Every so often, a show is born that is a critical darling but is largely ignored by the TV viewing public.
Arrested Development was such a show. It only made it through two and a half seasons before it got cancelled, much to the dismay of pretty much anyone who has ever tried to impress you with TV-viewing savvy while you both knocked back some cold ones at a hipstery bar.
But then, the world decides to not be horrible, so it gives that show a second chance. A week into the fourth season of Arrested Development – now streaming on Netflix – I am not sure how I feel about the new episodes. I was just a tad bit excited (yep, just a little bit) that one of my favorite shows of all time was going to be brought back, but I’m not really finding that the new episodes are living up to my own hype.
But now is not the time to nit-pick Arrested Development (although, obvs, if you want to geek out with me in the comments, this is your open invitation to do so). I should be so lucky that it was Arrested Development that was brought back and not My So-Called Life. Maybe it’s just me, but as much as I adored MSCL, I don’t think Angela Chase could really exist in the 21st century, and I’d just about die if network execs brought her back and made her a Belieber. I’ll take an oddly independent collegiate George Michael Bluth over that, thank you very much.
Instead, let’s talk about some shows that we’ll never see brought back from the dead and thank our lucky stars that they are over and done with.1. According to Jim
By my rough estimation, According to Jim was the worst show ever made. I can make this declaration because when I lived in Korea, it was sometimes the only show on TV that was in English, so out of pure desperation to hear my native tongue, I watched it too much and likely shortened my lifespan in the process.
Jim Belushi plays the dumb drunk husband to his hawt wife Cheryl. Betcha didn’t see that one coming. They have some kids who randomly show up and chirp generic sassy rejoinders, but mostly the show centers around the antics of Jim and his awkward brother-in-law Andy. Lots of oblique Chicago references are made because that is where the show is set, but in all the time I lived in Chicago, I never saw anyone as predictable and lame as Jim and his crew. This turd of a show somehow lasted eight seasons. Let’s keep it buried in the cancellation graveyard.
(Who the frick thought I’d like to see Jim Belushi’s chest hair? FML.) Image: Lions Gate2. What I Like About You
If you think I am adding this show to the list because of the trainwreck that is Amanda Bynes right now, you would be correct. But What I Like About You is pretty gnarly on its own, and even if Amanda were making headlines for joining the Peace Corps and donating her All That residuals to the ASPCA, I’d still have no problems dumping all over it. In this televisual masterpiece, teenaged Holly (Bynes) is sent to live with her older sister Valerie (Jennie Garth) in the Big Apple when her parents move to Japan. The show is marked by Jennie Garth having hissy fits every five minutes and Amanda Bynes channeling Jenny McCarthy’s hot snortiness. Yeah, thanks, but no thanks.3. Step By Step
I get the feeling that Step By Step , which was part of ABC’s TGIF lineup in the 90s, was trying really, really hard to revive the classic Brady Bunch formula of a brunette dad and a blonde mom merging together to form one superfamily -- a family whose uniformly straight teeth would endear them not only to each other, but also to the entire nation.
However, unlike the Bradys, who were reunited many times because of their adorable kitsch (and, honestly, the fact that they dated each other, sometimes intergenerationally, off-camera just begged the question of whether they’d let their guard down for their 1980s Christmas reunion specials), the trials and tribulations of the Lamberts don’t leave you wondering about the trajectory their lives went in after the show ended. Patrick Duffy is lobbying to bring his mid-90s clan back, but will this happen? Not if I have anything to do with it.
(That thing in the bottom center is a pig. I would like to know the trajectory of that pig.) Image: Warner Home Video4. Ghost Whisperer
I read something once that said that the cheesiness inherent to Ghost Whisperer , “is okay because other elements of this show work well together and there are enough twists and a season-long story arc that makes things worthwhile.” Um, no. I humbly disagree.
Ghost Whisperer starred Jennifer Love Hewitt. She can talk to ghosts, and she does. And she feels for them. No, no; she feeeeeeeels for them, and in doing so, she helps knit together such a tight web of corniness and melodrama that I am unable to watch reruns of this show without getting stabby. It will likely be in syndication for all eternity, because grandmas who love the supposed wholesomeness of JLH will always exist, but I don’t think there will ever be a big clamor for it to be brought out of Cancellation Land. Say what you will about the yuppie hipsters who demanded more episodes of Arrested Development, but they are more organized than Great Aunt Gert and her cohorts.
(LOOK AT ALL THE FEELS JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT IS FEELING.) Image: CBS.5. The Office
Oh, The Office.
The Office, The Office, The Office.
How I loved you when you were fresh and new. How I loved you when Pam still had a bad perm and Michael was sleeping with Jan, before writers decided that Angela should be made into a semi-likable person. And while I will always remember the good ol’ days, I cannot forgive you for your last seasons, when you went down in a tailspin with all this “Robert California” BS. Sadly, I don’t think anyone else will, either, and for that reason you will likely never be brought back unless you kneel at the shrine of Steve Carell and beg for his blessing.
What are some shows you never want to see return?
Also, Arrested Development. Discuss.
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