We know. Keeping up with the never ending jokes of Arrested Development is tough.
Arrested Development is one of those cult shows that if you know it, you love it. And if you love it, you really love it. It’s a show that runs rich with gags that repeat from episode to episode and run from season to season, with setups in early episodes only delivering on the gag a season or two later.
Such as in season 2, ep 11, titled Out on a Limb, when [SPOILER ALERT] Buster gets his hand bitten off by a loose seal having joined the army to get away from his overbearing mother, Lucille… Loose seal, Lucille… geddit? That simple word play isn’t half of it. The event has been continuously foreshadowed since season 1. For example when Gob - pronounced Jobe, real name George Oscar Bluth Jr - marries a seal trainer, or when Buster wins a toy seal in a claw game, or when Michael asks of their relationship, “What if I never get a chance to reach out and touch that hand of his again?” or finally when Gob releases the seal saying, “You’re not going to be hand-fed anymore.”
In fact the show is so rich with jokes and self-referential gags that I bet you missed a load. Here are just some of the fairly well hidden gags throughout the show.
The eldest brother Gob fancies himself as a bit of a magician. He repeatedly convinces his nephew George Michael to part with cash and magically produces a monopoly board for George Michael.
This joke seems to be heading nowhere, but the payoff does eventually come. Later in the show, we see George Michael packing up belongings in the attic in front of a pile of Monopoly boards.
Throughout the show the Bluth family are under investigation from the authorities for a variety of charges all based around George Bluth Sr.’s mismanagement of the Bluth family business. Whenever there is need for undercover agents or even normal people in the series they can be seen staking out the family in a van. The van changes, as does the business of the van. But the company name is always “Blendin”.
Annyong is the Korean boy adopted by Lucille and George Bluth Sr. in season 1. Speaking no English he arrives at the family home and says “Annyong”, the Korean word for hello, at which point the family assume this as his name. His real name is actually Hel-loh, which means “One Day” in Korean.
The family tire of Annyong and send him away to the Millford School. It transpires that Annyong is in fact a mole that will, one day, come back to haunt them. He is sent in by his original, Korean family to report on their movements and bring them down from the inside. This is done because George Sr. stole their idea for a banana stand. This act is foreshadowed when teenagers vandalise the Bluth family banana stand and throw it into the bay. It is winched from the bay and daubed in graffiti on the side is the message, “I’ll get you Bluths - Hello”.
Is Tobias Actually Black?
This is a joke that the scriptwriters appear to dangle, only to pull away from. There are many moments that suggest that Tobias is a black man with a skin condition. For example, the book Tobias writes, The Man Inside Me seems at first a fairly straightforward gag surrounding Tobias’ supposed homosexuality. But the cover shows a black figure stood behind Tobias, suggesting that on the inside at least he is an albino black man. Tobias also often references his own racial make up, when he compares himself similarly to Ice the Bounty Hunter and Carl who are both black men.
This theory was confirmed by actress Alia Shawkat, who plays Maeby, who has in the past said:
“[The writers have] gone on little tangents where you think they’re going to start a storyline and they’ll pull it back. I remember they were going to do one about Tobias actually being a rare black person, where he would have this rare disease and was actually black. It’s these hysterical, crazy ideas that they could have continued on.”
We can’t wait for the season 5 to get rolling. Find out about Arrested Development Season 5 release dates and trailers here.