It seems like my blogging fire hasn't been burning quite as bright as of late. Either I don't have anything to blog about or my blogging plans are just too ambitious and take up all kinds of time and before I finish my feelings change about what I was writing.
The following post is barely blog worthy but it's something that's been on my mind a couple of weeks now. Recently I've had a couple of conversations with friends Kayla and Brianne on the merits of the TV shows The Office and Arrested Development. Said conversations have usually ended with the declaration of my preference of Arrested Development over The Office, or with Kayla or Brianne stating the opposite. While I don't feel a need to defend my preference, I might just be bored enough to blog about it.
Why Arrested Development Is Better Than The Office
By Myke Lewis Olsen
First, you just can't beat the cast. The Office has Rainn Wilson and Steve Carrell. John Krasinski is pretty good. Ed Helms is OK; we'll throw him in there for the sake of giving The Office a fighting chance. But really, Rainn and Steve carry most of the weight for The Office, and on their own they're fabulous, hilarious actors. But pit them against the combined strength of Michael Cera, Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, David Cross, Tony Hale, and Jeffrey Tambor and they really stand no chance. And this is without considering Jessica Walter and Portia de Rossi.
What about the secondary cast members? The Office does have Creed Bratton, I'll give them that; anything this guy says is hilarious. And sure, the actors that play Kevin, Phyllis, and Toby do a great job. However, how can you top Henry "The Fonz" Winkler as Barry Zuckerkorn? You just can't.
Barry: So, basically, you’re about 2,000 shares short of being the majority stockholders. Now, unfortunately, it’s a private stock, so you cannot just buy up the shares unless someone is willing to sell.
Michael: Are you sure?
Barry: That’s what they said on “Ask Jeeves.”
To finish off with the cast, let's play the trump card: Ron Howard as AD's narrator.
One thing that The Office and AD have in common is their 'reality TV' feel. For The Office, seasons one and two set a precedent that hasn't been matched in the following seasons. The thing that I enjoyed about the first two seasons -- especially season two -- is that it seemed pretty realistic. Sure there were moments of outrageousness -- after all, we're talking about TV here -- but for the most part, you felt like most of this stuff could actually happen in your office. The show was relatable. Then season three of The Office rolls around, and they immediately shy away from relatability. From the very first episode, when Michael kisses Oscar after finding out Oscar is gay -- sure, it's funny, but c'mon, what happened to relatability?
Again, AD has the advantage because the show never set the precedent of relatability in its first season. As seasons progressed so did outrageousness. However, AD never claimed the pretense of parodying reality the way The Office did in seasons one and two.
Is anyone else as sick of the inter-Office incest as I am? The Jim and Pam thing was cute in season two. It was funny when Michael made out with Jan. Then Dwight hooks up with Angela. Ryan and Kelly date (although to the show's credit, Kelly is pretty funny in how she tries to get Ryan back after they break up). Jim dates Karen (who, BTdubs, is way hotter and more likable than Pam) Angela dumps Dwight. Phyllis marries Bob Vance. Jan and Michael finally hook up. Jim and Pam finally hook up. Angela gets engaged to Andy. Jim and Pam get boring because they are dating and happy together and even when there is any kind of dynamic in their relationship you know that they're still perfect for each other and will always be together and them breaking up would be more suicidal for the show than them hooking up. Jan and Michael break up. Angela cheats on Andy with Dwight. Andy and Angela break up. By the looks of the season five finale, it's pretty obvious that Dwight and Angela will get back together. And because Jim and Pam are boring now, we're to assume because of Jim's elation at the end of the same episode that Pam is prego (I still don't care). I mean, really, do these people have no contact with the outside world? Are suitable mates only to be found in one's working environment? (If that's the case, I'm in big trouble.)
In contrast, how hilarious are George Michael and Anne ("Her?")? Buster and Lucille II (Liza Minnelli, another credit to AD's cast)? Even better, what about George Michael and Maeby? Tobias and Carl Weathers (just kidding)? But really, who was dating who was never a main focus of AD and it seemed to do wonders for the show.
Speaking of Carl Weathers and Liza Minnelli, I don't think a show has had better cameos than AD. Zach Braff, Ben Stiller, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Scott Baio, Justine Bateman, Amy Poelher... oh yeah, Charlize Theron? (It's really too bad they never pulled the Andy Griffith stunt in season three.) The Office had that one episode with Jack Black and Jessica Alba but it was somewhat disappointing because they didn't even interact with the actual characters. Granted, Tim Meadows in "The Client" episode was pretty hilarious.
Finally, AD rewarded it's loyal viewers like no other show has. One of my favorite aspects of this show is how so many of the jokes tie back to a previous episode. It makes repeat viewings as enjoyable as watching it for the first time.
If it sounds like I'm biased it's because I am: Arrested Development is a better TV show. Seasons of The Office are like Weezer albums: the first two are incredible, the follow ups have their high points, but they just can't capture that initial magic.