In the third season of Arrested Development, Michael falls in love with Rita, a beautiful Brit played by the amazing Afrikaner Charlize Theron. Michael is of course too smitten to immediately notice that there’s something odd about his new love. It turns out that she’s an MRF: a “mentally retarded female.” Sure, there were plenty of signs: the kooky clothes, the short attention span, the banjo playing, the way she talked, her attempt to eat plastic fruit… But one sign that Michael overlooked, and probably didn’t even think about even after he discovered the truth, was her name: Rita. Ree-ta, ree-tard… The truth was right there, in the sound of her name, the homophony of it. Interestingly, the one time that the name of the show is mentioned in the show itself is during a conversation Michael is having with Rita. American men, he says to her, are in a state of perpetual adolescence, arrested development. It therefore makes perfect sense that Michael is attracted to Rita. He thinks he’s attracted to her because she’s hot. But really he’s attracted to her because in her state of retardation he finds a mirror of his own state of arrest. Michael will remain in that state until he learns to read the signs all around him, until he starts listening for the sense in sounds, until he improves his punmanship.
January 16, 2012