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I have watched a lot of television in my time. My father was in television and believed in it for education and entertainment. My husband is particular about his television shows, but has turned me on to many. Of all the thousands of hours I have spent watching TV, I could count, on one hand, the shows that made me laugh, consistently, out loud, several times over the course of a 20 or 40 minute show. Off the top of my head, I come up with two: the original Dick Van Dyke Show with its amazing crew of writers and talented cast, and Mork and Mindy, with its odd characters and funny dialog. I have no wish to cast these as the only funny series in the last 50 years or so. I’m sure there are others which could live up to my laugh meter. I only wish to make a point that they are few and far between.
There was a sign at one of Obama’s town halls this summer which read, “Please, Obama, Bring Back Arrested Development.” I would have to agree with that. Well, after he’s taken care of a few other things or with the quick signing of a declaration.

Arrested Development (2003-2006, Fox TV) could well be the funniest show ever shown on the show show-er. An excellent, very funny cast, and great jokes that linger on and provide a few extra chuckles long after the show has drifted into memory. And well into its third season, the scripts continue to deliver a high ratio of laugh-out-loud moments to time spent.

Now, I can find little in the way of spiritual messages from it, even redeeming characteristics. (I realize I have found meaning in the words of a wavy-haired serial killer). Arrested Development is about an extremely dysfunctional family. No one shows any sign of growing or changing from their experiences. They seem to become more of who they are, more crazy and dysfunctional.

There was a brilliant movie in the early 40s, Preston Sturgis’ “Sullivan’s Travels.”  One of those they-don’t-make-‘em-like-they-used-to pictures. Starring Joe McCrea. Joel is a successful Hollywood director of big budget comedies. He longs to give back, to do a film that’s about something Important. Figuring he has been too pampered all his life, he decides to strike out on the road with a bandana on a stick, the shoes on his feet, and the clothes on his back.

This is a wonderful film, not to be missed. So I don’t think I’m giving anything away to say the message of the film is there is much good in giving people a chance to laugh.

Today, we have Arrested Development to add some much-needed light and laughter to the world. Well worth the time.



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