Headscratchers: Arrested Development
New entries on the bottom. Watch for many unmarked spoilers!
open/close all folders
- The staircar, or namely its' continued existence as such. At mid-decade prices the body would fetch at least $300 as scrap metal, enough to cover the cost of replacing it with a used pickup box. Surely there'd be a scrapyard somewhere in SoCal that would make the swap? Once converted to a pickup, the resulting truck would not only be more useable (Cargo space! Lots of it! No more hop-ons!) but also more saleable. You can even see a Bluth driving a pickup truck in "Public Relations".
- Rule of Funny. It's also likely that, given this family's Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense tendencies, they just didn't think of that. Would they even know where to scrap anything?
- After the stink Michael's materialistic family rose over the idea of having to drive the staircar around, just imagine the fuss they'd make over a $300 pickup truck.
- What he meant was they could sell the stairs and replace it with a pickup box so it could be used as a truck again. Not sell the whole truck and buy another one for $300.
- To have the track made, with the stairs and company logo may have cost a bit, perhaps they didn't want to lose money on their investment. Besides, Michael is eventually hoping to restore the company to its former glory. If he succeeds, the stair car can once again be an asset to the Bluth's company operation, rather than having to commission a new one.
- The Sudden Valley model house is located in the middle of nowhere and the house's pipes aren't connected to anything. Where's the running water coming from?
- The line is that the drainpipes aren't hooked up. The water could be functional.
Nevernudes changing clothes
- How does Tobias change his cutoffs if he can never be completely nude?
- That's why he has the sock. He puts it on, changes the cutoffs, then (if George Michael's look of horror is any indication,) takes it off.
Money in the banana stand
- Every year, some teenagers dump the banana stand in Newport Bay, and it has to be rebuilt. So why doesn't Michael know about the money inside the walls?
- Because George Sr. always took care of that. Michael was always second on the scene. Or Kitty snuck it into the stand in the dead of night. It's also possible that George Sr. didn't keep money in the banana stand since it was built, he only started keeping it there when he started taking the risks that got him thrown in jail.
- In "Development Arrested", after we find out that Lindsay is adopted, we see that in fact she actually three years older than what she thought she was. How were George Sr. and Lucille able to hide her age while the kids were young when supposedly she and Michael were twins?
- What probably happened is that by the time that Lindsay and Michael were old enough to question their parents, they could pass it off as girls growing faster than boys, as they do in a flashback near the end of the series showing Lindsay being taller and distinctly older than Michael. GOB doesn't even remember growing up with Lindsay until Michael reminds him. Finally, Lucille always insults Lindsay as being fat— which caused Lindsay to believe that rather than wondering why she was bigger than Michael.
- Also, why didn't Lucille and George try to pass her off as GOB's twin considering she'd have been closer in age to him? Unless he was four or more years older than Michael, which seems unlikely, wouldn't it have made more sense to pass off Lindsay as his twin?
- It could be that Lindsay and Michael formed an immediate bond when she was introduced, and so the "twin" thing seemed more natural than if she were paired with GOB.
- What's more likely is that people outside the family already knew about GOB and that he was an only child at the time, whereas Michael was a newborn and it was easier to fabricate the "twins" lie with him. Of course, that still doesn't explain why people didn't notice the toddler being passed off as a newborn's twin...
GOB's living arrangements
- Does GOB live at the model home with Michael, or does he just spend all his time there? If the former, where did he live before the show started?
- In Season 1 he lived with Marta temporarily, and then started living in the yacht. Through most of the series, it is unknown where he lives, and it gets referenced in "Development Arrested" ("I always pictured him in a lighthouse.")
George Sr.'s conversion
- Senior, inspired by the play of lights on the wall, "converted to Judaism" in prison. In prison. Now, if memory serves, there's a surgical component to that conversion...
- The conversion isn't exactly serious: he uses a piece of shoe as a yarmulke and by the end of the second series he's converting to Christianity.
- Actually, circumcision is surprisingly common in America, regardless of religious affiliation. He could be already circumcised anyway.
- In the Season 2 finale, George sends Oscar to prison in his place, and his imprisonment is brought up again at the start of Season 3. How exactly was he able to return to the penthouse in "Prison Break-In"?
- A running joke in season three refers to the word "pussy" apparently being an affectionate British term for a kind and sensitive man. I'm British and I say huh? I have never heard it used in that way in my entire life. Perhaps it existed with that meaning in older works, but certainly nowadays it's used in the same way as the US uses it - in reference to a weak/cowardly person or a woman's nether-regions. A humungous case of artistic license, or a Genius Bonus that's gone over my head?
- Neither; it was more or less intended to be a joke about British slang being incomprehensible to Americans. Michael constantly uses supposedly British slang that is in fact British, but not for what he was using it for. Like the fact that GOB's chicken dance is in fact not an offensive gesture in Mexico, it's mostly just a set-up for a joke later on.
- Combine this with the principle source of the slang being an MRF, only corroborated by an unreliable narrator, and you've got a recipe for incomprehensibility, or what the British call "Gravedigger's biscuits".
- This makes sense in theory, but in one of Maeby's many high school yearbook photos in Season 4, she's apparently "Born and raised in Big Britain" (calling herself "Maeby Featherbottom"), and has the graduation quote, "I love you Americans. You're all such wonderful pussies!" Which seems to imply that "pussy" is established British slang in the AD universe.
GOB's lighter fluid
- Where did the lighter fluid come from?
- Containers on GOB's wrists hidden by his shirt sleeves. It pops out at Sally Sitwell in her first appearance. Presumably he keeps them loaded at all times, since most of his attempts at the gag are impromptu. Must be costing him a fortune in petrol.
- If it's the same liquid that was shooting out of his collar when Lindsay was hitting him in the stomach, it is costing him a fortune, since he complained that she was wasting it, and that it was expensive.
George Michael and Maeby's Marriage
- Are George Michael and Maeby still married? Nothing was mentioned at all in Season 4. Did they even find out it was a real priest?
- They found out it was a real priest when George Michael received an official marriage certificate. However, they never consummated the marriage, and so probably got it annulled after they broke up in Season 4.
- Mitch Hurwitz addressed this in a recent AMA on Reddit, in a way that seemed to suggest he'd forgotten all about this plot point and would fix it in a potential next installment.
Steve Holt and Maeby
- How did Steve Holt not know that he was Maeby's cousin when the two were dating? He knew that he was Gob's son. All he had to know was GOB's last name to get a little suspicious considering he knows George Michael Bluth and Maeby are cousins.
- Steve Holt is... not particularly bright.
- I don't know about these types of services but is there a policy where an agency like the one Steve Holt(!) visited can't reveal the names of the parents to the estranged child?
- Why didn't Steve Holt's mother tell GOB about her baby. It's not like a one-night stand between two adults where you never see the other person again. He knocked her up while the two were still in high school and a girl who gets pregnant for nine months sticks out pretty heavily.
- Faced with the choice between being a single mom and having GOB help raise your kid...can you really blame her? And GOB, being as he is constantly dead-set on avoiding responsibility unless the benefits outweigh it, wouldn't have asked twice if Eve claimed the kid wasn't his.
GOB and Buster's speech patterns
- Why do GOB and Buster sometimes omit articles from their sentences (e.g., "I got them from Army, mother", "Michael, take a look at banner!")?
- In GOB's case, it's a parallel to the grammatical errors in the banners he's pointing out ("Family Love Michael"/"Michael Love Marry"). In Buster's case, it's a Running Gag that he calls them "Army" - It's possible he's using Army as a proper noun (ex. "I got them from school.").
- So, with all the GOB/Tony UST and Gay Panic, no one—not even the narrator—considers that one or both might be bisexual? It never even gets brought up, even when an entire blackmail scheme hinges on "inning" Tony Wonder?
- Truth in Television if you ask me. It's sad to say, but bisexuality still doesn't have mainstream acceptance. Huge amounts of people don't even believe it's a real thing, insisting on the simple duality of homo/hetero instead. There's the attitude of "You're one or the other, not both. Pick a side." This show is sadly just another case of the blinding No Bisexuals trope.
- Also, the two have career reputations as the Gay and Christian magicians, respectively. Bisexuality would still ruin the reputation of either one since it would mean their careers were based on lies.
- Bisexuality gets mentioned by one of the army guys in Buster's episode without challenge. It's easy to see GOB and Tony being ignorant that bisexuality exists, and as far as the Narrator goes, aside from the "straight-to-gay conversion" wordplay he seems confused by their motivations, considering he says they're mistaking friendship for attraction and then seems confused when they immediately make specific sex plans.
- Why did the campus housing office mistake "George-Michael Bluth" as "the twin brothers George and Michael Bluth?" Twins are almost never listed on a single application and would've had two different entries in the system. No legal entity counts a twin as half a person. Worse yet, the RAs who placed him were themselves twins and should have known better.
- The whole joke of those two is that they're so blinded by their obsession with twins that they refuse to see a potential one as just a clerical error.
- Another angle to the joke is that George Michael desperately wanted to finally get away from his father, only to arrive at his dorm to see the name "Michael Bluth" on the door next to his, and then actually move in shortly after.
Maeby Repeating High School
- Any theories as to how, in Season 4, Maeby was able to repeat high school five years in a row, going to different high schools, using different names each step of the way? That's a lot of forged vital records and impersonated voices of parents (if, let's say, a school official calls asking to speak to one). If that's true, she'll be in a lot of trouble if caught. More than she already is after being arrested on statutory rape charges in the Season 4 finale.
- And let's also throw in the social factor. The odds of her being recognized by a classmate, fellow student, teacher or administrator at the same high school or another high school are viable
- They toss you out when you hit 21, if I recall correctly, and seeing as she's 23 in her last year she'd only have to change schools once.
- It's pretty clearly shown that she's going to different schools to repeat senior year each year, though.
Security Camera at the end of Season 4
- At the very end of season 4, when Buster is arrested for Lucille II's murder, it's implied that he was implicated because the security camera captured him stumbling across her body. But shouldn't the same camera also have recorded her death, thus exonerating him?
- It's entirely possible that she stumbled backwards into the sight-line of the camera after she was murdered.
- He wiped his hands all over the stair-car and into the fluids as he stumbled around. The implication may have been that they lifted his prints with little difficulty, with the twist of irony being that it was due to his prosthetic induced clumsiness.
Tobias' arrest and exoneration
- Shouldn't Maeby's arrest exonerate Tobias? Tobias was looking for an underage girl. They now know that Maybe wasn't underage. Also, couldn't a simple explanation have exonerated him? He just explains he was looking for his daughter and public records show he has a daughter named Maeby? I know Rule of Funny, but what about the rule of "I like Tobias enough that I don't want to see bad things happen to him."
- Maybe it will. The season ended on a cliffhanger, after all.
- Why did the narrator say "Goodbye Annyong" in the little bit that we saw of him in Season 4? What specifically did he do to get in trouble?
- He's officially a Bluth, so he could eat on the Bluth tab at expensive restaurants; when the Bluth name became even more dirt, Annyong was unlucky enough to be using it when the restaurant got fed-up, and he got handed a $700 bill. Not being able to pay it got him in trouble with the law, they looked into his background, and he got deported. They show him getting the bill and say he was deported.
- It's also a pun on his "name", the Korean word for "hello": "Goodbye, Annyong [Hello]".
Kicked out of housing
- Why would George Michael be kicked out of UC Irvine housing entirely when he lost the vote. I would have just assumed he would have had to go find a new dorm. Is this general campus policy in America that if you don't get along with your roommate, you surrender housing? I assume he paid the dorm fees for the semester.
- No, that's not normal for dorms here. I just chalk it up to Rule of Funny (and the idea that maybe George-Michael didn't set up for a backup dorm thinking he wouldn't get kicked out).
- You don't need to "set out for a backup dorm." Housing Is supposed to just provide you one if you paid your dorm fees.
- At American Universities you can only be kicked out of your dorm completely for violating certain rules that George-Michael definitely didn't violate and most dorm situations would just move him to another dorm if one became available. Having had an issue with a Roommate one year this troper speaks from experience as a room did not even become available until the next semester. Roommate issues like that would NEVER have resulted in George Michael losing his housing completely.
- It's likely I missed the detail somewhere, but was it ever explained why Lucille's trial in Season 4 was being held at a seafood restaurant?
- Maritime law.
- It's another attempt to undermine Michael. One of Michael's few real passions is maritime law, which is what he went back to school for. Barry says something along the lines of "It turns out, maritime law is a real thing." and no one else, not even the creators of the show, see it as anything but a joke. So the whole scenario really just makes Michael and his education look silly.
Lucille Austero and George Michael
- In one of the later episodes of Season 4, Maeby and George Michael are conversing, and when she brings up Lucille Austero, George Michael says he has no idea who that is. While they never directly interacted in the original series, he definitely seemed to know who she was, especially in the episode where Buster gets him to buy marijuana to treat her vertigo-induced nausea. Even if he somehow didn't know that she was Buster's girlfriend, she's very close with the Bluth family, lives across the hall from them, and has owned controlling shares of the Bluth Company on at least one occasion. They may not have had any storylines together, but why would they not know each other at least by name?
- I think this one's just a simple continuity error. They were trying to exclude George Michael from the list of possible suspects for Lucille 2's disappearance, and having him not know her was the most expedient way.
- He said he didn't know who Lucille 2 was. He, being more polite and less pig headed than everyone else, may know her as Lucille Austero and didn't have enough context to put 2 and 2 together.
- Probably over-interpretation on my part, but the scene in question gives me the impression that he's a bit tired of everyone in the family assuming he knows this Lucille 2 lady, and has been waiting for a chance to point out to someone that he's never really met or talked to her. Of course, the placement of this scene in the show still seems intended to highlight the (possibly false) lack of connection between the two characters.
- In "Seņoritis", we learn that after Maeby lost her movie producer job she's broke. What happened to all the money she made from said job? Okay, we see that the 50,000 dollar check she got from "Gangie 4" was stolen by Lindsey, but what about her earnings from other productions? There's no indication Maeby was living a particularly luxurious life, and we never see her spending money on anything expensive, so you'd think she would have some savings?
- It's possible that she was spending her paychecks on the family's regular expenses (food, clothing, bills, etc.), since barely half of them are employed at any given time. After all, one of her very first actions as a movie producer was to get Tobias a job at the studio, showing that beneath all the snark and attention-seeking, she really does care about her family, and it wouldn't be OOC for most or all the other characters to be too self-absorbed and/or oblivious to wonder where the extra money was coming from.
- Alternately, she may have just failed to budget her money very well—after all, she was a rich high schooler with a powerful job. Even if she wasn't living a life of luxury, she might have made a few big purchases that wiped out most of the money, gone overboard in her day-to-day spending, or just never put anything in a savings account.
- Seriously, she's a Bluth by upbringing. The concept of fiscal responsibility is almost alien to them.