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 their 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
loved 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.
2. What I Like About You
If you think I am adding this show to the list because it’s fun to talk about 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 cinematic masterpiece, teenaged Holly (Bynes) is sent to live with her older sister Valerie (Jenny Garth) in the Big Apple when her parents move to Japan. The show is marked by Jenny 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 90’s, 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 super family, 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 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 what trajectory their lives went in after the show ended. I would be halfway interested in seeing a reprisal of Suzanne Somer’s other show. Just sayin’.
4. 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 yuppy hipsters who demanded more episodes of Arrested Development, but they are more organized than Great Aunt Gert and her cohorts.
5. The Office
Oh, The Office.
The Office, The Office, The Office.
How I loved thee when you were fresh and new. How I loved you when Pam still had a bad perm, Michael was sleeping with Jan, and 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 where 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 Carrell and beg for his blessing.
What are some shows you never want to see return?
Also, Arrested Development. Discuss.
I haven’t watched Arrested Development yet (the boyfriend is still illegally downloading, I mean, torrenting it), but What I Like About You was one of those shows I watched and found something enjoyable about it… But I didn’t know why. Maybe it was Vince.
I got some sick enjoyment out of it too. It was so unbelievable and unlikely that two girls under the age of 30 lived in a huge loft in Manhattan that I could not look away. High fantasy there.
Beg for Steve Carrell to come back AND beg for Mindy Kaling to start writing for them again! That chick is freaking hilarious!
I don’t want to see Full House return. I don’t think I can handle that theme song.
I almost put Full House on this list! Mostly because I have had quite enough of the Olsen twins (although it would be fun to see them duke it out over who gets to portray Michelle in the reunion).
I miss The Office with Steve Carrell. It hasn’t been the same since he left. I love Arrested Development. Haven’t watched the new episodes yet. Hope I’m not disappointed.
I hope so too! It’s still a great show; it’s just hard to live up to hype when fans are expecting the moon.
2 of the shows above, I have never watched and thanks to you, never will. As for Arrested Development, I was woken up to it’s existence only recently after I had dumped it for good after the second season. It was one of the funniest shows I had watched till it was in the first season and everything since was downhill. It depresses me when tv shows digress like that. Sometimes I just wish they didn’t happen after the first few seasons; at least wouldn’t have had such a bad aftertaste.Nevertheless I like your bad show list.
I dunno. I thought it was pretty awesome all through the televised seasons, but I guess it wasn’t for everyone. ;)
I actually have a “The Best of Step by Step” DVD. One day, I’m planning on blogging an episode review.
It could probably fetch a pretty penny on eBay. ;) I’m looking forward to your episode review!
A pretty penny is about all it would fetch I think.
Every instance of reality television on network television. I won’t even start on cable.
I’m grateful for the Bachelor and the Bachelorette for no other reason than Speaker7’s recraps.
I’m grateful for the word ‘recrap’
Pure genius, that Speaker7 is ;D
Okay am I the only person in the world who hasn’t seen Arrested Development? Apart from Katie, I guess ;)
But I will certainly agree with The Office. Here’s the thing with Ricky Gervais (the maker, and the original manager) – his sense of humour is unique and very funny when you first come across him. Then, it’s the same. And again, the same. And it’s even worse if it’s a new series of something else. I mean, COME ON!
I tried watching a season of the British version of The Office. Maybe I’m thick because I just couldn’t get into it. Fry and Laurie, on the other hand? Loved loved loved.
Fry is one of my favourite people on earth. There’s this show QI that he runs on telly (it’s like a trivia quiz show) and you can always learn something interesting, laugh your head off, and listen to some awesome language. Skills!
My husband and I love him too. He can basically do no wrong in my eyes. Truly a master and a genius.
I will have to not check it out.
Your nerd-cred just took a nosedive. Best show ever to be canceled after only one season.
Is it on cable? We don’t have cable.
It was… ages ago. Now it’s available pretty much anywhere.
So, is it good or not? I’m confused.
It’s AMAZING! So good the fans demanded more, and after only one season on FOX they made a feature film “Serenity”. Watch it now. You’ll be hooked after the first episode.
Will do ;)
I don’t have Netflix, so I do not get the pleasure of Arrested Development. Yet.
I don’t want to see LA Law return. Or 30 Rock. Wait, is that still on?
I WOULD love to see Firefly make a comeback. Where the movie was just a weird dream sequence and all.
There really seems to be a bit of a 30 Rock backlash these days. It is definitely nearing its expiration date, which for me, like The Office, is bittersweet.
I have never been able to like it. I feel like I am deficient in some way for not being on the bandwagon. Maybe it’s just me?
Ghost Whisperer’s very existence cracks me up thanks to my relatively frequent encounters with David Conrad, the actor who plays JLH’s husband, in Pittsburgh. I seriously must have run into him a half dozen times at various events (he’s a native), where I confirmed repeatedly that he’s the most handsome human I’ve ever seen in person. He’s a writer as well, and a brilliant one at that. Any of his essays about Pittsburgh are required reading for ‘Burgh lovers! My point here: he was wasted on such a bonehead show.
I’m about halfway through AD2013. I’m definitely in the thumbs-up camp, although I will concede that it has its flaws: could be more tightly edited, occasional obviously-cheap production, front-loading of spotlight episodes for less-interesting characters, etc. No one character ever really had to carry an episode in the original show, so you see fairly quickly which ones are better-equipped for that. I think it’s a brilliant experiment that doesn’t just rest on the laurels of the original show but is doing something very different. It definitely builds as it goes along, too. I hope they can fulfill their intention of doing a follow-up with the full cast together, whether that’s a movie or another season.
I will say I wish I had been able to stay off Twitter until I finished it. Other people’s harsh immediate reactions bummed me out a lot and colored a little bit of my viewing of the first few episodes. If I’d have binge-watched them all at once, I think I’d take a dimmer view of it. TV just works better for me in smaller doses!
But yeah…how to stay off Twitter for several weeks?! Un-possible!
The way you describe the shortcomings of the new season is so smart! It almost makes me think you won an award in college for your ECCM major ;D xoxo
I am totally alone in that I actually enjoyed The Office without Michael.
I am ALSO enjoying the new episodes of AD so far (we’re only watching one or two a day), but – again – most people are seeming to disagree with me.
I’m not even halfway done with the season so I’m still very, very optimistic. We haven’t gotten to the second Tobias episode or any of the Gob or Buster episodes yet, so I’m feeling good about the trajectory of the show once they make their debuts.
I like The Office without Michael too. We’re ersevering with AD also and trying not to judge it. It’s enough of a feat that they got everybody to come back for the project, and every once in a while there’s a good laugh.
I’ve found it’s funnier as you get further in, since they’re constantly referencing things from the first episode.
Yeah, and I remember that about the other seasons of it; it’s so layered that some jokes you might not even get the first time, and it gets funnier and funnier with each viewing. I’m hoping that’s what will happen with AD2013. We’re trying not to binge-view it so we can absorb it properly.
Thanks to TimeHop, I realized yesterday that we were re-watching (for the 4th or 5th time) on this day 2 years ago.
We’re also trying not to binge, only an episode or two each night once the kids are in bed (with nights off for Venture Brothers or whatever else). It’s nice that they’re full half hours (or longer) cos it helps to keep us from watching too many at once.
Step by Step is the only show you mentioned that I’ve ever seen an episode of.
I think anything from 1985-1995 could be pretty much thrown out. Hell, I don’t like anything pre-1985 really other than the Twilight Zone.
Everything with a laugh track should be thrown into a bottomless pit.
The only show from the early 90s that I would like to see brought back would probably be Twin Peaks. That would be pretty cool, I think.
Yes! They are talking about it. BTW, you are right on the money about According to Jim (only watched one episode; couldn’t tolerate it) and Ghost Whisperer (wholesome? didn’t JLH popularize vajazzling?).
Wait I actually have a love/hate relationship with Step By Step. And I used to love What I Like About You. But I was at that age. That’s an excuse right?
I stopped watching the office after season 3. It got so stupid and weird. So I totally agree with you about that one.
My favorite AD episode this season is probs 8. Look out for it.
I will definitely look out for it! Everyone who has finished more episodes than me is telling me that the season improves once all the jokes begin to make themselves evident, so I am really holding out a lot of hope.
In all honesty, I used to watch What I Like About You a lot too. It’s a lot like potato chips. It tastes really good but makes you feel all greasy and bloated once you’re through. I am such a poet.
I’ve always wondered about According to Jim. Now you’ve saved me from having to do my own investigation! I don’t know if you know about those miserable Tyler Perry sitcoms — one needn’t watch unless they’ve got a masochistic desire to cultivate nausea.
OMG Sandee, don’t ever watch it. There is so much better garbage TV than According to Jim. So.Bad.
ALSO, I totally know about Tyler Perry. Pretty much everything he produces is trash, right? I read a blog post about him on a blog that I don’t think is being maintained anymore, but the post was spot-on. You might want to give it a look-see. Good stuff. http://onmysquare.wordpress.com/2011/11/26/more-dangerous-to-black-people-guns-or-madea/
Uh oh… I must say though I hate Tyler Perry’s sitcoms, I do get a kick out of his movies — I just don’t take them that seriously. I like them because there isn’t any pretense of ‘an important message to the black community’ — well, maybe kinda sort of, but it isn’t done in that bourgeoisie way that I hate — that Oprah- Winfrey-I-measure-up-to-mainstream-standards kind of way — oops — I suppose set up a whole new argument with this stance. Oh well. I see what the post is saying though. I get it. All in all it illustrates that there are so many different ways of looking at something.
Also, while sometimes I don’t turn my TV on for months, I’m usually a little ashamed to admit that I watch television at all — I have that pretentious thing going I guess. It’s nice to see someone else who indulges in sitcoms. I have a whole list of them that I watch. I like the old ones especially, I Love Lucy, Father Knows Best, Laverne and Shirley, Maude… Yay! — OMG and there’s The Golden Girls! The King of Queens is my latest favorite — I always wonder if I’m in a minority of people who are crazy about Kevin James.
I have a weird soft spot for TV! I actually don’t watch much of it these days, but it’s more of a result of not having the time to than not wanting to. I love the classics too. Some of the best memories I have are of lounging around my first apartment all weekend watching 227, Mork and Mindy, and Petticoat Junction.
Kevin James is hilarious. He had a special on Comedy Central years ago that I adored. I randomly saw it for sale at a used CD/video place probably around 2004 and I picked it up for no more than $8. Later on, I checked to see how much it would go for on eBay and the lowest listing was $40. So I’d say you are not in the minority. He’s a super funny guy!
Maybe I’ll try to get that Kevin James video. I think his brother’s a talented comedian also. You watched 227 — yay! I used to love that show. Have a good one Emily!
Well, I loved The Office to the end, and I thought Dallas should never, ever come back… loved it when I was in college, but then grew up and realized that it just shouldn’t work today. Along with Dynasty. So, I got the first 2 wrong, apparently, but I sticking with Dallas. Now, head over to TFTM and tell me about your name, baby.
You know, I have never seen Dallas, but now you’ve wiped away any inkling of desire I ever had to see it!
Heading over tonight! I’ve got the window open in my browser ;D
Bwaha! Um, yes, I agree with you about that show being the worst one ever made. Eric and I have watched a few more eps of ArrDev, and I am happy to report that it is brilliant. The first fee eps were kind of rocky, but that turns out to be mostly because, in true AD fashion, the jokes work in reverse. Also, the narrative structure is pretty hilarious. Keep watching!
You know I will keep on watching. I’m not going to throw AD under the bus just yet. It’s been too good to me. (That totally sounds like something Tobias would say.) xoxo
Ok. Never seen any of these shows apart from The Office. Apart from I haven’t. Because I realised you’re talking about the US version. Despite wanting more of the UK one when it showed, I think Ricky Gervais made the right decision, stopping after two.
Yeah, we Americans sometimes don’t know when to stop. We have a tendency to ride a horse into the ground. Yea, ‘Murica!
I’ve only seen the first 4 episodes of the new AD – like what I’ve seen so far. Maybe not LOVE what I’ve seen, but like it, and am hoping once the pieces fall into place it will get even better.
I agree with all of these. Well, 2. I haven’t seen the first three shows you mention, but I assume because of A., the photos, and B., because you have excellent taste, you are correct. The last two – well, “The Ghost Whisperer” was less about GHOSTS and more about “what crazy outfit will JLH be wearing tonight…oh, it’s a nightie. It’s a nightie with a pink belt. And pigtails. Huh. So that’s a thing, then? Is that a thing that people wear?” And “The Office” was good, but then it was foolish, and OMG, Robert California. WORST. Hated that season so much. I was glad it was over this year. It was limping along like a sad horse no one wanted to put out of its misery because you remember that one time the horse won the Preakness but now it just poops everywhere and eats all your good hay.
Your analogies are among my Top 10 Favorite Things About Life in General. Can I convince you to come to my house and just talk to me all day? ;D
YES. That would be awesome and so much more fun than work. As long as you’re ok with me rolling in around 10am. I like to sleep in a little. Cool?
We are up pretty early thanks to our human alarm clock.
You are so totally right about My So Called Life. I hadn’t thought of it that way.
They say that people bond more over shared hates than over shared likes. In which case, hello new best friend. According to Jim really was an abomination.
I enjoyed the new season of Arrested Development, but it’s so disjointed that my husband and I are re-watching it already. Loved the George Michael and Maeby episodes, and I’m still looking forward to the movie.
Hello, best friend Jen! Yes, there are very few things that I am sure of in this world, but I will always stand behind my statement that According to Jim is the worst. Even if the show somehow invented a way to make all the puppies in the world smile, I would still dislike it. So.Bad.
I am going to hang in there with AD. I mean, I can’t just kick it to the curb. I’m too heavily invested in my adoration of it. The chances of the movie being better than the series is really good too, since then it will have to heavily rely on its tested strength of strong ensemble performances.
So I like all of those shows….
We can still be friends. ;D
I never understood the appeal of “According to Jim,” and along those same lines, I never understood why anyone would watch “Full House.” I watched an episode once and thought it was so terrible. I thought about suing the network for the 30 minutes of my life I wasted watching it.
Full House definitely had a niche audience of 8-year-old girls (me at the time) and people who felt Dave Coulier was a righteous dude (also me at the time).
Jim Belushi’s entire career is just one giant apology from Hollywood. “Sorry we killed your brother. Here’s a career for you.”
Season 4 of Arrested Development was amazing. Tobias’ episodes were hilarious.
Best comment ever. I had to share it with my husband.
I am going to hang in there with AD2013. The one Tobias episode we have seen was definitely when they show got rolling. Tobias Funke is pretty much the best character ever created for TV.
The George Sr. episodes were kind of slow, but they are necessary to further the weird plot. Please, hang in there. It’s worth it.
Never watched even one of those. I did, however, watch parts of Camelot on Starz and that deserved to die. And, I gave up on Shameless. Not even ashamed to say so (shoot me for that).
I promise to never watch Camelot and Shameless if you promise to never watch the shows I listed. That’s what friends are for.
Amen to The Office! It “jumped the shark” when it was bought out by Sabre… A good show that totally tail spun!
Actually, going back on Netflix and watching the first few seasons it is tough to say exactly when it jumped the shark.
A show you should have added? Family Matters. A great show, but do you think the world could take more Urkle???
Not even kidding – I was thisclose to adding Family Matters to the list! But I actually really loved that show when I was growing up (I had questionable taste as an adolescent) and I couldn’t throw it under the bus that quickly. But I will completely agree with you that the world needs no more Urkel. It has enough problems as it is ;D
I liked Step By Step, but I was also a little kid when it was on, so… that probably had a lot to do with it. I watched exactly 5 minutes of one episode of Ghost Whisperer. Now J-love has the hand job show on Lifetime. Zach and I watched the pilot episode when it first came out. It brought the lolz.
I will say, now that I’ve finished the new season of Arrested Development, I really like it. It all came together. And now watching it a second time around I’ll know where it’s going, so I won’t be like, wait…why?
That’s what everyone seems to be telling me about AD2013, just hang in there and it will satisfy. There is some major truth to that, since I feel like even the first seasons got better and better the more I watched them. (And I watched them, boy howdy. Probably 18 times. No joke.)
I love your summary of According to Jim. Very accurate. Gah!
I have a talent for picking shows that get canceled. I’m not a hipster though…I completely missed out on Arrested Development the first time around. Catching up now!!
To add to your list:
– Boy Meets World. I loved this show and the fact that they are actually reviving it – (“girl meets world”, wtf?!?) ticks me off. They will never recapture the magic of the original
– Once Upon a Time and Grimm should both be cancelled forever
– Two and a Half Men. What’s that, it hasn’t been cancelled yet? Well it should be. Misogynistic and unfunny crap show. Blergh.
Thanks, Kat! 100%, totally agree on Two and a Half Men. I never liked that show and never got why it was so popular. Even if it wasn’t totally sexist and offensive, it just lacked humor IMO. I love how the kid who’s been in the show all this time has finally said it’s crap too. Smart guy.
Dude, I loved Step By Step. It took place in Wisconsin (where my parents are from) and I basically turned into the nerdy, angry feminist one. You know, the Danaburger with Cheese!
Don’t you love how in the picture she’s like “I HATE THE WORLD FML.” I felt bad for her that she had to live with all those other kids.
Me, too. And I LOVED IT when she dressed up as Hillary Clinton for Halloween. sigh…
Yes, The Office is a giant bag of suck. It was good at first and then veered into “According to Jim” territory.
Spoken from someone who truly knows bad TV. I may cite you as as ally if anyone takes me to task for panning The Office.
I can’t believe you put The Office on here. We might be headed for divorce. Though now I see you are going to gang up on me with speaker7. And I’m a wuss who hates conflict. So now I’m going to backpedal and say I agree with you on four of the five, and I won’t say which. However, I will say that I for one would love if they brought back either ALF or Small Wonder. That was some quality cheese t.v.
BTW, I second that Firefly is a must-watch.
“Ghost Whisperer starred Jennifer Love Hewitt.”
Well. you were half right, Emily. it starred Jennifer Love Hewitt AND her two biggest – and some would say only – assets. At least her latest show has the courage to structure plot lines around her ample cleavage….
So weird. I wrote a post almost identical to this on the same day.
Not sure how I missed this! So glad I caught it over at BlogHer! Congratulations on a great post.
I freaking love the crap out of Step by Step! It would be wicked cool if they rebooted it!
Step by step was great! Never got into the rest of them. I wish Buffy would make a come back ;)
I just found this page because I was watching According to Jim on some obscure cable channel and I went online to see if anybody agreed with me that is has to be the single worst sitcom of all time. I kind of play this game when I happen to see it on. I say to myself, “Maybe THIS will be the episode where somebody on the show says something funny.” Needless to say I am STILL playing this stupid game because I have yet to hear anybody say ANYTHING even remotely amusing. How did this idiotic mess last for almost ten years? Jim would be the worst character in sitcom history if it weren’t for that guy that plays Andy. It is my theory that Belushi handpicked this actor knowing how bad he was so it might somehow make HIM come off funnier. I feel like I am sort of humiliating myself to go on at this point. The episode I am watching now deals with the wife getting some kind of dental work done and Jim promised to hold her hand during the whole entire time she is out, but that horrible Andy character tells him some old jazz musician is in the lobby of the hospital so Jim leaves to meet him, leaving his passed out wife in the dental room, she finds out he left and she gets mad. THAT was the plot of the episode. Yes, I am still playing the game.