And Now, Tobias Fünke and George Michael!

Arrested Development's David Cross and Michael Cera on Mitch Hurwitz's genius and Orange County's 'esteemed taste'

When Netflix representatives asked us which Arrested Development cast members we wanted to interview for 20 minutes, the choice was unanimous: Michael Cera or David Cross. When Netflix asked if we wanted to interview them both at the same time, we felt as happy as Lucille Bluth running into Gene Parmesan. So, without further ado . . .

 

OC WEEKLY: This show has a huge fan base and has been regarded as an immensely intelligent comedy show. What do you think separates Arrested Development from other comedy shows on television?

DAVID CROSS: So much, really. There's the sum of the parts and then the whole, and they're both smart, dense . . . It's a show that rewards the viewer; it's a show that rewards multiple viewings—the jokes and the individual moment-to-moment pieces, of which there are so many, in 20 minutes . . . but also how the totality of all that and where the characters get to go. I think there aren't a lot of shows like that. There's this heart to it and this intelligence behind it that it's almost for the comedy nerd: the person who appreciates all these different levels of comedy, and I think that's rare in television comedy. It really does begin and end with the writing; it's not simply a series of jokes.

 

What was your perception of Orange County before you did Arrested Development?

MICHAEL CERA: I never had any perception of it, and in relation to this show, I never considered it was about Orange County.

DC: I've done standup a couple of times at the Irvine Improv. . . .

MC: I saw a movie there once. . . .

DC: I've been to several Angels games at Angels Stadium, and the ersatz-ness of that stadium could not typify its environment better. Of all the ballparks, you have really great stadiums that are those modernized, old-school things, but Angels Stadium is so plastic and Disneyland-esque that it's kind of perfect. But yeah, Orange County, to me, is just a lot of wealthy skate punks bitching about shit.

MC: We did set the stage for The O.C.

DC: Long Beach is part of Orange County, right? I know a little bit about Long Beach. There was a really good poetry scene, and Derrick Brown used to publish his Write Bloody books there. I like Long Beach; I like any place where you're definitely in Southern California, near LA, and there's zero LA about it.

 

Michael, any clue about what George Michael's major is at UC Irvine?

DC: . . . And how does it relate to Orange County?

MC: [laughs] Well, we actually shot those scenes at Occidental College, the first two letters is OC, so it's all a beautiful marriage of Orange County. But he goes to UCI, and I think the joke about it is that he's the only non-Asian there. He's actually majoring in OC Ethics? [Laughs.] I don't know if I could tell you his major because I don't know myself.

 

What do you think his major would be?

MC: Hmm, cryptozoology, with a bachelor's in incestuous morality.

DC: I didn't know that was a course. . . .

MC: He rallied for it to be a course.

 

Do you guys have any influence over character developments in the show?

DC: In the very, very, very beginning, when I got the script. Outside of that, it wasn't really necessary, and you were lucky enough to put it in the hands of these amazing writers, show runners and creators, and they'll ask you sometimes, "Do you think Tobias would do this?" But it's all there. I can't think of anything where I said, "Tobias wouldn't do that." But they've got it; they know the character.

MC: Mitch is very collaborative and open, but for the most part, you want to go where they're going.

 

Jason Bateman stated that the tone of the new episodes was darker and had more of an edge. Would you guys agree?

MC: I see what he means. . . .

DC: I think in the sense that people get really low. . . . Every character reaches a depth, a low point in their lives that we didn't quite see in the original series, if that's what he meant. . . .

MC: I think in the previous seasons, it was pretty dark, too. I mean, we see you pulling your teeth out of your mouth—that's horrifying.

DC: But there's a deluded, crazed aspect there. We saw in seasons 1 and 2, there are some low points for Michael there, and every character has that bad place, but it's more apparent in this incarnation of the show.

 

Arrested Development was one of the first comedy television shows to utilize the faux-documentary approach, but this style is so pervasive in television shows now. If it were a reality show and these characters were real, who would want to watch it?

DC: Just people in Orange County. But only people in Orange County.

MC: The wonderful people of Orange County! The most esteemed taste in California belongs to the people of Orange County. [Laughs.]

 
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18 comments
Art Guevara
Art Guevara

Ver el album de fotos de Emigdio Vazquez y comparta con sus amistades

Shawn Stewart
Shawn Stewart

HaHaHa! Have a good day good people of Orange County ! I have had my fun on here for the day.

Shawn Stewart
Shawn Stewart

So speaking my opinions makes me angry. Haha! I think other people need to open their eyes. My opinion is that you are angry and that is why you moved out from behind the Orange curtain. My Opinion! HaHaHa!

Billy Folsom
Billy Folsom

Poor skate punk here but he's got the bitch'n part right.

Shawn Stewart
Shawn Stewart

Hart is in good people, and that is what I am talking about heart of Orange County. @Steve San Filipino

Favian Orozco
Favian Orozco

Well you sure seemed angry saying that he should get out of his fantasy world etc. I don't really, we all have our opinions. It just seems like some people take jokes offensively no matter what.

Favian Orozco
Favian Orozco

Yeah no shit it's comedy and it has some truth behind it. We all know rich fucks or people with mommy and daddy money from OC who think they're street thugs or have "street cred" because they rub elbows with the lower middle class. We all know rich kids who take drugs just because they're bored. Typical OC lifestye, does that mean everyone there is like that? No, but can be turned into a humorous observation. He's not pointing fingers at a particular person, so unless you fit yourself into the mold, there's no reason to get angry.

Shawn Stewart
Shawn Stewart

I am not offended at all ! I appreciate what I have. I live in the real Orange County. And proud to work and live with real people. And I know people with money and people that don't and their is good in both. I just like people to know that Orange County is not like the Hollywood tv show the OC! You should have took the time to meet some real people of OC. Because the people I know are as real as it gets and by know means fake. If you take me being proud as being offended than so be it!@ Favian Orozco.

Steve SanFilipo
Steve SanFilipo

"I like any place where you're definitely in Southern California, near LA, and there's zero LA about it." Zero LA about it. That's what makes OC better. If you could take the LA out of LA, LA wouldn't suck.

Steve SanFilipo
Steve SanFilipo

I love that people actually think that others can level charges like this and the ones that Favian Orozco levels and we in OC give a damn. I pay more money to live in OC than I would have to in LA or nearly any other place in this country and I do so because thats exactly where I want to be. And in the case of south OC, those are exactly the people I want to surround myself with. I'm fortunate enough to make a living that is comfortable in OC in an industry that could land me a job in any city, and I choose to live here. Very seldom are the people that bitch about OC well off enough to enjoy what it has to offer. Rather, they are just bitter people that have convinced themselves that they like the shit hole they live in. Now, Cross, of course he can afford OC. But I chalk his criticism up to comedy. Don't get me wrong. There a douche bags in OC. They exist in every town. I just prefer douche bags with money over broke douche bags.

Favian Orozco
Favian Orozco

I moved out of the Orange Curtain last year, OC is about as fake as Hollywood. If you're offended by statements poking fun at snobbery and the general entitled bitch attitude people exhibit in OC, then you need to wake up. It's far more that just a few. He's a comedian also, you should grow some thicker skin.

Shawn Stewart
Shawn Stewart

If heLive in the hart of Orange County, and stepped out of his fantasy world he would see that is the few and not the whole. You can't judge Orange County by the few. @Favian Orozco!

Favian Orozco
Favian Orozco

@Shawn -The people you speak about, who work hard, aren't the ones bitching at every turn.

Shawn Stewart
Shawn Stewart

He said that because he sits in his hi dollar car and house and knows nothing about the middle class or poor. Does not know what it is like to struggle he does not know what Orange County is about.their is a lot of good people on the other side of the tracks. It took a lot of hard work and sweat to get my first skate board because my parents could not afford to buy me one.if it wasn't for are hard work he would not have what he has!

Katina Dunn
Katina Dunn

I disagree with the wealthy part - maybe that's circles he runs in

 

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