger way and sometimes in a tiny little thread that goes through everybody else's stories."
AD has a large cast of fully realized (and fully hilarious) characters, from the self-important (and hopelessly misguided) Gob (Will Arnett) to the loveable nincomcoop Buster (Tony Hale) to the spoiled debutante Lindsay (Portia de Rossi), and so on. Cross' character, Tobias, puts his own spin on the word eccentric: A former psychiatrist and current aspiring actor, he has diagnosed himself as a never-nude. (Does that term need explaining? It's someone who can never be nude.)
There are many stories to tell when you've got such a deep bench of weirdos to work with. (Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter, Michael Cera and Alia Shawkat all play uniquely off-kilter characters, too.) But according to Cross, the writers are up to the challenge.
"I'm not gonna divulge anything, but I know what the stories are and what [exec producer] Mitch [Hurwitz] is doing, and it's so layered," he says. "It's really audacious and amazing. I think a lot of people will miss the work that is involved, the story, the Venn diagrams that are being created, the domino effect that characters have with each other in their various episodes. I know what he's doing, and this has never been done on a TV show like this. This makes Lost look like a Spalding Grey monologue. You'll have to watch each episode more than once."
Oh, please, David. As if fans of this show would ever watch it just once!