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20 Best ‘Arrested Development’ Inside Jokes and Recurring Gags

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Slade Sohmer

By Slade Sohmer on July 12, 2012

Howard, Bateman, Hurwitz, via Jason Bateman’s Tweeter

“All systems are go,” H.B.I.C. Jason Bateman tweeted on Tuesday night. “Filming for the new episodes starts in four weeks. Woo!”

We’ve known for some time now that “Arrested Development” is coming back May 26 for 15 straight-to-Netflix episodes and a movie. But to know that filming for the new episodes is only a few weeks away? That’s as shriek-inducing as Gene Parmesan’s brilliant disguises.

Upon hearing this news, we decided it might be prudent to run down the 20 best recurring gags and inside jokes in the show’s short-but-legendary history. The list could have been 50 or 100 deep, so our heartfelt apologies to Barry Zuckerkorn (who is very good), the webmasters of ImOscar.com and Bob Loblaw’s Law Blog, the surrogate, Mr. F, Tony Wonder’s illusions and allusions and so many more. Here we go:

20. Up here / Say goodbye to these!

Spring Break-loving, lopsided breast-implanted Kitty had a hilarious habit of flashing her previously shameful boy chest at her former co-workers. Ultimately, she will have a margarita in her mouth.

19. That’s why you always leave a note

George’s lesson-master J. Walter Weatherman had a habit of lending an arm to the cause of teaching the Bluth kids life’s best practices.

18. Starla & Quincy Jones

The Bluth Company “business model” has regular “flashes of Quincy,” including her Q necklace and gold record collection. What’s the connection in real life? Actress Mo Collins spent six seasons on MADtv, which was produced by Jones’ company.

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17. Never-Nudes

Tobias’ rare psychological affliction, which is “exactly what it sounds like,” has him back in the cut-offs! That hypocrite jerk Phillip Litt even wears ’em.

16. Les Cousins Dangereux

This George Michael/Call Me Maeby meme should explain this easily.

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15. Annyong!

The adopted Korean Bluth’s grandfather had his banana cart idea stolen by the Bluths, and while the ‘Annyong/Hello” joke got a bit repetitive, the boy managed to have the last laugh. Lucille can’t remember why she sent him to the Milford Academy, but he is now a master of being neither seen nor heard.

14. Franklin Delano Bluth

He was not N. Bluth. He made great music. He saved the family.

13. The Cornballer

Si, si, The Cornballer! Even the Mexican policia had one.

12. Buster’s lost hand / loose seal

The best part about re-watching the series 15 times over is all the one-hand Buster foreshadowing built into the scripts. In “Out on a Limb” alone, Buster says “I never thought I’d miss a hand so much” and tells a seal “You’re not going to be hand fed anymore!” Even just moments before the “Loose Seal” pivotal scene, check out what the bench says behind him (pic above).

But perhaps the most inside inside joke on this one comes after Buster’s hand is lost — he gets it stuck in the stair car dancing to Styx’s “Mr. Roboto.” Why is this funny? Because it’s a totally awesome shout-out to Tony Hale’s earlier Volkswagen commercial:

11. Boyfights

“Luchos de muchachos” were also big hit in Latin America and made quite an impression on the three painters in the Bluths’ master apartment.

Click here for Page 2 — we’ve got 10 more great gags/jokes, like Sitwell’s Alopecia, hop-ons, huge mistakes, Tobias’ diction and much more.


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