After a seven year wait, Arrested Development arrives with 15 new episodes this weekend. In celebration, Hypable spoke with the cast of season 4 to talk about what challenges viewers will face.
If there was one common theme throughout our conversation with cast members including Jason Bateman and David Cross, it’s that they are not afraid to admit that there will be some serious changes that fans will have to endure.
When asked if it’ll be easy for the viewers to digest the episodes – which do not follow a traditional television arc – lead actor Jason Bateman (who plays Michael) said there will be hurdles. “But I hope that [those challenges are] appreciated by the few people who do love the show,” he told us.
Bateman says the viewers, who’ve enjoyed keeping up with running jokes during the three seasons, are naturally interested in television that requires focus and thought. “They come back for Mitch’s dense writing – it’s incredible. The fact that Netflix affords him the opportunity for these stories to go out over 15 different episodes that are so intertwined that actual – the same scene will be in different angles from multiple episodes is a unique thing and exciting to be a part of – working with his complexity and Netflix’s distribution platform. It’s an exciting time to watch TV.”
David Cross, who plays the eccentric character Tobias, added that the viewers will learn how to watch the season after getting through the first two episodes. “This is what I’m particularly excited about after watching those first two episodes [at the premiere] – if you’re watching it, especially in chronological order, I think as you get to episode three and episode four, you’re going to realize how you’re supposed to start watching it,” he said. “I think that’s going to be really really exciting for people.”
He added that the number of back references in the new episodes are “quintuple” what you found in seasons 1 through 3. “You’re going to realize, ‘Oh there’s a stretcher to this I wasn’t aware of when I started watching.’ That’s going to be make people triple excited and will redefine what TV can be.”
So what exactly are these additional back references? They’re caused by the fact that the entire new season follows a single storyline, but each looks at it from the perspective of a different character. Even the cast needed help keeping up with the different references from episode to episode. Said Michael Cera (who plays George Michael), “There was one scene that’s a five page scene in the computer lab, and the different sections of the scene will be appearing in different episodes. So you’d be having to play – deliver a line – that makes sense in multiple, different contexts that actually play against each other. And you have to try to make it work for all three of those. And in every episode you have different information and it means something totally different. And that was really confusing.”
With this unique storytelling, the cast encourages viewers to watch the episodes out of order but with one exception: The first two episodes must be watched first “because of the story exposition,” said Cross, but then the rest can be consumed in the alignment you please. “Mitch is numbering them on purpose, but it’s not required to watch in that order,” Bateman told us. “So you’ll start to make your own order as you’re interested in certain stories or start to kind of figure out how the whole thing is going to be about.”
Arrested Development season 4 premieres on May 26. Earlier this month we shared the first part of our Arrested Development season 4 interviews where the cast discussed what’s new and what’s the same since we last saw the show on Fox.