By Annie Barrett
May 25, 2013 at 12:00 PM EDT
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I’ve made a huge, tiny mistake: I agreed to recap ALL of Netflix’s 15 new Arrested Development episodes, right away, in ONE blog post! What a fun, sexy time for me! ‘Huzzah!’

My plan is to start Sunday right at 3 a.m. ET — I’ll get three or four up, try to sleep, though yeah right, and start back up again around 1 p.m. ET. It’s going to take everything in my power not to keep pressing Rewind (like anyone would want to R her) to absorb every joke, screengrab, etc. There will be things I miss, but I’ll do my best to capture at least the general flavor of each installment so we can all discuss ’em. Or are you chicken?

Please help me come up with an appropriate snack list below:

‘ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT’ MARATHON SNACK LIST (in order of importance):

–juice box (box of wine)

–a banger in the mouth

–a whole thing of candy beans

–sour balls that have rolled out of my pocket

–frozen banana (what could it cost, $10?)

–Egg

–an ice cream sandwich

–Cloudmir vodka jello shots (SHE’S MIXING!)

–Beef Consommé

–bag-and-boil Chicken Teriyaki or Marsala

–cornbread balls (Cornballer approximation)

–tuna melt (The Ike and Tina Tuna  approximation)

–everything in my apartment (Skip’s Scramble approximation)

–anything… with club sauce

READER ADDITIONS!

–hot ham water (duh!)

–Mayonn-egg

–salad dressing, I think. But for some reason I don’t wanna eat it.

–Burger King. “It’s a wonderful restaurant!”

–…….and a piece of toast

Kill some time: Lucille Bluth vs. the Disney Princesses

[Vine]

“I don’t know what ‘Vine’ is, and I don’t care to find out.” —Lucille

Consider David Cross’ advice to binge-viewers: “Don’t freak out when you’re watching it, don’t overthink it because I guarantee you, you will watch it again. Everyone will watch this show more than once. You’re going to pick up new stuff, I’m sure there will be some chat rooms where people will have figured out certain things that those guys laid in there, so just enjoy it. Enjoy it once and you can study it later. The test won’t be for a month.”

12:01 a.m. OH MY GOD. FEEL THE HAPPY!

Craig Sjodin/ABC

Season 4, Episode 1: ‘Flight of the Phoenix’

Now the story of a family whose future was abruptly cancelled…It’s Michael’s Arrested Development.

AGGGHHH. There are so many guest cameos in this premiere I just blue myself! Kristen Wiig was absolutely convincing as a younger Lucille complaining about “the Mexican war on May 5” as Seth Rogen thoughtfully stood by as younger George Senior. Lucille 2 (Liza Minnelli) was back within one minute, her vertigo raging and checkbook at the ready. Henry Winkler as Barry Zuckerkorn! We saw Christine Taylor as Sally Sitwell (sarcastically kicking herself for not marrying Michael), plus her alpaca father Stan — in flashbacks hilariously emblazoned with “SHOWSTEALER PRO TRIAL VERSION” because this is Netflix, not Fox. Screw you, Fox!

And then of course, the guys from Workaholics dutifully working the Out West Airlines ticket counter — Adam DeVine, Blake Anderson, Anders Holm, and Erik Griffin (who plays Montez). If you didn’t recognize them, just rest assured that this was a genius way to get Twitter fired up about the new season of Arrested Development.

Michael has fallen into a pit of despair much deeper than the unsteady ground at Sudden Valley. He had to whore himself out to Lucille 2 to “earn” enough money to finally build up the development, only to watch it become a ghost town as its “main internet and information cable” was severed — a fine metaphor for the series falling just behind the late-2000s TV-on-the-Internet boom and forever losing the chance to catch up. (Michael’s cell phone calendar is still stuck on 2003!) He resorts to living in George Michael’s UC Irvine dorm room — and even though this is tragic, seeing father and son stroll around campus in their college t-shirts (Michael’s from the University of Phoenix) and signature khakis is nothing short of heart-exploding.

Oh yeah — and a visiting Maeby and George Michael are totally hooking up! (Update: We learn in episode 12 that Maeby was there to receive tutoring through an official school program for math-challenged “alge-tards”.)

Eventually Michael gets voted out of the dorm room, Survivor-style, and after a taxicab-singe situation in the real Phoenix in which another Bluth Boy almost loses his hand, Michael must return to his mother’s penthouse…where Lindsay has been living/trashing the place.

Favorite line: “Have you ever even been on a plane, you piece of s—?” –Michael to P-Huan or P-Hound (somewhat reminiscent of “Has anyone in this family ever even seen a chicken?”)

News: George Sr. and Lucille are getting a divorce; Buster’s hook is bejeweled.

Guys, I’m leaving out SO MUCH STUFF and yet I’m never gonna get through this if I take so long for each installment. I’m going to keep the summaries short and include as many THROWBACK MOMENTS as I can notice upon a first viewing….

–George Michael to Michael this time: “What have we always said is the most important thing?” (He’d tried ‘family’! But George Michael was looking for ‘privacy’)

–G.O.B. attempting to erase Michael’s memory by wrestling him to the ground — a trademark move — with his last Forget Me Now. So easy to forget!

–recurring anchorwoman Trisha Thoon

–Michael’s stuttering series of “Look…look…listen…listen..look…” was a sign he’d become just as pathetic as G.O.B. (Come on!)

–“NO TALKING.” replaced “NO TOUCHING.” (Michael’s directive to the roommates about what to do once the votes came in)

–Loose seal reference! A kid in young Michael’s school play, “The Trial of Captain Hook,” had to battle a giant version of the school’s seal while suspended mid-air.

–That mural while Michael was on the moving walkway! Scenes from the entire series, finishing up with London (Wee Britain) and the Queen Mary sailing away with another LOOSE SEAL in the foreground.

–I loved that it was a huge ostrich that let Michael know Lindsay was in the penthouse — a nod to season 1’s “Key Decisions,” when Lindsay pretends to care about the environment but, after Michael points out her expensive animal-dependent boots, tosses out one of the best lines ever: “Well I don’t care about ostriches.” She does care now! There’s one in the house!

NEXT: Season 4, Episode 2: ‘Borderline Personalities’

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Season 4, Episode 2: ‘Borderline Personalities’

Now the story of one father who had no choice but to keep himself together….It’s George Senior’s Arrested Development.

Guest stars: John Slattery as Doctor Norman, Mary Lynn Rajskub as Heartfire, Karen Maruyana as China Garden, Busy Philipps and Natasha Leggero as news cohosts Joan and Jackie, Dan Harmon as Yurt Clerk, Allan Wasserman as Herb Zuckerkorn, Max Winkler (Henry’s son) as Young Barry Zuckerkorn, Henry Winkler as Barry Zuckerkorn, Kristen Wiig and Seth Rogen as Young Lucille and George, John Beard as himself

George Sr. has used “his brief stint as a Jewish-y guru while in prison” to set up a sweat lodge for CEOs seeking spiritual enlightenment in the desert — an operation he manages to co-run by switching places, as always with his twin brother Oscar. The scenes of Jeffrey Tambor overheating recalled all that time he spent in the model home’s attic, exhausting himself in the hot tub before passing out. John Slattery was great here as a healer-type with plenty of knowledge of maca root and syringes in the car (I had flashbacks of his tremendous acid trip on the last season of Mad Men) and so was Mary Lynn Rajskub as a silent woman who communicated to viewers via subtitles like “I’m choking on the snobby.” Taste the snobby, Michael!

High on the maca root, George and Oscar saw the “divine spirit” as personified by that ostrich Michael had seen upon his return to Lucille’s penthouse in the last episode. “I got an ostrich and no boner,” George complained. It was the end of their love affair with ice cream sandwiches the sweat lodge. Oscar returned to impersonate George to sexually satisfy Lucille, while George set out to find right-wing politician Herbert Love.

Borrowing an idea from Stan Sitwell (who’s convinced he has something “bigger than Halliburton…Teen,” a youth lifestyle retailer), George and Lucille plan to build a wall on the border between California and Mexico, then sell the land to the government. They can’t look like they’re in cahoots on this, though — so they’re pretending they’re getting a divorce. G.O.B. sighting! He’s writhing in discomfort on the sofa after Buster reveals he was in the room when his parents last made love. They told him to get out, but he heard Lucille whisper “Don’t pull out” and so Motherboy stayed put.

George had stowed away with Michael and George Michael to flee the family following the Queen Mary incident, while Lucille pirated the ship back to shore based on an idea from a young Barry Zuckerkorn (Henry Winkler’s real-life son, in a flashback): “Take to the sea! Three miles out and it’s a free-for-all!” So now she’s being tried under maritime law (Michael’s favorite) — a trial apparently unattended by the other Bluths three months later.

Throwback: “Look at what the homosexuals have done to me!” –Lucille, complaining about the sailors’ joyride

Favorite line: “The ‘W’ stands for wall… the bushes stand for bushes… and the T’s are to separate the U.S. and Mexico to keep out the immigrants which was MY IDEA!” –Lucille to George while inspecting Stan Sitwell’s blueprints (for what George initially assumed to be a monument to George W. Bush)

NEXT: Season 4, Episode 3: ‘Indian Takers’

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Season 4, Episode 3: ‘Indian Takers’

It’s Lindsay’s Arrested Development.

Guest stars: Henry Winkler as Barry Zuckerkorn, Ed Helms as James Carr, Kristen Wiig as Young Lucille, Chris Diamantopoulos as Marky Bark, Maria Bamford as DeBrie Bardeaux, Eddie Pepitone as Govennah, Debra Mooney as Joan Bark, Bernie Kopell as Judge Kornzucker

Longtime activist Lindsay went on an Eat Pray Love-inspired journey to India to reinvent herself after learning she was adopted at the end of the Fox series. But the stupid shaman — or was it…THE OSTRICH? — told her to quit buying knockoff designer bags and head home to her family. Once there, on-again-off-again as always, Lindsay and Tobias challenge each other to rekindle their romance from different wings of their brand new Ed Helms-issued house. “We’re gonna put you in a ninja loan,” he promised. “Ninja, please!” exclaimed who else but Tobias.

The graduate of Carl Weathers’ $1100 acting classes suggested they return to the master after Lindsay delivered an unconvincing “I really love you, Tobias” — but where they ended up wasn’t a “Method One” class; it was a Methadone clinic. So in a callback to the halcyon days of Teamocil, Lindsay and Tobias (especially Tobias) got all drugged up — he thought he was driving their convertible with a cocktail tray — to go grab a bite with their new friends, one of whom was “Marky Bark,” the son of Lindsay’s old pal Johnny Bark from that tree in the wetlands (“Key Decisions”). He died of natural causes — bees chased him out of a tree and he fell to his death. Bees! And Marky was eating a giant banana!

Tragically, after Lindsay slept with Marky Bark twice (for a combined total of a few seconds), Marky revealed he suffered from face blindness and couldn’t tell how pretty she was. But he loves her. And his mom runs an ostrich farm. Doesn’t it all make perfect sense? “I have the worst f—ing shaman,” Lindsay grumbled. She cuts off most of her hair to discover…she’s even cuter.

Duh: Now it seems obvious three episodes in, but Michael, Lindsay, and George Sr. all made the same “Namaste” sign in their episodes — Michael in the in-flight magazine Altitude, George in the exclusive first-class in-flight magazine WE12, and Lindsay while impatiently ringing the bell for service at the Four Seasons in India. “Stop the prayer hands!” Michael pleaded with her in the penthouse. “Seriously, shoot me if you ever catch me doing that.”

Favorite line: “I believe we’re thinking the same thing. Let’s give it another shot….to the head, let’s kill it, yes.” –Tobias, misreading the situation as ever

Runner-up: “No, Michael, I’m not a whore. I don’t get any money ’til after I do a disgusting thing.” –Lindsay

And OMG: “When I was hungry…I suppled at your champagne-glassed breasts,” Young Lucille (Kristen Wiig) instructed Child Buster to write in a letter from a tent in her own bedroom — an experience he remembers as Camp Kissamommy.

Throwback: Another Bay-Window Observer cover, now with Prop 8/The New Normal jokes

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NEXT: Season 4, Episode 4: ‘The B. Team’

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Season 4, Episode 4: ‘The B. Team’

Another Michael episode!

Guest stars: Henry Winkler as Barry Zuckerkorn, Scott Baio as Bob Loblaw, Judy Greer as Kitty Sanchez, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Conan O’Brien, Andy Richter, and Carl Weathers as themselves, Isla Fisher as Rebel Alley, James Lipton as Warden Gentles

Tooling around town in the Google Maps car (they’re just gonna blur it anyway; all you have to do is “something” it) is not making Michael’s dreams come true, but a meeting with Ron Howard of all people — you know him, he directed a movie called Cocoon — just might. Inspired by “the begging photo” of Michael from Altitudes magazine, Ron and Brian Grazer at Imagine Entertainment want to make a movie about the Bluths. Michael just needs to get his family members to sign off. And pretend that his wife died only recently so she can die on-camera. And agree to have Ron Howard’s daughter, Rebel Alley, play that part. (“You know her.” -Ron Howard to Michael. “He didn’t.” -Narrator Ron Howard.) But Michael would just moments later, when they bumped into each other meet-cute movie-cliché style. That whole scene with Michael and Isla Fisher was so great — some of the best A.D. moments are as simple as handsome, good-hair-day Michael Bluth just completely messing up in the ladies dept. “I met a girl today,” he announced out loud, “And her name is….S—!”

Associate Consulting Producer Michael Bluth gets his own office with lowered ceilings (a pissing contest between Jerry Bruckheimer and Imagine is obviously very important to Howard and Grazer) and a one-on-one with Kitty (!!!), who’s as needlessly/hilariously threatening as ever. Tasked with assembling a team to make a movie, he calls upon the one member of the Writers Guild he knows — Warden Gentles — plus the director of Scandal Makers, Carl Weathers, and the Bluths’ former Hot Ham Water dinner guest Andy Richter, who’s had enough of Conan O’Brien’s constant abuse. Loved this, from Conan to Andy: “Just ’cause I look at you, doesn’t mean you have to respond…”

Banished to Orange County Imagine (similar to Imaging, which led to multiple “can I leave a sample?” jokes) which has the same movie posters as the L.A. office, just in Spanish, Michael gets an unexpected visit from his father, who’s bearing a plastic bag full of Mexican porn. George had refused to sign the movie release earlier, but once he heard that Michael’s predicament involved lying to a girl, Pop Pop was in. But it turned out Michael’s Cinderella Man, Ron Howard, wasn’t interested in Michael’s father-son relationship with his father. He wanted the one with his son.

Michael considers the consequences of heading over to the college to smother George Michael again. He then lies to Rebel (still a no-name) over drinks after her Scottish band’s bagpipe jam (either good music played horribly or horrible music played well) and they get it on in a photo booth. He finally learns her name from a tattoo visible on the evidence: Rebel. Michael thinks she’s Ron Howard’s girlfriend, not his daughter. At this point he also thinks Brian Grazer has two boyfriends.

News: Michael caught George Sr. making out with Lucille 2 on the Lady Austero’s balcony (he’d just come back from the desert; he’d lost his sense of direction). Kitty Sanchez is now a D-girl (“It means development,” Michael) at Imagine and was directly responsible for throwing Maeby under the bus after Maeby hired her as an assistant/booze buyer (she could also offer smack, hash, Special K, or anything else, Kitty promised maybe after giving her a Lucille-esque wink following the mention of “alcohol”).

Favorite line: “My deceased wife had red hair.” -Michael / “Yeah, garbage like that!” -Rebel, referring to the cliched lines in the rom-com she’d auditioned for

NEXT: Season 4, Episode 5: ‘A New Start’ #anustart

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Isabella Biedenharn

Season 4, Episode 5: ‘A New Start’

Looks like we’ve got ourselves an Anus Tart! It’s Tobias’ Arrested Development.

Guest stars: Guest stars: Ed Helms as James Carr, Maria Bamford as DeBrie Bardeaux, Chris Diamantopoulos as Marky Bark, Liza Minnelli as Lucille Austero, Mark Blankfield as Dr. Miller

Turns out the lady responsible for Lindsay’s suitcase switch — and the poor sap who had to suffer when she cranked back her seat in the plane, twice — was none other than her husband, Tobias Funke, who’d also gone to India in search for a sign. All he got was a broken skull in two places and, at long last, a knack for fashioning a cute outfit out of a simple Bed, Bath and Beyond linen…with denim cutoffs underneath, of course. Dr. Miller — the same terrible doctor he’d had in America — “treated him,” i.e. let him roll off the bed in his signature rolling-off-things Tobias fashion. “You should be a comedy actor!” piped up one of the medical students.

Desperate to get his nonexistent acting career back on track, Tobias enlisted the help of James Carr (Ed Helms) to act as his agent — and the failure and despondency involved in attempting to convince people Tobias was a good actor drove the man to suicide. (Nice R.I.Pete sign at the funeral for Pete the mailman.) Next, Tobias found the Method One acting clinic, mistaking a drug addict, DeBrie (that’s how her name’s spelled in the credits but it’s so hilarious that it sounds like “debris,” especially when she complains “Everybody leaves me…in dumpsters…on the curb…”) for a struggling actress working on her monologue. The two pair up, dressing in the Storm siblings’ Fantastic Four costumes while peddling photos for tourists. They eventually kiss (DeBrie couldn’t quite finish her thought that Tobias reminded her of “Billy Crystal Meth, a funny drug dealer) and plan to run away and start a new life together — or ANUSTART if we’re consulting with Tobias’ new vanity plates.

Tobias eventually switched his costume to iconic rock man The Thing (“You have rock?” DeBrie greedily wondered) and the resulting image of his blue bodysuit — exposed only where the denim cutoffs would be — was a genius marriage of both Tobias’ failed Blue Man Group dreams and his enduring Never-Nude affliction. So good!

Tobias The Thing acted like an actual superhero and saved Lucille 2, who’d just been attacked by THE OSTRICH on her own balcony…

YES. Just a touch of the dizzies!

She offered Tobias a $120,000-a-year job at her rehab center, Austerity (he’s a doctor, remember) but he turns it down to be with the STD-riddled DeBrie, who was aghast: “You’re worse than Marky — he couldn’t see me, but you can’t hear me!” Cue the Charlie Brown music formerly reserved for George Michael: Tobias spent the night alone as two bums used his Thing costume as a pillow. But not really: One of them served him with papers from Feinberg, Feinberg, Feinberg, and Feinberg (the Orthodox Jewish firm that owns the trademark to Fantastic Four) and the other was just scoping out the Imagine building. L.A. is tiny!

The episode begins and ends with Tobias (code name: Anus Tart) seeking out his daughter and a place to stay in the model home, where the crew for John Beard’s To Entrap a Local Predator: Super Creeps was all set up. “Daddy needs to get his rocks off!” he cried triumphantly as the cameras swarmed in. “I just wanted to show my little girl Daddy’s Thing!”

Throwbacks: Tobias’ “SHEMALE” t-shirt! Plus: the way he meekly hit the flight attendant button after Lindsay cranked back her seat into his skull was like the silent version of “…Who wants to go to the hospital?” in “My Mother, the Car”

Favorite lines:

“For two thousand rupees we’d both go down on Matthew McConaguhey!” -Tobias / “I wouldn’t.” –Michael

“Can I just improv my way out of a marriage? Yes AND…let’s do this!” -Tobias

Hidden Gem: Klimpy’s to go!

Chuck Zlotnick

NEXT: Season 4, Episode 6: ‘Double Crossers’

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Daniel McFadden

Season 4, Episode 6: ‘Double Crossers’

Guest stars: Terry Crews as Herbert Love, John Slattery as Doctor Norman, Isla Fisher as Rebel Alley, Mary Lynn Rajskub as Heartfire, Karen Maruyama as China Garden, Liza Minnelli as Lucille Austero

George Sr. has finally tipped a black man! It’s right-wing political activist Herbert Love (Terry Crews, playing a spoof of Herman Cain), whom George wanted to publicly support the wall the Bluths are building just before the Mexican border. But whoops — the land they purchased turns out to be in Mexico, rendering it worthless. We can blame Doctor Norman, Heartfire (who knew but couldn’t speak up) and the rest of the Father B’s Colony crew for burning all the signs demarcating Mexico and America in a ritualistic fire — plus 36-year-old Buster’s sub-par map of the area from back during his Cartography class days.

George consults with John Slattery’s Dr. Norman about his lack of sex drive — and TV’s Roger Sterling steals the show with his unique line of questioning (“Have you played any games, board- or carnival-based, against the wishes of your best friend?”), philosophy of health (“Well, with homeopathy it’s the molecules you don’t ingest…”), and even suggestions for how to cope with Western medical procedures, as a last resort: “Ride that MRI machine to climax.” You might blink and miss G.O.B. exiting the Mexican pharmacy a moment before George Sr. steps inside to fill his prescription for magazines.

George is feeling more like a lady than ever — thinking he’s too fat, trying on Lindsay’s long red wig and then maintaining it for a new alter-ego, wearing women’s blouses again, and breaking into crying fits out of nowhere (it’s for the best, though — one of them gave Doctor Norman a chance to put on his “thinking cap”). As George has softened, Oscar has hardened in more ways than one — it was Oscar who initially declined to sign Michael’s release for the Bluth movie, which makes sense: It was the more emotional George who agreed to sign in a more sentimental state. I always get confused about whether I’m looking at George or Oscar, so their personality switch has certainly compounded things.

Meanwhile, G.O.B. and Michael reunite in the model home’s driveway and we learn G.O.B. has “handcuffed himself to a glittery cross,” which makes me very excited for the G.O.B. episode coming up. The brothers get hammered Bluth-style in the model home, this time on John Beard’s fully stocked cabinets of Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Watching G.O.B. demolish the side of the kitchen island to remove a twist-off bottle cap delivered by far my biggest laugh of the episode.

Throwbacks:

–“NO HUGGING!”

–G.O.B.’s return to bee farming (they have CCD — colony collapse disorder)

–Oscar’s “It’s good to be out of that sweaty old hotbox….at the compound!” harkened back to Lucille’s “How am I supposed to find someone willing to go into that musty old claptrap?” “…The cabin, yes!” chimed in Michael (in the season 3 premiere, “The Cabin Show”)

Favorite line: “I thought you were a successful Republican strategist.” “Why, because I’m black?” –George Sr. and a cater waiter

I also liked the brief glimpses of Rebel Alley’s career — as a daughter of Ron Howard named after the place she was conceived (à la Bryce Dallas Howard and Paige Carlyle Howard), she’s gotten to work with Terence Malick and Woody Allen… and on her dad’s own PSAs.

NEXT: Season 4, Episode 7: ‘Colony Collapse’

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Season 4, Episode 7: ‘Colony Collapse’

Him?! It’s G.O.B.’s Arrested Development.

Guest stars: Ben Schwartz as John Beard Jr., John Beard as himself, Mae Whitman as Ann Veal, Andy Richter as himself, Jeff Garlin as Mort Myers, Isla Fisher as Rebel Alley, Ben Stiller as Tony Wonder, Alan Tudyk as Pastor Veal, Ione Skye as Mrs. Veal, Peter Jason as Storage Dave, Maria Bamford as DeBrie Bardeaux, Daniel Amerman as Mark Cherry, Clint Howard as Johnny Bark, Debra Mooney as Joan Bark

Dare I say this was the best episode yet? At 35 minutes it’s certainly the longest.

G.O.B. had meant “Marry me!” in the showbizzy way, but, “Like many Evangelicals, Ann took it literally” and the eldest Bluth was set to wed the young Veal as Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” brilliantly and repeatedly swept over his consciousness. G.O.B. has only known a descent into darkness, his old friend, but suddenly the extended Veal family was laying him down to the ground, all Christ-like.

ABC

Would he step up and be a husband…not to mention a father to his estranged, now unrecognizably plump son, Steve Holt? No, but he’d certainly stand up during Pastor Veal and Father Marsala’s (Alan Tudyk and Kids in the Hall’s Bruce McCulloch) Christian talk show, And As It Is Such, and Also As Such It Is Onto You, to promote “one of his famous magical illusions” to be performed at his and Ann (or Egg, or now Blank, or Mouth — LOL) televised wedding in the Church of the Holy Eternal Rapture.

Like Lucille’s trial, none of the Bluths showed up to G.O.B.’s wedding/illusion. Only Tony Wonder — now the star of his one-man show, “I’m Here, I’m Queer…Now I’m Over Here!” — was on hand to support the guy in the $32 bathrobe / $600,000 tuxedo / $3,400 suit, depending on the occasion. Come on! Well, Tobias had to be there — he’d landed a choice role as Roman Centurian No. 2. He’s worked for the Miracle Network before — how great were those stills for Embryo Dan’s It Would Have Been a Wonderful Life and Father Marsala’s A Jew Came to Dinner?

Cue “The Final Countdown” for G.O.B.’s most spectacularly horrifying/insulting illusion to date: As “The Amazing Jesus,” he would plan on beating the real Jesus’ record of being trapped in a cave by two full weeks. “Well, I guess we’ll just wait two weeks and see if he’s in there!” chirped the clueless Pastor Veal. News flash: “He’s not coming back” is the new “I’ve made a huge mistake.”

Incompetent as ever, G.O.B. failed to unlock the compartment that contained his handcuff key in the Escape Boulder (we later learned Tony Wonder had wedged a bejeweled T in there so the compartment remained shut) and was eventually discovered/featured as “Feral Jesus” on the reality show Locker Hawkers.

Nick Wall/WireImage.com

Tobias would be so jealous.

I loved the endlessly complicated explanation of the “Roofie Circle” during G.O.B.’s forget-me-now sendup to the film Memento. As “Getaway,” the limo driver of an Entourage-inspired group of douchebags (including Ben Schwartz a.k.a. Jean-Ralpphio as John Beard Jr.), G.O.B. was basically the Turtle, shuttling everyone to that hot, hip bar called “And Jeremy Piven” until eventually pop star Mark Cherry flipped the switch. Partition up, please. But G.O.B.’s uncool status actually saved him from trauma — the bees in his trunk were feeling good enough to sting again after Tobias’ new junkie girlfriend DeBrie (one of the ladies who’d poured into the limo) ripped open the hatch in search of drugs.

Favorite lines:

“How did you like your egg?” “I said you were FINE.” –Ann and G.O.B.

“For a second I thought that was a real guy.” –G.O.B. after being started by a shadowy painting of Jesus in the Veal home

“Now YOU have got some mice to scoop out of the sea.” –G.O.B. to Ann

“Way to plant, Ann” reprise!

NEXT: Season 4, Episode 8: ‘Red Hairing’

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Season 4, Episode 8: ‘Red Hairing’

It’s like we’re–“Sandwiches?” It’s Lindsay’s Arrested Development.

Guest stars: Chris Diamantopoulos as Marky Bark, Terry Crews as Herbert Love, Kristen Wiig as Young Lucille, Isla Fisher as Rebel Alley, Christine Taylor as Sally Sitwell, Liza Minnelli as Lucille Austero, Debra Mooney as Joan Bark, Justin Lee as Annyong

Now we know: Marky Bark’s family’s ostrich farm in the desert was right next to George Sr.’s sweat lodge for CEOs (“the bastards next door”). Cindy the Ostrich attacked Lucille 2 because Marky had locked her on the balcony while she was ovulating. That WAS Maeby at the fundraiser stealing coconut shrimp! She was over at the Opies receiving a lifetime achievement award for her work in the entertainment business. (“Tell your therapist I tried,” scoffed Lindsay.)

The face-blind Marky had planned a random act of senseless non-violence, or what is commonly known as glitter bombing, against right-wing activist (and Herman Cain spoof) Herbert Love. But Lindsay was too busy flirting with Love to release Marky from the podium (G.O.B. had locked him in there, assuming the podium was part of a Tony Wonder illusion), and Marky ended up blueing himself in ink and glitter. “Well, you certainly have a type,” Maeby told her mom, just like Michael had told Buster in season 3’s “For British Eyes Only.”

In “Red Hairing,” Lindsay must come to terms with who she really is: Lucille. After a thrilling against-the-wall affair with Herbert Love, Lindsay, a.k.a. Love’s Prostitute, a.k.a. “a blonde, WASP-y Orange County princess who doesn’t care about anyone but herself” (Lucille does know how to twist a knife!) will run for Congress in Herbert’s place against the left-wing Lucille 2. Herbert’s in a coma, but at least he went out with a fountain of silly one-liners like “Is there anything better than the Great American Scallop?” and “I don’t wanna be the one to say it…” followed by really inconsequential things that only he would say anyway.

Great physical comedy from Portia de Rossi this episode. Would Love’s Prostitute like “a severance package for servicing my package”?

“She’s keeping it.”

I’m so freaking giddy that Lindsay’s red-haired alias was “Cindy Featherbottom” — the perfect nod to both that ostrich living in the penthouse with her and Marky Mark and Tobias’ British alter-ego in season 2!

Weird inclusion of Annyong: He tried to stick the Bluths with a club tab for a $700 tomato juice and it backfired. Goodbye, Annyong. Also hello. Annyong.

Favorite visual:

Lindsay’s campaign banner for seventh grade class president. Sally Sitwell will be Lucille 2’s campaign manager, by the way — she has integrity and beautiful long hair.

Hidden gem:

‘You’re Killing Me, Buster’ on the back of Lindsay’s ‘I’m for Lucille 2 4 Congres’ banner

(Similarly, Lucille had written “Gangie 4: Facelift” on the check for Maeby. Are we sure they’re not blood relatives?) (Update: This was actually a royalty check for Maeby’s movie, Gangie IV, as we learn in “Señoritis”.)

Favorite lines:

“It’s not DeBrie, it’s Lindsay!” –Mama Bark

–“I’m really pretty.” “I’M THE STRAIGHTEST GUY YOU KNOW!” “Why does everyone feel the need to tell me that?” -Lindsay and Marky Bark

–“Honestly, Lucille [2], you’ve been like a mother to me, except kind and loving and willing to let me eat.” –Lindsay

–“YOU LOOKED LIKE A CAN OPENER.” –Lucille 1 to Lindsay (before her new “nosey”)

–“Your lips are like a Murphy Bed. They don’t take up much space, but they’re there when you need ’em.” -Herbert Love to Lindsay

–“I’m not some taco you can throw into the bay!” –Lindsay fueling up for her argument FOR the U.S./Mexico wall

NEXT: Season 4, Episode 9: ‘Smashed’

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Kevin Foley/ABC

Season 4, Episode 9: ‘Smashed’

“YOU ARE RUINING MY LIFE, RON HOWARD!” It’s Tobias’ Arrested Development.

Guest stars: Ron Howard and John Beard as themselves, Andy Richter as Emmett Richter, Tommy Tune as Argyle Austero, Terry Crews as Herbert Love, Isla Fisher as Rebel Alley, Chris Diamantopoulos as Marky Bark, John Slattery as Doctor Norman, Maria Bamford as DeBrie Bardeaux, Liza Minnelli as Lucille Austero, Carrie Kemper as Mrs. Astronaut Lovel, Alan Blumenfeld as Floyd the Barber, Lonny Ross as Jonah Feinberg

Out of prison on a work-release program, registered sex offender Tobias is back in his element as the die-rec-TOR of the Austerity Clinic’s terrible musical stage production of Fantastic Four. The episode saw the introduction of Broadway legend Tommy Tune as Lucille 2’s baby brother Argyle and the return of Maria Thayer as bloody-nosed not-really-recovering addict DeBrie. Tobias couldn’t be her therapist because he’d dated DeBrie, but he could be her director. “I don’t like it…I LOVE it!” exclaimed Argyle (which called to mind Steve Holt’s fakeout re: liking magic in season 3).

Sadly, after Lucille 1 decided to “mother” DeBrie during rehearsals (by calling her fat and tearing down her dance skills), DeBrie ended up scrounging for the remains of Doctor Norman’s medical career, scattered into the bay. Tobias bravely took on the role of Sue Storm with some blue makeup he happened to have on him, then boarded the wrong boat with Marky Bark at the Cinco de Quatro festival.

“I just blue myself for the first time in five years!”

This was a great chance to see David Cross play against Jason Bateman — I loved their “haircut meeting” in Ron Howard’s office (Floyd must cut around the baseball cap) and all its inappropriate father-daughter relationship wordplay. Michael confronted Ron about Rebel — he still didn’t get that she was his daughter instead of his lover and took FOREVER to clue in. It was a great series of Michael-Tobias moments with perfectly awkward timing. Tobias ended the meeting by viciously throttling Ron after he refused to give up Imagine Generic’s rights to Fantastic Four.

Throwbacks:

–“Mr. F!” theme music for Argyle Austero, former star of The Fantasticks on Broadway

–Tobias’ fantastic “as himself” reel

–Tobias to Buster, who’s still sensitive about his hook, re: playing The Thing last-minute: “YOU’RE A MONSTER! You don’t have to be any good.”

–And a throwback to just the last episode: Lucille noticed Lindsay struggling to give Herbert Love his cash back. “That red-haired lady can’t throw her wad at that guy!”

Question: I’m sure I’m wrong, but when Tobias was signing away his movie rights, did he say his middle name was “Annyong-o”? Sorry, it’s late and I’m crazy.

Favorite line: Tobias’ four-part “hemming and hawing” harmony after Lucille 2 asked him to work for her (pictured up top)….and the tagline for the Austerity Clinic — “a full-service way to live without” — paired with Lucille 2’s horrified reaction to DeBrie passed out next to a DEBRIS-labeled dumpster: “Patients doing pills on a literal pile of garbage? That’s not what we’re about at Austerity.”

NEXT UP: Season 4, Episode 10: ‘Queen B’

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Season 4, Episode 10: ‘Queen B’

Ryan Seacrest is straight, and she’s 40: It’s finally Lucille’s Arrested Development.

Guest stars: Henry Winkler as Barry Zuckerkorn, John Beard as himself, Tommy Tune as Argyle Austero, Andy Richter as Emmett Richter, Kristen Wiig as Young Lucille, Ron Howard as himself, Chris Diamantopoulos, Maria Bamford, Martin Mull as Gene Parmesan, Liza Minnelli as Lucille Austero, Bernie Kopell as Judge Kornzucker

I am obsessed with Lucille so oh boy was I waiting for this one. Look at her up there, enjoying her favorite breakfast of “vodka…and a piece of toast.” Delicious!

As a probationary member of the Jade Dragon Triad (“They’re a gang? I thought they were tech support”), Lucille had taken over in her sneerily commanding way, practically directing The Real Asian Prison Housewives of the Orange County White Collar Prison System reality show herself. Just when you thought things couldn’t get more absurd than Lucille administering cigarette smoke to Buster mouth-to-mouth, there she goes discovering a loophole (“Looooooooop-HOOOOOLE”) so that all four prison queen bees could do it and fending off an aggressor’s dry noodle-weapon by pouring hot water over it in a brawl. All this — and Lucille’s still most proud of and delighted by her clever puns during these times of crisis.

There was amazing tension between one of my favorite pairings, Lucille and Michael, as each tried to get the other to sign a document — her movie rights for his shares of the Bluth company so Lucille and George could build the border wall. Both Bluths were wriggling around on every piece of furniture in an effort to not give in to the other while reading the fine print and pretending they were just about to sign.

And the Lucille-Tobias scenes at Austerity (where she headed after white collar prison — “it’s time for Mother to put on the old drunk act”) — or should I say Aus-STARE-ity — were just about the best this show has ever done. She has such seething contempt for him and, as always, he is a worse psychiatrist than he is a son-in-law (and will never make it as an actor because he has no talent). Tobias blatantly steamrolled over Lucille with his blithering nonsense as she nearly reached a genuine emotional breakthrough — something about finding the remains of…someone? on a porch, years ago, the last time she had cried.

(Tobias, a therapist looking for a Storm, came through for Lucille, an emotional storm in search of a therapist, at the Cinco de Quatro festival by declaring Lucille as “the invisible girl” who creates a force field to keep people away. “I’m so tired of being the villain!” Lucille cried. Not buyin’ it…)

I’ve transcribed Lucille’s audition song for Fantastic Four, just because:

My children despise me

My husband defies me

It doesn’t surprise me

To hell with them all

I’ve put up a wall

You think I’m a villain

A villain I’ll be!

My heart is in pain

I just want to flee

From me.

“Wonderful!” -Tobias “Terrifying!” -Argyle Austero “A triumph!” –Entertainment Weekly

And then there was the passive-aggressive dance 30 years in the making: Lucille 1 questioning her only witness, that Sterile Cuckoo-bird Lucille Austero, at 1’s trial for pirating the Queen Mary. Anything these two ever say to each other is spot-on (“You’re usually as hard to miss as Liberace wearing a fright wig”), but this rapid-fire courtroom back and forth was something else.

We learn: Lucille really does want a divorce from George after learning it was Oscar who’d been “filling in for him occasionally,” and thanks to an accidental suitcase switch, the boat Marky Bark and Tobias were on blew up at the Cinco de Quatro festival instead of Lindsay (formerly Herbert Love)’s speech boat. Plus: Lucille 2 became “the invisible girl” as well — we see her blood all over the Bluth Stair Car’s steps.

Throwbacks: More winks!

Marvel

GEEEEEEEEEEENE! (Parmesan)

K C Bailey/Netflix

–Lucille’s aversion to rehab we know and love: “I am not gonna fake having some sort of alcohol problem.”

–“One of the guards called me Gangie — that horrible monster movie; he thinks that monster looks like me!” -Lucille

Favorite lines:

“I got Olive Garden to offer us unlimited bread.” -Lucille re: her new prison frenemies

“Fine, you don’t look heterosexual. You look as squishy as Ryan Seacrest.” “Ryan Seacrest is straight.” “And I’m 40.” -Lucille and Tobias

NEXT UP: Season 4, Episode 11: ‘A New Attitude’

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Eric Liebowitz/FOX

Season 4, Episode 11: ‘A New Attitude’

Now everybody’s gay! It’s G.O.B.’s Arrested Development

Guest stars: Ben Stiller as Tony Wonder, Mae Whitman as Ann Veal, Christine Taylor as Sally Sitwell, Isla Fisher as Rebel Alley, Karen Maruyama as China Garden, Martin Mull as Gene Parmesan, Alan Tudyk as Pastor Veal, Peter Jason as Storage Dave, Liza Minnelli as Lucille Austero, Justin Grant Wade as Steve Holt (STEVE HOLT!), Bruce McCulloch as Father Marsala

We learn: The mystery woman G.O.B. slept with, whose shaved legs Michael saw at the top of the stairs, was….Tony Wonder! He’s also the person G.O.B. has been bragging about seeing, the one who’s “kind of a celebrity.” Sally Sitwell (Christine Taylor, Ben Stiller’s real-life wife) is sleeping with Tony Wonder. She’s also stolen $100,000 from Lucille Austero to rebuild Tony as The Gay Magician. And she probably has alopecia like her father Stan. Those fuzzy caterpillar-eyebrows circling the drains are the tell-tale signs.

G.O.B. and Tony Wonder (Ben Stiller) spent “Attitudes” pretending to be gay in order to potentially boost their careers and/or sabotage the other’s. But in their quest for revenge, they realized they were kindred spirits. As G.O.B. dejectedly watched Tony’s show at the Gothic Castle, he internalized it: “Son, just go to work. Why can’t you be like your brother? …Well, I’m here, I’m queer. And now I’m in a chair.”) G.O.B., too, was in a chair! It was all too much. The magicians shared trade secrets and planned more fake dates, then Tony Wonder experienced a G.O.B.-like nadir of deep reflection while having his legs shaved by Sally. No ostrich imagery, but he did hear “Hello darkness my old friend….” and started reconsidering his motives.

But the illusionists were in too deep, and it turned out they actually really, really liked each other — a weird, foreign feeling neither recognized as true friendship so they kept up the charade. “Perhaps pretending to be gay allowed them the freedom to speak honestly,” the narrator helpfully suggested. G.O.B. admitting “I have feelings for you” was so sweet and believable, but I collapsed into a giggle fit at Tony’s equally wondrous delivery of “We were really thirsty” after the two shared a slowwwwww glass of water.

In the end, after a complicated who-will-fake-f—-whom? fake-love triangle involving the mother of Tony Wonder’s child… ANN!… neither magician submitted to simulated on-camera sex while wearing a mask of either his own face or the other’s. It was a “Straight Bait” — a reference to DeBrie Bardeaux’s line of adult films.

Throwbacks:

–The “Keep those balls in the air” montage of Michael and G.O.B. fighting in a colorful ball pit (images were so fun, but also too action-y to look not-terrible, sorry) — same song used in season 3’s “Notapusy”

–G.O.B. looked every bit the Leather Daddy (Tobias, season 1’s “Storming the Castle”) as he waited for his nephew to come get sexually harassed by him at the Gothic Castle. (“But are we good?” G.O.B. asked G.M. once again as he walked away)

–Ann to Tony Wonder: “Get ready for some serious secular intercourse.”

Favorite lines and moments:

–Mariachi band version of “The Sound of Silence” as G.O.B. wondered if he was the father of Ann’s 5-year-old

–“I’ll take it! No, the compliment — not the shirt.” -G.O.B. to the sales clerk at Attitudes men’s clothing store (a nice callback to Attitude, the British gay men’s magazine, in the season 4 premiere)

–This absurd ‘air quotes’ gesture that’s also a ‘W’ from Tony Wonder:

Everett Collection

(“No, please don’t use that.”)

–“I have a list of men who could fill every opening you have.” -Tobias to G.O.B., triggering a truly magical food-spitting symphony across the model home’s dining table

–G.O.B. struggling to interact with Siri while finding directions to the Little Ballroom. “I’m gonna need the gayest one,” he mumbled,” to no effect. “I NEED THE GAYEST LITTLE BALLROOM,” he heated up (which made me miss Dancing With the Stars just a wee bit, just a Wee Britain). “Okay, Gob!” Siri shot back at him. You know he’s gotta hate getting called a big fat gob by a computer.

UH OH: The ‘Dove (Bar)’ Michael had found in Rebel Alley’s freezer was a red herring; the actual other man in her life… is…

GEORGE MICHAEL! What have we always said is the most important thing? Ladies bathrobes.

NEXT UP: Season 4, Episode 12: ‘Señoritis’

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Season 4, Episode 12: ‘Señoritis’

These eggs are disgusting; I’ve got money coming in. It’s Maeby’s Arrested Development.

Funny: This season the Bluth-Funke clan is eating Parmesan cheese and mustard on everything — a nod to Martin Mull’s roles as both Gene Parmesan here and Colonel Mustard in Clue.

Guest stars: Henry Winkler as Barry Zuckerkorn, Mae Whitman as Ann Veal, Jeff Garlin as Mort Myers, Isla Fisher as Rebel Alley, Terry Crews as Herbert Love, Andy Richter as Rocky Richter, Christine Taylor as Sally Sitwell, Liza Minnelli as Luciille Austero, Keri Russell as (Ed Helms’) Widow Carr, Jim Cramer as himself, Justin Grant Wade as Steve Holt

We learn: It was Maeby in the shaman’s costume — with makeup she’d borrowed from the Gangie V: Eat, Pray, Love, Run team while filming on-set in India — who told Lindsay she was “full of s—” in episode 3. The reason Maeby was in George Michael’s dorm room in the premiere was because undercover cop Donny Richter had sent her and some other high school “alge-tards” for tutoring at the local college. Turned out Maeby wasn’t into kissing her cousin anyway, and we found out exactly why in a hilariously awkward and complicated animated diagram. And the “GANGIE 4: FACELIFT” check Lindsay found before the Cinco de Quatro festival was actually royalties from Maeby’s movie.

“Please don’t squeeze the shaman” roughly translates to “NO HUGGING” in Bluth.

After getting fired from Imagine by Kitty (everyone needed to have a high school diploma on account of the fact that Ron Howard did not have one), Maeby trudged back to high school, feeling like she understood nothing. She’d received a Lifetime Achievement Award at 23. Clearly she was finished. But that ever-resourceful Funke everyone’s talking about is so scrappy she eventually hitches herself to George Michael’s “FakeBlock” software company and almost effortlessly falls into working as her mother’s pimp for Herbert Love.

Things were looking up. FaceBlock, though nonexistent, had even landed on Jim Cramer’s radar as an unprecedented “Hypothetical Buy”! Maeby even interrupted Ron Howard’s unreliable narrator: “She had made a huge mis–” “No, I’m fine.”

I keep forgetting, or didn’t realize, that George Michael has somehow never met Lucille 2. Oh well — he’s driving her 1988 yellow Cadillac now, which she only uses to drive herself to and from hip replacements. “That’s only funny if you know who she is.”

Oh, and we heard a voicemail from James Carr’s widow (listed in the credits as Keri Russell) announcing the Funkes’ new house would be foreclosed, and that Tobias had received a callback for something called The Big Bang Theory. Weird.

Favorite lines and moments:

–Poor, Fat Steve Holt and his terrible, horrible, no good very bad birthday: Maeby doesn’t recognize him as he sprays for pests in the model home — and on his way out of there, he gets caught in Michael and G.O.B.’s traffic scuffle and the huge bug on the top of Steve’s van gets away. The new player in that traffic scuffle was the Chabad Mitzvah Tank — the same behemoth that ran over Santa’s Sleigh after getting knocked down by the Bluth Stair Car.

Curb Your Enthusiasm theme music for Jeff Garlin’s Mort Myers

–“How do we know each other?” “We don’t.” “That’s what it is.” -Mort Myers and Rebel Alley

–Maeby to George Michael: “I think you should consider calling it The FaceBlock. Like The Netflix.”

–“I think movies are dead. Maybe… it’s a TV show.” -Maeby to Michael after instantly signing away her film rights

–Maeby’s high school boyfriend (not cop) Perfecto’s obsession with the Modern Family kids

–Michael to Lindsay: “Stop it with the prayer hands. It just looks like you’re out of ideas.”

Hidden gem: It’s hard to read here, but the tagline for Imagine Entertainment:

“Where dreams drop into make-believe as surely as a drop of water falls into a bigger thing of water in slow-motion.”

Maeby’s High School Yearbooks: Featherbottom! Roofie Circle! (And I love that one kid’s hobby is “magnets”.)

NEXT UP: Season 4, Episode 13: ‘It Gets Better’

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Isaiah Trickey/FilmMagic; ABC

Season 4, Episode 13: ‘It Gets Better’

“How is that a chicken noise?” It’s George Michael’s Arrested Development.

Guest stars: Nadine Velazquez as Rosalita, Henry Winkler as Barry Zuckerkorn, Isla Fisher as Rebel Alley, Seth Rogen as Young George, Maria Thayer as Tracey B., Kristen Wiig as Young Lucille, John Beard, Andy Richter, Ron Howard, Jeff Garlin as Mort Myers, Tara Copeland as Deann

In the past five years, the youngest Bluth Boy has transformed from hangdoggy dork George Michael to George Maharis, CEO of an anti-social network that has yet to exist. “When you become an internet billionaire, you can do whatever you want with me in bed,” promised his not-really-cousin Maeby — and despite other blatant signs of this being something he could do right in his dorm room — those words were all it took for George Michael to keep up the charade. Those 41 seconds he spent zoning out as Ron Howard narrated George Michael’s stream-of-consciousness “To lie or not to lie?” dilemma were priceless, as was the rapid-fire series of Lie Voicemails between father and son. The show was firing on so many levels here it’s impossible to get them all down.

Once he had become OS (overtly sexual) by bedding a 40-year-old Spanish hottie who was later shown as pregnant, George Michael 2.0 rocked some hilarious post-study-abroad outfits. The mustache was a fun nod to Michael Cera’s alter-ego in Youth in Revolt — better shave it, Michael Bluth warned him, or he’d look like a musician. Tragically those damn matador pants prevented him from executing the famous Bluth Chicken Dance to completion. Such a display may have been too OS for the audience to handle.

We learn:

–FakeBlock began as an app George Michael and P-Hound had created to simulate the sound of the woodblock.

–The Bluth Family Meeting (the one recurring scene of the season that features the whole cast) that seems to have served so many functions was also a graduation party for George Michael. Happy birthday, George Michael!

–Three events occurred at once: The explosion over at Herbert Love’s fundraiser rendered Mort Myers’ Shnoodle software inoperable (and created room/demand for the much-anticipated FakeBlock), all while Maeby delivered her expletive-enhanced speech over at the Opie Awards.

–Andy Richter makes $8,000 a day or something.

–Rebel Alley was in the remake of Dangerous Cousins. “I signed up for Netflix because of that movie!” cried George Michael.

Throwbacks:

–The Bluths had re-branded their 5,000 worthless Cornballers as a new product. BabyTock: the sharp metal box you put in a crib.

–The tutoring coordinator echoed Michael’s advice to George Michael for managing Maeby at the banana stand: “Stay on top of her. You need to ride her pretty hard.”

–Ex-Bluth employee Tom (co-execuitve producer Tom Saunders) was back as one of George Michael’s sycophants — who we later learn is one of the sex offenders who’d flocked to Sudden Valley.

–George Michael’s Star Wars home video — “Kid Practices Fighting Moves” — was one perfect reason for him to advocate for privacy on the internet.

–“I know who you’re trying to hop onto,” George Michael accused P-Hound re: Maeby. Hop-ons!

Favorite line, for some reason: “Hey, we have the same taste in words!” -George Michael to Rebel Alley

Michael Ellis: Tony Esparza

Hidden Gem: While the Spanish couple was fighting, George Michael was watching Mitch Hurwitz’ 2009 animated series Sit Down, Shut Up, starring Jason Bateman and Will Arnett.

NEXT UP: Season 4, Episode 14: ‘Off the Hook’

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ABC/Richard Cartwright

Season 4, Episode 14: ‘Off the Hook’

“His biggest fear wasn’t confronting a wet loose seal; it was losing one.” It’s Buster’s Arrested Development.

Guest stars: Henry Winkler as Barry Zuckerkorn, Isla Fisher as Rebel Alley, Kristen Wiig as Young Lucille, Seth Rogen as Young George, Maria Thayer as Tracey B., Andy Richter and Ron Howard as themselves, Jeff Garlin as Mort Myers

“I’m not a mother boy anymore. I’m a mother man,” Buster proudly announced to the love of his life, Lucille. We see Buster reignite his passionate mother-replacement affair with Lucille 2 in a raucous series of juicing scenes (“It’s 8 a.m. somewhere!”) and start one up with Herbert Love’s wife, Ophelia (the campaigning couple had taken Blind Side Buster into their home to rival the imaginary foster child Lucille 2 was not really keeping in hers).

While attempting to sell his Motherboy IV trophy (difficult, as he was not the first Motherboy to hit hard times), Buster saw a “Join the armed forces; make her proud” poster and re-enlisted in Army, where his childlike interest in games and inability to distinguish between games and reality made him the perfect candidate to be a mini-mall-based drone pilot. “Mrs. Bluth, your son went down while piloting a plane over Afghanistan,” a doctor told Lucille — but since it was Dr. Miller, it just meant he’d fallen out of a chair while playing. “It was the kind of emergency the drone pilot paramedics had been waiting for.” Fearing blowback, the Army gave Buster an ENORMOUS new bionic hand to replace his hook. “They couldn’t make it any smaller?” wondered Lucille. “This looks like you’re pointing to a place that buys your gold.” (I just died.)

We learn:

–The reason there were dozens of martinis waiting for Lucille when she returned to the penthouse for house arrest was because Buster had been going through his usual routine, “making Mother’s breakfast,” that whole time.

–After whacking Herbert Love in the face (and sending him into a coma), Buster gets Lucille 2’s blood on his hands. It looked like her body instantly disappeared just after he noticed it. “Oh no! I’m in the movie!” he yelled directly to the camera.

Throwbacks:

–“That was a freebie!”

–“That was funny; no smoke came out.” -Buster after kissing Ophelia

–Gene Parmesan running the Donkey Punch juice stand: “Gene Parmesan. This is not my real job.”

–The return of Lupe the housekeeper

Favorite lines:

–“YOU’RE a hot mess!” -Lucille and Buster to each other

–“Half your testicle was hanging out of that thing.” -Lucille re: Buster’s John-John Kennedy costume:

Mike Lubinski: Tony Esparza

Oh, and I also couldn’t get enough of Lucille wearing a rose over the serial number on her prison jumpsuit:

ABC/ Ida Mae Astute

Hidden gem: Tobias’ discarded Thing costume at the Cinco de Quatro festival right after Buster blindsided Herbert Love

ABC/Richard Cartwright

NEXT UP: Season 4, Episode 15: ‘Blockheads’

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Fullscreen

Season 4, Episode 15: ‘Blockheads’

Photo booth finish: It’s George Michael’s Arrested Development.

Guest stars: Isla Fisher as Rebel Alley, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, and John Beard as themselves, Jeff Garlin as Mort Myers, Ben Stiller as Tony Wonder, Liza Minnelli as Lucille Austero

Now that absurdly talented lie-generator George Michael is acting like a Bluth Brother, Michael has finally started treating him like an adult. And he might as well, because they’ve been dating the same woman! Her? No, another one.

Just like his father, twin-hater George Michael ultimately gets voted out of his own dorm room (he wrote in Bender from Futurama for his own vote). We learn that the sycophants swarming George Michael at that pool party were actually all the registered sex offenders who flocked to Sudden Valley at the behest of G.O.B.’s convincing infographic/ad. The 22-year-old who looks 16 would be stocked with copies of Twister and all the vanilla ice cream he could eat as long as he stayed put “in a Bluth.”

Misled by Maeby, who’d just been fired from FakeBlock by George Michael, Michael hilariously attempts to go against his own nature by telling Rebel Alley he wants to keep their relationship casual (and practically proposing marriage to her in the process), while George Michael and Rebel may have even better chemistry as they sit calmly in bed and discuss a very real possible future together. “I’ll fight anyone I have to for you,” George Michael promised her. He has no idea the other guy is his dad, while Michael does know the other guy is his son…and he still goes after Rebel, which is pretty gross. The final scene in which Michael must reveal to his son why he has a baby cactus for “Rebel” is filled with tension, father’s and son’s facial expressions running the gamut from incredulous to desperate-for-connection to confused to furious. It’s great.

George Michael punches Michael in the face, and that’s it. Roll credits.

After credits: There’s a cliffhanger: Who killed Lucille 2? The cops want Buster. “Arraigned Development: Busted Bluth,” reads John Beard’s final news headline. Ron Howard and Brian Grazer can’t believe their good luck.

“You got the rights to this?”

“Only for the killer.”

“It’s our next Da Vinci Code!”

“Yayyyyyyyy!”

Beard closes us out with the words G.O.B. had enclosed on that dead dove’s feet: “Love each other.”

*

I’m pretty sure (?!) George Michael and Maeby were throwing back to G.O.B.’s sh- heavy lisp after he chipped a tooth on a caramel apple in “Charity Drive” during their discussion in Maeby’s office about whether Rebel wanted to take things shlow, or eazhily breezhily. Or maybe I just don’t want this to end and I’m hearing what I wanna hear.

Favorite lines:

“I would rather have sex with someone who thought I was someone else than not have sex with someone because she thought I was me.” -classic G.O.B.

“He lives in France with his father and just visits March and April during French pilot season.” -Rebel re: her son, Len Depardieu

“George Michael, you can’t just buy one of these pieces of sh…ort-term investments.” -Michael re: his own son’s brand-new Sudden Valley mausoleum

“If they don’t get their money soon, they’ll have a major Mongolian beef with us.” -G.O.B. re: the horde of Mongols he hired to build the Bluths’ border wall. (It was their frustration at not getting paid that inspired the “blowback” at Cinco de Quatro; one of them ripped Lindsay’s necklace off as she was making her first campaign speech in Herbert Love’s place.)

Bonus: “Hello darkness my old friend….” swelling behind an angry Mongolian.

Possible hidden gem: Ugly Betty?

ILLUSTRATION BY CHIP WAAS

Update: It’s “Maeby One Day” singer-songwriter/fan contest winner Allie Goertz!

*

DON’T MISS: Mitchell Hurwitz’ handwritten letter to fans

*

Big reveal: I, too, am a Never-Nude:

Samir Hussein/WireImage

Oh Netflix, you underestimate me. (Instagram)

Overall, I’m so thrilled that season 4 even exists that I don’t care to get caught up in picking it apart in a critical way. There are TONS of nuggets I’m sure I missed, and I’m so excited to watch these again at a more leisurely pace… while looking at just the one screen instead of the TV vs. my stupid laptop.

Your thoughts? Leave ’em in the comments below….

LET THE GREAT EXPERIMENT END!

XOXO,

Ms. B.

Follow @EWAnnieBarrett

Read more:

Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Tony Hale on the Bluth brothers and new episodes

Creator Mitchell Hurwitz talks new season, movie and… bees

Ron Howard on his guest spot, playing the narrator, and… Bluth holiday specials?

Michael Cera and Alia Shawkat reveal what’s in store for Maeby and George Michael

‘Arrested Development’: Who’s the most quotable Bluth? POLL

Taste the happy: The best ‘Arrested Development’ stuff on the Internet

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