Arrested Development Interview 'Got Under My Skin'

Linda Holmes of NPR explains why this story is so particularly bad
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 25, 2018 1:03 PM CDT
Arrested Development Interview 'Got Under My Skin'
Jason Bateman, right, presents Jeffrey Tambor with the award for outstanding male actor in a comedy series for “Transparent” at the 22nd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Jan. 30, 2016, in Los Angeles.   (Photo by Vince Bucci/Invision/AP)

If you're not familiar with this week's controversy involving the cast of Arrested Development, the short version is this: During an interview, Jessica Walter described the verbal abuse she endured from Jeffrey Tambor as the worst in her 60-year career, while male cast members, particularly Jason Bateman, repeatedly tried to downplay the abuse by putting it in a that's-show-business context. All this as Walter was in tears. At NPR, Linda Holmes notes that it's been awful year of one harassment story after another, and this isn't even the worst of the bunch. "Not by a mile," she writes. "It may not even be Tambor's worst story." And yet, this story in particular "got under my skin," she adds, and in conversations with other women who felt the same, "I could only come up with this explanation: It's not the worst story, but it's such a complete story."

Holmes takes a deep dive into the controversy, taking into account the accusations of similar behavior, along with sexual impropriety, against Tambor on the show Transparent. "This spoke to me as an example of the genius pass that so many people in creative fields receive, where your process—your 'atypical behavior' ... is simply what it takes for you to do your art." It's nonsense, she writes, and the problem is that this is common outside Hollywood, too. "The hard-charging lawyer who abuses clerical staff, the domineering doctor who insults patients and nurses, the chef who abuses the servers and the cooks." In regard to Arrested Development, "seeing a woman so brilliant withstand repeated efforts, by people who say they love her, to recast her experiences as normal when she knew they were not? It was a lot to take," writes Holmes. Read the full piece. (More Arrested Development stories.)

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