Seeing future today

In a long, difficult and often disheartening life, riven with unpleasantness, deceit, petty jealousies and nameless suffering, one has to take hold of any passing pleasure, no matter how small.

To do other would mean the heartache of everyday life turning quickly into the sort of psychological nightmare that could slowly, yet relentlessly, drive one toward, and over, the brink of madness.

So it was I took this line from the fourth season of Arrested Development and held it close to my bosom over the weekend.

''That's a low blow, Bob Loblaw.''

Gold.

Bob Loblaw, of course, is played by Scott Baio in Arrested Development.

At one point he took over the law needs of the show's Bluth family, a role originally, and later, taken by Barry Zuckerkorn (Henry Winkler, aka The Fonz).

Most jokes work on two or more levels in Arrested Development.

But Bob Loblaw's funny name is just funny - he appears in newspaper articles with headlines reading ''Bob Loblaw Lobs Law Bomb'' and writes the ''Bob Loblaw Law Blog''.

Hilarious.

Season four of the show about the dysfunctional and mostly corrupt Bluth family came out last year, but it is worth downloading it from the inter-web to celebrate Netflix's announcement that it plans to launch in New Zealand in March.

According to Netflix, Netflix has more than 53 million members, is the world's leading internet TV network, and its introduction to New Zealand and Australia would bring the number of countries and territories it serves to more than 50.

One good thing Netflix did was to save Arrested Development from what would have been a devilishly unfair extinction, after one of the best comedies in the history of mankind was cut by Fox in 2006.

The show debuted in 2003, with heavy use of a narrator (the very funny Ron Howard), hand-held cameras and some terrific writing.

It attracted widespread critical acclaim, plenty of Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe, and a cult following.

Sadly, Arrested Development received low ratings and viewership on Fox, leading to its cancellation after three seasons.

Happily, season four (available on websites on the internet if you're all modern) hits close to, at least, the heights of the first three series.

Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) has hit something of a low point, having joined the University of Phoenix (online), and, homeless and unemployed, moved in with his son George Michael in his dorm at the University of California, Irvine.

The show format, too, has changed, with each episode following one character, and each playing out within the same time frame.

Download it and watch - it will be good practice for the future of television.

- Charles Loughrey

 

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