As the off-screen narrator of Arrested Development, Ron Howard was never afraid to speak his mind, even if it meant contradicting or undercutting the onscreen characters, many of whom were delusional, dishonest, or both. That talent for blunt honesty serves Howard especially well in a new YouTube parody video by NeverCaesar called “Trump-rested Development,” which mashes up the beloved Fox/Netflix sitcom with footage from the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. This is what the 2016 presidential campaign would have looked like as a Mitchell Hurwitz show.
Howard’s narrator fact checks the debate as it’s happening. The first topic up for discussion is Trump’s active (until very recently) participation in the so-called “birtherism” movement. Trump credits himself with getting President Obama to produce a birth certificate and then says, “I think I did a good job.” But Howard is right there to respond, “But he really didn’t.” And when Trump denies calling pregnancy an inconvenience to employers, the trusty fact checker immediately cuts to a 2004 Dateline clip in which the real estate mogul says precisely that. In typical Arrested Development style, the clip is identified as having occurred “earlier that day.”
NeverCaesar, who previously created a Shakespearean Trump parody, explains the logic behind his new mashup: “With constant commentary necessary to fact-check his endless lies, Donald Trump’s campaign is starting to feel like it should be narrated by Ron Howard.” Somehow, the ukulele music and folksy narration makes all of this feel witty and charming rather than deeply distressing and disturbing. Hurwitz, for one, approves of the parody, sharing it with his followers on Twitter and even calling it ”a sneak preview” of Arrested Development’s still-to-be-determined fifth season.