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The Best Running Jokes of Arrested Development
Arrested Development is one of those rare comedies that stand out as something unique and original in a very crowded genre. With clever dialogue, fantastic story, and a cast of eccentric and quirky characters, it’s arguably one of the funniest television series aired within the last several years.
Like any comedy worth its salt, Arrested Development was rife with great comedic timing and its fair share of jokes, be they contained within a single episode or spread out across several. What makes it memorable, however, are its running jokes used throughout the series. In honor of the recent start of season 4’s filming, here’s a look at some of the best the series had (and will hopefully continue to have in the future).
Originally created by Gob as part of his ventriloquist act, Franklin Delano Bluth is a puppet meant to bridge the racial gap between Whites and African-Americans.
Franklin pops up all over the series, first appearing in season 2 when Michael decides it’s time for Anne Veal’s family to meet his. Gob brings the loud, slanderous Franklin, much to the behest of his family members.
Franklin would also help abduct Lucille when George wanted to renew vows after escaping prison, be used as a replacement for Buster’s hook, and even record a misguided album alongside Gob.
The Misleading Doctor
Popping up at seemingly every time the Bluth family went to the hospital, the misleading doctor was one of the most clever supporting characters within the show.
With an odd bait and switch approach to breaking bad news, there’s a litany of great one-liners this guy consistently pulls off. My favorites:
…when Buster lost his right hand to the carnivorous seal: “He’s going to be all right.”
…when George Bluth escaped the hospital after faking a heart attack “He’s gone.”
A botched made-for-tv product, the Cornballer is a deep-fryer used to make a treat called “cornballs”. It was a good idea on the surface, but the machine ended up being super dangerous, as it severely burned anyone who touched it. It eventually made its way down to Mexico, where it actually enjoyed mild success and gave rise to the slogan, “Soy loco por los Cornballs!”
First used by Gob when calling people a chicken, the “cuck-a-coo” chicken-dance taunt was later adapted to nearly every character and used for myriad reasons, be it when Buster was afraid to climb the wall in the army, or when teasing Michael about his lack of success with women. It even got Gob into some trouble when he used it in Mexico, not knowing the gesture was a display of flagrant homosexuality. Everyone had their own chicken dance. Yes, it was ridiculous. Yes, it was also really funny.
There’s not much backstory to this one. It’s said by Gob every time he suspects Michael is up to something cunning and devious (although he’s typically not). It’s the overdramaticism that gets me with this one.
The Hot Cops
A male stripper agency posing as police men, The Hot Cops are scattered throughout the series as a returning gag. Gob once worked for them and later would call on them to do various favors, including pose as drug dealers when teaching young George Michael about the dangers of drug use and helping Tobias bring some art to the streets around the Queen Mary.
George Michael Star Wars Video
When he was going through a Star Wars phase, George Michael filmed himself recreating the epic Luke Skywalker/Darth Vader lightsaber duel where Luke lost his hand. The video would re-surface time and time again, both ruining his class president campaign and even making the FBI question whether or not this was a terrorist training video.
“I made a huge mistake.”
The phrase was uttered many times throughout the series, particularly in the beginning when Gob was trying to sort things out with Marta. Marta herself would later say it when she realized that Michael was the one she had feelings for.
George Bluth, Religious Zealot
George Bluth went through two distinct religious awakenings while in isolation. After enduring solitary confinement for several days, he broke down and saw a supposed Star of David on the wall, leading him to accept Judaism as his newfound religion. It was sort of a makeshift attempt, as he took to wearing a piece of shoe on his head and eventually led to the “Caged Wisdom” videos he would make money on.
He also decided to become Christian after finding one of Anne Veal’s pamphlets in the attic when he was hiding out. It never went much further than that, but it was pretty awesome to hear him quote to Michael about the Bible men “Gallant” and “Goofeth”.
The Dangerous Cousins
It was an odd, yet hilarious twist that George Michael would have a crush on his cousin Maeby, only heightened when he saw the trailer for the film “Le Cousins Dangeroux”, a French film detailing the same story. This would eventually develop into something intriguing when George Michael found out there was a chance he wasn’t actually related to her.
J. Walter Weatherman
A former employee of the Bluth Corporation, J. Walter Weatherman lost his arm in a construction accident and was forced to use a prosthesis. Sad? Yes. What made it funny, however, was George Bluth’s use of the man to teach his kids a lesson. When they forgot to leave note about milk, he had to run out and get some with all the kids in the car. Weatherman was “hit” by the car, lost his arm, then sauntered over to the window, saying to the terrified kids, “And that’s why you always leave a note.”
Weatherman would later be used to teach Michael Bluth a lesson about teaching his son a lesson. Confusing? That’s what made it so great.
Tobias suffers from a “rare psychological condition” where he can never be completely naked. In order to avoid this, he opts to wear cutoffs underneath everything. It was even revealed that Zach Braff was a nevernude by Tobias in later episodes.
“Say Goodbye to These”
Taking the cake as weirdest secretary of all time, Kitty was the troublesome Bluth employee who had all the inside knowledge about George and his dealings with Hussein.
That wasn’t necesarily the funny bit, though. Kitty’s shtick was that she always seemed to flash Michael while saying “Say goodbye to these” in a dramatic (not really) good-bye at nearly all of their meetings. Typically in public places, too. Hilarious.
It was no secret that Michael was not a fan of George Michael’s girlfriend Anne Veal. Each time George Michael would adoringly say something about the girl, Michael would almost always return with a skeptic glance and a short “…her?”, questioning George Michael’s choice.
I’m sure there are about a million I’ve missed. But just for fun, here’s a great compilation of quotes from the first three seasons that will have you itching to turn on the show again. Here’s to another fantastic season of crazy antics with everyone’s favorite eccentric family.