It’s been five years since fresh Arrested Development episodes hit Netflix and less than a week since the sh*t hit the fan after the New York Times led a dysfunctional family therapy session with the cast. In that session, accusations of on-set misconduct against Jeffrey Tambor were pushed back into the spotlight — both the allegations of sexual harassment that led to his dismissal from Transparent in February, as well as the verbal abuse against Jessica Walter on the Arrested Development set this season that Tambor alluded to in a THR profile three weeks ago.
The controversy wasn’t necessarily due to anything Tambor said in the Times interview, but was more about the response from castmates Jason Bateman, Tony Hale, David Cross, and Will Arnett, who either rushed to minimize Walter’s experience, or otherwise brushed it off — which had the effect of expressing support for Tambor. This as Walter sat in the room beside her co-stars (Tambor included), denying assertions that his behavior toward her felt commonplace based on her 60 years of on-set experience. It’s a shocking read, and the audio, which includes a tearful Walter, is even more impactful.
The decision to separate the art from the artist (or to not) is one we’ve all been forced to make more often recently, taking many things into account. Still, some of us just want to just be entertained. Personally, I’m a little exhausted by the last week’s worth of Arrested Development goings-on, so I’m going to leave the last three episodes of season five in the queue for awhile after having binged on the first five (which start slow but hit that familiar Arrested Development rhythm by the halfway point) to prep for my own interview with some of the cast after the Times interview had taken place. What transpired was a pretty standard press tour interview with Alia Shawkat, Bateman, Hale, Arnett, and Tambor. There’s some group goofiness mixed with a few insights, some talk about re-finding their characters, and joking about Trump in season five. It may qualify as a fun read for fans and/or as an interesting snapshot of the cast prior to the rise of a public controversy.
Does season four get a bum rap? I’m reading some of the reviews for this season and a lot of people are really taking some shots at season four, which I really liked. Also, how did the approach for this season — the more classic approach — impact you?
Jason Bateman: Yeah, I mean, I don’t know. Bum rap is kind of a… I don’t know. I would pick a different term. People are entitled to their opinion. It worked for some and didn’t work for others and that’s good. I know Mitch [Hurwitz], by design, was trying to do something that was unique to Netflix and their interface and then with season five, since all of our schedules allowed, we were able to return to the established format. Selfishly we all preferred that because you get to all do scenes with one another and that’s one of the big draws for us to continue to return to the show.
Tony Hale: It was a challenge for Mitch to fit everybody’s schedule in, but this was the first time that Netflix… it was some of their first scripted television and the fact that they released them all at the same time was big and you kind of played with that format [at the time]. So it’s very different. I’m the first to admit that I enjoy kind of going back and watching because I catch jokes that I missed the first time, but I’m probably repeating exactly what Jason has already said. But he’s giving me gum now so I’m going to receive that gum.
Please enjoy the gum.
Hale: Thank you.
Will, how did this kind of season help you? Do you feel like you had more of a chance to shine last season when it was more focused on each actor, or is it more about the ensemble?