The twelfth episode in Netflix’s Arrested Development Season 4, Señoritis, looks at Mae “Maeby” Fünke from the time the Queen Mary was taken over by Lucille all the way to now. We mostly follow her post-film executive career – and by that we mean her attempts to graduate high school, while trying to find another job. These employment opportunities include selling her mother to Herbert Love and helping George Michael’s idea for Fakeblock, an anti-social network. While all this is going on, Maeby has a love life with high school student Perfecto, Lucille Austero’s adopted son, who may just be a narc.
Alia Shawkat’s ability to be so outspoken yet so dim, playing up the idiocy of Maeby without ever being self-aware, makes her a perfect Bluth family member, and while Señoritis is another episode that runs way too long, she has so many great moments and storylines that it almost justifies the duration – of course, like many Season 4 episodes, had Maeby’s outing been cut into two 20-minute chunks, the comedy would work much better, and the storyline involving the possible high school cop would be much more enjoyable, as opposed to an afterthought among the more outlandish events.
Traditionally, Maeby was a character who had fun story lines but was never a main focus – when she was on screen, it was her dynamic with others that made the comedy work. So it’s impressive that 35 minutes of Maeby Fünke can be mostly entertaining; less lingering and elongated and more jam-packed and rushed, albeit slightly unfocussed. Alia’s comic personality shines, while the number of returning characters she interacts with elevates the show an extra degree (most notably Jeff Garlin, whose studio exec Mort is also on the outside of the film industry) and a brilliant Curb music gag is an utter joy.
The crux of Maeby’s episode, like any Maeby story, is her relationship with on-again/off-again cousin-lover George Michael, who is now is in college and trying to change himself from George Michael into something else. We learn what that is in this episode and his relationship with someone who is not not Maeby threatens to change the dynamic of the show entirely – it’s all incestuous, but this is another step indeed.
What’s most impressive, though, is how it really does come together in a nice neat package, like a classic Arrested Development episode. SSeeing Maeby get up to no good and pop up in so many other parts of the new season feels like the most natural part of Mitchell Hurwitz’s puzzle so far; we know Maeby’s a real manipulator. Now she has a way to play with characters, and the audience, it’s a treat to watch.
For more on the Bluth’s new outings, read our Arrested Development interview with the case, our chat with Annyong, or our other Arrested Development Season 4 reviews.