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August 21, 2012 8:55 AM   Subscribe

53 Arrested Development Jokes You Probably Missed
posted by griphus (67 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite

 
You severely underestimate the number of times I've watched the show.
posted by The Whelk at 9:15 AM on August 21, 2012 [23 favorites]


A few of them, sure. But more of them seem like "if you only watched this series once, here's what you missed." I mean, the Castellaneta "D'oh" thing is obvious, as is the Scott Baio "plus I can skew younger, with juries and so forth" thing.

I remember when I first pointed out the Buster "domo arigato" thing to one of my brothers. He nearly died of elation.
posted by King Bee at 9:20 AM on August 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


WEE BR[Charlize Theron]AIN
posted by infinitewindow at 9:22 AM on August 21, 2012 [8 favorites]


There’s also an LGBT diet book that Barry Zuckerkorn seemed to have written under the name B.J. Zuckerkorn.

I would read this. Especially if the recipes and guides just dissolved into pornographic rants at random intervals.
posted by The Whelk at 9:22 AM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know, griphus, that I had a not of work to do today. Are you willing to come get it done for me?
posted by Danf at 9:23 AM on August 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


For me, this is worth it just because I never caught the Blendin vans before. They blended in so well!
posted by COBRA! at 9:25 AM on August 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Whelk, my reaction too. You mean it's unusual to have seen the entire series more than a half dozen times?
posted by LooseFilter at 9:26 AM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


There are definitely a few on this list that I missed. But some of them are hard to miss even if you've only ever watched the show once, like the blue hand print on Kitty's head.
posted by asnider at 9:26 AM on August 21, 2012


Blendin! A subsidiary of ORDINARY VAN CO.
posted by The Whelk at 9:30 AM on August 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Flowers
By
Irene
posted by griphus at 9:38 AM on August 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I took the "my own type" and "man inside me" jokes in #1 to mean tobias wanted to have sex with a black man, not that he was black.

As for Maeby's hair, isn't she adopted? Or at least not Tobias's biological daughter?

And the colored blue man joke makes sense on its own.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 9:39 AM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


(To defend my, ah, A.D. cred [don't call it that], I've seen the series about a half-dozen times myself and there was at least a handful of things mentioned that I never caught.)
posted by griphus at 9:39 AM on August 21, 2012


Thanks, I missed all of these! Probably because I never watched the show!
posted by xingcat at 9:41 AM on August 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


One of my favourites that I just recently caught (not on this list): The Bluths are said to frequently go to Skip Church's for brunch on Sundays, while the Jewish Barry Zuckerkorn often gets Chinese at Miss Temple's on Friday nights.
posted by yellowbinder at 9:41 AM on August 21, 2012 [24 favorites]


Pruitt-Igoe: "I took the "my own type" and "man inside me" jokes in #1 to mean tobias wanted to have sex with a black man, not that he was black."

I always took it the same way too. Which I guess means the joke works on multiple levels.

Hey, I wonder if anybody's ever said that about Arrested Development before? Never mind.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:47 AM on August 21, 2012


As for Maeby's hair, isn't she adopted? Or at least not Tobias's biological daughter?

No it's Lindsay who's adopted. Look here you can see Maeby coming out of her mom's third base.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:52 AM on August 21, 2012


But Tobias being an albino black person doesn't even make sense
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 9:52 AM on August 21, 2012


Tobias being an albino black person. I can see it. Though with what they did with Lindsay being adopted, Maeby's hair could have come from that side.

However, given the range of color and hair types in my own gene pool, it could be some Native American heritage as well. Yes, even with the freckles.
posted by tilde at 10:04 AM on August 21, 2012


I don't think "doesn't even make sense" is a complaint you can really lodge against any plot point involving Tobias.
posted by griphus at 10:05 AM on August 21, 2012 [8 favorites]


There's a joke in AD when George Michael is watching the sunset in the side view mirror of the stair car. He remarks to his dad that "it will appear closer that way."

It's a great joke, but it's wrong. The sunset would actually appear further away. "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear."

Also, in the trucks I've owned that was only true of the passenger side mirror, because it was concave. I don't know if that's universal though.

I know I sound like someone complaining that Gary Larson put dinosaurs and humans in the same comic, but that joke always bugged me. The writers are smart, they must have known the joke was incorrect but they used it anyway.

Yes, even I want to punch me in the face over this.

Back on topic, this is a good list. I've seen the series 3-4 times and there's a couple things here I missed.
posted by bondcliff at 10:14 AM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some of these are pretty good, and I did miss them, but I admit I have an instant repulsion to any article that says "Here are some things you probably missed, because you're not as obsessed/careful/intelligent a reader/watcher/person as us!" Surely it is possible to craft a headline that doesn't vaguely insult your reader. (Or maybe I'm just a bit sensitive.)
posted by synecdoche at 10:15 AM on August 21, 2012


Tobias being an albino black person. I can see it. Though with what they did with Lindsay being adopted, Maeby's hair could have come from that side.

Or that someone else entirely was the father, because Lindsay and Tobias don't really have a sex life together.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 10:30 AM on August 21, 2012


The writers are smart, they must have known the joke was incorrect but they used it anyway.

Sure but couldn't George Michael be wrong?
posted by shakespeherian at 10:41 AM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sure but couldn't George Michael be wrong?

Michael would have told him so.
posted by bondcliff at 10:43 AM on August 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


Or that someone else entirely was the father...

I dunno, one of the longest-running gags on the show was that Lindsay had a pronounced inability to get men's attention. This is just off the top of my head and in no particular order:

- Frank Wrench accidentally tranquilizes her.
- Steve Holt thinks she's a transvestite/transgendered.
- Ice has no interest in her.
- Bob Loblaw is representing her (then other stuff I can't recall.)
- Tom Jane is too good for her.
- George pays off the inmates at the prison.
- GOB threatens everyone at the office.
- Dragon has no idea she's interested in him.
- Michael doesn't care they're not biological siblings.
posted by griphus at 10:46 AM on August 21, 2012


"Eh... it's so boxy." is my favorite of the "had to watch a dozen times before I caught that" jokes. I knew almost all of the ones on this list, but as I said, watched the full series about a dozen times.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:47 AM on August 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, on the Black Tobias theory, I caught that around the last time I watched through, but I think it works better if Tobias just believes he's black, for some unknown reason (though I guess that doesn't fit with the bit about Maeby's hair.)
posted by Navelgazer at 10:50 AM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Or that someone else entirely was the father, because Lindsay and Tobias don't really have a sex life together.

Well, it was pretty well established that Maeby's conception was through artificial insemination. Although that doesn't prove that Tobias is the actual father, it does provide an explanation keeping in line with his apparent reluctance to sleep with Lindsay.
posted by di11ihd at 10:52 AM on August 21, 2012


Another (semi)unremarked upon symmetry, Lucille's drinking and dancing alone here at 8:15 is mirrored when Buster cracks her box of wine (0:34) thinking it's a jukebox, right down to the "Mama's all alone!" music.
posted by yellowbinder at 10:58 AM on August 21, 2012


Wait...a half dozen viewings is a lot?

Oh dear.

I'm in the plural of dozen.

posted by General Malaise at 11:05 AM on August 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


27. In “Meet the Veals,” when Maeby is reading a movie script titled “Operation: Hot Mother,” the same name of Buster’s plan in “Motherboy XXX.” The script also mentions that it’s “based on a true story.”

They miss the good part of this: the script is clearly written by the other boy in that episode ("take me away!") and his mother.
posted by disillusioned at 11:05 AM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Dan Castellaneta cameo has always confused me. Is there some comedy nuance about him claiming to be the best doctor in the county, then the state, etc., or is it as dully straightforward as it appears? In other words, is he only there for the "Frank Stein" and the "D'oh"?
posted by Mapes at 11:27 AM on August 21, 2012


Well, he's also a terrible, terrible doctor and the worse he gets the more Michael implies that they should listen to his Voice of Authority.
posted by griphus at 11:29 AM on August 21, 2012


The blue hand print on Kitty is just one example of the blue paint appearing in scenes not directly referencing it. One of my favorite jokes is watching the model house slowly deteriorate over the seasons, with subtle touches such as blue hand prints on the walls in various scenes taking place around the house.
posted by mysterpigg at 12:01 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have watched AD dozens, DOZENS! of times and I love there are still things that I have missed.
posted by littlesq at 12:07 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


One of the most frustrating moments in my life was very recently when my girlfriend -- who has an aversion to the style of humor in the show -- accidentally left blue fingerprints all over the kitchen.
posted by griphus at 12:31 PM on August 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Also, on the Black Tobias theory, I caught that around the last time I watched through, but I think it works better if Tobias just believes he's black, for some unknown reason (though I guess that doesn't fit with the bit about Maeby's hair.)

I think the bit about Maeby's hair has more to do with the whole "Are we not related? Is she just some girl I know?" thing.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:37 PM on August 21, 2012


who has an aversion to the style of humor in the show

DTMFA.
posted by phunniemee at 12:38 PM on August 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


Am I an idiot for just now realizing the title "Arrested Development" itself is a pun?
posted by palidor at 1:00 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey, that's the name of this show!
posted by shakespeherian at 1:08 PM on August 21, 2012 [12 favorites]


It's also the name of a wussy 90's rap group who were far less thoughtful and intelligent than they thought they were.
posted by item at 1:49 PM on August 21, 2012


One of the most frustrating moments in my life was very recently when my girlfriend -- who has an aversion to the style of humor in the show -- accidentally left blue fingerprints all over the kitchen.

So for Halloween two years ago, I bought about six tubs of blue face paint and fashioned myself into a stylin' Tobias Funke. Disregarding, for a moment, just how bad an idea denim short-shorts are, it was chaos. I cannot emphasize strongly enough how completely accurate AD is in depicting the carnage that blue body paint (well, blue body paint + alcohol, in my case) inflicts on a house. I was finding blue handprints for MONTHS. It got onto faucets and refrigerator handles. It got onto doorknobs where it was too dark to see it until you noticed your arm had blue streaks. It got onto countertops and toilets and shower curtains. It got on the TOPS of doors, where it stayed hidden until we went to dust. It got onto the cat.

The night pretty much ended when I enthusiastically joined the game of apple-bobbing, at which point I discovered that the paint wasn't in any way water-safe.
posted by Mayor West at 1:53 PM on August 21, 2012 [10 favorites]


Read the whole list. There were no jokes that I hadn't already gotten.

The Skip Churchs/Miss Temples joke came to me in a dream. Seriously.

The most recent AD joke I didn't get came to me to weeks ago (seriously...the news that the new season was filming inspired me to re-watch the whole series): when Tobias enters prison to research a role and convinces White Power Bill to kill himself, the other inmates declare "the witch is dead!". Later Lil Justice introduces himself to George Sr. as "the Tin Man" and explains "I'm a friend of Dorothy". Well when I first watched the series I didn't know that "friend of Dorothy" was code for homosexual. So that was the last AD joke that I got.
posted by mediated self at 3:12 PM on August 21, 2012


You saw the message from Anyong on the Banana Stand?
posted by shakespeherian at 3:15 PM on August 21, 2012


Yes. Didn't we all?
posted by mediated self at 3:19 PM on August 21, 2012


I think he meant you saw the message and new it was from Anyong, because that's pretty impressive. I've seen the series at least a half dozen times, and that one was new to me.
posted by phunniemee at 3:20 PM on August 21, 2012


yes I know...I caught it on my first re-watch of the third season which was four years ago.
posted by mediated self at 3:24 PM on August 21, 2012


I think it took me maybe 3 watches to notice the ARM OFF on the recruitment ad Buster is sat on. So many wonderful details.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 3:35 PM on August 21, 2012


Am I an idiot for just now realizing the title "Arrested Development" itself is a pun?

A pun with at least three meanings:
The characters display arrested emotional development.
The housing development has been put on hold.
George Sr. is in jail.
posted by lozierj at 3:36 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Arrested Development has been one of those shows that's totally in my wheelhouse, comedy-wise. I love all of the actors in it, the format, the downright surreality of some of the premises.

I've never watched a single minute of the show.

It's one of those shows I've been "saving," so that one day I could just plop down on the couch and watch a whole marathon of it, while it's all new to me.

That day is today. Here I go!
posted by ShutterBun at 5:58 PM on August 21, 2012 [13 favorites]


This wasn't on the list and maybe was super-obvious to everyone else, but went right over my head the first two times I saw it (although I see it's alluded to by Navelgazer):

Lindsay: We did it Mikey! We're super rich again! And I'm gonna buy a car. The Volvo.
(hands Michael xeroxed picture)
Michael: No, Lindsay, you're not going to start spending money again. (looks at picture) And this is not a Volvo...
Lindsay: (takes picture back) Oh, that's from sitting on the copier.
posted by granted at 6:05 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Goddammit, you left out half of it. Volvo/vulva was just the foundation, but

Michael: Glad I didn’t spring for color. Lindsay, the only reason you want Tobias is because you can’t have him. And the second that you can have something, all of a sudden you don’t want it.

Lindsay: That’s not who I am, Michael.

Michael: Well, all right, maybe you’re right. Maybe we should get you this car.

Lindsay: Yeah? I don’t know, it’s so boxy.

After all, Volvos are kinda boxy. And also... (Yakko) Goodnight everybody!
posted by kersplunk at 6:20 PM on August 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


There’s also an LGBT diet book that Barry Zuckerkorn seemed to have written under the name B.J. Zuckerkorn.

I would read this. Especially if the recipes and guides just dissolved into pornographic rants at random intervals.


His hot ding dongs are terrific!
posted by cottoncandybeard at 6:26 PM on August 21, 2012


Another joke so obscure and hidden that it might be only in my head (and it's possible I've mentioned this one on the blue before now):

In the episode "Whistler's Mother," Dave "Gruber" Allen plays an activist in the caged-off (or really caged-in) "Free Speech Zone" along with Lindsay Bluth. When the rednecks come around and pull out the hoses on them, Allen's character escapes with the rest of the activists, shouting, "It's over, Lindsay! They've won!"

In the Freaks & Geeks episode "The Little Things," Allen's guidance counselor Mr. Rosso says almost the exact same thing, referring to Vice President Bush circumventing their free speech... to Lindsay Weir.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:23 PM on August 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Cirsumvrenting?
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:48 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


ShutterBun - It's one of those shows I've been "saving," so that one day I could just plop down on the couch and watch a whole marathon of it, while it's all new to me.

That day is today. Here I go!


Let us know how it goes! I envy first-timers.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:05 PM on August 21, 2012


There's also a bit in Archer where Sterling says to Malory (played by Jessica Walter, who plays Lucille Bluth in Arrested Development) "Wow, you don't get along with your neighbors anywhere!", referring to the Lucille/Lucille 2 feud in AD.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:10 PM on August 21, 2012


Oh, let me throw one more out there that it took me a few times through to catch, though it might have been a lot more obvious to everyone else:

In the "Sons and Dad's Reunion" park, on the statue with "that kid who found the severed hand," the inscription is simply, "He Came..."

Dirty as hell, but for a monument to deadbeat dads (hopefully) returning, subtle and perfect.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:42 PM on August 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Another (semi)unremarked upon symmetry, Lucille's drinking and dancing alone here at 8:15 is mirrored when Buster cracks her box of wine (0:34) thinking it's a jukebox, right down to the "Mama's all alone!" music.

That music is "Rose's Turn" from Gypsy, which is really funny if you know the lyrics. There is another episode when Lucille says "How do you like them egg rolls, Mr. Goldstone," which is a line from "Rose's Turn." I think it's after she hints to George Michael that Maeby was a test tube baby.
posted by apricot at 9:31 PM on August 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


There is another episode when Lucille says "How do you like them egg rolls, Mr. Goldstone," which is a line from "Rose's Turn." I think it's after she hints to George Michael that Maeby was a test tube baby.

Now, there's a joke I missed. I had no idea what was up with that weird line!
posted by King Bee at 10:11 PM on August 21, 2012


Let us know how it goes! I envy first-timers.

Yeah, I figured there would be some envy (there's a lot of things I would LOVE to see for the first time all over again)

So far, excellent. A lot of shows take a while to kinda "get" them, learn all the characters, etc. (e.g. "The Wire") but with a small ensemble cast and some excellent introductions (and outright exposition via narration) this one was easy to pick up immediately.

Some very funny stuff so far. I think Tobias and Gob are instantly my favorites.
posted by ShutterBun at 11:48 PM on August 21, 2012


In "Mr. F" you can see Rita's uncle Trevor in the background smoking while brushing his teeth, a reference to stereotypical British bad breath.
posted by Seiten Taisei at 3:22 AM on August 22, 2012


I suppose this is a bit more obvious than most of these hidden gags, but I did notice a sort of mirroring/callback thing in S1E15 "Staff Infection" where the dad in prison vows not to do any more teaching, when Tobias suddenly shows up for method acting lessons, and the patriarch repeats "No teaching, no teaching." (a reference to the "No touching!" rules that always seem to crop up during his prison visits.)

Again, not a bona fide example of a hidden joke, but at least gives this first time viewer a little of the satisfaction of "discovering" a subtle little callback reference, which I am sensing is a big part of the show's lasting appeal.
posted by ShutterBun at 4:14 AM on August 23, 2012


Sure but couldn't George Michael be wrong?

Michael would have told him so.

Except that Maeby's in the car, not Michael -- the reason he mentions the sunset is that he's trying to cover the fact that he has an erection.
posted by JasonSch at 7:29 PM on August 23, 2012


And we already know Maeby's not the best student -- for Christ's sake, she got a C mines.
posted by fiercecupcake at 9:12 PM on August 23, 2012


First episode, Lucilles Fox has its foot amputated by Maeby. Feels like that should mean something.
posted by tilde at 8:24 PM on August 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Multiple Lindsay sexy references - the pin up calendar Michael is trying to not look at, Lindsay replacing Kitty as receptionist & Gob finding her sounding sexy ... Making it "okay" since she's adopted
posted by tilde at 11:46 AM on August 26, 2012


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