Arrested Development Movie: Five Possible Plotlines
From incest to outer space, five potential plot lines for ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT: THE MOVIE.
A number of stories from Juno press confabs fueled rumors last week that Jason Bateman is trying to jump-start a movie based on his much-missed FOX comedy Arrested Development. Keith Olbermann, who admits to being friends with at least three ex-AD cast members, passed along a statement from the actor and series creator Mitchell Hurwitz, confirming that the movie is “something [they’re] very interested in doing, but only after the writers’ strike, and only if the powers that be approve.”
For those not in the know, AD starred Bateman as Michael Bluth, the one sort-of together member of a high-profile Southern California family, whose real estate tycoon patriarch (Jeffrey Tambor) has been thrown in jail whilst awaiting trial on charges of (among other things) building mansions for Sadaam Hussein. Michael Cera, Bateman’s so-hot-right-now Juno costar, played his son on the show; Will Arnet, Portia DiRossi and David Cross rounded out the cast.
I was a huge Arrested Development fan (I wrote this much-misread post about the show in spring 2005), but I was also fairly satisfied with the series’ conclusion. I sat down to try to imagine/divine possible plotlines for a movie, but because there was very little that I was dying to see resolved, I decided to call in some reinforcements. I sent out emails to some bloggy friends, I trolled Facebook looking for fans. Then, weirdness: for every AD fan who happily offered up an idea for The Bluth family’s big screen debut, another essentially refused to comment. It looks like there’s a decent contingent of AD fans who really don’t want to see the show they love ruined by a false, cinematic extension–and really, having seen the careless cash-in that is the Sex and the City trailer, can you blame them?
In any case, between my own fixations and those of three blogger friends, after the jump I manage to cobble together a list of five pretty promising potential plotlines for this not-yet-even-greenlit Arrested Development movie. These aren’t prognostications, just narrative directions that actual AD fans would like to see explored. Toss out your own thoughts in the comments.
1. The Meta Movie
The writers set up the concept of a meta movie in the last scene of the final episode, when Maeby, the 16 year-old former studio executive, pitched her family’s story to Ron Howard (Arrested Development’s narrator) as a television series. Howard responded that he didn’t see it as a show, “but maybe a movie.” Many fans took this as the first clue that the saga was not yet over, although as ratings for the series finale were pretty abysmal, at the time that sort of seemed like wishful thinking. But given the glee with which the show trafficked in double meanings and dopplegangers, one could easily imagine the writers finding a lot of material in an Arrested Development movie about the making of a Bluth movie. I envision a lot of encounters gone wrong between the actual Bluths and their fictional counterparts, but not nearly as blandly theoretical as, say, Adaptation––maybe something like a weirder, slightly less slick/glib version of On The Road With Judas.
2. Bluths in Space
Sort of a variation on the above, but with an important twist, courtesy of Rex Sorgatz: “The best part about the Bluth storyline is how familiar the family seems, as though it’s a parallel world to ours. So I would like to see a movie in which the Bluths get cast in a reality TV show modeled on The Hills. They would all play a version of themselves: how they believe other people perceive them, which is of course not what they’re like at all. The backdrop of this show is that its host, Richard Branson, wants to take them all to the moon. From here, the story gets complex, but Gob somehow gets his Segway onto the Sea of Tranquility.”
3. Arrested Development, South American StyleRyan Budke, who used to review Arrested Development for TV Squad, points out that instead of dragging Michael and George Michael back into the fold, the whole family could just join them on the lam. Once in South America, Ryan says, “Buster could have gotten a hand transplant from someone–that’s the only place he could find some ‘dirty surgeon’ to do the job.” Other possible South of the Border shenanigans: Steve Holt, GOB’s illegitimate son and Maeby’s would-be deflowerer, is Spring Breaking; and maybe something involving Marta, Telemundo soap opera star and former love interest of both Michael and GOB, and/or Lupe, Lucille’s put-upon Hispanic maid, who may or may not have had a thing with Buster.
4. Lucille Goes To Jail
This idea came from Movie Marketing Madness‘ Chris Thilk. In the final AD episode, George claimed that his wife Lucille––a vodka-pickled viper in perma-Chanel, whose long running affair with George’s twin brother Oscar resulted in man-child Buster––was the real brains behind the family’s criminal empire. Putting Lucile in jail would give the writers an excuse to bring Bateman and Cera’s characters, who fled on a yacht to South America in the final episode, back to the O.C. (don’t call it that) so that Michael could, once again, play surrogate patriarch while a parent is in jail. It would also allow the writers to play on the Portia DiRossi’s real life as one half of the world’s most famous lesbian couple. DiRossi’s Lindsay caused a ruckus in a first season episode, when she failed to be sexually harassed upon visiting her dad in jail. As Chris puts it, at a women’s prison, “Lindsay could finally get the cat calls and objectification she desires when she goes to visit.”
5. Les Cousins Dangereux
My one problem with the way Arrested Development wrapped had to do with the fumbling, uh, “romance”, between Cera’s George Michael and his cousin Maeby. In the third season, George Michael began to suspect that Maeby was adopted and was not, therefore, a blood relation. Then he saw some “pretty rough” photos that proved without a doubt that Maeby was born from his aunt Lindsay’s loins. Then, in the final episode, Michael and George Michael learned that Lindsay had been adopted, but Michael told his son that Maeby was still family, and father and son proceeded to make their getaway. I don’t care what else happens in this movie, but my Michael Cera obsession has got me fixed on the idea of George Michael and Maeby running off to France (or, at the very least, Little France) to play out scenes from his favorite movie, Les Cousins Dangereux.
Saw this on IMDB hit list, so I decided to post this.