But while the show’s popularity has continued to grow since its cancellation in 2006, Hurwitz’s television efforts have hit another snag: the axe has fallen on “Running Wilde.”
With the Will Arnett-led show’s blood still fresh in the water, The Guardian turned to the American screenwriter to explain the best ways to get a sitcom cancelled. Let the hilarity ensue!
Step one? Have a confusing title. “Come up with an unwieldy title that perhaps comes from the realm of psychology, so that the title of your show is almost instantly forgettable. For example, if you were to call the show ’Welcome Matt’, an audience could immediately understand the concept: this must be a character named Matt and he must either be a welcoming person or stepped on,” Hurwitz wrote. “If you call a show ’Arrested Development’ it’s confusing and sufficiently disorientating to guarantee that a wide audience never discovers the fruits of your labour.”
Steps two through four are all about turning the audience’s expectations on its head. For instance, audiences like fast cars and exciting vehicles, so why not toss in a stair car? And since audiences are used to one or two storylines during a 20-minute TV program, why not weave together eight entwining storylines for good measure. And, of course, add a sprinkle of incest.
Hurwitz’s list is as self-aware as it is bitter. When talking about how “first impressions are everything,” he wrote, “With ’Arrested Development,’ we tried showing the deep disdain that connects a family. We wanted to hold up a mirror to American society. And, just as predicted, America looked away.”
Similarly, he wrote not to bother with a laugh track because “audiences don’t always know ’when to laugh.’ By omitting a laugh track you can almost guarantee they’ll never find out.”
But his best words of wisdom for upcoming screenwriters looking to get cancelled? “Make a show for British sensibilities. And then show it in America.”
Did you watch “Arrested Development” while it was on TV? Are you looking forward to the movie? Let us know what you think in the comments section and on Twitter!