Not even "Arrested Development" creator Mitchell Hurwitz can recommend whether fans should binge-watch the 15 new episodes debuting on Netflix this weekend, or spread out their viewing over several days or weeks.
"I joked recently that I thought 30 seconds a day for three years would be the best way to enjoy it," he said during a call with reporters Thursday. "I'm going to stand by that statement."
Hurwitz, like star Jessica Walter, will be sleeping when the episodes go live at 2:01 a.m. Central time May 26. Walter, who plays boozy Bluth matriarch Lucille and also was on Thursday's call, said she'll watch a few episodes at a time to savor each one.
They're both one up on Jeffrey Tambor, who stars as Lucille's morally bankrupt husband, George. The actor claims he'll have to buy a computer or a TV so he can tune in. "I had no idea," he said during the call, joking that he thought the cast was doing dinner theater.
How to watch the episodes and in what order are as serious talking points among the cult of "Arrested Development" as is the return of the beloved comedy, which was canceled by Fox in 2006 due to poor ratings despite three critically acclaimed seasons. "Arrested" premiered in 2003 as a sendup of the corporate scandals like Enron, using the Bluths to mock greed and corruption. It satirized the 1 percent before the term was part of our lexicon.
The new Netflix season updates viewers on what the now-broke Bluth clan of Newport Beach, Calif., has been up to between 2006 and 2012, with individual episodes focusing on specific characters. And although Hurwitz originally felt the structure allowed viewers to bounce between episodes in any order, he has changed his mind since finishing them just last week.
"They have to watch them in order, yes, that's very important," Hurwitz said, then chuckled, "because it turns out stories have to be told in order."
If you follow Hurwitz's suggestion, Jason Bateman's episodes are the official start of the fourth season. As Bateman's Michael Bluth tries to put his life back together after six years of disappointments, his son George Michael (Michael Cera) goes off to college. The two episodes also introduce a Cuatro de Mayo celebration that's integral to all the story lines and a meta-proposal for a movie about the Bluth family to be directed by Ron Howard (who returns to narrate the new episodes).
It sounds like viewers could watch the first two episodes in one sitting, but Hurwitz didn't seem sure whether to binge.
"I do think there will be some fatigue that sets in," he said, then added that it's fun to rewatch comedy. "Maybe people will want to speed through that process and then go back and enjoy some of the details. Or maybe not. I don’t know."
Bateman, he said, plans "to try to watch four a night."
Whatever approach viewers take, "they should be prepared for withdrawal when it's over," Walter warned, explaining she suffered after finishing Netflix's "House of Cards." "I couldn't stop [watching] ... I know people are going to feel that way about 'Arrested.'"
Open the captions in the photo gallery at the top of this post to catch up with all the Bluths.
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