Arrested Development

It’s been a lean TV month.

About a three weeks ago, my TV went blank. A call to Dish Network confirmed that I had lost my signal (duh) and they had to send a technician out and that will be $35.

Yes, you will send a technician out, but no, it sure as heck will not be $35. It’ll be free and come to think of it, you’ll be thanking me for the privilege of being invited into my home.

a) I’ve been a loyal customer for four years and have put up with numerous outages. Now I have to take a half-day off work so you can come fix it? Show me some love!

b) You make a big fat hairy deal in the contract and bill that you actually own the DVR/receiver and that I’m only renting it from you. Last time I checked, the owner pays the cost of repair.

c) You’re charging me a $5-a-month “service and maintenance fee.” What is that for if not so you can afford to do service and maintenance?

The tech support lady on the other line (surprisingly, she did not sound like she was from India) relented and said they’d have someone out on Friday and she’d be happy to waive the fee. I was mildly annoyed that she relented so easy. Why charge it if you’re so ready to waive it? That’s the kind of question I’d probably be better off leaving alone.

So Mr. Smells-like-smoke came by and couldn’t figure out the problem. He fiddled with every connection between the TV and the dish, realigned the dish twice, and reset the receiver twice. In the end, he didn’t know what he did, but I was once again able to watch and DVR 40-year-old episodes of Hogans Heroes.

Four days later, I lost signal again. It was the same symptoms as the before, so instead of making a very unhelpful phone call to Dish Network Tech Support, I called a buddy from church who installs Dish for a living. He came over, ran over the whole thing from TV to Dish, fiddled a little bit and got it working again. Thankfully, he did not smell like smoke and I would have actually been willing to pay for his help.

I watched TV for about a week when I lost signal for the third time (sadly, Col. Hogan was not able to escape). The folks at Dish finally figured out that there might be a problem with my reciever so after another week of no TV they shipped me a new one, which UPS dropped off yesterday. Hooray! Hogan comes on at 8!

Except it didn’t work. It wouldn’t even power on. I knew I had to call tech support, but I was going to hurt somebody if they asked me if I’d plugged it in.  I carefully phrased my complaint to include the fact that I had indeed plugged it in so thankfully she didn’t ask me. Bottom line, the new receiver is a dud and they’re shipping me a new one which I will receive in four to five business days. I also demanded and got a month of free service.

So now I have two bum receivers, no TV service. I going to miss the premier of Ice Road Truckers tomorrow night!

All this to say that now I’ve had time to re-watch through the entire canon of Arrested Development.

Simply put, this may be the greatest sitcom ever. Every single, solitary word, every single solitary symbol is absolutely a treasure. You want, slapstick? It’s there. You want puns? They’re there. You want more wordplay? It’s there. You want a throwaway joke from the pilot that comes back in the fourth episode of season three? They’ve got you covered. Then there’s the amazing cast, crazy intricate plot line built around current events, the brilliant cameos*, the meta-humor about the cast of Happy Days, the sharpest, non-hipster writing available, jokes about its own network (FOX), a bright, witty soundtrack, a boatload of quirk and Easter eggs galore. Sure, the third season is too clever by half, but it’s still a delicious TV experience

So yeah. Go out and buy the DVDs. The whole series is only $47.49. That is all.

* I love a good cameo. Some of my favorite AD guest appearances:

  • Scott Baio
  • Zach Braff
  • Rob Corddry
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus
  • Judy Greer
  • James Lipton
  • Jane Lynch
  • Liza Minnelli
  • Amy Poehler
  • Ben Stiller
  • Christine Taylor
  • Charlize Theron
  • Carl Weathers
  • Dave Attell
  • Justine Bateman
  • Gary Cole
  • Bud Cort
  • Heather Graham
  • Ed Helms
  • Clint Howard
  • William Hung
  • John Laroquette
  • Frankie Muniz
  • Judge Reinhold
  • Andy Richter
  • Andy Samberg
  • Martin Short
  • J.K. Simmons
  • Richard Simmons

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