When Netflix announced Season 5
of “Arrested Development” was right around the corner, a whole bunch of fans just blue themselves. But if you’ve never seen the show, it’s understandable why that joke means nothing to you. “Arrested Development” is one of the biggest cult comedies ever, and because it prides itself on fourth-wall breaking meta commentary and long-running, recurring gags, it’s not quite easy to dive into. But the obsession is real, so if you’re new to the Bluth family or just need a refresher, (Lucille Bluth awkward winking GIF)
this A-Z guide will have you covered.
A is for “And now the story…”
“Arrested Development” is about a dysfunctional group of California socialites who lose everything and can now barely function. The most competent of the sons, Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman), wants nothing to do with any of them, but inevitably finds himself under one roof with all of them trying to maintain a shred of the family’s dignity. They might look like a typical sitcom family, but the Bluths are a likeable bunch of greedy idiots, jerks, crooks, loons and nincompoops.
B is for Brother
Michael, Buster (Tony Hale) and Gob Bluth (Will Arnett) and their sister Lindsay (Portia de Rossi) are all highly competitive and always on each other’s nerves. And it’s their sibling chemistry and constant bickering that drives much of the show’s humor.
C is for Chicken Dance
One of the biggest fan favorite jokes is Gob’s obnoxious, clucking chicken dance that looks and sounds nothing like a chicken (“Cuck-a-cuck-a-ca!”) By Season 3, the whole family is doing their own absurd dance as a way to taunt Michael.
D is for Driving the Stair Car
Without any money, one of the only assets the family has left is a staircase car typically seen at the airport that they drive everywhere, pulling down banners and even inadvertently helping prisoners escape from jail. “Watch out for hop-ons!”
E is for Egg
Michael’s son George-Michael (Michael Cera) is a timid, nerdy kid with an uncomfortably awkward crush on his cousin Maeby (Alia Shawkat). But he ends up dating Ann Veal (Mae Whitman), a girl the family finds so forgettable, they take to calling her “Bland” or “Egg” instead. That George-Michael remains so attached is always perplexing and never gets old. “Her?”
F is for "The Final Countdown"
When he’s not riding his Segway, Gob likens himself as a womanizing, showboating magician, constantly coming on stage to the tune of the ‘80s one-hit-wonder rock anthem “The Final Countdown” by Europe.
G is for George Sr.
George Bluth Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor), the father of the family, finds himself in prison at the start of the series (“No touching!
”) and then hiding out in the Bluth’s attic as he tries to evade charges of “light treason.”
H is for Hand
“I’m a MONSTER
!” By Season 2, Buster has his hand bitten off by a “loose seal” (a nod to the Bluth’s mother Lucille) and replaced with an absurd hook. The show spends nearly two full seasons foreshadowing Buster’s predicament, making re-watching earlier episodes an absolute treat.
I is for “I’ve made a huge mistake”
One of Gob’s many recurring catchphrases, “I’ve made a huge mistake” is the perfect line to sum up any of the show’s spectacular blunders, like when Gob plans to escape from prison in a grand magic trick (sorry, “illusion”), but finds he can’t pass the key he’s swallowed.
J is for J. Walter Weatherman
“Arrested Development” may be completely irreverent, but it has a lot of traditional heartwarming sitcom moments and also some bizarre life lessons. When the Bluths were kids, George Sr. would scare them straight with a one-armed man named J. Walter Weatherman. His arm would pop off in a bloody panic, and then explain, “And that’s why you always leave a note.”
K is for Kitty
Judy Greer may be one of the most underrated character actresses in film today, but it’s impossible to not see her as Kitty, the duplicitous secretary and mistress to George Sr. Greer plays her as hilariously grotesque, and when she gets a new pair of breast implants, she can’t stop flashing people whenever she leaves a room. “Say goodbye to these!”
L is for Lucille
We can’t forget Lucille Bluth (Jessica Walter), the drunken, racist mother of the family with an icy heart. She badgers her help Lupe, spontaneously calls her neighbor Lucille 2 (Liza Minnelli) a “Whore!” and has a wicked way of demeaning and controlling the whole family like a true matriarch.
M is for “Marry Me!”
Maeby is Lindsay’s daughter but also desperate to act above her age. By season 2 she cons her way into a job on a movie studio lot, flirting with Jeff Garlin and others with the line “Marry me!”
N is for Never Nude
It’s constantly teased that Lindsay’s dope of a husband Tobias (David Cross) is gay and has no filter as to how awkward he sounds. But his most famous affliction is being a “never nude,” in which he wears cutoff jeans under his pants in place of ever being fully naked.
O is for Oscar
George Sr. also has a twin brother named Oscar, also played by Jeffrey Tambor, whose one thing he has over his far more successful brother is a full head of hair. George Sr. eventually uses his brother as a decoy to escape from prison, chopping off his incredible mane.
P is for Pop-Pop
“Arrested Development” loves its wordplay, like naming a boat “The Seaward” in place of saying a certain four-letter word. But when George-Michael refers to his grandfather as “Pop Pop,” the show eventually has fun with confusing it for sex.
Q is for Quincy Jones
In another example of "Arrested Development's" one-off nonsense, a model hired by Gob named Starla claims she had an affair with Quincy Jones, which the show's narrator informs us has been disputed by his spokesperson.
R is for Ron Howard
One of "Arrested Development's" more amusing quirks is a narrator as voiced by Ron Howard. Howard's narrator practically doubles as another character, not just connecting everything together but bluntly commenting on how wrong and hypocritical the characters are (they were).
S is for “Steve Holt!”
The loveable lunkhead jock Steve Holt is like a regular Groot, throwing up his arms and shouting his name in celebration whenever the mood strikes him. “Steve Holt!”
T is for Tobias
Tobias’ former life is as an analyst and therapist, or as Tobias puts it on his business cards, an “Analrapist.” But he now dreams of being an actor, even painting himself blue in a pipe dream that he might one day join The Blue Man Group.
U is for Uncle Jack
Among the stranger of the show’s celebrity cameos was Martin Short as Uncle “Action” Jack, a former fitness guru who now can’t walk. But in place of a wheelchair, he recruits a hulking bodyguard to carry him around and literally throw him at people he wants to tackle. “Shoot me!”
V is for Vertigo
Liza Minnelli is a national treasure. And as Lucille 2, Lucille Bluth’s neighbor, she has a severe case of vertigo that for the first time in her career not graceful on her feet but constantly clinging to walls and falling on her face.
W is for Carl Weathers
Another fantastic cameo is actor Carl Weathers playing himself as he offers Tobias “acting lessons” that amount to ways penny-pinch on everything. “Baby, you got a stew going!”
X is for Motherboy XXX
Lucille has instilled in Buster a hilariously disturbing Oedipal complex, bringing him to a mother-son costume contest every year called “Motherboy.” But as Buster tries to break free of his dependence of Lucille, she in one episode tries to recruit George-Michael for the 30th annual ceremony, unfortunately titled “Motherboy XXX.”
Y is for “You’re High! You’re Drunk!”
“Arrested Development’s” version of Sam and Diane is the hot and cold affair of Lucille and Oscar, who scream obscenities at each other before making torrid love.
Z is for Barry Zuckercorn
“He’s very good.” This was practically a comeback role for Henry Winkler (and the show isn’t oblivious to the fact that they have both Opie and the Fonz), who plays a bumbling, constantly unprepared lawyer for the Bluths.