Jason Bateman Plays “Beleaguered” Well

1 09 2009

Terry Gross Once Again Reminds Listening Audience of Underused Word’s Existence

Terry Gross interviewed Jason Bateman on Fresh Air the other night. It was tidy (you can listen to it here). Most of the time was devoted to his current film projects and earliest television work as a child actor. Gross even played a Little House on the Prairie clip featuring Bateman—I didn’t remember the episode, but it typified the show’s empty-calorie, pull-knob-to-dispense, Landon-brand moral tone (which, when coupled with the subscription to “Highlights Magazine for Puritans Children” that your aunt renewed each year on your behalf, was the 1980s equivalent of asphyxiation by pressing). Don’t even get me started on Highway to Heaven. Cut your hair, sir.

Throughout the segment, Bateman remained interesting and often witty. At times he was self-deprecating, but never to the point of being disingenuous. When Gross suggested that Bateman played “beleaguered” well, I instantly felt the need to use the word “beleaguered” as soon as was practically possible. Almost as instantly, all thoughts (except for the thought about using the word “beleaguered”) turned to Arrested Development and the character of Michael Bluth, the bland sort of center of the show—his words.

Gob's the oldest.

Pictured: effects of primogeniture hangover.

To be honest, there was very little Arrested Development talk in the interview. I won’t even play. I really just grasped at the first straw that gave me an excuse to post screen caps of a few of my favorite Michael Bluth facial expressions.

Uuunnnhhh!!!

Pictured: father exacerbates unreliability of son’s truth value.

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