When we last left our antiheroes on Arrested Development, Michael and his son were trading Newport Beach for Cabo San Lucas, Lucille had been caught for all her Bluth Company crimes, and Maeby was pitching the Bluth family story to Hollywood execs.
By the looks of the just-released trailer for Season Four, however, things aren’t picking up right where we left them. The 15-episode season, which premieres May 28th on Netflix, appears to start several years down the line, made most obvious by the fact that George Michael is in college.
The school pennant on a dorm room door reveals that George Michael is attending U.C. Irvine, located just 10 miles inland from the Bluths’ native Newport Beach. We see this after Michael shows up at his son’s dorm, though it seems Michael himself is not residing back in “The O.C.” As the clip opens, he’s at the Sky Harbor airport in Phoenix, Arizona, telling a taxi driver that he’s “looking for a fresh start” and that he “hopes he knows a good place to live.” So it appears Michael finally did what he always threatened to do throughout AD – move to reliable ol’ Phoenix. From where, though? Did he stay in Cabo once he discovered his father was planning on bunking up with him and George Michael (which we see in the last episode’s epilogue)? There’s no way to know just yet, but George Sr. doesn’t appear to be living in Cabo anymore.
In the trailer, George Sr. seems involved once again in the Bluth family business, screaming into the phone about GOB finding a job despite his “incompetence.” The only thing we could deduce about GOB is that he’s still terrible at magic – ahem, “illusions” – and picking up women.
Additionally, George is pictured driving a vehicle that has curtains – could it be an RV? The stair car, however, makes an appearance in the clip, though it’s hard to tell who’s stuck driving it. Plus, the family still owns Lucille’s apartment in Balboa Towers, apparently, as Maeby is seen running from an ostrich in its living room. (No word on the ostrich, but we’ll bet Baby Buster is thoroughly terrified.)
Let’s go back to Michael for a second. At one point, he’s standing in a housing development, with a Bluth realty sign on the lawn behind him. The sign reads “The Michael Bluth Company,” so it seems he really did strike out on his own. Right as we notice the sign, a vulture appears in the front yard – in Michael’s words, not a good sign.
Furthermore, when Michael shows up at George Michael’s dorm, Maeby is there as well. Obviously, any number of things could have happened between the kissing cousins, but we see later in the clip that Maeby opens her own dorm room door to see George Michael. She says his name like she’s surprised to see him, and the two are wearing the same clothes as when they’re seen in the shot with Michael. So it seems likely that they both ended up at U.C. Irvine, and they’re reconnecting again for the first time in years. If Maeby is also at U.C. Irvine, it seems unlikely she’s still a studio exec, especially since she was outed as a high school student to her bosses in the final episode of season three.
Lucille is shown wearing a shirt with a series of numbers near the left collar – how inmate chic! At one point in the trailer, Lucille is hauled away from a restaurant (Senor Tadpole’s?) by policemen. The restaurant’s “specials” board behind her reads: “Today’s soup: New England clam chowder. Today’s verdict: guilty no parole.” Naturally, she’s threatening Buster, who appears to have turned her in to the authorities.
And finally, Lindsay and Tobias. They seem to reconnect, with Lindsay expressing her love to her Never-Nude hubby (at which point he suggests acting classes). In another Arrested Development clip shown Monday on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, Lindsay and Tobias try to buy a house together, though neither of them has savings or income. So despite the “Hooray for Tobias” sign seen in the official trailer, we’re going to guess he didn’t come into much acting success (what a surprise).
All this said, the fourth season of this cult comedy favorite has been noted for its lack of a linear structure. The 15 episodes will focus on specific characters, with the individual storylines interconnecting. Michael could end up in Phoenix at the end of the season – or he could start off there and eventually make his way back to his family.