Spoilers–mostly regarding jokes! Many of my favorite Arrested Development gags come back with a vengeance, and George Michael enters into the picture with a renewed vigor. If you missed the “chicken noise” joke as well as the Bluths’ inability to comprehend Spanish, you’re in luck. Cornballers? Woodblock-playing? This episode has it all. Don’t fret. Even without these classic references, the episode is still very good.
Much of that is due to Michael Cera in his best role. He retains much of his trademark nervousness, but he’s not stuck in his childhood interpretation of George Michael Bluth. Just as George Michael learns to utilize his lips for kissing, Cera adjusts to keep his acting as some of the most natural on the show. It takes some talent to be a comedic straight-man funny in his own right, and Cera keeps the show’s heart on the straight and narrow.
In this episode the writers really got it right. They show me exactly what I didn’t know I wanted to see: George Michael finding a little taste for Bluthian deception, getting in way over his head, and mucking it up with Maeybe (as per usual). Though the episode follows in the “twenty minutes of recap and ten minutes of plot movement” format of other mid-season episodes, the time in which we are seemingly reviewing what we know is particularly enjoyable in this one. There is even a wonderfully long, self-deprecating monologue made by narrator Ron Howard that I greatly appreciated (as someone who does not appreciate voice over). Pacing was seamless, the dialogue full-functioning on multiple levels. I can tell that the writers love dealing with George Michael.
The only reason I didn’t rate this episode along with my other favorites at a solid nine was because I’m waiting for the real heart to happen. I can see some intense moments building up for George Michael, but I don’t feel like the emotional pull of the episode reached a Tobias-Debrie or Lucille level. In those episodes I am made aware of a huge underlying issue with the characters; in this episode I feel like I am told a lot of stuff I love hearing, but already know about George Michael. Though I sympathize with him greatly and love watching him grow, I am holding out for a moment when I truly connect.