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‘Arrested Development’ Season Four Recap-A-Thon, Episode 7: “Colony Collapse”

Now the story of a great television show that got cancelled and the diehard viewers who had no choice but to keep yelling and screaming until Netflix brought it back for another season, seven years later. It’s the Arrested Development Season Four Recap-A-Thon, Episode 7: “Colony Collapse,” which gives us our first close look at G.O.B.’s decline.

So remember a few hours back, when I wrote that season four was showing a surprising lack of callbacks to earlier running gags, seemingly more interested in creating new bits than coasting on old favorites? Well, so much for that idea—“Colony Collapse,” dealing as it does with G.O.B.’s almost-marriage to Ann Veal, goes bananas with them: we get our first fresh “Marry me!”, our first “I’ve made a huge mistake,” the first sounds of “The Final Countdown,” and “Her?” not only vocalized, but realized visually, in comically huge letters at Pastor Veal’s Church of the Holy Eternal Rapture. And I take back what I wrote about staying away from these easy, familiar jokes as being “admirable”; this is easily the funniest episode yet.

But it’s not just another run around the Ann bases; Mitch Hutwitz and Jim Vallely pack this script (which translates to the longest episode thus far, running 35 minutes) with a ton of story, tracing G.O.B.’s deflowering of Ann to his stumbling, stammering attempts (recalling his suit bragging) to get rid of her, only to end up accidentally proposing they wed. But we follow him past that disaster to his time as the driver for an Entourage-style pack of young Hollywood douchebags (they frequent a club called “And Jeremy Piven”).

Thankfully, the old gags aren’t just revisited—they’re reinvigorated (you can add “Mouth” and “Blank” to the list of Ann’s secondary names). Forget-me-nows, which came up in the season’s first episode, are given the fuller explanation of the “roofie circle.” And the sheer incompetence of G.O.B.’s magic (early in the episode, he empties his pockets of drowned animals) is a bit that never wears out its welcome.

But new ground is being treaded here. His “but… are we good?” dialogue with George Michael is a solid bit, given the full sale by Arnett’s inimitable line readings. Pictures of the family on empty chairs and the PSA cut-ins of poor Rebel Alley (Isla Fisher) are turning out to be the new season’s most reliable running bits, and “He’s not coming back” has “I’ve made a huge mistake” potential. The use of “Sound of Silence” is ingenious, and the bad closed-captioning is kind of a perfect little throwaway visual gag. And this deep in, the occasionally-intersecting, Pulp Fiction-type structure is really starting to pay off; I’m looking forward to see what Maeby’s up to at the Opie Awards (honoring young Hollywood—way to be a good sport, Howard), while that flashback to Michael’s story (G.O.B. was in the honking limo) ends the episode on a high note.

NOTABLE GUESTS:

  • Bruce McCulloch of The Kids in the Hall as Pastor Veal’s co-host of “And As It is Such, and Also As Such It Is Onto You”
  • Ben Schwartz (aka Jean-Rapphio) as John Beard Jr., better known as J.B.J.

WELCOME RETURNS:

  • Mae Whitman as Ann (Her?)
  • And her parents, and even her creepy uncle
  • “Way to plant, Ann!,” a line first uttered by George Michael during the trip to Mexico, now said by G.O.B.
  • The air horn Pete Rose cut-in (with a sexier image this time, for “fourth base”)
  • “Marry me!”
  • After the marriage is announced: “I’ve made a huge mistake.”
  • Tony Wonder—now here, queer, and “over here!”
  • “The Final Countdown”
  • An unrecognizable Steve Holt
  • G.O.B. uses (but we do not see) the deployment of lighter fluid
  • Johnny Bark, actually alive, and played (as before) by Clint Howard.

BEST LINES:

  • “Now you… have got some mice to scoop out of the sea.”
  • “For a second, I thought that was a real guy.”
  • “How did you like your egg?” “I said you were fine.
  • “I came to ask you to be my best man… slash assistant.”
  • “I did not steal your idea. We sell hou—it would take hours.”
  • “But the lyrics were too subtle for G.O.B. to notice.”
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