Arrested Development – Recap & Review – A New Attitude

photo: netflix

photo: netflix

Arrested Development
A New Attitude

Original Air Date: May 26, 2013

JD – Sr. Staff Writer
jd@thetwocentscorp.com

Gob’s second Arrested Development is pretty much insane, and insanely good. If you’ve been reading reviews like I have, you’ve likely heard a lot of negativity. I have heard that this episode felt like a lot of complexity for the sake of complexity, but I disagree. The story certainly has a lot of layers and misdirection, but I felt like it was pretty tight for the amount of story it told. Gob’s episodes have been the strongest ones this season, in my opinion.

In “A New Attitude”, the writers do with Gob what they have always done with Tobias. They straddled that line between funny and offensive in regards to the LGBTQ community, and they did it brilliantly. To paraphrase Ron Howard, this episode focused on two men who’d never loved anyone but themselves, Gob and Tony Wonder, discovering their “feelings” for one another.

George Sr. has asked Gob to go work for Michael, a fact which Gob seems not too happy about. He is on the phone in his limo, yelling into it about how he’s never even gotten so much as a birthday card for the last 40 years, then almost collides with Michael’s mapping car on the way into Sudden Valley.

They pull up to the model home, and after an argument that somehow leads them to trying to get out of each other whether or not the famous person they each claim to be dating is Julie Bowen (Modern Family, Ed), they head inside the house and start to talk (neither of them noticing a strange shriek in the background).

Michael opens up about falling out with George Michael, and Gob is tasked with selling the model homes. He says that he’ll talk to George Michael, and admits to Michael that he feels like he has a new sense of purpose. Michael attempts to inject some reasonable expectations, admitting that the homes would be hard to sell… but that’s not what Gob means.

His new purpose is destroying Tony Wonder, who he believes sabotaged his wedding day magic Jesus trick. Er. Illusion. All he needs is for Michael to accompany him to a gay club and pretend to be his boyfriend. “Don’t you think it’s a little inappropriate? I am your brother.” “You sound like my son.”

Turns out that phone call at the beginning of the episode wasn’t to George Sr. after all. It was to Steve Holt, who declined to pretend to be Gob’s boyfriend, and then got yelled at for not being around for Gob during his childhood and never sending a birthday card, even before he was born and in spite of Steve never having known Gob until he was in high school. Right. Oh, and it’s Steve’s actual birthday. Ouch.

Gob leaves the model home without a “date”, but Michael gets Gob to sign the release for his movie. Eventually Gob does find someone to go to the gay club with him, though. Remember how he promised to talk to George Michael? Well, he does. He convinces George Michael that Michael is mad, and tells George Michael to meet him at the Gothic Castle (not the Gothic A**hole). What follows is truly disturbing (and hysterical). Upon entering the club, Gob proceeds to slap his stunned and uncomfortable nephew’s rear, call him eye candy, suck on his pinky finger, and eventually kiss him. He lets George Michael off the hook by pretending George Michael bit his tongue. “Get out of here! I never want to sleep with you again!”

Gob sneaks backstage and attempts to lock every door Tony might use in his show, then watches Tony Wonder perform a ridiculous tri– illusion about coming out of the closet, which ends with Tony popping out of a bean bag chair in the back of the room near Gob, shouting a variation of his latest catch phrase. “I’m here! I’m queer! And now I’m in a chair!”

But as absurd as the show was, it seemed to have really gotten to Gob, in part due to Tony’s voice overs like, “I don’t want to look at you, son. Just go to work. Why can’t you be more like your brother?” hitting a little close to home. The two talk after the show, and Tony reveals his secret of the illusion he just performed: masks (which Gob admits to using as well). He also brings up Gob’s wedding, but somehow Gob seems too engaged in the conversation to keep revenge on his mind. Tony says it must have been Gob’s assistant that sabotaged him, and that he’s stopped using assistants for that reason. He uses his own legs in the girl sawed in half trick now. He even shaves them.

The two spend the rest of the night hanging out, and the next morning over a hearty breakfast of canned parmesan cheese and mustard (yum?), Gob tries to convince Tobias that his relationship (with someone he’s declined to name) is purely revenge based. He seems pretty over the moon, though. It’s kind of adorable. But really, it’s “purely an act of revenge, filled with white hot hate.” Sure.

So that part of Gob’s plans is going well, and Tobias apparently can sort out the rest. Because of his restrictions on where he can live, due to now being a registered sex offender, Sudden Valley is perfect for him to move into. And there are other men in his predicament that he can get to buy up the rest of the Sudden Valley houses. Tobias has “a list of men that can fill every opening Gob has”.

With both those things underway, Lucille gives Gob a new job. She wants him to go to the border and make it look like the wall between the US and Mexico is already under construction. He runs into China Garden there, who tells him she can get some Chinese people to build the wall for him (“I’m Chinese. I know all Chinese”). She overhears a giddy conversation he has with Tony on the phone. “She sounds wonderful,” China Garden says. “No,” Gob replies. “I’m going to get revenge on him and destroy his life. Her life… Our life.”

Unfortunately, Tony has his own plot going. He and Sally Sitwell are in cahoots, and she was behind his rebranding of him as the gay magician, even though he’s apparently not gay. Tony is planning to out Gob as gay, though, in spite of being suspicious of it, to destroy his reputation as the “Christian magician”. He also overheard part of a conversation Gob had with his “boyfriend” at the Gothic Castle and thinks George Michael’s Fake Block software could make him a millionaire if he can just get into the contacts on Gob’s phone. He tells Sally, “Poor guy doesn’t realize I’m about to destroy our life.” Our life? “…destroy my life with Gob.”

It’s adorable, isn’t it? Adorable little narcissistic weasels.

Gob goes to meet Tony at The Little Ballroom, but in spite of Gob telling Siri he needed “the gayest” Little Ballroom after she says she found three, he winds up at a kids’ entertainment center, complete with jungle gyms and a ball pit. “I do not get this lifestyle.”

He doesn’t realize he’s being followed by Michael, though, who thinks he just found out that Gob is sleeping with Rebel (through circumstantial evidence and a little nudging from their mother) and thinks Gob is meeting her at The Little Ballroom because she has a kid. Upon being confronted, Gob honestly has no clue what Michael is talking about, but because Gob’s relationship with the truth is usually shaky at best, Michael doesn’t believe him. Eventually the two brothers wind up in a fight. Sort of. Mostly it’s Gob climbing through the playsets to avoid Michael, and eventually jumping in the ball pit, where they can’t actually even manage to hit each other because they keep tripping on the balls.

When they both collapse, exhausted and uninjured, Gob says again that it’s not him dating Rebel, and that he thought Michael would be proud because he filled all the houses. Michael seems impressed, until Gob tells him he filled the houses with sex offenders. As Gob leaves the scene, Michael calls out, “Hey, Gob! You’re out of the movie!”

Michael leaves The Little Ballroom to pay his mother a visit after she sent him to chase Gob, and rips up her movie release as well. And since she’s on the phone with George Sr., and George Sr. was the one who told him to hire Gob in the first place, he also rips up George Sr.’s release. They are both out of the movie too.

Michael’s movie is looking less and less likely.

Feeling down, Gob goes to meet Tony at his home, and yet again, he quickly forgets his revenge plot as the two of them start talking about their pasts and how “same” they are. They painfully attempt talking in unison, playfully fling popcorn at each other, and Gob eventually saves Tony from choking on that popcorn. They both pass up opportunities to sabotage each other, though Gob does happen upon Tony’s mask, which he shoves down his pants.

Eventually, Gob admits to Tony that he has feelings for him, in the most awkward way possible. It was probably the biggest laugh line for me all season. Fortunately for Gob’s delicate ego, Tony returns the sentiment. “The feeling was friendship, but neither had ever experienced it,” Ron Howard’s voice over informs us. “All they had to do now was avoid making any specific–” Too late, Ron… Tony suggest they plan to have sex on Cinco. And Gob happily agrees.

When Cinco rolls around, Gob runs into Ann, who now has a five year old son. It’s been five years since Gob and Ann slept together, but she tells him that it’s not Gob’s kid. Apparently Tony took advantage of Ann when Gob left her at the altar. The kid is Tony’s. Which means Tony is straight. Gob invites Ann back to the model home to have revenge sex.

Unfortunately for Ann, Gob isn’t planning to sleep with her. He intends for her to have sex with Tony while wearing a Gob mask, which she will rip off in the middle of the act, exposing Tony as straight (the house is wired with cameras from To Trap a Local Predator, remember?). Ann doesn’t want to sleep with Tony again, though, so Gob relents and says he’ll sleep with her wearing the Tony mask while she wears the Gob mask. She storms out, but Gob thinks she’s just letting him get in the mood. Which for him is apparently looking longingly at the Tony mask, whispering “same”.

Ann runs into Tony on her way out and tells him the whole plot. Which Tony realizes means Gob is straight. Tony seems a little hurt (in spite of not actually being gay himself, or so he claims), but after Ann confirms that Tony is still shaving his legs and wearing nail polish (!), she gives him the Gob mask and encourages him to meet her upstairs and have sex with her in the Tony mask to out the “Christian magician” as gay and destroy Gob’s career. She heads toward the stairs, but when she sees Tony getting in the mood the same way Gob was, staring at the Gob mask longingly and whispering “same”, she sneaks out the front door.

Both men put on the masks, Gob turns the lights out in the bedroom, and Tony goes upstairs to join him. “And that’s how Ann not only performed a real life version of Tony’s most beloved illusion (“Now everybody’s gay!”), but was responsible for the first recorded instance of a Christian straight-to-gay conversion.”

“On the next Arrested Development…” Having been roofied by Gob in an earlier episode, after accidentally discovering Gob slept with Tony (remember the mystery person on the stairs in the first episode?), Michael wakes up and calls Lucille 2. He plans to sleep with her to repay his debt, not remembering that he’d already tried that just the night before. Then he calls Rebel. He tells her he no longer cares about the other man, and she reluctantly agrees to let him come over later. She hangs up the phone, and the camera pans out, revealing the other man in bed with her: George Michael. Of course, since neither Michael nor George Michael have been honest with Rebel, she has no idea that the two men she’s sleeping with are father and son.

Oops.

Notables and Callbacks:

AD’s obsession with the crazy cars didn’t end after Michael sold the Stair cars. The near accident at the top of the episode was between Michael’s mapping car and Gob’s limo with the cross sticking out it, and they nearly hit a random pest control van (Steve’s? The timeline is too tricky to know for sure), whose giant bug on the roof went flying off into the intersection.
– Gob’s flashback to the storage container, chewing his way out of the fake rock and then hallucinating that a drinking bird toy was talking to him.
– Gob asking George Michael “are we good?” after kissing him at the club, the same question he asked after George Michael caught Gob with Ann. He has yet to get a real “yes”.
– Flashback stills of Gob’s first night out with Tony mirror the ones from an earlier season of the first night he spent with his now ex-wife, complete with shopping cart racing!
– Sally Sitwell admits she’s never shaved a leg, and later her eyebrow falls off. Apparently she inherited her father’s alopecia.
– Siri calls Gob “Gahb”. Also, Gob’s ringtone is “Getaway”, the song Mark Cherry wrote in an attempt to get rid of Gob, though the meaning was obviously lost on Gob.
– Tony gets all “The Sound of Silence” on us for a couple seconds when he mimics Gob’s “our life” sentiment. Later, “The Sound of Silence” is played by a mariachi band at Cinco, when Gob momentarily thinks he’s a father. Again.

Like I said, I loved this episode. I love that Ann has finally grown a spine (maybe the Bluths will eventually remember her name!), and the “fight” at The Little Ballroom. My favorite scene from the original series was Gob, Michael and Buster (sort of) fighting over Marta in front of the courthouse. Yet again, Gob and Michael fought over a woman (though Gob was clueless this time), and yet again, it was epic.

I also love that for all the family has said about Tobias being secretly gay (“Anustart!”), Gob is now the only one in the family that has had a relationship, complete with physical intimacy, with someone of the same gender. Who knows if Gob and Tony are actually gay and in denial even while “experimenting” (though I think Gob is too vain and proud to ever really come out, even if this was the case), or if Gob and Tony have just gotten so wrapped up in their own schemes that they refuse to let them go no matter what. Either way seems plausible to me. What do you guys think?

Did you like the episode? Or did you think it went too far (with the gay jokes/with “changing” Gob/with too much complexity/etc.), as many people are saying? Give us your TwoCents!

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