…We are having a family meeeeeting !

0kay. Full disclosure. I know that I tend to make every new illustration my favorite illustration but the following picture has got be my absolutely favorite. Hands down. Give us all your money :D

Arrested Development / Cimpoe Gallery

God damn. Is that not excellent? Look at those expressions. Looks at those colours. AHHHHH so good. Peter has not copied an existing still image for this illustration. Instead, he choose to incorporate elements of Maebe and George Michael in order to generate this absolutely magical and original illustration. Arrested Development has made the rounds in my life since it was first on television. I remember the moment I was hooked on the show. This was long before it was cancelled and people started to discover the show on Netflix. Let me take you back to 2003, the golden age of string straight hair, short skirts and pointy heels. CSI and American Idol were the most popular shows on television and "In Da Club" by 50 Cent was playing on a continuous loop on every single radio station. I was driftwood child of about sixteen, still in high school, mostly grumpy and trying my darnest to be a good girl.  I was a loyal follower of the Fox Sunday night cartoon/comedy lineup which consisted of mostly The Simpsons, King of the Hill and Macolm in the Middle. It was not uncommon for Fox to use the established Sunday night platform in order to roll out something new and untested. Futurama and Family Guy both made their debuts during the FOX Sunday night lineup. Although both these shows were cancelled within a few years of airing, they found a secondary audience through syndication and were revived again some years later (just as Arrested Development would be revived on Netflix!). Terrible and ill-conceived shows have aired during the FOX Sunday night lineup, some so questionable that their mere airing past the pilot episode defies any logic or reason (Quintuplets anyone?!?!). It was not uncommon for me to stick around and watch some of these new shows . The X-files (the life blood of my heart) had aired its final season the year before so there was a lot room for experimentation on Sunday nights. Low and behold, this new show came on, the intro short and simple: Now the story of a wealthy family who lost everything, / And the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together, / It's Arrested Development

Arrested Development credits / Cimpoe Gallery

 

I remember liking the pilot episode. I remember it made enough of an impression that I wanted to stick around and watch the next episode the following week.

Arrested Development Blue / Cimpoe Gallery

And then the following week, I watched the second episode and there was a moment, a scene, which sealed my love for the show forever. And I don't know why it was this scene. I don't know if it was Will Arnett's physical embodiment of the scene, or the music, or the way the takes had been edited in quick succession in order to drive the pointlessness of the scene home, but this was the moment for me:

"God had not mailed the letter but in an act of defiance dramatically hurled the letter into the sea."

"God had not mailed the letter but in an act of defiance dramatically hurled the letter into the sea."

I was in love. I was done. I would remain loyal to the show until the very final episode. I remember asking people in high school to watch this show and there was one guy who admitted he watched it. We bonded over the line "Always leave a note!" Three seasons in, the final season was given a short order and it was announced that it was cancelled. The third season would be the final season. I was in University by then and life went on, the way it always does when we lose the things we love. We just move on.   

And suddenly Arrested Development started airing in syndication on CBC. It would air in the late afternoons and I would catch the reruns whenever I could (despite owning all the DVDs). Peter was in high school by then. He was leading his own complicated life. He would often draw in the living room and it was not uncommon for him to listen in on whatever was on television in the moment. Sometimes he asked me questions. "What is this?" he would say. One day he caught the following pivotal moment on the television and he burst out laughing. He couldn't stop laughing.

Mrs. Fingerbottom failing to impress his daughter.

Mrs. Fingerbottom failing to impress his daughter.

"WHAT HAPPENED?!" Peter asked.

"What do you mean?"

"Why did he do that? Why is he dressed like that?"    

"The dad moved out of the home but he wants to remain close to his daughter so he dressed like Mrs.Doubtfire."

"Are you serious?"

"Yes. And there's some Mary Poppins in there too."

And that was it for Peter. I took out the DVDs and he watched all three seasons, right in a row. The love was deep and un-moving. Arrested Development became a staple in the home and it is not uncommon for us to still bring up AD during conversation, even during inopportune moments. Peter, whose memory is unfathomable when it comes to movie and television quotes, can recite full scenes from the top of his head. We go back to the show, over and over again. We breakdown scenes and jokes. We analyze the clothes and the details in the background. We discuss what could have been with the shortened, ill fated final season. We are fans of season four, despite some grumblings in the community. I think it feels like home. Arrested Development feels like coming home, in the same way that The Simpsons feels like home or Six Feet Under. It is the chicken soup of when things are falling apart. It reminds us not of a simpler time but of the fact that things have always been kind of bad and people are always kind of awful and despite all this, we can laugh because it's not all that bad. We move on. We live. We laugh. They say you can't go home again and I think in the figurative and philosophical sense of the word, that is true, but in some other way - less complicated way - we can go to another type of home. We know each room. We recognize every object and article of clothing. We love the voices and we recite the lines. This is our home. It's as close as we can get to going home again.  

-Ileanna Cimpoe

Better Call Saul - Layers Upon Layers

Peter is a few layers away from completing this illustration. It has taken him a bit longer than usual to finish but it is not from lack of trying! He’s been busy with another painting (portrait). He’ll fill us in on what he has been working on :) It’s an exciting new piece and features a certain predominant “goo” face we’ll get into a bit later (what is “goo” face you ask? Good question! Stay tuned…)

Better Call Saul / In progress /  Cimpoe Gallery

Now, to the matter at hand. Let’s talk Better Call Saul! Peter has put down all of his darkest darks and dimmer tones. The next layers are all about the specifics. We see more of the details in the face and expressions. We notice the nuances along the back wall (including some texture). The varied mug shots over Mike and Jimmy’s heads have all been  mostly completed. I love how the criminal faces takes up an overwhelming and expansive bulk of space. These criminals are some of the individuals that Mike and Jimmy will use to build and grow their respective reputations. The dye has been cast. It is the seedy element that is bearing down on the two of them, whether they realize it or not (Mike must be aware but Jimmy…not so sure about Jimmy). Season three of the show is set to start April (if I am not mistaken). Peter and I are certainly looking forward to the new season. Although Breaking Bad was favorite in its time, we’ve both concluded that Better Call Saul has done finer point of ironing out the characters that inhabit this universe. We get more of the people, more of the stuff that makes all these people tick. The fleshing out of the characters has been endlessly fascinating and further complicated by a climax we know, as viewers, is inevitable. The pacing is slowed. The tone is brighter (but no less dramatic). I love the introduction of Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn). She balances Jimmy out with her no nonsense approach to “lawyering” (lawyers be lawyering) but she isn’t the straight man to his funny man. She’s ten folds more complicated. She isn’t the nag. She’s isn’t the girlfriend. She’s her own complicated individual and seeing how hard she works…well, we can only hope to work that hard in order the get what we want out of life (and boy does she WORK).

I think the work and consideration Peter has put into this illustration speaks to the attention the show deserves. We want to celebrate these wonderful little moments between characters, friends and foes, and we get so much out of this image which aligns exactly with some of the things we have been talking about. We’ll post the final variation of this illustration sometime in the next few days. Peter thinks he’ll be done by the end of the week. 

We'll touch base soon !

-Ileanna Cimpoe