Fandom Flashback: ‘Arrested Development’

12:00 pm EDT, September 1, 2014

In this week’s “Fandom Flashback,” we reflect on the story of a wealthy family who lost everything, and the one son who had to keep them all together. This is Arrested Development.

Fandom Flashbacks is a weekly Hypable feature that takes a look back at old shows (classic, vintage, and freshly dead) and takes our readers onto memory lane as we express our favorite moments, characters, and plots.

SHOW SYNOPSIS

synopsisheaderThe critically-acclaimed but infamously low-rated comedy, Arrested Development debuted on Fox in 2003. Created by Mitch Hurwitz and produced (and eventually narrated by) Ron Howard, Arrested Development trudged along for three seasons before getting cancelled in 2006.

Since it originally went off the air, this six-time Emmy Award winner has reached superstar status online, becoming a cult favorite. Known for it’s twists and turns and unanswered promises, Arrested Development always knew how to bring us as an audience so much more than we ever expected.

THE CHARACTERS

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George Bluth Sr. George Bluth, Sr.
The patriarch of the Bluth family, his “creative accounting” practices while running the Bluth Company land him in prison at the start of the series. He also invented the infamous Cornballer.
Lucille Bluth Lucille Bluth
The Bluth family matriarch, Lucille is an alcoholic narcissist who enjoys manipulating her children and mishandling Bluth company funds to support her decadent lifestyle.
G.O.B. Bluth G.O.B. Bluth
A self-proclaimed womanizer and mediocre magician, the eldest Bluth sibling is notorious for his self-destructive temper tantrums and terrible “illusions.” He often makes huge mistakes and his mother does not care for him.
Michael Bluth Michael Bluth
The only (semi)responsible adult in this selfish, childish family, Michael is constantly weighed down the by the responsibility of his own mantra: the most important thing is family.
Lindsay Bluth Lindsay Bluth
Michael’s “twin” sister, Lindsay is a self-absorbed philanthropist with devastatingly low self-esteem resulting from her mother’s taunts and husband’s questionable sexuality.
©2013 NETFLIX  CR: F. Scott Schafer Buster Bluth
The youngest Bluth sibling, Buster is a momma’s boy with an unhealthy Oedipus complex who is terrified of just about everything.
George Michael Bluth George Michael Bluth
Michael’s sweet but awkward son, George Michael trusts his father completely and values their close bond. His fierce crush on his cousin, Maeby, is a source of constant guilt.
Maeby Funke Maeby Fünke
A sarcastic troublemaker, Maeby is always crafting her latest con in the hopes of shocking her neglectful parents.
Tobias Funke Tobias Fünke
Lindsay’s husband, Tobias is a socially inept former doctor turned actor. He is also a never-nude.
Narrator Arrested Development The Narrator
The omniscient voice of the show, Ron Howard occasionally shows narrative bias.

BEST CHARACTER

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The maniacal matriarch of our favorite dysfunctional family, Lucille is the secret brains behind the Bluth family (mis)fortune. A master manipulator, if we pull the curtain back far enough, we find that every dastardly devilish Bluth behavior can somehow be traced back to this loose seal of a woman.

funfactpink
Lucille Bluth is based off of Mitch Hurwitz’s mother, also named Lucille. G.O.B.’s name is inspired by one of Hurwitz’s relatives who goes by his initials G.E.K. (pronounced “jeek”.)

George Sr. mismanages company money? He needs to keep up with his cheating wife’s decadent lifestyle. G.O.B. is a friendless misogynist with shockingly low self-esteem? His mother openly loathes him. Lindsay can’t communicate with her daughter and is in constant need of outside validation? Lucille has spent her entire life taunting her. Buster has the social IQ of a four year-old? His mother coddles him into stupidity.

And yet, these very reasons are why we love Lucille Bluth: she holds the show together. Where would be without a miserable G.O.B. and an immature Buster? What if Lindsay and Michael had a mother who loved and supported them? As One Direction would say, you don’t know you’re beautiful, and your incredibly low self esteem is what makes you beautiful. We love Lucille for her wit and her greed, her style and her lack of grace. So no, she won’t be winning any ‘Mother of the Year’ awards any time soon, but she’s already won over our hearts.

BEST EPISODE

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A nearly perfect pilot, the first episode of Arrested Development manages to fully flesh out each of the main characters, while still maintaining what will become the traditional Arrested Development story arc, all within the span of twenty-two delightfully hilarious minutes.

When the Bluth family reunites for George Sr.’s retirement boat party, the family’s financial crisis is revealed as Pop-Pop gets carted off to prison by the po-po. Left in familial disgrace and financial ruin, the Bluth’s are forced to turn to their buzzkill of a brother, Michael, for help.

greenquote“No hard feelings? I’ll see you when the first parent dies.”
“Well, I’d rather be dead in California than alive in Arizona.””

And even though Michael’s fed up with his unappreciative family, he can’t help but hope that with a little guidance, the Bluth’s can become the family that his son deserves to have.

Fascinatingly funny from the start, Arrested Development delights it’s audience because it is a series built upon the element of surprise. Just when we are sure we know what’s coming, we’re thrown for a loop and left in awe of our own upturned expectations. There’s always money in the banana stand? Oh. There’s actually money in the banana stand. And we find ourselves even more impressed as we realize the clues were laid out for us all along.

But behind the farce and “illusions,” we find ourselves, perhaps against our better judgment, caring for these terrible people– even in the first episode. Because at the end of the day, we realize that they recognize that they are a family. A dysfunctional, greedy, selfish family– but a family, nonetheless. And the thing that makes them likeable through all the misanthropic adventures of arson and money laundering is that through it all, they never really seem to forget that.

Turn to page 2 for the funniest ‘Arrested Development’ moments!

Pages: 1 2

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