Get Arrested…Development

Like I said, I wanted to write a really cool post for one of the best TV shows (maybe the best sitcom?), but I don’t have the energy right now.

If you haven’t seen this show, then leave the blog immediately and go watch it. You can still get caught up by the Sunday, May 26th, release of the 4th season.

Also, I’d like to point out that a list like this for a show like AD, doesn’t really work that well, because some much of the humor comes from tie-ins, running gags, and long awaited pay offs that take place over the course of entire seasons in certain cases. Also, there’s not that much of the show, just watch it all in a sitting, like me. But here’s a list of some of the best of the best, pre season 4 via my own brand of rambling synopsis’s and additional thoughts:

10. Family Ties (03×11)

Just because it’s really twisted considering the casting. Jason Bateman’s real life sister, Justine Bateman, plays Nelly, a woman who Michael (Bateman’s character) thinks may be a family member his father was going to pin his crimes on, when she turns out to actually be a prostitute.

On any other show the misunderstandings would bring mediocre and expected comedy, but as always, on AD there are always a few extra layers to the jokes and some moth-covering I can’t believe they just did that moments as well. Not that incest is in anyway taboo on this show.

And get it? Family Ties? Like the show Justine was on as a kid.

9. The One Where They Build a House (02×02)

Chicken dances, mayon-eggs, the Cornballer and Buster getting some sweet revenge on GOB. The family needs to build a house in a very small window of time to prove that Michael didn’t make a huge mistake on his business model, even though he actually did. The house will be a fake, but it will buy they some confidence from the investors, which will in turn buy them time.

GOB inevitably tries to steal Michael’s ribbon-cutting moment and everything falls apart. In every possible meaning of the phrase, leading to a nice Buster Keaton homage (starring Buster Bluth).

8. Good Grief! (02×04)

An adorable little Peanuts episode. And when I say adorable I mean incredibly subversive and sacrilegious with some sweet moments. Like every other episode.

George Michael gets dumped by Ann, George Sr. is declared dead, the family has a funeral, which GOB tries to make into a magic show, George Michael discovers George Sr. and hides him in the attic of the model home, and the family has a wake, where George Sr. hears what Michael really thinks of him. Ouch.

But it’s all very funny.

7. Fakin’ It (03×10)

God, the Bluths are just bad people. And it’s so much fun to watch.

Judge Reinhold hosts a mock trial for the family (footage from the Trial of Captain Hook resurfaces), with Michael acting in his father’s defense, and Lucille, Gob, Lindsey, and Tobias have to pretend to get along, while Buster figures it would be easier to fake a comma, an act several of the family views as brave. When the prosecution tries to make an under the table deal with Michael, he finds the evidence to shut the (mock) trial down.

George Michael gets to be awkward and uncomfortable in the hospital before accidentally marrying his cousin, Maeby (sorta).

6. Spring Breakout (02×17)

GOB, Lindsey, and Tobias are all hoping to get even with the makers of Girls with Low Self-Esteem videos, the leader of whom turns out to be Zach Braff, playing a never-nude, like Tobias.

But the real genius of the episode is that Michael checks Lucille into rehab for her drinking and then has to break her out as she’s the only person who can outdrink the Bluth company’s ex-secretary, Kitty, who’s threatening to go to the police with information she has about the business.

After Lucille wins the contest, she heads back to rehab, to the cheers of the frat boys, who Maeby has been trying to use as models for teen dialogue in her secret life as a film executive.

5. Making a Stand (03×08)

Much like Lucille does with Michael and Lindsey when they start to get along, George Sr. drives a wedge between his sons, Michael and GOB whenever they’re getting along. An Michael and Gob have had enough of it.

Of course, moments after deciding not to fight anymore, George Sr. convinces GOB to set up a banana stand with GOB’s supposed son, Steve Holt(!), right across from the stand run by Michael and George Michael. When the feud is resolved and the realize the source of the conflict, they decide to teach George Sr. a lesson with a ridiculously overdone plot to make him thinks he’s been kidnapped, but GOB spills the whole plot to his father, who decide to teach them a lesson of his own, only to discover GOB’s secret was part of a double bluff.

It’s like The Sting with frozen bananas.

4. Pilot (01×01)

One of the best pilots of all time. All nine of the main characters are clearly defined, each getting their own genius introduction, as well as worming us up to the disembodied voice of Ron Howard, who serves as an uncredited narrator for the entire series.

Almost as importantly (the comedy is about the characters more than the situation, it barely qualifies as a “SITcom”), we get the plot, setting up the show with George Sr.’s arrest, his leaving the company to Lucille instead of Michael, and the insanity that is the Bluth family.

“So, why is Michael so happy? Because he’s decided to never speak to these people again.” 

Luckily for us, his family persuades him to stick with them, because, yes, they’re sick twisted S.O.B.’s, but they’re still family.

3. Whistler’s Mother (01×20)

Michael urges the company to report any shady goings-on in the company, which backfires when he himself buys some land from his uncle, Oscar, which he finds out could be construed as a criminal offense. Lucille swoops in and saves the day, buying out the shares of the man who discovered Michael’s deal, a man who, mysteriously, is never heard from again.

The downside? Lucille starts coming to board meetings, as she’s now an investor, which causes problems for Michael.

We are also treated to Gobias Industries, Amy Poehler as GOB’s wife (can they please not get divorced in real life? They’re the one celebrity couple I care about), and a cage dance from Lindsey as she protests the Iraq war.

2. Beef Consumme (01×13)

I don’t want to oversell it, but this episode has the best televised boy-fight ever, starring Michael and GOB (and a little bit of Buster). They’re in suits and everything, on the lawn of a courthouse, at one point Michael ends up in a tree…it’s glorious.

Michael and GOB (and a little bit of Buster) are in love with Marta (who over the course of the show was played by three different actresses). She was GOB’s girlfriend, but fell for Michael. And they have a sort of light affair thing going. I dunno why. Maybe because…duh, Michael’s an inhumanly perfect human being and GOB’s a lying cheating manipulative bastard. I mean I love the character to death, but I see where’s Marta’s coming from.

Meanwhile George Sr.’s hearing is coming up and they have to appear to be a loving supporting family in front of the judge and jury for just 10 minutes.

Goerge Michael thinks Maeby might be adopted and tries to find proof, as that would alleviate his guilt over crushing on his cousin.

GOB finds out about Marta and Michael from Buster, and when Michael arrives at the courthouse (already running late), he gets physically attacked by GOB for all to see, and they do, and it’s awesome.

And Marta breaks up with all the Bluths.

1. Top Banana (01×02)

My all time favorite episode of the show. Also the second ever episode they made.

Saying too much about it would ruin it, that whole if you explain a joke it stops being funny so I’ll leave it at this:

“There’s always money in the banana stand.”

Dead Dove. Do Not Eat.


“You mailed that insurance check, right, GOB?”

“I’ve got a rabbit to buy.”


About Risa Romano

Writer type thing. I work on stories for kids when I'm on the clock and screenplays quite a bit less for kids when I'm not. I have a blog: I'm also the creator and moderator of the Doctor Who vodcast/podcast A Disused Yeti:
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