This is a great article about the incredible directing and writing behind the fourth season of Arrested Development on Netflix. This season was very different than the previous 3 in the way it was presented and laid out, and while that took a bit of getting used to for me, it ended up being just as funny as ever in the end when I realized how interconnected and woven these episodes really were.
Here’s a tidbit:
By the time you’re done with all fifteen episodes, you realize just how much layering and interweaving was there from episode one. How did you keep all the stories and time lines straight?
Well, I spent a lot of time breaking all of the stories, well into the time that we should have been delivering scripts. It became clear that we were not going to be able to do these with one character per week – we’re going to be shooting these in every single order you can imagine. It had to be mapped out ahead of time. Like anything, you just start really internalizing it. I just thought about it all the time. I’d wake up and think about it, I’d go to bed thinking about it. This continued all the way through post-production where I would still be saying, “Wait a minute – if he’s going to be in the restaurant that means he already had to run into Lindsay and already had to get her permission for the movie because he won’t be able to do it there. So we’re going to have to go reshoot a scene. Then I’ll have to open up her episode…” That’s the long way of saying we did have cards up on the wall with lots of string, marking things that had to happen before these other things happened and at the same time as these other things. And a lot of it was just me being on set and realizing this is the only time I’m going to have these two actors together. There was a lot of frantic rewriting on my part on the set. A lot of it. I mean almost every scene. On the old show, I used to take my big pass at the end of a script — we’d write it, I’d sit at the keyboard and drive through with a few really trusted writers and throw things in it, and then I’d take a final pass straightening everything out. I didn’t get to do that here. There was no time.