Previously, on my top ten Arrested Development episode list, I was able get a refund for my dead dove and I defiantly hurled a letter into the ocean. Here is the list up until now, click on them for more of my cornball breakdowns:
- #9: Development Arrested
- #8: The Ocean Walker
- #7: The Immaculate Election
- #6: S.O.B.s
- #5: Best Man for the Gob
- #4: Key Decisions
- #3: Altar Egos/Justice is Blind
#2. Righteous Brothers
In this season 2 finale, a plethora of threads, some of which have percolated since the beginning, come to fruition. After hiding his father in an attic for much of the season’s 18 episode run, Michael Bluth is facing intense scrutiny from his father’s prosecutor. The prosecutor, the consummate professional Wayne Jarvis, believes Michael knows George Sr.’s whereabouts. Jarvis coerces Michael into signing an affidavit on the matter. Unfortunately for Michael, his plea of ignorance is inadvertently messed up by Gob when a traffic cam catches the weak-minded magician transporting an unconscious George Sr. The only reason why Gob stupidly incriminates Michael is because he wants to turn in his father as an act of loyalty and good faith to his always supportive and responsible brother. It just so happens that as Gob drives past a traffic cam, he’s holding up a CD case with Michael’s picture on the back. Per usual, Michael is undone by his older brother, albeit from a rather serendipitous act. With Michael having to answer to the law, the rest of the family is up in the air. George Michael and Maeby finally cash in on their awkward, incestuous chemistry; Tobias finally receives a legitimate audition with the Blue Man Group while striking up a relationship with Kitty (Judy Greer); Buster discovers who his true father is over a bowl of popcorn, and Lindsey actually shows a level of love for Tobias.
As you can see, a lot of moving parts are present in the episode, but it is impeccably edited and written such that none of the threads crash and burn. Each one is fully realized, providing us with a level of fulfillment. Now, I love every second of this episode, especially its side-winding ending, but its definitive moment is the inclusion of a puppet. Yes, the episode’s biggest, most inspired laughs emanate from an African-American cloth puppet named Franklin, who, not surprisingly, resides on Gob’s hand. Being that Gob dictates Franklin’s dialog, you can imagine the number of politically incorrect and ridiculous lines generated from the puppet’s pliable lips. One highlight revolves around Gob doing a studio album with Franklin (aptly titled Franklin Comes Alive), which features a song that’s supposed to eradicate racial differences, but actually reinforces the harmful stereotypes driving people apart. It’s a moment only Arrested Development knows how to deliver without being reprehensible. Based off the humor present, as well as the unapologetic goofiness throughout and many arcs hitting their trajectory, “Righteous Brothers” is a television masterpiece.
Favorite Quote:Michael: Go ahead and tell Gob that I’ll be telling the cops that it was him in the truck so he’ll be joining me here. I’ve got a nice hard cot with his name on it. Lucille: You’d do that to your own brother? Michael: I said “cot”.
#1. Pier Pressure
Here it is: my favorite Arrested Development episode. Hell, it’s one of my favorite television episodes of all-time. I’ve probably watched this episode at least thirty times, if not more. Usually if I need a laugh, I’ll turn this son of a bitch on. Part of my love for this episode comes from a place of nostalgia. After all, this was the episode that essentially launched my torrid love affair with the Bluth family. I was so smitten with this episode, I watched it two times in a row. I vividly remember dictating the episode’s entertaining plot and jokes to my brother moments after I watched it twice through. I simply couldn’t wait to share the experience, and subsequently its brilliance. If not for this episode, perhaps my brother and I wouldn’t be constantly spewing Arrested Development quotes when we’re around one another. Anyways, the episode itself is rather simple in concept. George Michael, feeling irrevocably loyal and sympathetic to his family, attempts to buy weed for Buster, who in turn is actually trying to find a way to remedy his girlfriend’s (Lucille Austero) vertigo. At the behest of Buster, George Michael asks Gob to purchase the sticky icky for him. Gob, ever the opportunist, informs Michael of George Michael’s lapse in judgment, all the while buying George Michael horrible weed and pocketing the rest of the cash. Michael, remembering how his father taught his family valuable lessons through the appearance of a one-armed man, decides to teach George Michael a lesson about taking drugs.
The con, which features Gob’s former stripper troupe, aptly named the “Hot Cops”, unfurls in a delirious manner. Running along the marijuana caper is a fantastic B thread that perfectly captures the demonstrative behavior poisoning the female Bluth relationships. Mean spirited, funny, and exploratory, “Pier Pressure” is one of the few episodes that opens up the wounds of all the Bluth women, only to seal them up in a genuinely sympathetic matter. I’m sure I’ve stated this notion many, many times, making myself seem like a repetitive baboon, but Pier Pressure perfectly embodies the wondrous existence of Arrested Development as a show. Despite boasting a wild premise, it’s exact in its plotting. Its characters are almost unlikable, yet we undeniably root for them because their deeply rooted neuroses are reflective of our own, except on a much grander scale. Most importantly, the jokes are densely compact; forcing us to explore them further on repeat viewings. Once we discover even the smallest of punch lines, it feels like a significant unearthing. Simply put, Arrested Development is the funniest show of all-time, and it’s because of episodes like “Pier Pressure” that it’s being exhumed seven years after its death.
Favorite QuoteGob: (about the hot cops) These guys are pros, Michael. They’re gonna push the tension ’til the last possible moment before they strip. Michael: They’re not going to strip, are they? Gob: I told them not to, but I can’t promise that their instincts won’t kick in.