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Review - Arrested Development 4.14 "Off the Hook"

It took until the season's penultimate episode, but we finally got some Buster. I assume it was Tony Hale's 'Veep' schedule that kept him from being a bigger part of the season, but he was given some fairly good material on his own. 

"Off the Hook" was really a case of the writers realizing the strengths and weaknesses of Buster as a character and writing around them. By himself, he's a pretty one-joke character -- and the episode spent time with that one joke (he's a mama's boy), and narrowly avoided hammering it into the ground. The introduction of Herbert Love's wife as a new mother figure for Buster certainly helped keep the old Lucille/Lucille 2 competition for Buster from becoming too repetitive. Thankfully, the repetition of Buster jokes we'd already seen was kept surprisingly low. 

But there's not much to the character of Buster besides that reliance on his mother, so "Off the Hook" was filled with phyiscal humor that worked really well. The larger hand was a pretty hilarious gag, and making it superpowered was pretty funny, too -- though of course the "I don't know my own strength" trope got a little cliche after a while. 

But it was the best thing they could do to freshen up Buster as a character, and "Off the Hook" was a surprisingly enjoyable episode, despite the fact that it could have been just awful. 

Forgive me for the relatively short review, but I'm just itching to get into that final episode and see where the season leaves us. Before I do, though, some quick notes: 

-- Tony Hale has a gift for physical comedy, even if his best scene did come from him dancing to a woodblock. 

-- The episode's biggest missed opportunity: he didn't try to massage anyone with that giant hand! Wasn't everyone just waiting for that? There's still time, I suppose...

-- So now Buster's framed for Lucille Austero's disappearance? Speaking of which, what the hell happened to her? Sally Sitwell has something to do with it, but beyond that? I'm so confused. 

-- The editing in this episode was a little horrendous, mainly because Tony Hale likely had to be edited into scenes that he wasn't filmed in originally. It's usually pretty clear when they're using a body double for shot/reverse dialogue scenes, like the one between him and Lucille 2 at Cinco. It could have been worse, but if you watch carefully it's pretty clearly noticable. 

-- There are a lot of loose threads left hanging that I can't imagine will be wrapped up by season's end. Let's hope it at least ends on a satisfying note, eh? 

- Arrested Development
- Tony Hale
- Netflix

Written by: mcpherson
May 28th, 2013, 1:50 pm

Images courtesy of Netflix

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