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Arrested Development Quits While It's Behind

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So it has come to this: Mitch Hurwitz has elected to become the Claire Danes of the 21st century, except with less-pretty cheekbones. Fans of My So-Called Life will recall the brief posthumous flurry of hope that MSCL might be revived on another network–perhaps MTV, which aired the reruns–but that the deal was scotched when, reportedly, Danes decided to focus on her movie career instead. Insert Polish Wedding joke here.

Now writer Hurwitz has all but killed the hope that his much-praised sitcom, Arrested Development, would be revived on Showtime, by announcing that he would not continue as its producer. The reasons, reportedly, were  "creative concerns"–or, at least, concerns that the studio and network were not getting creative enough in finding ways to deliver enough money for the show. Since Showtime had earlier said picking up the show was contingent on Hurwitz’s involvement, it looks like the Bluths are headed for the great suburban tract development prison in the sky.

I can’t pretend to be happy, but it may be for the best. As I wrote earlier, AD would have lost vital creative tension by going to pay cable and having no network constraints to outwit. But however joyous, AD’s return would also simply have been weird. Death, even TV death, cannot be cheated and annulled easily. The sitcom signed off from Fox, its doom well-spelled-out, with a fantastic four-episode finale in February that tied up loose strings and ended on the words (playing off Ron Howard’s intro over the credits): "It was Arrested Development." Unclosing that closure would have, at the least, been awkward and anticlimactic–like thinking you’re about to die in a plane crash, confessing your unrequited love to your travel companion, then finding out the impending crash was only a problem with the plane’s no-smoking light. You’d be glad to be alive, sure, but you wouldn’t necessarily want to see your seatmate again.

I’d love to have been proven wrong, but perhaps it was better for AD to quit while it was behind in the ratings and ahead in our hearts. And it may not be gone forever–Hurwitz hinted to Variety that he might consider doing an AD movie in the future. I bet Claire Danes is available.