There’s no easy way to say this. I know this will come as a surprise to some of you, especially those of you who know me well. Despite my previous, firm self-portrayal as a man who has never, ever seen the show Arrested Development and my more steadfast declinations to ever partake in the viewing of the broadcast, I believe that I, Joe Maher, accidentally watched Arrested Development. I know, it’s a lot to handle, but I think you all, at least, deserve to know how this happened. It’s not like any of this happened on purpose; I didn’t mean to watch it. It just… happened and now... it’s left me wondering: where do I go from here? Thinking back, I realize I’ve been presented with many opportunities where I could have changed everything, and I just sat there and pretended everything was okay. It started years ago. Four years, one month, and eighteen days to be exact.
May 26th, 2013
Season four of Arrested Development came out this day on Netflix. My friends and family were all getting ready to binge the entire season in a few nights. I wasn’t very excited, having never heard of the show before, let alone watched it. They kept making comments about some banana stand and a stair car. I was utterly confused. What could those things even mean? But I let them have their fun. That night Julian, Joe, and Sam were all together in Julian’s basement. They asked me to come over and without thinking about it, I just said, “Yes”. I knew I had made the wrong decision the second I left the house and I can’t explain why I made that call. I have no excuses. I got to Julian’s basement and I started to drink. There was so much gatorade. I can’t blame the drinks though. I made my own decisions. I noticed chips and salsa, oreos, and some weird japanese candies that to this day I can’t determine if they were edible or not. I couldn’t resist. I sat down, tucked myself into a nice blanket and watched a couple episodes. It was only a few episodes, two or three, four at the most. It didn’t mean anything, it was just a one time thing. I promise I didn’t have any emotional connection. But, that was just the start. Fast forward to the next month.
In the heart of summer, deep down, everyone just wants someone or something to rely on. I’m not trying say that it excuses my behavior, just trying to explain my thinking. After watching a few episodes when they came out, it had become common place to watch one randomly. Just a casual, one episode, every now and then thing. It felt okay, I mean what could one little episode mean in the grand scheme of life? I still didn’t watch the show even if I’ve seen a few episodes here and there. But these little blunders come back to bite you. They add up to bigger and bigger mistakes.
June 12th, 2015
Here’s where things started to heat up.
During the school year it had been easier to ignore the show. I put it behind me and thought I’d never think about it again. Plus, the excitement over the new season faded after a couple months. But then it came back. It was summer. June 12th marked the end of the school year and it became harder and harder to ignore the show. My father recited funny quotes and my friends kept watching it casually. I can see now that the point of no return was here. If only I’d seen that then.
Every time we’d hang out, an episode or two would play. I began to fall in love with Buster, who in turn fell in love with Lucille 2, I couldn’t think about anyone besides Tobias if I saw jean shorts, I happily chimed, “Annyong,” whenever he showed up, and I even laughed when I heard “Bob Loblaw Law Bomb.” Now, I know. I know all of this is hard to hear, but I promise I’m still the same guy. I just wish I had stopped it sooner, but I never thought it would amount to anything.
August 3rd, 2016
Another year passed and not much has progressed. It seems to me like I’m over the show. I don’t have any connection to Arrested Development. I thought it was over. But, in August, something happened. Before, when watching, it was usually a group activity because I was the only one who hadn’t watched the show and wasn’t a fan. But today it was just me and Julian. It felt okay, I still had never done it alone and so it felt like I was watching for him, but that’s never an excuse. We was watched an episode and a man… I’m sorry, this is hard for me to type. A man in a doctor's’ scrubs turned around and introduced himself as Gene Parmesan: Private Eye. I thought about it and I knew I had recognized him somewhere. No, I had recognized him from many different places. He was a recurring character, and I thought it was hilarious. To this day, I can’t think about why in the world I didn’t realize then that I had seen Arrested Development. I had recognized a running joke for god’s sake. I could’ve stopped before anything too drastic happened. But no, unfortunately. The saga continues.
May 17th, 2017
Today, the news broke that there would be a season five of Arrested Development. I wasn’t very excited, nor did I care very much that the news even broke. But, it sparked something in the people I knew who loved the show. Soon the group chat was filled with references and gifs. Each one funnier and funnier than the last. “There’s always money in the banana stand,” “We’re just blowing straight through nap time, aren't we?” The chicken dance, Buster’s extreme thirst for juice, “I blue myself.” All of it. Every single one of them I understood and STILL, still I did not see the glaring problem facing me. I now know that my actions were unacceptable, and there’s nothing I can do to fix that. I needed to admit it, but I didn’t. The thought never occurred to me. I had messed up big time and I was in deep. My life was a lie and I wasn’t ready to give any blame to myself. I had seen Arrested Development.
June 29th, 2017
Casually, Sam makes a reference to me in text. I respond with a quick laugh and think nothing else of it. But, Sam notices the issue. “I feel like you understand every one of my references about Arrested Development.” That’s all it took. I start to think back into my life and realize that without having made any effort to watch the show, I had seen the show. I was doubting whether I could even say I didn’t watch it. I realized that I had messed up and in doing so, lost something more important to me than anything else. I know I’ve always claimed to be an avid non-watcher of the show, but on this day, I realized that there was a problem with that statement that I had been so ready to avoid.
July 10th, 2017
Did I accidentally watch Arrested Development? Is that even possible? Can you watch and entire four season show without meaning to? What does that even mean? Do I say I’ve seen parts of it? Most of it? All of it? It all seemed wrong. But I needed to take responsibility for my actions.
I’ve watched Arrested Development and there’s nothing I can do to change that. I know this read will make a lot of you think about me differently, but I’m still me. I can never take back the mistakes I made, but I will fight to earn back your trust. I’m sorry. If I had met the show at a different time in my life, maybe things would have gone differently. I will live with this forever.
But, on the other hand, the show is hilarious. So maybe it’s time to move on and watch it… on purpose.