In my dating days, a friend of mine would accuse me of second seasoning potential partners. This was a reference to my ultimate disappointment in things after the initial excitement ran out. The reference came from the fact that I would watch the first season of a TV series and love it, but then would inevitably find the second season to be disappointing and often quit. This is a common phenomenon with TV shows as well as dating. Like Mad Men, or Lost, they come in with a high concept and put all the energy into a first season, but ultimately sell out, or have no strong follow up. While others continue and are sometimes rewarded, I cannot overcome my disappointment.
While most people were ready to commit to TV shows and loved them no matter what they did, I was breaking up with TV shows like a serial dater on JDate. I was always open to trying something new and would often find myself loving a new show, but if they disappointed me (and ultimately they would,) the love would immediately extinguish. Sometimes, I would let things linger and would give them another and another try, but once they did not keep to the initial level of perfection, I could not see them the same way.
This behavior was evident in many aspects of my life including my love life. Initial excitement ultimately leading to disappointment and me dragging out a loveless relationship longer than I should. This is when my friend would tell me "Don't second season her!" Don't fall into the slump you always fall into when the initial excitement wears off. She would try to explain to me that like TV shows, people are not perfect, but if you can find a way to love them even with their imperfections, you are promised a fulfilling life. You just need to not let go of that need for perfect innocence.
I would argue that the incompatibilities are real. The reasons I drop shows are because they sell out, or lose focus, or change head writers, or are over embraced by a network, or start playing for the lowest common denominator. There are a million reasons people break up. It is not that I gave up -- they did. When I would reach this point, my friend would proclaim: "Name one thing that you did not second season!"
My answer to my friend was always very simple: Arrested Development. That was the one show that did not disappoint. I realized that season three ended in a rush, I saw all of its faults, but when I watched Arrested Development, I was in heaven. I would savor every moment of genius. Music would play, I could never get sick of it. It was so complex, I could watch it over and over again. This was true love. I even made my ringtone with the theme from Arrested Development, so I could look forward to calls.
Secretly, there was a side of me that was happy that Arrested Development was cancelled after three seasons. It kept my relationship solid and did not give them a chance to sell out or run out of material. There was no room for disappointment. It reminded me of that first love. It was innocent and heartbreaking. No one could have prepared me for my first heartbreak. You spend the rest of your life remembering the perfection that this pure love had, and could never be had again.
You move on to other shows, but you keep thinking about Arrested Development. At a certain point you know it is over, Arrested Development is not coming back, and you continue to try to move on. But nothing hits the spot like Arrested Development. Some try too hard, others just don't get it. Nothing can replace that true love. Even when others finally start to appreciate the greatness of the show, all you can think is: too little too late. Where were you when the show needed you?
You start to forget your love, you find temporary replacements... returning no longer even makes sense so you dismiss any rumor of a return. And just when you were totally over it, she comes back.
The return of Arrested Development was an emotional experience. It was a resurrection. When in life do you get to have something that you loved and was completely gone, come back? And how can it do it without disappointing? Can they ever be the same? Must I remind everyone of what George Lucas did with Star Wars? Or the last Indiana Jones? Will they try too hard?
But Arrested Development was different. It was so self aware it could make fun of itself for trying to hard, or for jumping the shark (as it literally did in an early episode when Henry Winkler's character jumps over a shark, referencing the fact that the term was coined in reference to his character on Happy Days... oh the layers of brilliance.) From early on, I was reading about the efforts not to disappoint. I had faith that if anyone can do it, Mitch Hurwitz and the crew could.
And then your true-love-ex comes back. She is older, not as youthful... some things have changed, some stayed the same... but as my friend knows, the beauty of true love is that you will love them no matter what. No matter what they do, you will want to spend time with them and embrace their faults.
At first Arrested Development started slow, a bit confusing... it's Netflix release allowed new formats such as run time and full availability... It felt disjointed... and the reviews did not help... some pearls of the original genius, but not the LOL experience I originally knew. But I stuck with it. It took about six episodes when it all started coming together. It was not the same, but it clearly had the same core and before I knew it, it was like old times. Different, but still great. Are people ever season four'd in real life?
The new format allows access to all the episodes at once... but that is not how I enjoyed my love. I savor every moment, and take the show one episode at a time... I don't allow myself to overdose, after all, this is true love and I never want it to end.
Now, I hear there is talk of an ALF movie...
Follow Isaac Zablocki on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jccfilm