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Mae Whitman to return as Ann Veal in “Arrested Development”

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All together now: Her?

That’s right, Mae Whitman will be coming back to the fourth season of “Arrested Development” as Egg Ann Veal. During an interview with Hollywood.com, the actress dished that she’ll definitely be back in at least one of the 10 to 13 new episodes in the show’s upcoming season.

“I definitely, definitely wouldn’t ever let this chance go by without being a part of it,” Whitman said. “I told [creator] Mitch [Hurwitz] that I would stand outside the sound stage until he would let me just walk through the background or something. I would say yes, you can definitely expect to find a little bit of Ann hiding in the background somewhere, at least.”

So will Ann be the love interest of George Michael (Michael Cera), Gob (Will Arnett) or someone new in the Bluth family? Maybe she’s moved on to Buster (Tony Hale) or Tobias (David Cross)? Or maybe Ann has some greater purpose to play. We can only imagine.

Whitman is just the latest actress to join the long line of returning secondary cast members on “Arrested Development.” Earlier this week we heard Liza Minelli would be back for another go as Lucille Austero, and we also know Judy Greer, Ron Howard, Scott Baio and Henry Winkler are returning. “Mad Men” star John Slattery and the cast of “Workaholics” are the only new additions we know of so far.

“Arrested Development” season four will air on Netflix at some point next spring. It will have anywhere from 10 to 13 episodes, and could be released all at once instead of weekly.

Are you glad Whitman is back? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

Soap tv show

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.

“Arrested Development” creator Mitch Hurwitz talks movie plans, episode order and JarJar Bluth

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At long last, Mitch Hurwitz has spoken.

The creator of “Arrested Development” recently chatted with Vulture in a hilarious new interview that touches on the subject of the planned movie, the Netflix launch of the episodes and a new character named “JarJar Bluth.” The full interview is definitely worth your time, but we’ve pulled out the newsiest bits below.

Up first, Hurwitz set the record straight on the rumor about there being more than 10 episodes in the upcoming fourth season. Long story short, there is the opportunity for more than the 10 episodes Netflix ordered.

“Our initial order is for ten, but the beauty of Netflix is that we theoretically have an opportunity to provide more material for them,” he said. “We’re definitely shooting some special material just for them. But their whole outlook completely mirrors the ambitions of this show.”

Hurwitz goes on to describe the episodes as an “anthology version of the show” because each one will focus on a different member of the Bluth family. The goal is to have all of them act as “act one” of the “Arrested Development” movie, which is planned but not currently sold.

“The episodes take the audience through the experiences of the characters since the family ‘fell apart’ and how they’re brought together to deal with their new problems,” he said. “Each episode is about a character — but we’ll see them in each other’s shows.”

Though Hurwitz previously came out and said that all 10 (or more) episodes of season four will be released at once on Netflix, it seems as though that might no longer be the case.

“I actually think the strategy for release is up in the air,” he said. “I know Netflix at one point was talking about streaming them all at once, because that’s how they’ve done it with other shows, and it’s their choice. I know it’ll be in the spring of 2013, or what the Mayans would call the spring of ‘1.’ But I just love the opportunity we have to be creative with every part of this, from the concept to the delivery.”

He also explained why he and the rest of the cast chose to come back and mess with the cult of “Arrested Development.”

“We all went back into this because of the devotion of the fans, and a desire to bring some fun to them — and to ourselves,” Hurwitz explained. “It definitely did start out being somewhat daunting, but I think for all of us we just got back into the groove. Oh, and we have this new JarJar Bluth character so there’s no way anyone will be disappointed.”

The new season of “Arrested Development” is set to debut on Netflix next spring.

What storyline do you hope is discussed in season four? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

Judy Greer confirms Kitty Sanchez is back in “Arrested Development”

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It’s time to say hello (again) to these. Judy Greer tweeted the confirmation we’ve all been dying to hear: Kitty Sanchez will indeed be returning to the fourth season of “Arrested Development.”

“Guess what I’m doing today…….” Greer tweeted last night along with the above photographic evidence. She’s not the first actor to tweet images from the set, but Jason Bateman has largely been on radio silence for the past few weeks. At least Ron Howard has been offering some teases, but — as he puts it — he’s “not giving away ANY details.”

When we caught up with Greer back in March, she offered her dream explanation for Kitty’s return.

“I’d like for her to take the whole family down,” she said. “I feel like Kitty Sanchez should come back with all the secrets and take down the Bluths. But, I probably shouldn’t put it out there, because then they’ll be like, ‘Well, now we can’t do that!'”

Hopefully this experience filming will be just like the last time, which she described as being last-minute and awesome because of that.

“They’d be like, ‘Can you come in to work tonight?’ I’d be like, ‘Yes, where are you shooting?’ ‘In Piru, can you be here in an hour?’ ‘Yeah, I’m at dinner. Like, I’m drinking.’ ‘It’s fine, it’s fine, we just realized we have to have you in this scene.’ They were just kind of awesome,” she told us in May.

“Arrested Development” is currently filming its at-least-10-episode fourth season for Netflix. Season four picks up several years after the events of season three, and each episode will focus on a different member of the Bluth family. If this Netflix season is successful, Hurwitz is planning to follow it up with either a fifth season or a movie. “Arrested Development’s” new season will be released at once at some point next year. In addition to Greer, Ron Howard, John Slattery, the cast of “Workaholics” and Scott Baio will all be guest starring in the new season.

Are you glad Greer is back as Kitty? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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