Arrested Development Season 4, Episode 14 “Off The Hook” Review

Rating: 9.0

Here are the spoilers you asked for, mother.

If you don’t have this episode on your list of favorites from season 4, then I won’t box-juice-sugar-coat things…You’re a monster.

Frankly, if Buster isn’t one of your favorite characters, then something is definitely wrong with you. There is something about that demented mother-boy that I can’t help but love, and I could not wait any longer for his feature episode. I can safely say that it did not disappoint. You get all of the zaniness that you could want, as well as more missing hand jokes than you can shake a…hand…at.

By all accounts Buster should not be a relatable character. His attachment to his mother is profoundly disturbing (a subject taken to its nth degree in this episode), and his difficulty with handling basic realities is at times as perplexing as it is hilarious. Even his mannerisms are off-putting, his voice somehow whiny and sinister. He is almost like an oversized child, but that image doesn’t do the dysfunction justice. Why, then, do I care so much about this hopelessly hopeless man, and why did this episode serve him so well?

Well, at this point I’m assuming anyone reading my reviews has already watched all of this season, so let’s just do this. Everything that happens in this episode seems natural, and Buster reacts in character. His surrounding circumstances only bring out the aspects of him I love to see. For the first part of the episode he is all alone, making a stuffed dummy version of his mother and Norman-Bates-ing the crap out of her. He then turns to his second love, Army, where he becomes a master drone pilot, unknowingly killing a lot of “guilty people.” He gets a comedically oversized hand that provides a lot of physical comedy as well as a great visual representation of his total lack of basic life skills.

Within all of this are the trademark Buster freak outs as well as some of that inexplicable seduction he always seems to accomplish. What is this episode missing? Right now I can’t think of anything. Maybe I’m just distracted by the anticipation of the final installment, or it could also be that Tony Hale was a delight to watch perform (he plays Buster, dontcha know). The plot moved forward just fine, it went by quickly (in a good way), and after some of this season’s relatively weaker episodes, it left me totally blind-sighted.

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