Just a few short weeks before “Arrested Development” premieres its long-awaited fourth season after seven years off the air, Netflix is seriously stepping up its marketing game to promote the show.
This week, New York City’s subway was plastered in “Arrested Development” ads, and Netflix went so far as to set up a promotional Bluth Co. banana stand in Midtown Manhattan to get the word out.
On Monday, Netflix brought the Bluths’ frozen banana stand to Rockefeller Center, directly across from Radio City Music Hall. From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. EDT, Netflix employees dressed as George Michael and Maebe Bluth handed out free frozen bananas and posters to the throngs of fans who lined up to have their picture taken with the “Arrested Development” banana stand.
By 3 p.m., the line for the banana stand wrapped around the other side of 49th street. Officials did not give a full head count, but there appeared to be at least 100 fans waiting in line at any given moment. The stand-in Bluths ran out of bananas fairly quickly, but that didn’t stop legions of fans from waiting at least an hour for a chance to have their picture taken.
"It's great that the show is finally coming back!" one fan said after waiting in line. "The banana stand was fun and tied a few jokes from the show into it. It felt like a party."
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And if you’re worried that you’ve missed out on a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the one and only Bluth banana stand, don’t worry. The Bluth Co. banana stand makes three more appearances in Midtown Manhattan later this week to promote “Arrested Development” season 4. On Tuesday, the stand will be at Columbus Circle just south of Central Park and will move to Times Square on Thursday. Officials on site did not say where the stand would be on Wednesday.
This isn’t the first city Netflix has brought the banana stand to, and it won’t be the last one, either. Last week, the Bluths' frozen banana stand showed up in London to promote the “Arrested Development” season 4 premiere. The banana stand made an appearance at Leicester Square for several hours before moving to the red-carpet premiere.
"Arrested Development” was canceled by Fox in 2006 after three years on air and steadily built itself a dedicated cult following in subsequent years. For years, fans petitioned the network to bring the series back as a movie. Then, in November 2011, Netflix announced it would be airing a new season online. Fans everywhere rejoiced.
The fan favorite premiered on Fox in 2003. It followed the lives of a dysfunctional wealthy Orange County, Calif., family, the Bluths. Before it was canceled, "Arrested Development" kick-started the careers of Michael Cera and Will Arnett, while revitalizing the then-struggling career of Jason Bateman.
Season 4 of "Arrested Development" is set to premiere early on May 26 exclusively on Netflix. The online streaming service plans to make all 15 new episodes available at once, rather than spreading them out over several weeks.