Netflix review: Arrested Development Series 4 Episode 5
Andrew Jones | On 29, May 2013
The former analrapist is having A New Start in A New Start. He even has a licence plate to that effect, as we find out what he did when his wife began to pull away from him, his subsequent trip of enlightenment, his struggles through the economic downturn and how his acting career still hasn’t gotten off the ground in a weirdly-paced episode that is more an excuse for innuendo and injuries than anything else.
In this outing alone, he sleeps rough, gets run over, has his neck broken, his head cracked, is arrested multiple times and even takes a slip into drugs.
Tobias’ downfall isn’t helped when he meets former actress DuBreis (Maria Bamford), who was once Sue Storm in a Fantastic Four film and is now in a methadone clinic. Tobias sees her both as an acting teacher and a friend, so she goes along with his notion of selling themselves on the street for photos as two of the comic book quartet. But it’s an idea that only leads to the darker path that this season is taking with every character and a cameo from John Beard at both the beginning and the end seems to suggest that Tobias’ luck has truly run out.
A New Start isn’t an outwardly funny episode. Sure, David Cross gives it all he can in both the physical side and the inappropriate line readings, but it’s a plot-driven episode with a side order euphemism rather than a main course of jokes. Perhaps tellingly, the only really funny joke comes from Tobias’ licence plate, which eagle-eyed viewers might have spotted two episodes prior. Seeing the man crushed by a car and missing all of life’s opportunities for a futile dream isn’t as funny in 30 solid minutes than it is as a brief three minutes in a standard 22-minute episode. We want to enjoy our time with this man, and it’s hard when the writers want him to be hurt so much and yet still so ignorant that we can’t feel sorry for his suffering.
Tobias Fünke is, the most slapstick-friendly character, but in his first solo story, things are just kinda sad, loud and mean. If that’s the fate of all the crazier characters, the season might not work completely for them compared to the level-headed, half-decent human Michael Bluth. For now, A New Start isn’t quite The B. Team but it’s a step up from the George Sr. and Lindsey episodes. Anustart indeed.
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.