Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Helen Rittelmeyer on AD

I recently discovered Helen Rittelmeyer, who writes careful, thoughtful and highly intelligent posts about not particularly important things. (This, more than anything, is what I look for in a writer—you think, yes, but don’t expect me to.) I particularly liked this one, analyzing the relationship dynamics of Arrested Development.

At this point I can't tell if I've proven that Mitch Hurwitz was definitely inspired by The Brothers Karamazov, or if I've "proven" it the same way your crazy uncle can prove that the Denver Airport is ground zero for the worldwide lizard-people conspiracy. Certainly I wouldn't want to ruin a good joke by taking it too seriously. But if AD is an updated version of TBK, then it's worth asking what updates Hurwitz thought necessary in order to bring the story up to date, apart from the set dressing.

Confession—I've not actually read The Brothers Karamazov. I read all the classics on my parents' bookshelf at the age of nine, lost interest in real literature, and have read nothing but junk since. If they had Dostoevsky, it was kept up really high. But I enjoy Helen's comparison all the same.


  1. Well now I want to read The Brothers Karamazov. But then I always want to read Russian authors after I've read *about* them. The I start reading and remember I hate Russian literature.

    As a rule.

    1. Yeah, you need to be pretty tough for Russian literature. I read a collection of Russian short stories when I was a kid, because I was still optimistic enough to hope that the next one would have a happy ending...