Arrested Development Boss on Mixed Reviews, a Feature Film and the Lost George Clooney Cameo

Arrested Development Feature FilmIt’s been nearly two weeks since Netflix’s high profile relaunch of Arrested Development, and the reaction has been… polarizing. For his part, series creator Mitch Hurtwitz is taking the mixed reviews in relative stride.

“I try to have a pretty open attitude about it,” he said Wednesday during a conference call with reporters. “Everybody wants to be loved all the time, [but] it’s not realistic. It’s certainly not realistic if you’re going to be ambitious in terms of changing the form. There are risks either way. Had I done the exact same show I did last time there’d be blowback to that.”

POLL | How Many Season 4 Arrested Development Episodes Have You Watched So Far?

In fact, Hurtwitz admitted he set out to “use the new media to tell a different kind of story” and “not give people exactly what they want [and] surprise them. And I think it’s inevitable if you do that people are not going to be on board at first — or maybe ever. But that’s a risk I willingly took.”

And is willing to take again.

Hurwitz said he’s “game” to keep the franchise going, either on the big screen or via a fifth season on Netflix — although one mistake he won’t be making this time around is “constantly teasing the audience” with the possibility of more original content. “I don’t have a timeline yet,” he insisted. “If there’s more I promise you we will put a date out there.”

RELATED | Will Arrested Development Shake Up the Emmy Race?

Hurtwitz ended the call by sharing details of a “great Mitt Romney” bit that never made it into Season 4. “George Sr. has this land in Mexico and they was going to be constantly spooked and chased off the land by these really handsome men — we were going to get people like George Clooney,” he explained. “And they’d be like, ‘Who are these guys? Who are these Mexicans that are trying to get us off their property?’ And at one point [one of the men was] going to say, ‘We are the Mexican Romneys!'”

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  1. Frankieboy says:

    I LOVED the fourth season. And I’m really hoping that they will make a fifth one.
    I do hope that the characters get more screen time together. That is when they shine the most.

    I also needed more Buster and Maeby in this fourth season, but besides that. They can’t end the franchise now, the fans want more!

    • Samantha says:

      I agree about more interaction between the characters. Those scenes are the best when they’re all together. And more Buster is a must if they do season five. I missed him the most and he got hardly any screen time in season four.

      A season five would be preferable to a movie but I’m game for anything that gives me more time with the Bluths.

    • Emelie says:

      Agree on all points! I also loved the 4th season and am eager for a 5th (and 6th). I like the format but would enjoy it if the characters had more screen time together. I would also like to see more Buster!

    • Britta Unfiltered says:

      Perfectly put.

    • Adam says:

      Agreed! I was worried in the earlier episodes because I wasn’t loving it, but it really paid off in aces the further into it I got.

  2. Kristina says:

    I liked the fourth season a lot! I’m glad they did something different, as much as I liked the original three. You can’t please everyone, especially with shows with cult followings like this one.

    • Rachel says:

      I actually liked this one a little bit more than Season 3. I like the different direction they went with it, you can’t keep doing the same thing over and over. I don’t know what fans wanted.

  3. Rachel says:

    I loved the fourth season!! I feel like the fans that did not like it may have been expecting it to be the exact same as it was before, which wouldn’t have been possible. It’s been so many years – so much to happen both to them and in general – and to have had them all the exact same characters in the exact same situations would have been silly and unbelievable.

  4. Warren says:

    Count me as one of the people who loved the fourth season. I thought it was a little weird at first, but the more the episodes started tying together the more sense it made, and I loved putting all the pieces together.

    • Winnie says:

      This is exactly how I feel – I love Season 4, and it stands up in re-watching, too. However, I’ll always wonder if Buster and Lucille would call Season 4 a “hot mess.”

  5. Et al. says:

    The fan reaction has been overwhelmingly positive which is astounding considering the expectations. Reading the negative “professional” reviews it’s extremely clear they fall into two camps. 1. Critics who obviously didn’t watch the whole season. 2. Whiny baby critics who were still butt hurt that they didn’t get their precious advance screener copy and were forced to watch the show like an icky commoner.

    • dude says:

      I wouldn’t say that. Pretty much every one I know and/or follow on Twitter lamented at what a chore it was to get through this season. I’m pretty much the only person I know who enjoyed this season more than was tested by it, even though I much prefer the first three.

    • Jason says:

      I absolutely agree! I called that when the critics were bitching about no screeners. The “common” people definitely loved it.

  6. AUShole12 says:

    I am more in LOVE with the Bluth family than I have ever been. I am so pleased to have seen more of their story, and to witness the extreme mess they continue to make for themselves. Mr. Mitch is brilliant in his approach. AD is not intended for congruent story lines, rather I see it as a non linear jumble of crazy family dynamics and extraordinarily hilarious satire on America’s current events. Unfortunately the content is all too relateable (except for the incest stuff – hopefully), and it is not your regular boy meets girl and then spend nine seasons of on again off again relationship issues (not that there is anything wrong with that). To me, this is a show that is super deep and shallow – its a show about contradictions and conflict. I FREAKING LOVED season four! More please… more more more!

  7. Scott says:

    As a big fan of AD from the Fox days, admittedly the first episode or two were a bit strange but it had been years since the third season finale and it took me a while to work out what was going on with the “time jumps” between the episodes. But once you get to the third or fourth episode, it does all start to fit together and then the episodes get more-ish in that you want to carry on watching them to see what happens in the end.

    Admittedly, the film or movie needs more Buster and more Maeby, who I felt wasn’t used as much and she was my favourite character from the original series. As expected though the two best characters from the original series – GOB and Tobias were as brilliant as ever. The GOB episode with Ben Stiller’s Tony Wonder was just awesome.

    So I agree with Warren and Winnie (above), a hot mess but what a great mess! I’d take a polarizing 4th season of AD over 99% of all other sitcoms (everything except Community and Parks & Rec, both of which owe a LOT to Arrested Development, especially Community).

  8. dan says:

    I loved season Four. I think that changing up what they did actually made it more interesting, I hope they keep this format. However, I surely need more Maebe.

  9. bobbie says:

    Absolutely loved Season 4! Brilliant! Encore, encore!

  10. Mehvash says:

    season four was great once you really got about three to four episodes deep. I initially was worried after episode one but quickly realized I had nothing to worry about once I saw how the stories tied together. I would much rather have additional seasons ( with more character interactions) than a movie. if they could somehow get these actors schedules to mesh so we could get more Bluth family scenes together..that is where the character dynamics really blow your mind. overall in enjoyed season for and those who didn’t can go blue themselves.

  11. K says:

    From the reactions I’ve seen it seems like most critics judged and reviewed the 4th season on the first few episodes instead of the whole season. Most of the AD fan reaction seems to be it took a few episodes to get use to and then they ended up loving the season after seeing the whole product.

    Personally, I think they did a fantastic job and can’t wait for more. I know I’ll enjoy the 4th season more on rewatches since I’ll be able to pick on things better just like the previous three seasons.

    • Matthew says:

      This is exactly what happened. The first few episodes got bad reviews (even though they weren’t even the worst AD episodes) that occured because of super high expectations, which led to other people jumping on the “This is bad!” bandwagon. Really, I’ve yet to meet someone in real life that was even a little disapointed, and I do know a lot of people that watch.

  12. Matthew says:

    Let me start by saying Season 4 was an incredibly well thought-out batch of episodes that flowed pretty naturally, was written well, and did a good job of covering a fairly large time gap between seasons. The only problem, if any (other than the unfortunate cliffhanger ending) was that it won’t be as appreciated by the people that only watch it once through, I think. There’s simply so MUCH going on in each episode, especially the first 5 or 6, that to fully understand it all you have to see the later parts of the season too.

  13. Dex P says:

    The 4th season was awesome

  14. Britta Unfiltered says:

    That makes me sad there are people out there who didn’t like it. I do wonder if these are people who haven’t finished the whole season yet or just gorged on it too quickly and didn’t go back for a second viewing. Or maybe they are just hipsters who have to hate everything. Haha. I appreciated it much more on my second viewing, especially the earlier episodes. I think as more time goes by and people start doing repeat viewings, and also, as people start going back and watching all the seasons in succession, they’ll find it much funnier. I’ve gone back to previous seasons, and I’m now seeing we’ve got a lot more callback jokes than I realized in season four that go all the way back to references in season one.
    But yeah, I really loved the 4th season. It was totally worth the wait. My only criticisms were those dang George Sr. episodes. The Mexican Romney joke sounds like it would have been hilarious though, particularly since Romney views himself as having Mexican heritage. I really wish they had kept that bit in. I had another criticism that I felt like at times they held the audience’s hand a bit too much. They explained some jokes or showed some flashbacks that I think were unnecessary. For example, if Gob says to someone, “Marry me!” I’m going to get right away that comes from Maeby and I’m going to laugh, I didn’t need to see flashbacks of Maeby saying it.
    Well, I hope anyone out there that didn’t like the season at least likes the Gob and Tobias and Buster episodes, because those were the best. If you can’t laugh at Feral Jesus, then I don’t how to help you.

    • I’ve only seen six episodes so far. While AD’s season 4 feels more like AD than season 4 of Community felt like Community, I feel like so far, it has the same problem: not enough laughs. Since the pilot episode, they would pack so many jokes and gags that you would miss some of them and I feel like what I’m seeing should have gone through some more drafts and many of these gags that don’t really work (like Tobias trying to fix his Indian toga thing in the bathroom, where they should have just cut to him sitting back down with it looking like a dress) and things like that should just go the way of the multitude of deleted scenes from the DVD sets of yore. Long sentence.

      My favorite moment that I’ve seen wasn’t even very funny, when you see the vote that had ‘Da’ crossed out. And while it’s a sentimental moment, I feel like it was earned, unlike a lot of sentiment on comedies that feel really forced (like The Office finale). Anyway, I’m still sort of enjoying it and am hoping the end payoffs will hit all the right notes. I’ll grab a burrito and have a little marathon tonight for cinco de junio.

  15. Babybop says:

    Loved season four the first time, and am enjoying it even more the second time. More more more!

  16. Amy says:

    I loved the fourth season as well. It was such a complicated story to execute and they did it well while keeping true to the characters. I love that they referenced almost every single old joke except it was a shame there was no “Hey Brother.” The new jokes were great too: hot mess, the Getaway, Getaway song, Buster’s new hand, Tobias’ fallicy song. The Thanksgiving miracle duck sight gags might be one of my very favorite AD jokes.

    My one complaint is something that couldn’t be helped: the lack of interaction between characters. For next time I would rather wait for the actors schedules to be cleared at the same time and have to wait longer for new material.

  17. Zvono says:

    Please make more.

  18. Quinn Mallory says:

    I have mostly positive but a little bit mixed feeling toward season 4. Love that the Bluths are back, but they kind of made Michael to be a lot crazier this time around than in the original series (particularly the one in season 1). The simultaneous storylines made for some great moments and reveals but having more interactions among the characters would be great in a potential movie.

  19. onasidlinger says:

    Season 4 was amazing, as all of the seasons. It’s the funniest show of all time, more cleverly written than Seinfeld. Please please give us more!!!