#8. The Ocean Walker:
“The Ocean Walker” marked the end of a six episode arc for Rita (Charlize Theron), one of the show’s most polarizing characters. Established as a love interest for Michael Bluth, Rita is a British beauty bearing a relatively big secret. We discover the secret in the prior episode, where it’s revealed that Rita is a mentally stunted female with a massive fortune, and not the spy the Bluth family thought she was. Under the spell of love, Michael and Rita agree to a hasty wedding, much to the delight of Michael’s family who would love nothing more than a shot at Rita’s fortune, despite her mental deficiency. The result is one of the show’s finer moments, eliciting a strong emotional response along with the dark, self-absorbed based laughs.
What’s impressive about the episode is not only how it hilariously exposes Rita’s condition through seemingly innocent scenes from prior episodes, but how it handles a love that simply cannot exist. At times Arrested Development delivers jokes in a vicious manner, but the faulty relationship between Michael and Rita, as well as her condition, is wonderfully handled with scenes that poke fun at the situation without exploiting it. The writers accomplish this by delivering jokes underlined with an irresistible sweetness; lending a surprising amount of depth and credibility to Michael’s floundering romance. Funny, heartfelt, and featuring a handful of fine visual gags, “The Ocean Walker” delivers an emotionally engaging half hour without limiting the laughs.
Favorite Quote: Gob: I am going to get you the single healthiest call girl that this town has ever seen Michael: This is why I'm calling it a witness and not a best man. All you gotta do is watch. Gob: I'm not going to spend this kind of money and not watch!
#7. The Immaculate Election
Michael Bluth is a relative saint, especially when compared to his lunatic siblings. Being that Arrested Development rarely resists bringing down the righteous, Hurwitz and his writers every once in a while feel obligated to expose Michael’s fallacies as a human. In “The Immaculate Election”, Michael’s pride gets the best of him as his dynamic feud with his brother Gob ends up undermining his role as a supportive father. The episode picks up when George Michael, at the behest of his girlfriend Ann (Her?), decides he wants to run for class president. George Michael has no chance of winning because he’s going up against the school’s most popular kid, Steve Holt, who is Gob’s long lost son. Michael wants George Michael to run it the way he did years ago, but knows that if George Michael seeks help from Gob, he has a shot to win against the popular Steve Holt.
Needless to say, the combination of George Michael’s awkward social abilities with Gob’s overly sexualized and highly agitated personality leads to many ridiculous moments. The episode’s strongest attribute is its main plot, which exposes Michael’s past a great deal, and partly explains the level of involvement he has in George Michael’s life. It’s a fine example of the show’s grasp on its characters. Surrounding the main plot thread is the inclusion of longstanding punch lines being delivered, Gob’s foolish attempts at office magic, and the introduction of Mrs. Featherbottom, Tobias’ ripoff of Mrs. Doubtfire. Beginning to end, “The Immaculate Election” is one of the funnier episodes in Arrested Development’s canon. Most importantly, it perfectly encapsulates the show’s deft understanding of its characters and how to expose them through laughter and action.
Favorite Quote: Gob: Well, guess who's been fired. Lucille: Michael fired you? Gob: No, I fired him. As a result, I'm no longer welcome in the office.