Casting a Critical Eye on Culture: Arrested Development and the Power of the Sitcom

Joel Brown / ArrestedFanArt.com

This Olio looks at American culture and recent history through the TV show Arrested Development. Unlike many TV shows in the 2000’s, a major part of its humor and story lines, were conscious of the real world. The show cast a critical and astute eye on contemporary politics and culture. The writers successfully mined some of the biggest political events of our time, George W. Bush’s Iraq War, for biting observations and humor (i.e. repeated use of Mission Accomplished Banners at failed events). 

Arrested Development also made knowledge of TV shows a platform for its humor, playing on the broad cultural awareness and impact of TV. The show introduced a new production format for sitcoms. We'll discuss how from the second Iraq War to the Crash of 2008, Arrested Development successfully engaged with the real world events to produce an insightful satire of our times.


Recommended reading from Penguin Press:

Better Living Through Criticism by A.O. Scott

The New York Times film critic shows why we need criticism now more than ever.




Location: Berg'n

899 Bergen St, Brooklyn, NY 11238

Hip, late-night beer hall featuring microbrews & food vendors in a spacious, industrial-chic venue. Classes will be held in the private room.




Interdisciplinary Learning with the Best Professors


Think Olio is not about learning a new skill or adding credentials to your resume. It is about getting together with other people and expanding our worldview. It exists as a conduit for fruitful discussions, a dissent from the regurgitation of facts, and an embrace of new perspectives.


Learn about joining the Scenius for $10 / month



Other upcoming Olios


May 22

Stoicism in a World out of Your Control

Taught by Massimo Pigliucci
7:30 p.m. at The Assemblage | NoMad

Sign Up - $20

May 22

The Holy Fool

Taught by Geoff Klock
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

May 24

Sex, Pleasure & Intimacy in the Time of Capitalism

Taught by Kim Nguyen
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

May 25

OlioHouse | The Production of Nature

Taught by Lauren Hudson
noon at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

May 29

Composing Beauty: Mapplethorpe’s Quest for Perfection

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7 p.m. at BAM Fisher

Sign Up - $20

May 30

Painting the Apocalypse: Haring, Basquiat and the Eighties

Taught by Charles Riley
7 p.m. at The William Vale Hotel

Sign Up - $20

Jun 2

New York City: From Reconstruction to Universal Rent Control

Taught by Lauren Hudson
2 p.m. at Grant's Tomb

Sign Up - $0

Jun 8

OlioHouse | Words, Labels, & Power

Taught by Jeanne Proust
2 p.m. at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

Jun 14

The Emergence of Sexuality

Taught by Jamie Warren
7 p.m. at The Assemblage | NoMad

Sign Up - $20

Jun 23

Female Power and Desire in Shakespeare after #MeToo

Taught by Christina Katopodis
1 p.m. at Threes Brewing // Greenpoint

Sign Up - $15

Jun 26

Jun 29

OlioHouse | Happiness & Hedonism

Taught by Skye Cleary
2 p.m. at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

Sep 19

OlioTrip | Cienfuegos, Cuba

Taught by Teresita Levy
10 a.m. at Cienfuegos, Cuba

Sign Up - $


Find out when we launch new classes!