Arrested Development

I love Arrested Development and it is a shame that this show was cancelled. In class the other day we discussed how the ensemble plot structure interweaves to create different plots, and how the function of the voice-over narrator adds to the show’s comedic tone. From the begining of the opening credits, the narrator tells the audience that they are about to be told a story. This immediately alludes to the connection between the storyworld and the narrator, and being a comedic serial, the narrator plays a key role in establishing jokes. As the episode proceeds, one can clearly see that the narrator’s voice is used in a disruptive way to precede reactions from the characters; basically a beat with a voice-over narrator for comedic effect. For instance, when Lindsey drinks to much the day before her audition with Lucille, and misses her chance to be an actress, the narrator begins describing how Lindsey is feeling and why she missed so many phone calls. Then, the narrator describes why Tobias was not able to be reached in order to be a fill-in actor for Lindsay. While this voice-over narration is happening, there is a series of shots that shows Lindsey on the couch, Lindsey awake and walking to the phone to listen to messages, and Tobias crying in the shower spraying water on his scalp. For Lindsey and Tobias, the “looming doom” that they have to deal with in this episode can only be fully absorbed through the careful voice-over narration of events. Without the narrator, the dialouge would have to be changed in order to draw important connections between characters and describe character motivations.  For instance, Lindsey winning her best hair title in high school, or Job throwing the insurance check in the ocean. This might change the style and nature of the show, making it less comedic.

This series might have been funny if there was no voice-over narrator. However, the genre versimilitude of the show is expressed better with a narrator explaining the events because the voice-over narration sets up punchlines within the varying plotlines. Humor is expressed through the voice-over narrator because he speaks in a montone voice, which describes the failure and dysfuntion of the Bluth family. The voice-over narrator talks in a way that suspects nothing else, and even when there is a positive scene, it is quickly reversed by some sort of negative transition.         

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