Created by Mike Hurwitz, Arrested Development is an American sitcom which aired for 3 seasons on FOX, from 2nd of November 2003 to 10th of February 2006. The fourth season has 15 episodes and airs exclusively on Netflix since May 26, 2013.
The story follows a wealthy family, the Bluth, who lost everything and the one son who tries to keep them all together. When the head of the family, George Bluth is sent to prison due to deceitful accounting procedures at the family’s real estate company in Orange County, California, the true face of the family surfaces, a socially impaired, greedy, needy one. With the assets frozen, each member of the family panics. Michael, the only stable one, is left looking for them while trying to save the company. His mother, Lucille, is a narcissistic sophisticated woman who has a lifestyle to maintain, just like her daughter, Lindsay, a spoiled mid-twenties woman who lives from party to party with her sexuality enigmatic husband, Tobias Fũnke who was once a psychiatrist, now a wanna-be actor.
Their oldest brother, George Oscar Bluth II, nicknamed GOB, is a magician who is kicked out of the group he started because he revealed his tricks. And he has very serious issues with anger management. Buster, their youngest brother is a socially incapacitated person with constant panic attacks, probably due to years and years of education. Lindsay’s twin brother, Michael, is apparently the only one mentally balanced enough to realize the true weight of the charges and, along with his son, George Michael, they try to keep the family business alive at the same time fighting the desire of leaving them. Lindsay and Tobias’ daughter, Maeby, is the rebellious one, fighting the authority in questionable ways. It’s enough for George Michael to be interested in her, and the other way around.
Season 1 Review (Nov 2, 2003 – Jun 6, 2004)
George Bluth Sr. is the head of the family and the founder of Bluth Company. Among other real estate activities, the company also builds model homes. Michael is the manager and the favorite for the CEO position. But, to his surprise, George Sr.’s retirement announce is followed by the nomination of Lucille as the new CEO, which deeply displeases Michael. Angry and hurt, he applies for a job at the rival company, decided for good to leave his disturbed family alone. But then George Sr. is arrested for fraud and gross spending of the company’s money for “personal expenses”. All of them beg Michael to come back, but the trigger factor was his son, George Michael, who grew very fond of the notion of family. In order for them to get back on track, sacrifices need to be made. That’s why Michael decide to asks his twin sister Lindsay, her husband and their daughter (Tobias and Maeby) to come live with them in the model house.
Each member of the Bluth family is in a constant search for their identity and now, that they lost everything, for their place in the world. For example, George Sr. finds the jail to be more than welcoming than his overly-medicated wife and his impoverished children. He changes his religion to Judaism and even manages to turn this into profit. Buster tries to break free from his dependence of his mother and he bonds with Lucille Austero, his mother social rival. Than Lucille adopts a Korean baby and mistakes his name for the Korean word Annyong (Hello). George Michael questions his sexuality when his feelings toward Maeby evolve. Maeby herself seeks her father’s approval, longing to be noticed. On the other hand, Tobias lost his medical license and thinks that the next suitable career choice for him is acting. Except the fact that he is a “never nude” and the first job he lands require a nude scene. Michael falls in love with Gob’s girlfriend, Marta, and he is morally torn. When the situation is revealed, the brothers fight and Marta leaves them both. Gob, as a result of a series of dares, gets married and can’t break free since he won’t admit that the marriage was not consumed. Kitty, George Sr.’s former assistant tries to extort the company. But what goes around comes around and she is caught in one of Gob’s tricks: the yacht which she searched for evidence is blown up, leaving her clinging for dear life at a cooler full of evidence.
The season ends with George Sr. faking a heart attack and escaping the hospital, while the family finds out a new accusation held against him: light treason. Apparently, the Bluth Company built model homes for Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
The first season features 22 episodes with a medium length of 22 minutes. In 2004 it won five Emmy Awards, being critically acclaimed.
Season 2 Review (Nov 7, 2004 – Apr 17, 2005)
Featuring 18 episodes, season two starts with Michael renewed desire to leave the family, but because the company is under investigation, he can not leave the state. Lucille delegates Gob as the new president, but he proves absolutely incompetent, so the duties revert to Michael. For the rest of the season, Gob is goofing around with his title, because Michael doesn’t let him do anything that may or may not harm the company.
George Sr., a free man now, fakes his death in Mexico and returns home, where George Michael finds him in the attic. To protect his son for any legal involvement, Michael enacts one again George Sr.’s escape and for the rest of the season he provides food for him, hoping no one will pay enough attention to discover him in the attic. Also this arrangement proves fruitful for George Sr. as he keeps a close look at his family.
Gob’s wife is a seal trader and, by mistake, he gave one of them the taste for human flesh and released it in the ocean, where conveniently Buster was breaking the rules by swimming. The seal bites his hand off and saves Buster from a possible death in the army, which he recently joined. He is fixed up with a hook.
In the picture tags along George Sr.’s twin brother, Oscar, who moves into Lucille apartment in an attempt to reignite their love. He tells Buster or better said, he slowly lets Buster find out that he is his real father. Ultimately, George Sr. switches the roles and sends his own brother in jail for him.
Meanwhile, Lindsay and Tobias decide that the best thing for them is to have an open relationship, which proves to be terrible idea. Lindsay’s flirting doesn’t score her anything, while Tobias tries to become a member of the Blue Man Group. When Lindsay has enough with all the blue paint, she kicks him out of the house. In a futile attempt to go back to be near his daughter, Tobias disguises himself in a maid, humoring everyone.
George Michael starts dating a deeply religious girl, Ann Veal, whom Michael doesn’t stand. In that time, Maeby gets a job as a film studio executive. When she finishes her first project, George Michael decides that he can’t ignore his feelings for her and the season ends with the two of them kissing.
Season 3 Review (Sep 19, 2005 – Feb 10, 2006)
Since their kiss, George Michael and Maeby avoid each other as a way to deal with the fact that they are relatives and they kissed.
George Sr. joins the Blue Man Group in an attempt to remain undercover. Michael discovers that and arrange for his father to be on house-arrest. As a payback, the father lies to his son that he was set up by an underground British group. Michael goes to the fictional Wee Britain to examine the problem more thoroughly. There, he meets Rita and the audience is let to think that Rita is an undercover agent for British National Security. Soon enough, he proposes to her and run off to get married. He discovers, though, that Rita is a mentally deranged woman and stops the marriage, even if his family persuades him to go on because Rita is wealthy and they want her money.
Bob Loblaw, the company’s attorney, chooses to end their collaboration and the new one, Jan Eagleman accepts with one condition: the family must participate in a mock trial as part in a reality show. While the rest of them are rather caught up with the mock trial, George Michael and Maeby try to do something nice for the Alzheimer patience, but end up married by an authentic priest.
The family members make an attempt to avoid the mock trial and the real deposition, but each and every excuse is dismissed by prosecution. Gob leaves the country and goes to Iraq, where he is arrested for instigating an anti-US riot. Buster and Michael go to save him and discover by accident that the model houses were ordered by CIA for wiretapping purpose, but due to lack of communication, they forgot about them. In the general distraction, they fail to remember Maeby’s birthday. Having the most honorable intentions, George Michael sends invitations to the studio, revealing Maeby’s age and causing her to be fired. As luck may have it, they once again end up kissing.
To celebrate their victory, the Bluths throw a party on RMS Queen Mary. It is disclosed that Lindsay is adopted, so George Michael and Maeby are not relatives. Annyong makes his entry to revenge his grandfather’s deportation many years ago caused by Lucille’s desire to steal the frozen-banana stand idea. Annyong turned over to the police all the evidence that involves Lucille in the fraud. Before the police arrive, George Michael and Michael run away with Gob’s yacht and half of million dollars in cashier’s checks. In the epilogue, Maeby wants to sell the rights of the Bluth’s story to the studio and it is believed that George Sr. is on that yacht too.
Season 4 Review (May 26, 2013 – Present)
After six years of absence, the show is back with a different format, each episode following another character. Michael detached himself from the family business and started his own, but the economic crisis strikes and he finds himself in need for money. He moves in with his son, George Michael, now a college student. After plotting George Michael’s roommate to be kicked out, he turns to be the one voted out.
George Sr. himself tries to make a living by making a business called “Sweet and Squeeze” at the Californian-Mexican border. With Lucille by his side, they decide to build a wall to prevent illegal immigrants crossing the border, but they need to bribe the local politician Herbert Love and split their assets, so they plan a fake divorce. What gets them the needed money is Herbert’s encounter with Lindsay. Returning on “Sweet and Squeeze” camp, George Sr. discovered that the camp in on Mexican territory, not on the border. So he uses Michael’s connection to cancel the whole deal.
Lindsay goes to a spiritual trip to India after reading “Eat, Pray, Love”, but ends up buying goodies. Taking a guru’s advice, upon returning home, she tries to reconciliate with Tobias without knowing that Tobias also was in India after reading the same book. Both decide to go to a method class acting. So they find themselves in a methadone clinic, without even knowing it. They have a double date, but they turn up disappointed. From this point on, Lindsay has a couple of bad relationships, the last one being with Herbert Love.
Tobias is thought to be a sexual predator by some unfortunate interpretations and ends up in jail. He agrees to work on Lucille Austero clinic where he meets DeBrie, a methadone clinic patient. When once again fails to deliver a decent performance at the clinic, Tobias finds himself caught up in Lindsay plan to make Herbert Love pay after dumping her.
Meanwhile, Michael sees an article about him and how he is a total failure, but the same article inspires Ron Howard to make a movie about his father/son relation. He proposes to Michael to think about his daughter Rebel for the part of Michael’s wife. Misunderstanding, he thinks Rebel is Ron’s mistress and father/son relation refers to George Sr. and him, not him and George Michael. After sleeping with Rebel, he is led to think that she has a boyfriend so he watches her every move. After a couple of twists and turns, the mystery boyfriend turns out to be George Michael.
Gob continues his relationship with Ann, but when one of his tricks fails, she leaves him. Blaming Tony Wonder for ruining his life and sabotaging the trick, he goes after him. Instead of revenge, they spend a nice evening together, both of them pretending to be gay. The things heat up rapidly and Michael discovers that Gob slept with Tony Wonders. Gob also finds out that Ann has a five years old kid with Tony.
George Michael and his roommate Paul develop an app for electronic woodblock named “Faceblock” and uses this to seduce Maeby. When Maeby’s entrepreneur skills surfaces, George Michael finds himself in an impossible situation, wanting to prove to her that he can take risks, but considering also the other side of the coin – that he is lying to her.
Lucille has to face the trial alone and because of that, she is sentenced to jail. She quickly gains control of a gang, but when things go wrong, she asks to be transferred to Lucille Austero clinic. Tobias becomes her therapist and she is talked down by him when she wants to leave the clinic.
Maeby, unable to continue working as a producer, illegally enrolls into high school to earn her diploma. Also she helps catching sexual predators to earn money. She receives a lifetime award and announces that she is starting an Internet Company, getting George Michael in trouble. After a couple of misjudgments, Maeby is arrested by her algebra teacher who is an undercover cop.
Buster misses his mother’s trial because he overdosed with juice. He later finds out the Lucille Austero is the one who set him up in order for Lucille to go to prison. He rejoins the army and he is once again injured. Being kicked out by Lucille because of his constant neediness, he is adopted by Ophelia Love, the wife of Herbert Love. He is having an affair with her until she decides that she wants Herbert back. When everything crumbles down, the rage gets to Buster and he puts Herbert in a coma. He fails to make all things alright.
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