This week we review the episode featuring Lindsay (Portia de Rossi), aka the episode no one ever asked for.
Let’s break it down…
Like her father, it turns out that Lindsay’s character is easier to take in smaller doses, especially when she’s not with the rest of the Bluth clan. On her own, Lindsay isn’t an interesting source of comedy – the only real jokes that come out of her grand adventure in India are about the country’s overcrowding and knockoff handbags. She eventually reunites with Tobias (David Cross) back home, which should lead to some funnier moments. But without Michael and only a brief cameo from Lucille to force them to take a good long look at their marriage, there isn’t a source of conflict to drive this episode along. It’s partly why Maeby’s one line in the entire episode (“I could’ve spoken up but I just wanted to see if you guys got there.”) makes such an impact. For a brief moment, she’s an actual source of tension for these incredibly selfish and reality-blind individuals.
The lack of tension isn’t just because Lindsay and Tobias are off on indulging their whims without consequence. As they are in the George Sr. episode, the scenes’ bloated lengths undermine whatever comedy could come from them. The “so we have it” jokes with realtor James “I don’t sell” Carr(s) (in a return cameo by Ed Helms) are only mildly funny to begin with, and that they just don’t stop coming really kills them. And the shots following Lindsay and Tobias through the empty mansion aren’t as cutting as they’re intended to be.
What’s most exciting in this episode has little to do with Lindsay. The idea of Tobias going to a methadone clinic and treating it like an acting class definitely has the most potential for future stories. And while Lindsay’s new love Marky Bark (Chris Diamantopoulos, aka smitten sound guy from The Office) has the always hilarious face-blindness, it’s addict Debrie Bardeaux who steals the episode. Cheers to Maria Bamford for downing that tub of imitation butter in the name of comedy!
What keeps me coming back to the series is how much I enjoy the throwaway bits, and this episode in particular has some beautiful gags.
- Not all of the Lindsay-Tobias moments are wasted on finding comedy in the 00s housing crisis. For a brief moment, we get to revisit their unique asexual tension in the police station when Tobias attempts what I assume is a kiss on her shoulder. Instead, he winds up looking more like an octopus’s tentacle stuck on her neck. But a screengrab is worth a thousand words, so let me spare my keyboard and just help you savor the moment:
- There is one designer jacket that made the whole blackmarket subplot worth it – that any jacket smaller than a small isn’t a Kate Spade, but a David.
- The Balboa Bay Window covers never get old. And of course Lucille (Jessica Walter) would protest gay marriage by getting married to a gorilla and ignoring the fact that she’s marrying her son. In a gorilla suit.
- Marky Bark’s moment of glory: “I must have scared the shit out of that lady in the bathroom when I threw open up the door and told her I loved her!”
That’s it for me this week, fellow Method One actors. Now it’s your turn – Does a duck in the kitchen qualify as a Thanksgiving miracle? And do you try to “life fully and skate through life”? Sound off in the comments below! Then join me next Thursday as I review “The B. Team.”
All four seasons of Arrested Development are available now on Netflix.