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September 27, 2005 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-09-27

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 27, 2005

ARTS

Arnett ponders the fate of 'Development' *

Courtesy of Buena Vista

Insert awkward, dead voice-over chick here.

'Desperate' DVD
packed with extras

By Bernie Nguyen
Daily Books Editor
When ABC changed its fall lineup

in order to air
"Alias" in a con-
tinuous week-to-
week block of new
episodes last sea-
son, few expected
its replacement,

Desperate
Housewives
Buena Vista

a show about middle-aged women in
suburbia, to explode into an overnight
sensation.
"Desperate Housewives," an hour
filled with attractive but lovably neurot-
ic 40-somethings and a neighborhood
of dirty secrets, plays off the chemistry
and impressive acting ability of the four
main characters, Teri Hatcher, Marcia
Cross, Felicity Huffman and sizzling
newcomer Eva Longoria. Packaged with
a clever script, a compelling plot and an
active undercurrent of morbidly dark
humor, it turned out to be a recipe that
women (and yes, even men) were will-
ing to devote an hour to every Sunday
night. By avoiding the common pitfalls
of primetime drama, such as tired plot
and reiterated characters, "Desperate"
managed to point a refreshingly enter-
taining - if slightly disturbing - lens
at the quiet suburban neighborhoods of
average American life.
The series's main plotline revolves
around four neighborhood friends'
attempt to find out why their neighbor,
Mary Alice Young, unexpectedly killed

herself. Along the path of this main
story are intriguing character develop-
ments involving steaming infidelity,
rambunctiously out-of-control children,
marital woes and even murder. The
rich detailed relationships and charac-
ter background produce a textured and
developed plot.
The DVD set is packed with spe-
cial features and extras. Unrated and
extended episodes add new layers to
the already thick storyline, along with
behind-the-scenes looks and the typi-
cal audio commentary. It also includes
a vividly satirical clip in which Oprah
Winfrey moves in as a new neighbor on
Wisteria Lane. Oprah is inserted into
hilarious clips from original episodes
and gets a startling taste of the subur-
ban lifestyle.
The DVD set's greatest virtue, how-
ever, lies in its presentation of all the
episodes in a conveniently coherent
package. Those who were unwilling to
wait a week between episodes for the
answer to the latest plot turn will be
satisfied at having each and every juicy
detail at their fingertips. Those who are
just getting introduced to the scandal-
ously addictive series will be quickly
and easily drawn in by the show's
irresistibly contagious drama. Every
domestic conflict, mysterious intrigue
and romantic twist is now easy access
- and Wisteria Lane is right around
the corner.
Show: ****
Picture/Sound: ***
Features: ****

By Punit Mattoo
Daily TV/New Media Editor
"I think I've always been kind of a jokester or a
wise ass ... I don't know how you wanna put it ... a
jerk," jokingly explained Will Arnett, who stars as
the smug brother and unsuccessful magician on one
of the best sitcoms in recent history, "Arrested Devel-
opment." Born and raised in Toronto, Arnett headed
to New York for typical dramatic roles in plays and
independent films, but didn't find commercial suc-
cess. After reading for a few dramas and sitcoms,
Arnett said he turned to comedy "because- people
found my dramatic acting to be hilarious, and that's a
bad sign for a dramatic actor."
Arnett's friends eventually told him of an amaz-
ing pilot script, but he remained cautious. "I didn't
wanna read for it because I had some crappy expe-
riences in TV. I had my heart broken or my ego
crunched on but eventually went in and just read for
it." After sending a taped version of his read from
the unfinished script, he heard back the next day and
was asked to audition for the studio in Los Angeles,
eventually cementing his role in the cast.
After two seasons and six Emmy wins for "Arrest-
ed Development," the show has established itself
amongst the sitcom elite. Featuring the quirky Bluth
family, which includes an alcoholic mother, fugitive
father and emotionally scarred children, "Arrested"
has an ensemble cast unlike any other television
show. This fact, along with cutting-edge humor and
intricate plot devices have made fans, albeit a small
number, fervent about the phenomenal show.
Of the many critical accolades heaved upon
"Arrested Development," much of the attention has
been directed toward the seemingly improvised
scenes, which, Arnett said, is a result of the "incred-
ibly collaborative creative process on the show." It
creates an "incredibly fun, funny creative environ-
ment. Everyone we work with is talented and so a lot
of it is shooting straight from the hip ... it's really
like uncensored. We're not tied down to one thing."
While the actors don't have much input on the
direction of the plot or the characters, they do have
room for interpretation in scenes.
"There are certain things you're given a lot of free-
dom where you kinda just create a joke out of some-
thing that may have not previously been there, you
might just find a nugget. And everybody loves to find
a nugget. And then you boil the nugget down to a gor-
geous ring to wear on your finger like a badge."
For all its critical success, the show hasn't been
able to avoid the ratings basement and remained on
the brink of cancellation until late last spring. Fox,
in spite of its notoriously quick cancellations, gave
the show another chance, with a third season and
a time-slot shift to Monday nights. Arnett says
he still remains frustrated and unsure about the
show's future.
"That frustration is manifested in Mitch Hurwitz's
speech at the Emmys where he said 'how can you

40

Courtesy of Fox

"No, I can't pass this key without privacy!"
keep giving us awards for a show that nobody watch-
es?' You know it's hard to make. You're making
something where you don't know, where you have no
expectation of how it'll be received. Our show, we
know that we take a shit in the ratings every night
and we continue to make it. It's kinda weird ... I
don't know how much more patience Fox is going
to have with us. You know I wouldn't blame them
frankly, you know, they're running a business and if
part of your business is not performing, then you've
gotta axe it," Arnett said.
Until that happens, viewers can expect Gob to
delve further into the relationship with his newly dis-
covered son and "how that relates to his own previous
feeling of neglect from his own father," Arnett said.

He followed up explaining that "It's a lot emotionally
for a person who is truly ill equipped to deal with it
to deal with. He's very confused right now. He's often
very confused."
Arnett's future plans outside of "Arrested" include
the films "You Are going to Prison," described as
"your typical prison comedy," and "R.V., " which
stars Robin Williams and is being directed by
Barry Sonnefeld. Other indefinite projects are in the
works; Arnett professed, "There are a lot of talented
awesome people out there that I'd love to work with,
and I'm pretty psyched about that." Arnett looks
ready to'continue to thrive on the big screen as the
smug star that makes him so hysterical on "Arrested
Development."

'~ x
DAILY ARTS.
" WE'VE MADE A HORRIBLE MISTAKEL

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