A second George Sr. episode, Double Crossers, follows on from the lackluster first instalment, as we see what George and brother Oscar began to do after their colony collapsed.
Paying off Herman Caine-type politician Herbert Love (Terry Crewes) to support a wall between the US and Mexico, George’s idea goes from bad to worse when the US border changes slightly and he suddenly becomes the Oscar of the family – he turns soft, kind, flaccid, while Oscar returns to Lucille pretending to be George… and isn’t flaccid at all.
Double Crossers is the first episode of the season to really branch out from the character-centric nature of this series, as an entire scene between Michael and GOB plays out without any reference to their father and his ongoing shenanigans. It’s at this point when the show finally feels like it’s coming back to the old days, although it’s still not as close to the humour we know and love. To see Michael alongside GOB and George’s heightened worlds adds the much-needed perspective that earlier episodes were missing and, even though Michael’s self-centred descent into movie producing makes him less than likeable, next to GOB’s limo-driving self and a repentant George Sr., it gives events a much more interesting dynamic.
Having said that, George and Lucille’s scenes together in this episode are an absolute let down; now the perfunctory exposition has been laid down in episode one, it would have been nice to have these two rich snobs discussing something, anything, that puts them both in rather ugly territory, but their relationship issues just aren’t interesting.
The political slant of the episode is tiresome – and looks set to continue in later episodes as we spot other Bluths hanging around Crewes’ Love – and, unfortunately, the story of George Bluth not managing to get it up anymore doesn’t lend itself to much comedy. The good news, however, is that structurally this episode feels like a step in the right direction. However, there’s still such a lack of conclusion so that it just becomes half an hour of things, without any clear resolution, like a puzzle that Mitch Hurwitz wants you to complete while he holds the last three pieces in his hands.
Double Crossers isn’t a bad episode; it’s just unfunny. Heck, at this point in the season, that’s no surprise and as it has a familiar-feeling structure, you can at least say it feels like an Arrested Development episode and not a fan-made script. Thankfully, this is the last George Sr. outing; from here on out we should be seeing more of the characters who could work in this weirder format, like GOB and Lucille.
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.