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Just why did anyone need a dramatic "Arrested Development" to begin with?

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For all its critical praise, Fox's "Arrested Development" was a terribly overrated sitcom. Not only were the characters over-the-top stereotypes, but it had a vacuous hole in the center in the "Natalie zea dirty sexy money" bland Jason Bateman. Fox gave it every chance to attract an audience, but nobody -- except a few misguided critics -- was buying.

To its credit, it has a better character playing the innocent in the middle, the show's conscience and the viewer's eyes and ears, in Peter Krause's Nick George, but it's still too over-the-top to be taken seriously.

For proof, just tune in the episode "The Wedding" at 9 p. Wednesday on WLS Channel 7.

Natalie Zea's "professional divorcee" Karen Darling is about to get hitched to a guy who loves her, Daniel Cosgrove's Freddy, even as she continues to pine for Nick, much to the chagrin of Nick's wife, Lisa, played by Zoe McLellan.

Still, the wedding is a cause for celebration for Donald Sutherland's Darling family patriarch, Tripp, meaning he has to follow the tradition of opening and finishing a precious bottle of tequila before the day is done.

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Meanwhile, William Baldwin's New York Attorney General Patrick Darling is preparing to run for higher office, but first he has to tell his wife about the affair he's having with a transsexual.

The family Natalie zea dirty sexy money of the cloth is trying to raise his abandoned illegitimate son, only to be distracted and how when the mother returns from Brazil. And then there's some ridiculous subplot involving a pop star and a couple of the younger Darlings, apparently supposed to be of interest to teenage viewers who just got through watching the CW's "Gossip Girl.

I'm not saying there isn't some good work being done here. The basic idea is that Nick is an idealistic attorney who, through one thing and another, has fallen into Natalie zea dirty sexy money for the corrupt Darlings, and Krause has mastered the posture of the bemused, put-upon voice of reason from his days on HBO's "Six Feet Under.

Sutherland is actually excellent as Tripp, never quite as nice, or as evil, as he would appear to be. Between this series and his work last year on Geena Davis' "Commander in Chief," he's enjoying a lovely late-career flourish on TV.

Jill Clayburgh celebrates a revival of her own as his wife, Letitia, and like any good potboiler the show has a knack for the ending that draws you back in, with both Tripp and Letitia making threatening pronouncements at the end of Wednesday's episode. Yet, really, who would stick around for those pronouncements after Nick, la-dee-da, simply auctions off the exclusive photographic rights to Natalie zea dirty sexy money wedding to one of several tabloids?

After Freddy gets down on one knee to worship Karen, only to elicit a completely unexpected response entirely?

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After Baldwin anguishes over his transsexual affair? None of which rings true with any reality I've known. Worst of all, ABC has been pushing the "chemistry" between Krause and Zea, but it seems pretty inert to me. Yeah, sure, she's a knockout, and he's the handsomest man in the cast, no question, but they hardly seem to have some incendiary attraction that threatens to put all else to flames.

But I will grant it this much: It's more of a hoot Natalie zea dirty sexy money "Arrested Development," even when it's not trying to be.

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