Is ‘Arrested Development’ a Classic?

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Question of the Day (QOTD) is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a film/TV-related question that we put to you, the reader. The comments section below is like the feedback box at work; except, in this example, we actually read what you write and care about what you have to say.

Every once in a while, a television show will come around that is able to completely encapsulate and define an entire era of television.

So, the question I ask today is: Is ‘Arrested Development’ a classic, why or why not?

When we think of television shows, we often tend to put them into categories or genres. There are dramas, there are soap operas and there are sitcoms. Sometimes a drama can also be a sitcom and sometimes a sitcom can also be a soap opera, but very rarely is a television show capable of being everything all at once.

Sometimes, there can be an exception to that rule.

Yes, I personally do feel that Arrested Development is a classic. I knew about the show while it was airing but I didn’t actually watch it from the beginning until it finally hit Netflix sometime in 2012, and I was hooked immediately. I don’t feel that there has been a show quite like it since and a doubt there will ever be another show like it ever again.

I feel that it’s a classic not so much because of the characters or the storylines but rather the formatting of the show itself. Arrested Development (2001-2003) isn’t just a television show, it is television.

It’s a drama, it’s a soap opera and it’s a sitcom, all rolled into one.

It mostly revolves around the dysfunction of the Bluth family and unlike many other sitcoms of the time, (for better or worse), it had a continuing storyline. Because the show was so ahead of its time this would help the show stand out, however this format would unfortunately also be to its detriment as casual viewers who would tune into a random episode wouldn’t know what was going on had they not seen the previous episode.

The one thing that Arrested Development also is … is a parody.

… but here’s the thing about parodies; they can only last for so long because there are only so many tropes and cliches that can be used until a parody starts to become a parody of itself. This is exactly what led to the show’s downfall. Not because it was losing viewers but because the storylines were ultimately left with nowhere else to go.

The decision to end it early instead of running into the ground is what has made it able to stand the test of time and become the classic that it is considered to be today.

So what about you, screenagers? Is ‘Arrested Development’ a classic, why or why not?

Note: I’m mostly referring to the first three seasons but you can include the Netflix stuff in your answer if you want. (though I’m not sure why you would.)

I’ll see you in the trenches.