If you've been feeling sceptical of Mitchell Hurwitz's greatest show ever since its so-so fourth season, get prepared to do a complete 180. Arrested Development has been renewed for Season 5 — but this time round it could be a whole different beast. "In talks with Netflix, we all felt that that stories about a narcissistic, erratically behaving family in the building business — and their desperate abuses of power — are really underrepresented on TV these days," said the creator on Wednesday. And if you're wondering if a subtle political parallel is being made to America's most famous family, your suspicions were confirmed.
"I am so grateful to them and to 20th TV for making this dream of mine come true," Hurwitz continued. "In bringing the Bluths, George Sr., Lucille and the kids; Michael, Ivanka, Don Jr., Eric, George-Michael, and who am I forgetting? Oh, Tiffany. Did I say Tiffany? — back to the glorious stream of life."
The once cult-show hit a road bump with its Netflix revival, in which the series accommodated its cast's busy schedules by shooting individual episodes rather than ensemble efforts. While it got a 78 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the new feel of the show resulted in a few less-than-enthused reviews. The New Republic described it as "bloated, the plot made sluggish from too many nods to the behind-the-scenes work of making a show," The Guardian concluded "it doesn't really work," and TIME Magazine describing it as "dark, uneven and frustrating." But Season 5 could be a whole new breed, especially since the entire cast has signed on.
Arrested Development has always been at its sharpest in its satirical depiction of a once-wealthy family who are totally out of touch with the reality of America, which makes it the perfect vehicle to tackle the President with. Who better to hold a guy who boasts a strong work ethic but was born rich to account than the Bluths?
It's also been oddly prescient. The jokes about a border wall between the United States and Mexico were made long before Trump included this very idea in his campaign promises. However, the show itself presumably was inspired by the political climate, with Congress voting in favor of constructing a border fence in the Secure Fence Act of 2006, so it's hard to accuse The Apprentice star of plagiarizing the idea from Netflix.
While Hurwitz stated in July 2016 that he wouldn't make too many Trump jokes in the fifth season because "it might feel like a sketch, like too easy of a parody," the politics-heavy joke with which Netflix has chosen to announce the next installment suggests that he's thought better of this. Which is great, because there are a whole lot of parallels between the Trumps and the Bluths. It would be a crying shame for the writers not to use all this raw comedy material that fate has granted them.
It would also solve one dilemma created by the fourth season — that of the darker tone. It was another aspect of Season 4 that fans weren't happy with, since the season feature Maeby sleeping with a 17 year old and being sent to jail as a sex offender and acting as her mother's pimp.
Hopefully, if the series wants to adhere to that same darker tone, it can now funnel all that bitter energy into holding the administration to account via whip-smart jokes rather than uncomfortable sex comedy.
So fingers crossed for its most political season yet. If not, I suspect Hurwitz will be channeling GOB — "I've made a huge mistake."