Watching Arrested Development is like playing a video game. The more you dedicate yourself to the intricacies, the more you'll be rewarded. Mitch Hurwitz's beloved comedy series regularly rewards its devoted fans with self-directed references that build upon one another as the episodes progress. In short, the more you watch, the more funny the show's jokes become.
Surely, the forthcoming season of AD (which began filming yesterday) is bound to revisit some of the original run's most memorable running gags, from oft repeated one-liners to more intricate plot callbacks. As the new episodes enter production (as proven by star Jason Bateman's Twitter account, revealing photos of the team returning to the set), we can't help but think back on some of our favorite recurring bits through our first three years with the Bluth family. Here's a list of some of our staff's favorite Arrested Development running jokes that we presume, and hope, will find their place in the show's return.
"I've Made a Huge Mistake."
GOB first utters his catchphrase during Arrested Development's fourth episode... twice. First, upon realizing that he might have gotten himself into a trickier situation than he imagined after getting himself locked up in jail. Second, immediately after committing himself romantically to his then-girlfriend (though not for long), Marta.
The Enchanting Mrs. Featherbottom
In an effort to reconnect with his moderately estranged daughter Maeby, Tobias Fünke developed the Mrs. Doubtfire inspired plagiarized alter ego Phylidia Featherbottom in the second season episode "The Immaculate Election." The character's crowning moment came when she plummeted from the second story of the Bluth family home into the living room coffee table, in an effort to bequeath the power of whimsy unto an uninterested Maeby.
Life Lessons from J. Walter Weatherman
As revealed in a flashback in the Season 1 episode "Pier Pressure," George Sr. made a habit of enforcing borderline abusive life lessons unto his young children via the help of friend and amputee J. Walter Weatherman. Over the course of the series' run, JWW helped to teach the Bluth family about leaving notes, not yelling while one's father is driving, and, interestingly, not using people with missing limbs to teach other people lessons.
Sad Charlie Brown Music
Technically, the Charlie Brown musical motif only appeared in one episode — Season 2's "Good Grief" — but made its way into four different scenes, illustrating the sorrows experienced by George Michael, his grandfather George Sr., GOB, and (upon discovering that someone had eaten his hard-boiled eggs) Tobias.
Tobias' Colorful Diction
This isn't so much a running gag as it is a defining characteristic of one of Arrested Development's fan favorite characters. Tobias has a bit of a habit for slipping some pretty shocking innuendo into everyday speech... without even knowing it. It's a big part of why he is so beloved by AD fans. And speaking of colorful...
From the moment she enters their lives in "Let 'em Eat Cake," the members of the Bluth family, Michael especially, make no effort to hide their... unimpressed attitude toward young George Michael's first girlfriend, Ann. Or Bland... Plant. Egg. Annhog. Here's hoping that she makes a thrilling comeback in the new season (perhaps as GOB's girlfriend now?), and is no less receptive to the family's insulting stack of nicknames.
The Literal Doctor
"Let 'em Eat Cake" introduces another much detested character into the lives of the Bluth family... but this one for much better reason: Dr. Fishman, mocked as "Dr. Wordsmith" by Lucille and known to fans primarily as "the Literal Doctor." How did he get this moniker? Perhaps by affirming that Buster would be "all right" after losing his left hand, or by declaring, "It looks like we lost him," after an apparently heart attack-stricken George Sr. sneaked away from his hospital room.
Yeah, the guy in the $4000 suit is going to explain this joke to you. Come on!
The Many Faces of Gene Parmesan
Private detective Gene Parmesan is another element of Arrested Development that only appeared in one episode, but that seems like it spanned the series due to how big an impact it made on fans. Throughout the second season "Amigos," Lucille is shocked (and elated) over and over by the "master of disguise," Gene Parmesan, who is enough of a class act to not even count the money when you pay him for his time.
A HAND-Ful of Buster
After Buster loses his hand in the second season episode "Out on a Limb," Arrested Development takes no caution poking fun at the youngest Bluth sibling's (well, half-sibling/cousin) handicap. Whether he's exasperatedly screaming, "I'm a monster!" or unintentionally puncturing someone... or something... with his hook, Buster's hand jokes are an AD staple.
Introducing Franklin Delano Bluth
The most accomplished member of the Bluth family by far is Franklin: a recording artist and entrepreneur... and a puppet, who GOB first introduced to AD fans in the Season 2 ep "Meat the Veals." Via Franklin, GOB taught the world a lot about living in racial harmony... and about pimping out a prostitute who may or may not be your biological sister.
Although we might not see Charlize Theron return to her role as Michael's "secretly" mentally challenged girlfriend Rita in the new episodes, we can still hope that the family can find its way back to Wee Britain: the California neighborhood that introduced fans to the wild machinations of a yesteryear's James Bond in episodes like "For British Eyes Only," "Notap***y," and, best of all ... "MR. F."
The Fable of Chareth Cutestory: Maritime Lawyer
In an effort to impress a cute prosecutor at a bar in the episode "Altar Egos," Michael decided to make up an identity for himself: Chareth Cutestory. This role also helped Michael live out a longtime dream of actually being a lawyer... a dream that he had ever since taking a role in a school production of The Trial of Captain Hook. The song'll stick in your head like glue.
He Just Likes Cutoffs
No, Tobias. Those do not effectively hide your thunder.
I'll Meet You Down at the Big Yellow Joint
While George Sr.'s twin brother Oscar and son GOB appear to have their share of familiarity with cannabis, neither the family patriarch nor his straight-laced grandson George Michael seem to have much savvy in the realm of narcotics, both affirming awkwardly, "I'm going to smoke the marijuana like a cigarette." Will another comical mismanagement of streetwise lingo work its way into the future of Arrested Development episodes as it did in Season 1's "Pier Pressure" and Season 2's "Sad Sack"? Are we in for a revival of the boardwalk's hit number "Big Yellow Joint"? Just keep Buster's turtle Mother out of the Afternoon Delight box...
”I Just Want My Kids Back.”
Even though Lindsay Fünke might have no idea who Thomas Jane is, most other people do. He’s the star of such blockbusters as the hit family film Homeless Dad, as we saw in the episode “Out on a Limb.” It’s a touching story. He just wants his kids back.
The Family's Grammar Issues
For an affluent, well-to-do clan, the Bluth family doesn't seem to have a great deal of formal education. Especially when it comes to putting together a sentence do they tend to fail, such as seen (most notably) in the Season 3 episode "Forget-Me-Now." Look at banner, reader!
Not too many things seem to bother the guards at George Sr.'s prison. People sneak out of jail, sneak into jail, get stabbed, push each other off balconies, form alliances, teach courses on misguided versions of major religions... but as fans learned in the second episode of the series, "Top Banana," there is one rule that is always enforced: "NO TOUCHING!"
And of course... The Chicken Dance
After making its first triumphant appearance in the Season 1 episode "Staff Infection," GOB's nothing-like-a-chicken chicken dance (used primarily to torment Buster over his cowardice) has become arguably the most beloved element in the entire series. The rest of the family eventually got in on the act: Lindsay, Lucille, and George Sr. each contributed equally brow-raising depictions of the barnyard fowl. Enjoy the clip below, and watch out for Arrested Development's fourth season!
[Photo Credits: Fox]
Director Alexander Payne's (Election Sideways) new film opens over sprawling landscape shots of Hawaii's scenic suburbia accompanied by George Clooney's character Matt King summing up his current predicament: "Paradise can go fuck itself." The reaction unfortunately is reasonable.
We pick up with King an ancestor of Hawaiian royalty in the middle of deliberations over a plot of land handed down through his family over generations. With every uncle aunt and cosign whispering opinions into his ear King is suddenly presented with an even greater problem: taking care of his two daughters. A boating accident leaves his wife in a coma forcing Matt to take a true parenting role with his young socially-troubled daughter Scottie (Amara Miller) and his rebellious teen Alexandra (Shailene Woodley) who was previously shipped off to boarding school. Matt awkwardly hunts for the emotional glue necessary for the mismatched bunch to become "a family " but matters are made even more complicated when Alex reveals that her mother was cheating on him before the accident. Murphy's Law is in full effect.
With The Descendants Payne continues to explore and discover the inherent humor in life's melancholic situations unfolding Matt's quest for understanding like a road movie across Hawaii's many islands. Simultaneously preparing for the end of his wife's death and searching for the identity of her lover Matt crosses paths with a number of perfectly cast side characters who act as mirrors to his best and worst qualities: his father-in-law Scott (Robert Foster) who belittles Matt for never taking care of his daughter; Hugh (Beau Bridges) an opportunistic cousin who pressures Matt to sell the land; Alexandra's dunce of a boyfriend Sid (Nick Krause) who always has the wrong thing to say; and Julie (Judy Greer) the wife of the adulterer in question. Colorful yet real Matt experiences a definitive moment with each of them yet the picture never feels sporadic or episodic.
Clooney and Woodley help gel these sequences together as they observe experience and butt heads as equals. Clooney's own magnetism stands in the way of making Matt a fully dimensional character but he shines when playing off his quick-witted daughter. His reactions are heartbreaking—but it's the moments when he has to put himself out there that never quite ring true. But the script by Nat Faxon Jim Rash and Payne gives Clooney plenty of opportunities to work his magic visualizing his struggle as opposed to vomiting it out like so many of today's talky dramas.
The Descendants is a tender cinematic experience an introspective and heartwarming film unafraid to convey its story with pleasing simplicity. Clooney stands out with a solid performance but like many of Payne's films it's the eclectic ensemble and muted backdrop that give the movie its real texture. The paradise of Descendants isn't all its cracked up to be but for movie-goers it's bliss.
Festivals wrap; "Clerks" director makes points with wife; Joey Lawrence shines (really)
PARK CITY, Utah, Jan. 30, 2000 - Done.
"Girlfight" and "You Can Count on Me" - the two films everybody talked about non-stop up here - ended up as the two films everybody talked about non-stop during Saturday's awards ceremony at the Raquet Center. The movies took two awards each - tying as the Grand Jury Prize winner for best dramatic film.
"Two Family House" - a film that as far as we were concerned nobody talked about up here - ended up as the upset winner in the Audience Award category, supposedly a popular vote. We're not sure what audience voted for it, but we're sure it wasn't the people at the Raquet Center. The films that drew the biggest applause during a rundown of the competition dramas were, of course, "Girlfight" and "You Can Count on Me," as well as "Songcatcher," "Urbania" and "Our Song." Of course, "Two Family House" wasn't included in that rundown because it wasn't a competition flick - it was an American Spectrum entry.
For a complete look at the night's winners, check out The Buzz.
In other festival action:
IT'S THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS: "I've said this before and I'll say it again, I sort of wish there wasn't a competition at the festival because [as] nice, gratifying and thrilling as it is to win a prize, it's just so nice to be here. And I sort of wish we could all get here and be here and that would be it." - "You Can Count on Me" writer/director Kenneth Lonergan, to Hollywood.com.
LIKE WE SAID, IT'S THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS: So, was Mr. Lonergan willing to give back his two awards he won Saturday? "No. Despite my altruistic sentiments."
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE SUNDANCE AWARDS AND THE SLAMDANCE AWARDS: The Slamdance awards are held in a bar; the Sundance awards are held at a health club. The Slamdance awards take about an hour to hand out; the Sundance awards take about two hours to hand out. The Sundance awards also feature many more speeches about the importance of film festivals, in general, and Sundance, in particular.
EXCEPT FOR THOSE OF YOU SEATED IN THE BACK ROWS BEHIND THE PRESS AND SPONORS: "This evening is really yours …" - Sundance festival co-director Nicole Guillemet, in her opening remarks to filmmakers.
FINALLY, A REAL MOMENT: "P.S.: [Expletive deleted] Slamdance." - Faux letter from Robert Redford, as read by Sundance juror/potty-mouthed filmmaker Kevin Smith ("Clerks").
PRESENTER'S ULTERIOR MOTIVE REVEALED: "I'm so getting laid tonight." - Kevin Smith (again), after thanking his wife for no particular reason before revealing the winner of the best dramatic director award.
AND NOW YOU KNOW: "Girlfight" writer/director Karyn Kusama's first name is pronounced "Car-in," not "Care-in," as she pointed out on stage moments after the aforementioned Mr. Smith botched it.
AND NOW YOU KNOW THAT, TOO: Mercedes-Benz has cared deeply about independent film for a decade - or so said the Mercedes-Benz mucky-muck allotted stage time on account of the luxury-car maker is the official sponsor of Sundance's Grand Jury Prizes.
THAT SPECIAL TOUCH: "Can you, uh, GET OUT THE WAY." - Sundance volunteer, to person standing in said Sundance volunteer's way.
SOME PRIZES COME IN CASH FORM: "Groove" and "Chuck and Buck" both got high-profile deals in the last week - but not a single Sundance award.
TASTY STUFF WE ATE AT THE AFTER-PARTY: Quiche Lorraine, lemon-grilled chicken on focaccia, vegetarian frittata and little square brown fudgy things.
SPOTTED: Kevin Smith chatting up comic Bobcat Goldthwait near the bathroom directional sign at the Raquet Center.
MOVIES WE SAW:
1. "Good Housekeeping" (Slamdance Competition Feature) -- Frank Novak's debut feature, which won the Slamdance Grand Jury Award for best feature, is like a 92-minute episode of "Cops," with all the grit, grime and white trash of that voyeuristic hit -- plus lots more laughs. Don (Bob Mills) and Donatella (Petra Westen) are two weeks away from divorce court and their domestic strife is reaching a crescendo. Then, Don erects a wall in the middle of the house to draw the battle lines. He's aided in his war with the missus by a gaggle of oddball friends including his loser brother (who sleeps in the car on the lawn), a fellow action-figure collector geek, and a divorced friend turned men's-rights activist, who gives Don a pistol and a Laaz military rocket for "self defense." This is an alarmingly realistic movie about an extremely dysfunctional family, but its sometimes-absurd humor makes it a delightful, if not always easy, movie to watch. (-- Steve Ryfle)
2. "Dolphins" (Slamdance Competition Feature) -- Think "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest," sans dialogue, and with a beautiful young woman standing in for Jack Nicholson. Throw in amazing cinematography, a la the craftsmanship of "Manhattan," and you're close to describing this 40-minute debut from Iranian-born Farhad Yawari, which won (despite its brief running time) this fest's Audience Award for best feature. A female mental patient (Julia Brendler) stares into her goldfish bowl and imagines herself swimming underwater with a school of dolphins. When she refuses to live by the house rules, the girl is repeatedly subdued by a Nurse Ratched-like character until a good-hearted garbage man busts her out of the nut house. The story is only one component of this multi-layered movie -- the music, the images and the performances meld seamlessly. Sure, it's a bit pretentious and artsy-fartsy, but it's obvious that Yawari is a filmmaker of great talent. (-- S.R.)
3. "Desperate But Not Serious" (SlamDunk) -- Bill Fishman, who has directed music videos for bands ranging from Suicidal Tendencies to Hank Williams Jr., as well as the big-screen comedies "Tapeheads" and Car 54, Where Are You?," weighs in with this $650,000 would-be comedic satire of the Los Angeles night-life scene. A San Francisco chick (Christine Taylor of "The Brady Bunch Movie") flies into L.A. to rendezvous with her botanist boyfriend (John Corbett) at a wedding reception, but when she loses the invitation she spends the entire night hopping from party to party with her party-gal friend (Paget Brewster) in search of her beau. During their misadventures, the girls meet a psychopath bartender (Henry Rollins), Brewster's ex-boyfriend (Max Perlich), a pretentious grrl rocker (Claudia Schiffer) and a pampered-but-nice movie star (Joey Lawrence -- the best thing about the film, really). In the end, Taylor gets her man (duh) but it's too late - the movie's already self-destructed with its unfunny, rambling dialogue and lack of story. Rent "Party Girl" instead. (-- S.R.)
BEST TAKE ON THE SUNDANCE Y2K EXPERIENCE: "It was monkeys and clowns all around." - Two anonymous filmmakers at The Club on Main Street.
WHAT ONE NON-FILMMAKER GOT OUT OF SUNDANCE: "Varicose veins from standing in line." -- Susan Nicolls, senior public relations manager, Macromedia.
HOW SUNDANCE Y2K DIFFERED FROM PREVIOUS SUNDANCES: "It's the same pretentiousness and arrogance. Have you seen these girls walking around outside with bare midriffs? What guy would want a girl with a blue stomach?" - Quotemeister Susan Nicolls.
WHY SLAMDANCE IS BETTER THAN SUNDANCE (ONE OPINION): "They're not kicking you out of parties like at Sundance." -- Sharon Reed, aspiring filmmaker.
WHY SUNDANCE IS BETTER THAN SLAMDANCE (ONE OPINION): "It was an excuse to party. In that respect, it succeeded tremendously."-- James Dudyen, filmmaker.
BEST PARTY: The Entertainment Weekly-sponsored bash on Jan. 21 at the Silver Lake Lodge. The free food (chicken strips with peanut dipping sauce) was refined; the view was spectacular; the band (Norway's own Getaway People) was very good. But, most of all, the festival was very young and we w ren't sick of this place yet. (-- J.R.)
WORST PARTY: The one on Friday night at Harry O's where the Worst (Most-Effective) Bouncer (see: below) put our own Jim Bartoo in a headlock on account of … well, to tell you the truth, we're still not exactly sure why.
BIGGEST PARTY TREND: Raves. Maybe it was the effect of the movie "Groove" being a big hit up here this year, but it wasn't surprising to see the president of New Line letting it all out on the dance floor to DJ's Digweed and Sasha. Rave culture touched everything at Sundance from the give-aways, (knit caps, disco-ball-keychains, and flashers) to the clothes (funk-sneakers and hi-tech nylon cargo-pants anyone?). (-- Gerry Katzman)
WORST (MOST-EFFECTIVE) BOUNCER: The nightclub Harry O's, which featured nightly performances by the likes of Sugar Ray, Primus, Third Eye Blind, and the Cult, should take the scads of money it made this week and open a studio, because as Hollywood Royalty waited in line and pleaded, "Let me in! I'm cold!," the red-mohawked bouncer replied, "Shut up, or none of you are getting in!" We smell a studio head in the making. (-- G.K.)
MOST CONSECUTIVE NIGHTS STANDING IN FRONT OF HARRY O'S WITHOUT GETTING IN: Four, as accomplished by Hollywood.com's Chuck Walton.
MOST UBIQUITOUS DRINK: "I have never seen so much frickin' Red Bull in my frickin life!" one party-goer screamed to us. The mediciney-sweet energy drink was everywhere in Park City. Red Bull, which contains "taurine," some kind of amino-acidy energy potion, is illegal in France - and, hence, a perfect compliment to vodka. (-- G.K.)
BEST SUGGESTION: Hold this stupid thing in May when it's, like, not FREAKIN' COLD outside.