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Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Netflix Adds Another 'Arrested Development' Easter Egg: Blue Handprints

Try searching for any movie with the word "blue" in the title or just the word "blue" itself on Netflix, and there's a little surprise for Arrested Development fans: blue handprints all over the menu. If you click on the handprints, a scene from Arrested Development's season two premiere "The One Where Michael Leaves" starts up, in which Michael discovers Tobias's blue handprints all over the model home. The easter egg, discovered by The Bluth Family tumblr, is the second hidden Arrested Development gag Netflix has debuted on its menu in advance of the show's May return after all the fake movies from the show were added to Netflix's queue last month. So, keep searching for words vaguely associated with Arrested Development on Netflix, fans, 'cause it looks like they'll keep sprinkling these bread crumbs on the site to keep the show on your mind until May.

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  • http://twitter.com/connorratliff Connor Ratliff

    It will be fascinating to see how AD fares with a promotional campaign that is creative and engaged. One of the major complaints that fans had during the show's three seasons on FOX was that the commercials made it look less interesting and less funny than it actually was.

    Before anyone posts the typical apologies for FOX (they DID keep it on the air for 2 and a half seasons, etc.), the one detail that always gets lost in the story of AD is a tiny nugget in Bill Carter's 2006 book "Desperate Networks"– Rupert Murdoch HATED Arrested Development. He thought it was elitist and smug.

    During AD's second and third seasons, one of the big mysteries that drove diehard fans crazy was "Why isn't FOX doing a better job of promoting the show?" They barely touted that they had won the Emmy for Best Comedy when Season Two began, a missed opportunity to expand the show's audience. (Back when Cheers was the lowest rated show on TV during its first season, NBC was able to use its Emmy win to make it a ratings juggernaut.) The answer to that question is that, while they kept the show alive, no one at FOX was going out of their way to help it survive.

    Case in point: when the show was given a third season renewal and moved to Monday nights (paired with Bradley Cooper's "Kitchen Confidential"), AD aired an ad that immediately caused a stir, the infamous "Monday-hole" commercial.

    It featured the cast talking about how they were going to get people excited about Monday nights by making "Monday" a curse word. "Go Monday yourself!" exclaims GOB. "Shove it up your Monday-hole!" says George Michael, causing Michael Bluth to realize that "maybe this wasn't such a good idea."

    The commercial was EXACTLY the kind of thing fans had been begging for, and it got an instant reaction. It was funny, it was memorable, it was the kind of thing that might get new viewers to tune in on Monday nights. It also NEVER AIRED A SECOND TIME.

    It was as if they were frightened to be caught actively helping a show that the big boss didn't like, instead opting to let it slowly die so they could justify its cancellation to the press and public.

    Now, Netflix obviously has a big advantage that FOX didn't have, which is that AD's fan base has only grown bigger and bigger in the years since its cancellation. Several of the cast members are now better known thanks to various big hit movies, and the show itself has continued to be popular on DVD and via sites like Hulu and Netflix Instant.

    So while it was unfairly labeled a show that "no one" was watching while it was on FOX (even though its audience then would now make it a modest hit, thanks to diminishing network viewership overall), it is now a "cult classic" that is cooler than ever.

    Also, clearly the people at Netflix love the show and are proud to be associated with it, and their enthusiasm shows. It will be interesting to see, ultimately, if this more positive approach makes a difference in how well-received the new episodes are.

    The biggest enemy this time around being not Network Indifference but the sky-high expectations of fans and the inevitable backlash not unlike the kind that ultimately greeted AD's extremely underrated third season…

    • http://sorryyourheinous.tumblr.com syh

      I didn't know most of this. Good stuff.

      • http://twitter.com/connorratliff Connor Ratliff

        I wish someone would post that "Monday-hole" commercial online. This was pre-YouTube, obviously– makes me wonder if AD wouldn't have done a lot better in the era of YouTube, Facebook and Twitter…

  • Gene Parmesan

    I searched Blue and nothing happened. Then Blue Lagoon… nothing. Bummer.

  • Kaykay

    Also, Arrested Development is ranked in bananas instead of stars

  • Tofu

    Got it just now searching for "Blues Brothers". Too bad I don't watch AD and had no clue what the hell this was about.