I'm reviewing every episode of Arrested Development season 4 immediately after I see it for the first time -- so if you haven't seen the rest of the season yet, don't worry! You can check out my other episode reviews here.
As I said in my review of the previous episode, some of Arrested Development's characters are more suited to handling their own episode than others. Characters like Gob and Tobias certainly are, but Lindsay? Not so much. While her first centric episode, "Indian Takers," was made enjoyable thanks to the the welcome return of Tobias, it was tough to slog through "Red Hairing," an episode which was, dare I say it, rather boring.
First of all: Marky Bark is boring. Hell, beyond that, he's actually kind of annoying. His "face-blindness" is an exceptionally unfunny gimmick for Arrested Development, and it doesn't even pay off in any spectacularly funny way. The sight gag of Marky Bark "blueing" himself was telegraphed from a mile away, and it felt like the entire storyline was in the service of that one callback to something that was funnier the first time.
Similarly, the Herbert Love storyline was thin and predictable -- again, with no real payoff. Lindsay becoming a political candidate at the end of the episode was gratifying, but the episode felt like it was going through some hugely unnecessary motions to get us there. The dinner with Michael and Rebel saw a continuation of Michael lying about his family to a girl, but that storyline's been done before, too. "Red Hairing," perhaps more than any episode this season, felt like it was treading water, like it didn't have anything new to say.
The most clever joke of the half-hour came from Lucille Austero, whose "And not make eye contact, yes!" was probably the most clever line all season. It was a satisfying and hilarious pun that used to be a dime a dozen on the first three seasons of Arrested Development -- but its presence here, in the most subpar episode yet, only highlighted how unfunny the rest of the episode was.
There's a lot of flab in Arrested Development season 4. As great as it was to get fifteen new episodes, the season could have desperately used an editor to trim it down. "Red Hairing" should probably have been half as long, for one thing -- but really, there just wasn't enough story in both this and "Indian Givers" to warrant two episodes. The two could have been consolidated into one half-hour, with the best material kept from each, and it would have been better. Here, though, it feels more stretched than Lindsay's face, and not quite as funny.
Hopefully the next episode, the Tobias-centric "Smashed," will be funnier.