There's a technique that I use as a writer that I question the effectiveness of. In Random Generation- The Long Version and A Jumbled Perspective On Love, I utilized what I call the Random Approach. In the Random Approach I write out the piece on full, number each of the sentences in the piece, pull out my random number generator, and start generating random numbers, putting the corresponding sentences in the random order that the random number generator is giving me. Such an approach forces me to think about how a narrative is put together and how I should approach storytelling in my future projects. That is the thoughts that I have, my audience may have had different thoughts. It is my belief that some, if not many, if not all, of the people that read the piece that I put together using the Random Approach looked at the piece and went "What the fuck?" Such a reaction can happen when a writer uses an approach to narrative storytelling that the audience may not understand or is not used to. Such a reaction is what many people may be having to the fourth season of Arrested Development, recently released on Netflix.
The fourth season of Arrested Development follows the Bluth family in the time between the end of the third season, set in 2006, and the end of the fourth season, set in 2013. Each of the episodes follows one of the main characters of the series, most significantly Michael, George Sr., Lindsey, and Tobias. There are many events that take place in this season, which are told from the perspective of each of the main characters of the series, each adding in their own details and their own various roles to the events that go on. Often events that occur in one episode play into events that are seen again in a different episode from a different character's point of view. Often episodes begin from earlier points in the story than where the last episode left off. Often things that are said or occur in one episode are referenced, and sometimes made more funnier, by things that go on in another episode. The result is a complex, interconnected, interdependent, narrative web that makes up the entire season, and that is the problem.
Many people watch TV while doing other activities, such as cooking dinner, eating, checking email, working, or drinking large quantities of alcohol. Such viewing habits can prevent the viewer from being actively engaged in the television show that they are allegedly watching. It is that active engagement that is needed to fully enjoy the fourth season of Arrested Development. In order to fully understand and enjoy the fourth season of Arrested Development, viewers need to watch all of the episodes in order and without distractions. While watching in order may not be such a tall order, undistracted watching may be. If you do not watch this season of Arrested Development attentively at all times, there may be something, or several things, that you will miss, and thereby not achieve full enjoyment.
That's not to say that the new season of Arrested Development is bad, it's just something you need to devote time to. You can't just watch this show in the same passive manner as you would other shows. The narrative web utilized by Mitchell Hurwitz and the other writers on Arrested Development requires you to pay full attention to what's going on at all times, which is not something that the audience may not understand or be used to. There may be times that, while watching this season of Arrested Development, members of the audience may go, "What the fuck?"
Arrested Development: Season 4: B+
The 2006 Time Magazine Man Of The Year is currently working on It Was In A Coffee Shop.