'Arrested Development': Creator Mitchell Hurwitz talks new season, movie and... bees

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Image Credit: Michael Yarish/Netflix

If there is one person that deserves credit for the revival of Arrested Development, it’s… you. You, random fan — by buying millions of DVDs, discovering the show on Hulu/Netflix, or quoting it endlessly to friends who then became converts (or just annoyed) — have persuaded the Hollywood powers that be that this off-kilter cult comedy is worth bringing back from the dead. (May 26. 15 new episodes. Netflix. Be there.) But if credit goes to a second person, it’s Mitchell Hurwitz. For years, the show’s creator/executive producer/mastermind has been plotting some form of return for the critically loved, Emmy-winning series, which was cancelled by Fox in 2006 after 53 episodes. You can read all about how he decided to reintroduce the emotionally and financially damaged Bluth family right here. What follows are bonus quotes from EW’s interviews with Hurwitz, in which he discusses the new season, how viewers should consume these episodes, and the plans for a movie. (Check back on EW.com next week to hear more from the Arrested cast.)

On the cast reunion in the penthouse set
“It was really surreal… I’d even walked onto the set a lot as they were building the set, and was like, ‘Oh yeah, those are the walls.’ But there’s nothing like human beings. Walls, after all is said and done, don’t really don’t matter. But having those voices and those people back in that room was a crazy experience. I talked for a little bit, and then we sat down and started. And because of the nature of that scene everybody spoke in it. And Jeffrey Tambor said to me, ‘Every moment I think: ‘That’s the funniest person I’ve ever seen, and then someone else speaks. And then Tony Hale speaks, and I think, ‘Okay, Tony is the funniest actor I’ve ever seen.’ And then Michael Cera speaks….  It really was at that moment that I thought, ‘Oh right, this is why this has been so hard. Because this isn’t supposed to happen, where everybody comes back after everybody’s gone on to be successful, and everybody is still having fun, and wants to be together.’ And that has been the tone of this.”

On fears of tarnishing the Arrested legacy
“I have to turn that off. And it’s hard to turn it off. I had to turn it off after the pilot. When the pilot was well-reviewed: ‘Uh-oh, I gotta do an episode 2.’ The perfect antidote to that kind of stuff is just curiosity. Curiosity about what characters do, what’s funny this time…. We’ll hopefully create a new legacy for the show. I don’t know that it’ll be exactly the same legacy for this new run of shows as it was for the old shows, but I know that at the end of every season there would be reviewers that would say, ‘This show has jumped the shark.’ It’s just an occupational hazard. But that’s what’s fun about it — giving people what they don’t expect.”

On focusing each episode on a single Bluth
“One of the jokes of the show has always been that Michael (Jason Bateman) is the guy in the middle, and he’s the most normal one. To me he’s also the craziest one, because he’s the one that needs this the most and puts up with the most. What’s that all about? And I always like the idea that if you were to ask any one of the members of the Bluth family, they’d say, ‘I think I’m the only sane one in this family.’ I think it’s true in everybody’s family. And everyone who’s reading this probably thinks they’re the sane one in their family, right? Does anybody read this and think, ‘Oh, I’m the weird uncle?’ Of course not. So what I like about this [season] is that it gives us a chance to see everyone from their own perspective. And as a result, it’s a challenging comedic choice, because we’re taking comic characters and saying, ‘Okay, you’re going to be the lead now.'”

On designing these 15 episodes as the prequel to a story that would be told on the big screen
“One of the things I always loved about doing the show was, it was a chance to break the mold a little bit. And what had been daunting about doing Arrested again was going back to the mold. So once I found a way to, at least through the use of the media, break the mold a little bit, I got really excited about it. The master plan is to do these episodes and then do the movie, where the family is all together. And it’s very much written and directed in that direction. It all leads up to a bigger story, it’s kind of the preamble, although hopefully it’ll be satisfying in its own right…. These nine characters have stories that happen at the same time. So there are some shifting perspectives on scenes. And we can see the way in which the center of the family didn’t hold. The family has fallen apart but they’re all still in each other’s orbit.”

On a theme of the season
“It’s metaphorically and actually about the death of the Postal Service.”

On one familiar thing that fans will see in the new episodes
“Fans can rest assured that Gob (Will Arnett) is still in the bee business. And might even be responsible for colony collapse disorder.”

On how viewers should consume these episodes, which are being released at the same time
“There’s a lot of material here. More content than we had the whole first season in terms of running time, even though there are [fewer] episodes. There’s a lot of story, and I want to encourage people to not feel they have to do it all at once. Get some air, you know? Take a walk. Binging is fun, but it’s often followed by purging. And I’m not sure what that means in this context, but it doesn’t sound pleasant. The point of them being released all at once is that ‘These belong to you now, dear viewer…’ They are for your enjoyment at your own pace. Stand up to social pressure. Watch a minute a day, if you want. Take your time. We’re not going anywhere. Also be sure to bathe and eat. But I do feel like I’m overstepping my job description in suggesting this.”

On the Arrested movie (which does not yet have a script or a greenlight from a studio)
“I have a great deal of it mapped out… We’ve written the story. They don’t go to the moon or anything. It’s still a family story, but it’s a loaded family story. It’s a loaded family story about a family that’s frequently loaded.”

Read more:
‘Arrested Development': Inside the cult comedy’s comeback
‘Arrested Development': David Cross and Portia de Rossi talk new season, Tobias and Lindsay
‘Arrested Development’: Michael Cera and Alia Shawkat reveal what’s in store for Maeby and George Michael
‘Arrested Development': Jessica Walter and Jeffrey Tambor dish on the new season
‘Arrested Development’ season 4 trailer: Too hot to handle!
‘Office’ star John Krasinski to appear on ‘Arrested Development’
Ben Stiller to guest on ‘Arrested Development’
‘Arrested Development’: The writers’ room was like a ‘psycho killer’s apartment’
‘Arrested Development’ sneak peek: Buster and Lucille get closer than ever

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