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Old 05-24-2013, 05:38 AM   #1
TMC
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Default If You Like ‘Arrested Development,’ You Need to Watch ‘Soap’

http://flavorwire.com/392659/if-you-...-to-watch-soap

Quote:
The comparisons between Soap and Arrested Development are abundant: there’s the boozy, sometimes dim mother figure, the wealthy grown children, a looming criminal trial, a plethora of minor guest characters ranging from mobsters to criminally stupid lawyers, and even a ventriloquist dummy who manages to insult the rest of the cast of characters. With the convenient narrator who conveniently shares what will happen on each following episode of the series, it’s easy to see where Hurwitz got some of his inspiration for his multi-layered comic story of the Bluth family.

That the various societal taboos are presented so frankly is what’s most indelible about Soap’s legacy. The Tate family’s butler, Benson (played by Robert Guillaume), is a ground-breaking African-American character; his blatant distaste for his rich, white employers is surprising for the time, especially since his insubordination comes across as comically noble. The Tate daughters, both sexually active, aren’t promiscuous as much as they are modern. Billy Crystal broke new ground in his portrayal of Jodie Dallas, the first openly gay sitcom regular; the character regularly makes the homophobia of his peers the butt of the joke rather than the other way around. (A caveat: the depiction of Jodie is hardly perfect, especially when one storyline involves his casual quest for a sex-change operation; it’s representative of a time when sexual orientation and gender were regularly confused.)

The most striking comparison between the two series is that they both follow a multi-story serial narrative, a style that was never employed in a comedic before Soap (and one that didn’t become popularized again until Arrested Development’s cult success). While dramatic series always found solid audiences, it was rare for a sitcom to require a viewer to watch the series from beginning to end to fully understand the complexities of its storyline and characters. It proved to be both successful and detrimental for both series, but enabled them to have long shelf lives upon their respective home video releases.

Once you’ve watched all 15 new episodes of Arrested Development upon their premiere on Netflix this Sunday, I suggest watching the four seasons of Soap. While it’s no longer available on Netflix Streaming, its 93 episodes will surely keep you busy while you’re waiting for the eventual Arrested Development movie. It’ll even prep you for your next AD marathon; surely you’ve found all the Easter eggs on the series, but it may surprise you how many elements of Soap made their way onto the latter’s monumental run.
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