For “Arrested Development,” seven years has passed both in real life and in the show since it went off the air in 2006. That means Michael Cera‘s George Michael Bluth and Alia Shawkat‘s Maeby Funke have evolved from teens to adults in the time between the end of Season 3 and the beginning of Season 4.
George Michael and Maeby have had the benefit of seeing all the bad choices their parents have made during the course of “Arrested Development’s” first three seasons, so Zap2it asked Cera and Shawkat during a recent press day if they think their characters have been able to avoid the same mistakes as the adults in their lives. Unfortunately for George Michael and Maeby, it seems like that’s not going to be the case.
“I think they’re fated to walk down the same path and make the same mistakes,” Cera says. “I don’t think there’s hope for any of the characters.”
Shawkat adds, “Maybe with slightly different tones, but pretty much the same path. I think everyone in your life you end up making the same mistakes your parents made, so hope you have successful — emotionally successful — parents.”
According to the comedic pair, “Arrested Development” could have been called “Hopelessness,” but that name wasn’t quite as funny. “I think it was in parentheses underneath,” Shawkat quips. “At the last minute they decided to nix it.”
One of the longest recurring storylines in “Arrested Development” is the fact that George Michael and Maeby have romantic feelings for one another. That plotline was seemingly resolved when the pair learned they weren’t actually cousins in the series’ Season 3 finale, but it remains to be seen if they’ve taken advantage of that knowledge in the years since.
“Hard to say. I don’t think they know. I don’t know if they know. Do they know? Do you know? I don’t know,” Shawkat hedges. Cera adds, “I’m confused. I don’t know. I don’t think anyone knows.”
When asked for further clarification, Cera says, “I think they’re mentally related. That’s for sure. I mean, I’m mentally related to a lot of people.” That’s a cryptic explanation, but not quite as puzzling as Shawkat’s simple “you can’t change the heart” reasoning. It seems like fans will have to wait until May 26 to discover if George Michael and Maeby finally get to be a couple.
In addition to reprising his role as George Michael, Cera got to join the “Arrested Development” writing staff in Season 4. He describes the experience as “great” and admits he didn’t expect to have the opportunity.
“I was just in there every day working on whatever was on the table, but the first day I went in we were working on George Michael, weirdly. Boringly,” Cera says. “It was a dream. I never thought I’d have that invitation from [creator] Mitch [Hurwitz], and I loved being in there. It was great, and you get spoiled in there. Being on set, you have to show up and change your clothes, do your hair, get touched all the time. You can’t go to the bathroom whenever you want.”
As Zap2it readers likely know, our site has been holding an “Arrested Development” Rewatch as a way for fans to catch up on the first three seasons of the comedy in anticipation of Season 4. Jessica Walter already shared her favorite recurring jokes from the show, but Cera and Shawkat weren’t as forthcoming.
“I like when GOB says, ‘I’ve made a huge mistake.’ I like that, but it’s not my favorite. I specifically didn’t say my favorite. It’s just a real top pick of mine,” Cera says.
Shawkat adds, “This is a runner-up too, because I won’t say my favorite: I like the Charlie Brown music.”
Though the Charlie Brown music started off as a George Michael-specific recurring joke, it gradually expanded to include other characters in the series as well. Fortunately for Maeby, she doesn’t have the sad music play her off in Season 4 because, as Cera says, she doesn’t feel sadness.
“You realize that she’s actually a sociopath. Oops! Spoilers. What?” Shawkat jokes. “You’re supposed to realize [she is]. That was just a choice I made as an actor not to feel anything too deeply.”
“Arrested Development” Season 4 airs in its entirely on Netflix on May 26.