Top 10 Favorite episodes of Arrested Development
Chances are, if you clicked on this link you’re a huge ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT fan. Also likely, you’re wondering, “Chris- a top 10? Shouldn’t it be a top 53?” Indeed, ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT has too many gems to boil the series down to a typical ten-best list, so let’s just say this ten-spot is a list of my own personal favorites. Hopefully- once the new episodes hit Netflix on Sunday- they’re going to be up to the same standard that these ten exemplify. In any case, make sure to check back next week, when I start reviewing them episode-by-episode. Until then, here are my absolute favorites, although I can’t say there have ever been any episodes of that I really didn’t like. It’s as close to a perfect show as we’re ever likely to get.
It's crazy that by episode 2, the ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT gang was already working at such a high level that they were able to craft a perfect episode that not only works well on the first viewing (the banana stand stuff is great), but also teases a bunch of upcoming plot-lines, such as Tobias being a never-nude (you can see him wearing his cutoffs in the shower) which rewards repeat viewers. And don't forget- "there's money in the banana stand."
The fact that “Pier Pressure” immediately followed “Storming the Castle” is really what sealed the deal as far as my loving ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT goes. This is one of the most quoted episodes; with George Michael asking Gob to help him score some pot for Buster’s girlfriend Lucille Astero (“my ol’ lady’s on the floor man!”). Gob, in a rare moment of familial responsibility, tells Michael, who decides to use a technique George Sr., used on him to teach his son a lesson. The flashbacks showing how their father scarred them for life by hiring his one-armed friend J Walter Waterman are legendary. I love George Sr.’s throwaway line where Michael asks how Watermann is doing and George says “you killed him when you left the door open with the air conditioning on.” This episode also introduced the ever popular Hot Cops.
There are so many things I love about this episode, from Gob’s rivalry with the magic alliance, to Buster’s illicit relationship with Liza Minnelli’s Lucille Austero (“he stays there sometimes until 7…8 at night. Peanut brittle on his breath!! Is she the one who’s going to take him to the dentist???”), and George Sr.’s jailhouse conversion to Judaism (with part of a shoe as a kippah) . But, for me the funniest part is easily Tobias’ attempt to impress Maeby by buying himself a “dad likes leather” ensemble that leaves him looking like a leather daddy. It all ends with Tobias asking a cab driver to take him to “the magic castle,” which he hears as “the magic a$$hole,” only to fit in a little too well.
This is another popular episode and it's absolutely jam-packed with jokes and plot. The A plot has Michael tracking his father to Mexico, while a lonely Gob hires a bounty-hunter named Ice (cue ominous music) to be his friend. Meanwhilein the B-plot, poor Buster is about to start his basic training and escapes to Mexico, or so he thinks. He winds up back at his mom's housekeeper Lupe's house, where he thinks he's beginning a new life as a migrant worker. His offhand line upon seeing his long-lost hand chair ("I never thought I'd miss a hand so much") foreshadows his maiming by a seal. And let's not forget Gene Parmesan- master of disguise! Lucile's delighted reaction to his incredibly lame disguises are hilarious.
"I got blown, so I can't sleep." Poor Tobias. This is another great one, with the Bluth company Christmas party descending into anarchy thanks to Gob's out of control ego. This one has everything; Tobias in his blue-man garb, Gob dressed as a banana, and Lucille high on "Afternoon Delight", dig? The two singalongs to the "more-explicit-than-you-remember" Afternoon Delight by Starland Vocal Band are hilarious, although my fave joke is a throwaway line by George Michael saying how his girlfriend Ann's (her?) family is on Bethlehem time. Also, the countdown to Buster's maiming continues, with him winning a stuffed seal on the boardwalk. Of course, that's something you'd never notice until repeat viewings- which this show demands.
Mr.F is my only pick from season 3 on this list, but that doesn't mean I think any less of it as a whole. Even though it was brought to an abrupt end by cancellation (although it has a semi-series finale), there's still a lot of great episodes in it. Mr.F is my favorite, with it containing all the season's greatest hits, like Charlize Theron's extended role as Rita, Michael's mentally challenged English love interest, the Bond-nods (with the Shirley Bassey-style singing of "Mistah Eff"), Bob Einstein (Super Dave!) as George Sr,'s workplace stand-in, Scott Baio as Bob Loblaw (blah, blah, blah), and more. The best part is George Michael's Ultra-man jetpack garb, leading to a Kaiju--style fight with Tobias dressed up as a mole for a bunch of Japanese businessmen. Classic.
Who would have thought Ann (her?) would have Ione Sky from SAY ANYTHING as a mother. Alongside Alan Tudyk as her husband, Skye absolutely walks away with the episode, especially her hilariously naive seduction of Michael ("Take me! Take me to your secular world!"). Tobias' masquerade as Mrs.Featherbottom continues, with him trying to fly away like Mary Poppins with an umbrella (yeah, it doesn't work) and asking anyone "if they would like a banger in the mouth." Classic stuff.
"Hey, where the f*ck are my hardboiled eggs?" says Tobias in a rage, before walking away Charlie Brown-style, trying hard to hide the smile on his face. You'll feel the same way throughout this twenty minute comedic masterpiece. There's so much genius here, from the Charlie Brown shout-outs (complete with a sleeping dog on the roof of a red doghouse) to George Sr.'s Saddam-like discoverery by George Michael. My favorite bit is Buster coming to his father's wake in an army uniform he scored from the Hot Cops, complete with tear-away pants and a German WW1 helmet. Just thinking about it sends me into giggle fits.
Motherboy XXX is another legendary episode, with Lucille dragging poor George Michael along to her Motherboy convention (mother-son themed costumes) now that Buster's hook hand makes her so uncomfortable. The A-story is funny enough, but again it's the throwaway gags that make it, like the seventies-era, K.I.S.S style band, Motherboy, that's referenced. Look closely at the photo here. Notice anything? Yup, Motherboy is Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Jeffrey Tambor (with the flute) and Tony Hale.
This is what I always show people when they tell me they've never watched the show. If you don't like this episode, the show really
isn't for you. This is probably Tobias' funniest episode, with him buying the drag club, The Queen Mary. The Hot Cops are hired to pose as street toughs to frighten him, but who are they to resist this offer- "So maybe you could, uh, start jete-ing ... and stop 'je-terrorizing' me." He also tries to spread his gospel of the streets to a gang of gangstas, which doesn't go well. It also has his funniest is-he-or-isn't-he gay line, "even if it means me taking a chubby, I will suck it up."