special effects

The 6 Green-Screeniest Moments of Arrested Development Season 4

In the run-up to Arrested Development’s fourth season, Netflix launched a website where David Cross’s character Tobias cavorted in front of a green screen, allowing users to “insert him anywhere.” It was a fun bit of viral marketing, and an oddly prophetic one, too: Since Arrested mastermind Mitch Hurwitz was often hampered by his actors’ schedules when shooting the new episodes, he used a lot of visible green screen in season four to stitch everybody into the scenes he’d written or reshot. Sadly, the results were sometimes as awkward as that scene where Michael thinks Ron Howard is dating his own daughter. (Which is to say, very awkward.) Here were the six most egregious bits.

The green screen starts early in season four, as Kristen Wiig (and later, Seth Rogen) regard their beautiful, clearly fake ocean view. One of the dead giveaways that you’re looking at a composite shot: Suddenly the shaky Steadicam is gone, and the camera feels bolted in place.

John Krasinski’s brief cameo takes place in front of a screen capture from Myst, apparently.

Henry Winkler’s amazing costume is allllmost good enough to distract us from the fact that he’s clearly been plopped into this scene after the fact … and with completely different lighting, to boot.

Somehow, in episode two, George Sr. and Oscar end up in a pre-viz mockup from The Phantom Menace hut that’s clearly benefited from some digital enhancement.

When Lucille sings her Fantastic Four song for Tobias and the rest of the rehab actors, she’s weirdly isolated from them … and it just takes one look at her digital shadow to guess why.

Here it is, the scene you knew was coming as soon as you read that headline: The Lucille-on-Lucille trial confrontation. One of the most surprising things about Arrested Development season four is how much Liza it’s got, but apparently Ms. Minnelli was unavailable for one of her most crucial scenes. Did you cross your eyes — or shut them entirely — to make it through this sequence without staring at the gray outline around the awkwardly cut-and-pasted Minnelli? (Just don’t cross them too hard … you’ll get vertigo.)

Arrested Development Season 4 Green-Screen