Alia Shawkat Says There Will Be a Lot More ‘Penthouse Group Hangs’ in the New Arrested Development Season

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Definitely Maeby. Photo: John Sciulli/Getty Images for Turner

In what felt like five seasons of will-they-or-won’t-they, the fifth season of Arrested Development is really, definitely, seriously happening. “So much time passes, and then it’s like, ‘Tomorrow you’re doing a wardrobe fitting.’ I was like, ‘What?’ There’s no lead-up,” said Alia Shawkat, who plays Tobias Fünke’s daughter, Maeby. We were talking during her last day on the set of her TBS show Search Party, before she had to fly to Los Angeles to begin filming the new season of Arrested Development. Shawkat said she’s read the scripts and that they were “funnier” than the last season, likely because it relies on the chemistry of the group. “They’re really funny,” she said. “Not that I’d expected them not to be, but they were just really, really funny.”

For her part, Shawkat is eager to get back to the character of Maeby after playing the frantic and anxious Dory in Search Party. “She’s just such a careless badass,” she said. “She’s like, ‘Fuck it, whatever.’ It’ll be fun to play that, because I’ve been in this mode the whole time like, ‘I’m sorry!’” At this point, Shawkat makes the face of an abused puppy you see in those ASPCA ads. “Really sad, pathetic,” she added. “I’m excited to switch over to be a little more like gutsy, stupid, like I don’t give a shit. I don’t know anything, but I don’t care.”

While we know the general arc of season five will involve a murder mystery around the death of Lucille Two, for Maeby that will mean “a lot of disguises.” “I remember I did the wardrobe fitting and I’d find out little facts about the plot and I’m like, ‘I’m doing what now?’ It’s always so bizarre and weirder than anything you could think of,” said Shawkat. “I have a lot of different characters I’m hiding in again. I’m getting thrown into a lot of different situations this year.”

And yes, as Jason Bateman has promised, Shawkat can also assure you that the family is sticking together this time. “They somehow were able to figure it out so it’s a lot of us in the house again together,” she said. “It’s what the family is doing now that they’re back together again, and where they came from. A lot more penthouse group hangs, which will be fun.”

Netflix’s first attempt at reviving the show after its cancellation at Fox came with a mixed reaction because of its disjointed structure: Many of the actors filmed their scenes separately, resulting in a patchwork, choose-your-own-adventure-style narrative. “Everywhere there was such a hype about it and then when it came out it was like, okay, now it’s out,” said Shawkat. “[And viewers] were like, ‘We want to see everyone together again.’ So that’s what they’re doing in this, is responding to that.”

As for whether there are more Arrested Development seasons in our future, Shawkat said, “part of me thinks we’ll never stop doing it. It seems like it’ll keep going forever and ever, [until] Maeby and George Michael are like 75 years old.”

Alia Shawkat on Arrested Development Season Five and Maeby