Photo by Joseph Viles/Fox
To be honest, I don't know what else can be done to save Arrested Development at this point. The Fox network seems to be determined to give it no chance at success, which is unsurprising really considering their track record for handling smart, creative and worthwhile shows that are desperately in need of finding an audience. (Firefly, anyone? How about The Ben Stiller Show?) The most ferociously funny, willfully weird sitcom on network TV remains at the lower-bottom quadrant of the big bad Nielsen ratings chart in its third season, though everywhere you turn these days you seem to bump into massive fans of the show.
This isn't middle America, though, it's California–specifically, this is Orange County, CA, where not one but two Fox shows take place. They couldn't be more different, nor could the manner with which the network has treated them–The O.C. anchors Thursday nights, with Fox milking the soaper for all its post-90210-cum-Melrose Place pomp and lack of circumstance and promoting the hell out of it. Meanwhile, the saga of the wealthy and gloriously fucked-up Bluths of Newport Beach–a very recognizable Newport Beach, unlike the one entirely populated with vacuous teenagers–is getting hammered on Monday nights by football and poor marketing. You've got to feel for Arrested creator Mitchell Hurwitz, who after picking up an Emmy last month told the entire Shrine Auditorium, "We'd be remiss if we didn't point out the fact that the Academy has twice rewarded us for something that you people won't watch!" After which he plugged the show and added that they'd still be able to flip over to Two and a Half Men. Nice; if you want something done, you have to do it yourself. . . .
The current silver lining to this increasingly stormy cloud is that the second season of Arrested is out this week on DVD. If you haven't been watching so far–well, shame on you, but beyond that now is the time to discover the magic of Tobias' "never-nudeness," Buster's brush with the killer seal, and the fact that he thought Santa Ana was in Mexico. (Word, Arellano!) If you're a fan of the show, loan it out. Spread the word of mouth. We're not past hoping that HBO or Showtime might swoop in and save the day–which might actually be great, imagine Jessica Walter having the opportunity to swear her lips off!–but a surge in DVD sales might just be the incentive needed to get the right suits thinking about life after cancellation. It happens, you know . . . just ask Joss Whedon.
ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT: SEASON TWO RETAILS FOR $38.99 AND IS AVAILABLE AT FINE STORES EVERYWHERE.