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Arrested Development

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ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT Front Row (l to r) Jessica Walters, Jeffrey Tambor, Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Tony Hale. Back Row (l to r) Mae Whitman,…
Sam Urdank/Netflix

Arrested Development

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
11/02/03
performer:
Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett, David Cross, Tony Hale, Jessica Walter, Jeffrey Tambor
guest performer:
Liza Minnelli, Charlize Theron
broadcaster:
Fox
genre:
Comedy

We gave it a B+

You loved it! You hated it! Whether you’re among the fans who binged happily or you burned your Shemále T-shirt in despair after the first episode, chances are good that you, like everyone else, had strong views about the fourth season of Arrested Development. Here are my totally unbiased, completely reliable opinions — the whole Bluth, and nothing but the Bluth — on each episode.

1. ”Flight of the Phoenix”

Michael (Jason Bateman) moves into George Michael’s (Michael Cera) dorm, gets run over by an ostrich. Wait, huh? Don’t worry: If the WTF moments don’t pay off now, they will later. Best callback An airport mural depicts scenes from past seasons: a Mexican chapel, the Queen Mary, and the seal that bit off Buster’s hand. B

2. ”Borderline Personalities”

George Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor) becomes a spiritual leader. Worth watching just for the jokes about his mute guru, Heartfire (24‘s Mary Lynn Rajskub), whose silent drink orders are lost on bartenders. Best hidden gem George Sr.’s ordainment quiz contains this question: ”What Is Science? (a) An empirical study to determine the truth. (b) A gob of spit in the eye of God. (c) Even more of a religion than your thing.” B+

3. ”Indian Takers”

Lindsay (Portia de Rossi) gets political. Tobias (David Cross) mistakes a methadone clinic for an acting class. The rest of us fall asleep, waking only when Maria Bamford, who plays a junkie named DeBrie, steals the episode — and maybe some meth. Best background gag After Lindsay’s boyfriend tries to procure food at a barter restaurant with hotel soap, a sign appears: ”Hotel soaps no longer accepted.” B-

4. ”The B. Team”

Michael signs on to make a movie about his family. It’s a good excuse for fun cameos — Conan O’Brien, James Lipton — and a brilliant turn by Ron Howard as Ron Howard. Best background gag Spanish posters for Angeles y Diablos (a.k.a. Angels & Demons), ¡Agua! (a.k.a. Splash), and Señor Princesa (a.k.a. Cinderella Man) riff on films by Arrested’s executive producer/narrator Howard. B

5. ”A New Start”

Tobias makes a new start — complete with a vanity license plate reading ANUSTART — and earns a segment on To Entrap a Local Predator. It’s a one-joke episode, but they got so much mileage from that one joke, ANUSTART T-shirts soon popped up on Etsy. Best callback Tobias gets takeout from Klimpy’s, where Lucille ordered the ”Ike and Tina Tuna” in season 1. B

6. ”Double Crossers”

George Sr. needs a backer for a project, so he enlists right-wing politician Herman Cain…er, Herbert Love (Terry Crews). Pizza jokes ensue. It’s all as humorless as a real Republican fund-raiser. Best sound bite George Sr.: ”I’m so sorry, I thought you were a successful Republican strategist.” Waiter: ”Why? Because I’m black?” C

7. ”Colony Collapse”

What could’ve been a silly Entourage parody is actually one of the best episodes. Highlights include Tobias’ anti-abortion film (Embryo Dan: It Would Have Been a Wonderful Life) and the Locker Hawkers clip (value of ”Feral Jesus”: $0.00). Best background gag Ann’s (Mae Whitman) dad preaches at the Church of the Holy Eternal Rapture, hence the ”HER?” sign above the pulpit, which doubles as a joke about how Gob (Will Arnett) can never remember her name. A

8. ”Red Hairing”

Lindsay plans to protest Herbert Love, but ends up sleeping with him. (They’re so close, they finish each other’s…sandwiches.) Too many jokes about Lindsay’s whoring, not enough airtime for those delicious sandwiches. Best callback Lindsay’s ”I’m for Lucille 2 4 Congres”’ banner is repurposed from the ”You’re Killing Me, Buster”’ sign from season 2. B

9. ”Smashed”

Tobias, who now must identify himself as a sex offender, tries to raise money for his musical. Cringe-comedy gold! Best pun When DeBrie falls into a pile of garbage, the Dumpster says ”debris.” B+

10. ”Queen B.”

Lucille (Jessica Walter) goes to jail, inspiring amazing prison punchlines. Bravo, please put Real Asian Prison Housewives of the Orange County White Collar Prison System into production. Best inside joke Lucille calls Lucille 2 (Liza Minnelli) a ”sterile cuckoo bird.” Minnelli earned an Oscar nod for 1969’s The Sterile Cuckoo. A

11. ”A New Attitude”

Gob and Tony Wonder (Ben Stiller) compete in a homoerotic illusion-off? Watch my boredom disappear! Best new catchphrase ”I’m here! I’m queer! Now I’m over here!” A

12. ”Señoritis”

Maeby (Alia Shawkat) earns a lifetime achievement award and threatens to ”c—punt” everyone. Delta Gamma sisters will find this hilarious. Best inside joke George Michael doesn’t want to go by ”George Michael” because of the singer’s arrest for lewd behavior. So he calls himself George Maharis — the name of a real actor who was arrested for a public sex act. Oops. B+

13. ”It Gets Better”

George Michael launches a start-up website: Fakeblock. A nice wink at the theory that Michael Cera and The Social Network star Jesse Eisenberg are the same person. Best inside joke George Michael is seen watching Sit Down, Shut Up, a 2009 series by Arrested creator Mitch Hurwitz. B+

14. ”Off the Hook”

Buster proves to be the creepiest mama’s boy since Norman Bates, and we bask in the awkward glory that is Tony Hale. Best callback Lucille’s prison ID number is 07734, or ”hello”’ upside down; it’s a nod to her adopted son, Annyong (Justin Lee), whose name means ”hello”’ in Korean. A

15. ”Blockheads”

Michael fights George Michael for the love of Rebel (Isla Fisher), which leads to the second-best punch in Arrested history. (First place goes to donkey punch. Yum.) Best pun Rebel tells George Michael that things feel ”backwards,” just as they’re standing in a mirror image of the Bluths’ home. Even the refrigerator doors are backwards. B