While Arrested Development garners most of its enthusiastic praise for its intricately connected gags, constant visual callbacks, and surprisingly complex characterization, one of its baser pleasures is the constant stream of double-entendres spouted by Dr. Tobias Fünke (David Cross). The hopelessly out-of-touch analyst and wannabe thespian steals just about every scene that he's in with his cringe-inducing cluelessness.
With the long-awaited fourth season of the series appearing in just ten days (check out the trailer here), Arrested Development's new "broadcaster" Netflix is taking out-of-the-box steps to drum up interest in the series. One such promotional tool is a Fünke-centric viral website that encourages viewers to, "Insert [Tobias] anywhere."
Framed as an online acting portfolio/audition reel intended for James Cameron, "Insert Me Anywhere" starts with an introduction strewn with accidental innuendos, after which one can explore short clips of Tobias attempting to play stock characters with varying levels of ineptitude. The site also allows visitors to upload photos as digital backdrops for stills of Tobias's "acting."
"Insert Me Anywhere" is a one-gag site that nonetheless does an great job of promoting the upcoming episodes of Arrested Development. Tobias will – like most of the major characters – receive his own episode among the 15 new installments. As such, it makes sense to use the most over-the-top and endearingly pathetic man of the ensemble to drum up excitement for the series.
As amusing as the included clips are, they're fairly awkward and only mildly funny if one doesn't know their context. This is part of Arrested Development's brilliance as well as its major weakness – if one isn't familiar with the overall dynamic of the show, individual jokes tend not hit at full power. Tobias Fünke could come off as a crass, one-note gay joke to someone just stepping in with no previous knowledge of the series. As such, the site will likely not convince many new viewers to sign on with Arrested Development before its premiere.
Of course, this sort of thing has already been pointed out by the series itself during its brilliant season 3 send-up of its impending cancellation. Arrested Development has rarely compromised on its weirdness, complexity, or characterization. I just hope that we actually get to see the ManGo Juice commercial in the upcoming episodes.
Arrested Development will likely steal a considerable amount of your time when it premieres on Netflix on May 26th, 2013. Don't forget to leave a note.