One of the reigning theories about Arrested Development’s inability to garner a mass audience during its initial run—alongside the “unlikeable characters” argument and the David Icke-led conspiracy theory we just made up about Jessica Walter being a reptilian—was that the series’ dense mythology and complicated web of foreshadowing, callbacks, and Easter eggs alienated casual viewers. That demand for the viewer’s full attention cuts both ways: The show’s upcoming Netflix revival wouldn’t be possible without the fanatics who’ve pored over every second of the show’s televised run, committing catchphrases to memory and requiring any online mention of the Bluth family to be peppered with quotes and references. Look it up: It’s in The Patriot Act.
That facet of Arrested Development fandom continues to seep into Netflix’s marketing efforts for the 15 episodes debuting on the streaming service May 26. Take the series of teaser posters that were leaked to various websites today, then collected by Splitsider, amounting to one oblique visual gag for every member of the show’s principal staff. Or, for people who’ve never seen the series, it’s the suggestion that Arrested Development stars a sentient pair of Daisy Dukes and an ice cream sandwich with a bite taken out of it, both of whom undertake a quest to free a mystical credit card from its crystal prison, a quest overseen by Captain Hook. (A crook, legal legend has it, a pirate whom deserves to have the book thrown at him by a judge, any judge.)
Then again, it’d foolish for anyone to attempt to jump right into Arrested Development’s fourth “season” without watching what’s come before—a notion recognized by another Netflix campaign, the so-called “Bananathon,” which forgoes the obvious father-son triathlon allusion because not everyone has seen “Notapusy” yet, duh. These are teasers, after all, and their only job is to goose the faithful. But it remains hard to shake the feeling that this whole endeavor is chasing the unacquainted away from the new episodes by pandering to the fandom’s most irksome tendencies, each of the nine posters a different iteration of the phrase “No touching!”