Previously on my Top Ten Arrested Development episode list, my write ups have increased in size and I prematurely shot my wad….Huzzah! Here are episodes 7-10 from my list, click on them for a more detailed description:
The writing was on the wall for Arrested Development well into its third season; without a ridiculous spike in viewership, the show couldn’t fend off cancellation any further. When facing low ratings, many shows will implement stunts into their framework for an episode or two (e.g. star laden cameos). It’s a show’s fleeting attempt to generate buzz around its existence. Outside casting Charlize Theron for a six episode arc, Arrested Development didn’t give two shits about playing to Fox’s demands or the masses taste for the conventional, thus the existence of “S.O.B.s”. Crafted when the likes of HBO and Showtime talked about taking Arrested Development off Fox’s hands, “S.O.B.s “is one of the show’s most meta episodes. Under the premise that the Bluths are losing their lawyer, and need $100,000 to attain a new one, “S.O.B.s” finds our favorite fractured family desperately seeking help from their friends.
Thus they throw a disastrous fundraising party, featuring uncooked chicken and Andy Richter as the night’s big entertainment. Despite Fox being an obvious target for ridicule, the episode is an equal opportunist offender. For much of the episode, the show pokes a great deal of fun at shows that utilize stunt based moments. Instead of casting “A list” cameos, the episode brings in the likes of Andy Richter and Judge Reinhold. The episode also mockingly implements the use of “3D” and a death of a character to try to “ignite” the ratings, all of which are tools used by shows in the past to stave off rating declines. Also on display are jokes at the expense of Fox, as well as viewers who failed to grasp the show’s dense humor. But the episode also finds Hurwitz being self-deprecating. There are a collection of moments, especially in the waning scenes, where Michael Bluth, likely acting as a mouthpiece for the show and its creators, wonders if the Bluth’s aren’t to blame for all of their troubles. It’s surprising to see a show bear a level of responsibility in its ineffective ratings. Because of its hilarious premise and moments of reflection, “S.O.B.’s” is one of the show’s most thoughtful and playful episodes.
Favorite Quote:Tobias: You know, Michael, if I may take off my acting pants for a moment and pull my analrapist stocking over my head, George Michael has been acting strange lately. I think he may have developed what we in the soft sciences refer to obsessive-compulsive disorder. Or the O.C. disorder.
Michael: Don’t call it that.
#5. Best Man for the Gob
The Bluths are proficient deceivers. In almost every episode, a member of the family attempts to deceive his or her kin to attain a level of power or to erase a misdeed. In the case of “Best Man for the Gob”, George Sr. and Gob are deceiving Michael, as well as the company’s accountant, Ira. The episode opens up on Ira informing Michael that the Bluth Company’s balance sheet is missing a large sum of money. Being that George Sr. is in prison for potentially committing fraud and treason, Ira assures Michael that if asked to testify, he will not lie to protect the Bluth family. After Michael tells George Sr. about Ira’s discovery, George Sr. brainstorms a collection of solutions to explain his horrible financials. Being that he’s a Bluth, his scheme is beyond half-baked, but he proceeds with it anyways, and ropes in Gob. The con: While Gob celebrates his bachelor party, he has to get Ira completely drunk and convince him that he has killed a stripper. Once that’s achieved, Gob will give Ira an airplane ticket out of the country, thus allowing the Bluth’s to shift the financial blame onto him.
Per usual, the thick-headed plot falls apart, largely because it involves Gob’s stripper friends (Hot Cops) masquerading as party goers, a narcoleptic stripper, and Buster drinking gallons upon gallons of corn syrup, which was originally intended as fake blood. And, of course, Michael’s strong moral compass didn’t help matters either. The actual execution of the nefarious murder plot is one of the show’s most enjoyable moments, as it escalates to an unbelievable level of absurdity. Obviously, it’s a gut busting progression. Aside from the lunacy on display, “Best Man for the Gob” is another fine example of Hurwitz and his creative team reinforcing the varying dynamics between each of the family members, with George Sr’s easy manipulation of his sons being on full display. Supplementing the Bluth’s murder scheme is Tobias, who is trying to resurrect a drug peddling folk band he was once in with Lindsey and Maeby. As is the case with Tobias, things get deliciously awkward, and his ignorance rewards us handsomely. “Best Man for the Gob” is in many ways a consummate episode of Arrested Development: It has a brisk pace, excellent character moments, and Tobias inadvertently exposing his true nature.
Favorite Quote:Tobias: As you may or may not know, Lindsay and I have hit a bit of a rough patch. Michael: Really? When did that start? Tobias: Well, I don’t want to blame it all on 9/11, but it certainly didn’t help.