The A to Z of ‘Arrested Development’

The legacy of Arrested Development is sneaky complicated.

On the surface level, it’s generally considered one of television’s best comedies and features more than it’s share of memorable scenes, jokes and characters. But there also isn’t a lot to work with in terms of diving into it’s treasure chest. There are the first three seasons that feel more like two seasons and then there was the long awaited, heavily anticipated and then generally dismissed fourth season. The fourth season, released by Netflix in 2013, was exciting because it had been over six years since the show was on the air, but then pretty much of a bummer because of how it was constructed and how disjointed the whole thing felt.

So now fast forward to May 2018 and the show’s creator Mitch Hurwitz has done what few people of his stature ever do – admit that he made a mistake. Hurwitz released an updated version of the show’s fourth season on May 4th, “Cinco de Cuarto.” This new cut ditched the individualized stories and trickery of the original fourth season, replacing it with a version of the show that is more familiar to fans and viewers, one with the characters actually interacting with one another among other changes.

The timing of Hurwitz’s decision shouldn’t be that surprising, especially because it was coupled with the official announcement of the show’s fifth season premiering later this month. This new season is a murder mystery and unlike the fourth season, was shot with the majority of the actors in the same location, saving both the show and the viewers the pain of watching the characters act with green screens and body doubles. No offense to body doubles of course. Or green screens.

With this new season coming in hot like a fresh cornball straight out of the cornballer, Giddy Up America is taking stock of the show, it’s characters and reoccurring bits alphabetically.

A: Annyong

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In an attempt to seem like the good people they most definitely weren’t, George and Lucille had considered adopting a child from Korea. However, the paper work wasn’t completed until Lucille and Buster got into a fight and Lucille signed everything in front of him to make him even more upset. A year later Hel-loh showed up and given his penchant for saying “annyeong” (Korean for hello) to everyone, it was then assumed that was his name.

Annyong was eventually shipped off to boarding school and was later revealed to be a spy, a spy looking to exact revenge on the Bluths for stealing his family’s frozen banana idea.

B: Banners

The Bluths like to celebrate and when they do, they do love themselves a banner that very clearly states the purpose of the celebration. Giddy Up America Love Banner, Michael.

C: Chicken

No really, has anyone in that family ever seen a chicken?

D: Dr. Fishman

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Also known as The Literal Doctor, Doctor Fishman had a way of saying things that were perhaps a little to straight to the point, whether it’s announcing the George Sr. is gone, literally. No really, they lost him. The family naturally thinks George Sr. is dead. But no, the hospital literally lost him. He’s literally gone. Or that Tobias literally looked dead when he was brought in because he had been hit by a car while covered in blue paint.

And then there was when Dr. Fishman told the family who Buster was doing after being attacked by a seal.

Dr. Fishman even appeared in season four, when he fitted Buster for a new hand after an accident involving a drone flying over Afghanistan.

E: Expensive Suit

As head of the Bluth Company six episodes into the show’s second season, G.O.B. had made it his common practice to frequently boast about the cost of his suits while walking around the office. It’s worth noting that the price of G.O.B.’s suit rises pretty drastically during the episode. It starts out at $3,000 and hits $7,000 by the time the episode is over.

F: Franklin Delano Bluth

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As an entertainer, G.O.B. naturally faces the challenge any entertainer does, keeping up with the young people. The result is Franklin.

Spoiler: didn’t exactly resonate as planned.

G: Gene Parmesan

Every family needs a go P.I.. The Bluths have one of the best*.

*Not confirmed.

H: Huge Mistake

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Our boy G.O.B., he has made a few.

Getting himself locked in prison might have been the hugest, though.

I: Illusions

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As was previously mentioned, G.O.B. is an entertainer. He is a magician, but not the kind that does tricks. Please.

Apparently there are two versions of this clip, one in which he says “cocaine” and one in which he says “candy.” Of course this being Arrested Development, both are funny and both work.

J: J. Walter Weatherman

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Just your average one-armed former employee who you have readily available to teach lessons to your children, whether it’s lessons pertaining to leaving a note, leaving the door open or yelling too much in the backseat while dad is driving. This dude can even help you teach your kids a lesson about not teaching your dad a lesson.

K: Kitty Sanchez

George Sr.’s loyal personal assistant before he went away to prison stayed loyal to him even after he was tossed in the clink, hiding secrets from Michael and the rest of the family. Although she also routinely threatened to expose everything she knew about George’s actions to the SEC. And then she ran away to Mexico with George Sr.. And then to Reno with Tobias. Eventually she was fired by Maeby, during Maeby’s stint as an executive in Hollywood.

This is a weird show.

L: Loose Seal

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You mean the loose seal that bit off Buster’s hand or the Lucille that dominated his life or the Lucille that he ran away to escape the other Lucille?

It can be hard to keep track.

M: Model Home

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The defacto Bluth homestead saw a lot of action in the show’s first few seasons and at one point or another, housed most of the family, including George Sr., who was hiding in the attic after escaping from prison. G.O.B. may have lived there, although that was never really that clear. The house was part of the Sudden Valley development the family was putting together, but was also a model home for the ones George Sr. had built in Iraq, which was one of the main causes of his legal problems.

N: Never Nude

While there’s speculation as to whether or not Tobias is actually a black man, there’s little mystery to his problems with nudity and his never nudity to combat his problems with nudity.

O: Operation Hot Mother

With George Michael having been taken to by Lucille to Motherboy, a competition meant to promote mother/son bonding, it’s up to Buster (who used to attend with Lucille before the seal bit of his hand) and Michael to rescue him. Buster, relying on his army training, names the mission Operation Hot Mother

Operation Hot Mother was also the name of movie Maeby reviewed in a later episode. A later rescue mission run by Buster and Michael, this time to save G.O.B., was named Operation Hot Brother.

P: Phylidia Featherbottom

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After Tobias is kicked out of the model home by Lindsay, Tobias does what any dude would do who misses their kids and wants to figure out a way to be with them, despite not living with them.

He jacks the plot of Mrs. Doubtfire.

“Okay, who’d like a banger in the mouth? Oh, right. I forgot. Here in the States, you call it a sausage in the mouth.”

Nope. Not the case.


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R: Rita

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Charlize Theron stopped by Arrested Development for five episodes during season three, playing Michael’s love interest. The owner of Wee Britain, Michael is taken by her right away, but everyone around him thinks she’s hiding something, if nothing else because of how incredibly good looking she is. The gambling favorite was that Rita was a spy and reported to someone called Mr. F, the letters on the bracelet she always wore.

Of course the secret ends up being that Rita is mentally challenged, with the MRF standing for “mentally retarded female.”

It is at this point that we’d note that season three aired around 2006, when calling a character a mentally retarded female was like, kind of okay.

S: Stair Car

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Once their legal troubles start, the Bluths are forced to cut back. The majority of their big ticket items are either sold or confiscated by the government. When they sell their private plane, Michael cuts a deal that allows them to keep the stair car, which becomes the family primary mode of transportation for the bulk of the series.

Yes, you will get hop-ons.

Fun fact: the stair car made a brief appearance during the airport fight scene in Captain America: Civil War, which was written and directed by the Russo brothers, both of whom had done work on Arrested Development. The brothers also slipped in another reference from the show in Avengers: Infinity War.

T: The Banana Stand

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You can generally find two things in a frozen banana stand. There are frozen bananas and there’s cash. About $250,000. Give or take.

There’s actually three things if you count the Mr. Manager, George Michael.

U: Uncles

Well, there’s Uncle Oscar.

Or is it Father Oscar?

George Sr.’s laid-back brother, complete with a full head of hair (at least for a little while) had a lengthy on again, off again relationship with Lucille, which means it’s possible that he could be Buster’s dad.

Then there’s Uncle Jack.

He’s not technically their uncle, but instead a long-time family friend and former radio and movie star.

Shoot me!

V: Various Studies

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Buster, the youngest Bluth, is a scholar who is interested in numerous scholarly pursuits. Well, until his dad went to jail and for financial reasons, the family had to cut down on his numerous scholarly pursuits.

But before that, Buster had studied Native American Tribal Drumming, Cartography, 18th-Century Agrarian Business and Archaeology. He’s also dabbled in several sleep studies.

W: Wink

The secret is the pause.

Everyone knows that.

X: XXX Years of Motherboy

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30 years of Motherboy. Quite an accomplishment.

Z: Zuckerkorn, Barry

The Bluths’ lawyer gives sound advice “take to the sea” and has the confidence to admit that heading into a trial, he’s not “super prepared” But he’s loyal and he’s all they got. Of course he was eventually fired, but we’d like to think they remained friends.

Categories: Television

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