Monday, June 12, 2006

TV on DVD week begins with AD

This week, the focus is all on TV on DVD. I'm going to be sharing some of my favorite tidbits from the DVD commentary on some of my favorite shows. You can look forward to fun factoids from Rescue Me, Felicity, Firefly, Grey's Anatomy, Veronica Mars, and The Office.

First up: Arrested Development, with commentary on the pilot episode by series creator Mitchell Hurwitz, lead actor Jason Bateman, and co-directors Joe and Anthony Russo. AD is (was) one of my favorite shows and has some of the funniest sight gags, throwaway jokes, and characters in the history of television. As they state themselves, "It's Royal Tenenbaums shot like COPS."

Jason Bateman gets things starting off right by expressing how happy he is to be doing the commentary: "I'm an actor, I love to hear myself talk, so I'm here with bells on." Too bad more of the actors weren't able to participate in the commentary, but Jason's self-mockery will have to do.

Random bits of information to impress and astonish your friends:

- The biggest influence on the tone of the show was the reality TV fad. (To which I say: Thank God it didn't turn out like Bachelorettes in Alaska.)
- Maeby's name comes from a combination of Mitchell Hurwitz' children's names: Maisie and Phoebe.
- They really loaded the show with jokes and extra material that would eventually be cut. Mitchell's motto was: "I want this show to be so funny that we could throw like half of the stuff away and not even notice." Seems like it worked, because whole storylines were often cut.

- The kiss between George-Michael and Maeby was Alia Shawkat's first kiss.
- Even in the pilot episode, they included the ...on the next Arrested Development scenes. In that case, it was a kind of "buy this show and see this stuff" teaser.
- Jeffrey Tambor originally joined AD as a guest star, who wasn't meant to be part of the ongoing series. Mitchell Hurwitz casually invited him to take part in the pilot for a couple days' work, and it stuck.
- David Cross got to pick his character, Tobias, who he really enjoyed playing because it was so different from himself. (Oh, come on, David. We know you're a never-nude too.)
- On Tony Hale's audition tape for Buster he was giving a massage to something off-camera, then at one point simply said 'heeey brother' and the creators knew he was the right guy.
- They created insta-chemistry between George-Michael and Maeby by making them opposites: one fearful, one fearless; one close to parents, one not at all.
- Michael Cera was "maybe the best improviser" on the show because he stayed in character, stayed serious, even after his lines were finished and between takes. But, not surprisingly, David Cross did the most improvisation overall.

Oh, how I miss the Bluths and their wacky ways.

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