I am a huge Arrested Development fan, going as far back as when the show was actually running (which is rare!). And my loyalty only improved with age: I turned at least five people (now enthusiasts!) onto it, and watched Seasons 1-3 at least five times straight through.
It was my religion.
But even zealots move on. The last time I touched my AD DVDs was maybe summer of last year. I've since rediscovered Buffy, Angel and Star Trek: Deep Space 9. If anybody asks me, sure, I still dig the show. Have I got high hopes for its return, or for a full-length movie? Not really. The fire's become ash; I have officially Ceased to Care.
So it was with surprise and pleasure that I returned from vacation late Sunday to find @drtobiasfunke following me on Twitter. For non-ADers out there, Dr. Tobias Fünke is a (blazing!) closet homosexual, prone to awkward Freudian slips and just generally icky.
As a character, Tobias is totally rich. His clothes are disgustingly frumpy, he can never be completely nude, and he has anal-rapist -- short for psychoanalyst and therapist -- printed on his business cards. He's also married to the gorgeous and sex-starved Lindsay Bluth, played by Portia de Rossi (who's gay in real life! IroNY!)
In contrast, Dr. Fünke's Twitter personality is newborn and still sorta fætal. Whoever's behind it depends heavily on jokes that were thrown around during the short life of the show. But he's willing to interact and try giving the character off-network legs, which is ridiculously appealing. To my Twittered glee at him following me, @drtobiasfunke replied, "I'm only electronically following you. Physically, I'm attracted to women that have more of a Redford-esqe quality."
Hilarity ensues. I'm in love with a dead show all over again.
There's a lot to be said for an emotional connection forged by brand appropriation. If the cats behind Arrested Development hope to build momentum in its existing fanbase, maybe to help hype some future film in the make, microblogging is a good place to start. (A Dr. Tobias video blog would be awesome, too. I would watch it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Or maybe week.) I'm looking forward to seeing how @drtobiasfunke develops, and to following other AD characters as they appear.
Other fictional characters thriving on Twitter included the cast of Mad Men. Twitter personalities like @Don_Draper and @PeggyOlsen enjoyed a good run until AMC pulled out its bitch pistol and sent Twitter a legal takedown notice. Way to be wet blankets, guys: nothing like hosing the people that made you. UPDATE, 8:58pm: Looks like the Mad Men team's back on Twitter. Three cheers!
But back to the point. I'm not sure whether @drtobiasfunke has ties to Arrested Development's production team, but he got me into the show again. Hit me with ads, invite me to groups, send me petitions. I'm back on the team, ready to bring my favourite TV icons back to life.