Arrested Development's return is less than one week away, so break out the virgin pina coladas and let's get this party started! Alia Shawkat sat down with TVGuide.com to discuss the cult comedy's triumphant return, the "mysterious" new format and everyone's favorite incestuous cousins.
While Shawkat wouldn't say how Maeby Fünke has spent the past seven years, it doesn't seem like her character's changed much. "Maeby is very self-sufficient. She's kind of looking out for herself at all times." Shawkat said, "I think she always thinks her parents are f---ed up and will try to prove her parents are bad parents until the day she dies."
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While there's no doubt that Tobias (David Cross) and Lindsay (Portia De Rossi) aren't good parents, we learned they aren't real Bluths either. As the Season 3 finale revealed, Lindsay was adopted by Lucille (Jessica Walter) and George Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor) as a way to "stick it" to the Sitwells. This revelation would considerably lower the creepy factor of Maeby's attraction to her (apparently non-biological) cousin George Michael (Michael Cera) — with whom she went to second base in the Season 3 finale — but it doesn't seem anyone bothered to tell Maeby. "I don't think she knows," Shawkat laughed. "It's definitely not addressed in these new episodes."
Of course, thinking they shared DNA never stopped Maeby before. When asked whether we'll see more Les Cousins Dangereux action in the new season, Shawkat played it coy: "I'd say that what happened in our childhood shows that it affects our future relationships." As the only two kids in the Bluth family (Annyong and Buster aside), Shawkat added that cousins share a special bond. "I think she cares about George Michael. He's the only one in the family that she actually cares about and connects to. They're both kids and the only ones to relate to each other through all of this," she explained.
Romantic interests aside, Maeby will keep George Michael close by enlisting him as her partner in cons. "She has a way of taking advantage of him without meaning it in a mean way. She's always coming up with elaborate pranks. Usually she uses George Michael in them," Shawkat said.
But what about her greatest con ever? Will Season 4 find Maeby still working as a movie exec at Tantamount Studios? "Yes and no. What are you trying to do — get me to tell you all the plot lines?" Shawkat teased. "It's definitely part of it, but things happen there."
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But don't expect too much of the new episodes to focus on old story lines and throwback jokes. "I remember [Mitch Hurwitz] saying he didn't want this to be a best-of," Shawkat said. "There are so many new jokes that there is no room for the old ones anymore. They're just as funny or funnier." Shawkat did note that we can expect many more fake movie and TV shows (though it's unlikely anything will top Girls with Low Self-Esteem or Mock Trial with J. Reinhold).
Arrested Development's fourth season will also set itself apart with a new format, with each episode focusing on an individual character over the same time period. "They're written in this order to be mysterious, kind of leaving it open for [you to] question what this means," Shawkwat explained. "That's part of the fun of watching anything ... Feeling satisfied, but not knowing exactly what happened, then going back."
But while Shawkat praised the new format from the perspective of a viewer, as an actor it came with its own set of challenges. "[I was] shooting stuff kind of blindly, not knowing why [Maeby's] doing what she's doing, what she did, what she's about to do. Mitch was the only one who knew what was happening," Shawkat recalled.
Thankfully, the format won't be nearly as confusing to watch as it was to film. Are you excited about more Arrested? Do you want George Michael and Maeby to get together? Sound off in the comments!
Arrested Development premieres May 26 on Netflix.
(Additional reporting by Nicholas White)