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Ron Howard on “Arrested Development”: “The scripts are hilarious”

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If anyone’s been a big supporter of “Arrested Development’s” long-anticipated return, it’s been Ron Howard. The show’s producer and narrator has been teasing us on Twitter about the new season. He and star Jason Bateman have seemingly teamed up to make desperate to find out if episodes like “Michael” are as good as they claim.

Fortunately, there’s someone else around to do the digging for us. MTV News caught up with Howard recently and tried to pry anything and everything they could out of him about the upcoming season.

“It’s great. People stopped believing me when I would say ‘I think it’s going to happen! I can’t guarantee it, but I think it’s going to happen!’ It really is a thrill,” he teased. “I visited the set last week. It’s a blast over there. Mitch Hurwitz has such a remarkable, creative voice. It’s the perfect set of actors to bring it to life. I’m so glad it’s back. I’m a fan, too. The scripts are hilarious.”

It’s not surprising that Howard won’t give away any specifics about the forthcoming 10-episode season, but he did say that creator Mitch Hurwitz is going back to the show’s roots. If you like the first three seasons that aired on Fox, then you’ll probably love this.

“Mitch isn’t trying to recreate something,” Howard said. “It’s been away for a while, and part of the fun that Mitch has been mining and exploiting is, what’s new to discover about these people? What’s delightfully unchanged? He and the writing staff and the actors have a fantastic sense of that. They’re pretty brazen, pretty bold and fearless. That’s what made the show into something that fans really kept alive.”

Like we’ve heard from star David Cross, the cast is just as excited to get back into character as we are to have them. Howard said that the attitude on set is very positive.

“[The cast] is in great form and dying to take the characters further,” he said. “They’re having the greatest time getting together and getting back into it. It’s cool and bold and funny, and out there taking chances, just like it always did.”

The fourth season of “Arrested Development” will debut on Netflix in one fell swoop at some point next year. It’s currently filming.

Are you excited for the fourth season of “Arrested Development”? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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As the Spoof Turns

15 Hilarious Soap Opera Parodies

Catch the classic sitcom Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures Television

The soap opera is the indestructible core of television fandom. We celebrate modern series like The Wire and Breaking Bad with their ongoing storylines, but soap operas have been tangling more plot threads than a quilt for decades. Which is why pop culture enjoys parodying them so much.

Check out some of the funniest soap opera parodies below, and be sure to catch Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

1. Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

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Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was a cult hit soap parody from the mind of Norman Lear that poked daily fun at the genre with epic twists and WTF moments. The first season culminated in a perfect satire of ratings stunts, with Mary being both confined to a psychiatric facility and chosen to be part of a Nielsen ratings family.


2. IKEA Heights

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IKEA Heights proves that the soap opera is alive and well, even if it has to be filmed undercover at a ready-to-assemble furniture store totally unaware of what’s happening. This unique webseries brought the classic formula to a new medium. Even IKEA saw the funny side — but has asked that future filmmakers apply through proper channels.


3. Fresno

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When you’re parodying ’80s nighttime soaps like Dallas and Dynasty , everything about your show has to equally sumptuous. The 1986 CBS miniseries Fresno delivered with a high-powered cast (Carol Burnett, Teri Garr and more in haute couture clothes!) locked in the struggle for the survival of a raisin cartel.


4. Soap

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Soap was the nighttime response to daytime soap operas: a primetime skewering of everything both silly and satisfying about the source material. Plots including demonic possession and alien abduction made it a cult favorite, and necessitated the first televised “viewer discretion” disclaimer. It also broke ground for featuring one of the first gay characters on television in the form of Billy Crystal’s Jodie Dallas. Revisit (or discover for the first time) this classic sitcom every Saturday morning on IFC.


5. Too Many Cooks

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Possibly the most perfect viral video ever made, Too Many Cooks distilled almost every style of television in a single intro sequence. The soap opera elements are maybe the most hilarious, with more characters and sudden shocking twists in an intro than most TV scribes manage in an entire season.


6. Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace

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Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was more mockery than any one medium could handle. The endless complications of Darkplace Hospital are presented as an ongoing horror soap opera with behind-the-scenes anecdotes from writer, director, star, and self-described “dreamweaver visionary” Garth Marenghi and astoundingly incompetent actor/producer Dean Learner.


7. “Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive,” MadTV

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Soap opera connoisseurs know that the most melodramatic plots are found in Korea. MADtv‘s parody Tae Do  (translation: Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive) features the struggles of mild-mannered characters with far more feelings than their souls, or subtitles, could ever cope with.


8. Twin Peaks

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Twin Peaks, the twisted parody of small town soaps like Peyton Place whose own creator repeatedly insists is not a parody, has endured through pop culture since it changed television forever when it debuted in 1990. The show even had it’s own soap within in a soap called…


9. “Invitation to Love,” Twin Peaks

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Twin Peaks didn’t just parody soap operas — it parodied itself parodying soap operas with the in-universe show Invitation to Love. That’s more layers of deceit and drama than most televised love triangles.


10. “As The Stomach Turns,” The Carol Burnett Show

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The Carol Burnett Show poked fun at soaps with this enduring take on As The World Turns. In a case of life imitating art, one story involving demonic possession would go on to happen for “real” on Days of Our Lives.


11. Days of our Lives (Friends Edition)

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Still airing today, Days of Our Lives is one of the most famous soap operas of all time. They’re also excellent sports, as they allowed Friends star Joey Tribbiani to star as Dr Drake Ramoray, the only doctor to date his own stalker (while pretending to be his own evil twin). And then return after a brain-transplant.

And let’s not forget the greatest soap opera parody line ever written: “Come on Joey, you’re going up against a guy who survived his own cremation!”


12. Acorn Antiques

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First appearing on the BBC sketch comedy series Victoria Wood As Seen on TV, Acorn Antiques combines almost every low-budget soap opera trope into one amazing whole. The staff of a small town antique store suffer a disproportional number of amnesiac love-triangles, while entire storylines suddenly appear and disappear without warning or resolution. Acorn Antiques was so popular, it went on to become a hit West End musical.


13. “Point Place,” That 70s Show

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In a memorable That ’70s Show episode, an unemployed Red is reduced to watching soaps all day. He becomes obsessed despite the usual Red common-sense objections (like complaining that it’s impossible to fall in love with someone in a coma). His dreams render his own life as Point Place, a melodramatic nightmare where Kitty leaves him because he’s unemployed. (Click here to see all airings of That ’70s Show on IFC.)


14. The Spoils of Babylon

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Bursting from the minds of Will Ferrell and creators Andrew Steele and Matt Piedmont, The Spoils of Babylon was a spectacular parody of soap operas and epic mini-series like The Thorn Birds. Taking the parody even further, Ferrell himself played Eric Jonrosh, the author of the book on which the series was based. Jonrosh returned in The Spoils Before Dying, a jazzy murder mystery with its own share of soapy twists and turns.

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15. All My Children Finale, SNL

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SNL‘s final celebration of one of the biggest soaps of all time is interrupted by a relentless series of revelations from stage managers, lighting designers, make-up artists, and more. All of whom seem to have been married to or murdered by (or both) each other.

Why is David Cross wearing a sheet on the set of “Arrested Development”?

David Cross in Arrested Development

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Like clockwork, even more pictures from the set of “Arrested Development” have hit the web. Except this batch was taken a bit more professionally.

Buzzfeed has acquired an array of paparazzi photos showing the “Arrested Development” crew filming in an airport. In addition to leading man Jason Bateman, the scene also seems to include Portia de Rossi, David Cross and the entire cast of “Workaholics.”

De Rossi’s Lindsay Fünke looks as annoyed as ever at her husband Tobias, played by Cross. But what we’re most intrigued by in these images is the fact that Tobias is wearing a white sheet draped over him. Maybe he has become such a big celebrity in the years since season three wrapped that he needs to disguise himself when walking through public places? Or maybe he just blue himself.

What’s really interesting, though, is the fact that de Rossi and Cross are even in this episode. When “Arrested Development” began filming Tuesday, we learned that each of the 10 episodes of the fourth season will follow a different member of the Bluth clan. Since the first episode is called “Michael,” we assumed that meant it would be about him only. Apparently not though, since here we see his sister and brother-in-law in the same location we found him in yesterday.

It is exciting that all four major cast members from Comedy Central’s “Workaholics” are in at least the first episode as well, as one extra’s tweet shows us. Apparently creator Mitch Hurwitz had such a fun time on the set of “Workaholics” recently that he decided Blake Anderson, Adam DeVine, Anders Holm and Erik Griffin deserved a spot on “Arretsed Development’s” long-anticipated return as well.

Bluth truck from Arrested Development

Are you glad that all these set photos from “Arrested Development” are making their way online, or would you rather everything be kept a surprise? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

Jason Bateman tweets photo from the set of “Arrested Development”

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When you ask, you shall receive. And boy have we been asking for an inside look at the set of “Arrested Development.”

Fortunately Jason Bateman heard our pleas and tweeted the first image of season four episode one, “Michael,” filming. “First day. Away we go…” he said of the first day of shooting.

Though we aren’t entirely clear on what’s going on in this picture, it sure looks like Bateman’s character Michael Bluth is working behind the check-in counter in an airport. Is this what he decided to do once he abandoned his scheming family at the end of season three? We wouldn’t put it past him, though it likely won’t last long.

Notice anyone familiar in the photo? If you’re a “Workaholics” fan, you should. Anders Holm and Adam DeVine are both guest starring in (at least) the first episode of the new season, and we couldn’t be happier. Mitch Hurwitz acted in one episode of the Comedy Central show as “‘Fun’ Eric” and apparently had so much fun with the crew that he decided to invite them to the set of his returning cult classic. At least we know who two cameos in the upcoming 10-episode season will be.

The fourth season of “Arrested Development” is due to come out in 2013, though an official release date has not been announced. Hopefully we’ll find out about a few more cameos over the next few weeks, though we wouldn’t be opposed to having a few big ones kept a secret. Just keep the tweets coming, Bateman. And Ron Howard, you can feel free to chip in as well.

Are you glad Bateman is tweeting images from the set, or would you prefer to have them kept a secret? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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