Trivia / Arrested Development

  • Acting for Two: Jeffrey Tambor plays both George Bluth as well as his brother Oscar.
  • Actor Allusion
    • Several regarding the narrator, Ron Howard's career, as well as his former costars brought in for recurring roles:
      • One of Michael's love interests tells George Michael that he's ruining his happiness, punctuating it by calling him "Opie."
        Narrator: Jessie had gone too far, and she had best watch her mouth.
      • An attempt to hire Andy Griffith to appear in court dressed as Matlock met with failure when he was offered a rustic cabin on a moving truck as a dressing room and thought he was being made fun of.
        Narrator: No one was making fun of Andy Griffith. I can't emphasize that enough.
      • Maeby defines Jim Carrey by his role in How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, a Ron Howard film, despite his plethora of more notable roles.
        Maeby: I need a report by tomorrow before gym... lunch... with Jim... Carrey. Itís the Grinch guy, youíre too young.
    • Several allusions to Happy Days are also made through Henry Winkler's character of Barry Zuckerkorn
      • Bob Loblaw, played by Scott Baio, on Barry Zuckerkorn, played by Henry Winkler:
        "This isn't the first time I've been brought on to replace Barry Zuckerkorn."
      • Zuckerkorn himself, discussing a dead shark on a pier, ends the scene by jumping over it.
      • In the first season there is a brief shot of Winkler combing his hair in the mirror after which he does iconic Fonzie open arm gesture
      • In Season 4, flashbacks of the young Zuckerkorn (played by Henry Winkler's son Max) show him with the appearance and mannerisms of Fonzie, complete with a leather jacket.
      • Also in Season 4 there's a scene with Bob Loblaw giving Barry Zuckercorn a hand up as he tries to open a gate from the inside, and Barry responds "It's too short, I can't reach the tchotchke!"
    • A "pre-cosmetic surgery" photo of Rita was one of Charlize Theron in Monster.
    • Richard Belzer has a cameo in one episode as "Professor" Munch (the character was, of course, a cop).
    • Dan Castellaneta cast as a bumbling doctor. D'oh!
    • The episode in which Justine Bateman appears is called "Family Ties".
      • In "In God We Trust", Lucille Two says the line "There's places to go! People to see!" before falling down due to her vertigo and old age. This is a reference to when she starred in a production of "Forbidden Broadway". Costar Ann-Margret sings a spoof of the song "Bye Bye Birdie" called "Bye Bye Thirty", which is about aging.
    • There are actually several brilliant references to Liza Minelli's musical and stage career in scenes involving Lucille Two.
      • In the episode "Queen for a Day", Liza's Lucille Two character goes into Tobias' nightclub and hears him singing "New York, New York". She exasperatedly says, "Everybody thinks he's Frank Sinatra." This is a reference to how Liza actually recorded the song two years before Frank Sinatra.
      • Another episode has George Michael watching the TV show Oz, confusing it for the Judy Garland movie The Wizard of Oz. Garland was Minelli's mother.
    • There's a Shout-Out to Michael Cera's role in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World at the end of Season 4.
    • George Michael's Season 4 plot is a parody of The Social Network, which stars Jesse Eisenberg, to whom Michael Cera is often compared and/or with whom he is confused.
    • A Season 4 flashback features Mort getting into trouble while the riff from Curb Your Enthusiasm plays, in a nod to Jeff Garlin's longtime role on that show.
    • A convoluted Actor Allusion occurs during season 4, as various characters are seen eating a weird and disgusting mixture made of Parmesan cheese and mustard. Martin Mull, who plays Gene Parmesan in the show, also played Colonel Mustard in Clue. One wonders why they didn't also include carp in the recipe.
    • In the Season 3 episode "The Ocean Walker", Buster is shown jamming to the Styx song "Mr. Roboto" in the stair car. Actor Tony Hale appeared in a Volkswagen commercial featuring that song.
    • On-show couple Sally Sitwell and Tony Wonder are played by real-life married couple Christine Taylor and Ben Stiller.
      • Will Arnett and Amy Poehler were also married at the time the latter was portraying the former's wife on the show.
    • In Season 4 George Michael is watching Sit Down, Shut Up and at one point both characters that Jason Bateman and Will Arnett voice are seen on screen.
  • Career Resurrection: Jason Bateman was a forgotten 80's Teen Idol (The Hogan Family) before landing his career-defining role as Michael Bluth.
  • Casting Gag: One episode had Tobias roleplaying with a relationship counselor played by Mr. Show co-star Bob Odenkirk.
    • A late episode has Michael believe a prostitute is in fact his sister. She's played by Justine Bateman, Jason Bateman's sister.
    • Bob Loblaw, played by Scott Baio, replaces Barry Zuckercorn, played by Henry Winkler.
    • Twice, characters make reference to old TV shows that Ron Howard was on as a child, prompting comments from the narrator, Ron Howard.
    • Amy Poehler (then Will Arnett's wife) guest-starred as GOB's impulse-marriage wife with whom he has no chemistry or compatibility. This became a meta Brick Joke when Arnett appeared on Parks and Recreation as Poehler's blind date... with whom she has no compatibility.
    • George Sr. claims, when shown a photograph of him shaking hands with Saddam Hussein, that he just thought he was meeting the guy who played the Soup Nazi. Guess who shows up a full season later playing a Saddam Hussein lookalike?
    • In a flashback, a young Barry Zuckercorn is played by Max Winkler, Henry Winkler's son.
  • The Cast Showoff: Tommy Tune as Lucille II's brother inevitably gets to do some tap dancing.
  • Channel Hop: Hung with a lampshade or two
    George Bluth, Sr.: Well, I don't think the Home Builders Organization is going to be supporting us.
    Michael Bluth: No, the HBO's not gonna want us. What do we do now?
    George Sr.: Well, I think it's Showtime- ... we have to have a show during dinner.
  • Dawson Casting: Averted in the original run, but becomes jarring in flashbacks in season 4. Events that took place right after season 3's finale have characters looking much older than they looked even hours before. Even Michael Cera is not immune looking years older when confronting GOB after the Yacht party than he did when he confronted him not long earlier.
  • Dueling Shows: "Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or... The O.C. Disorder."
    • "Don't call it that."
    • The O.C. is mentioned a few other times earlier in season 3, which always prompts the same response from Michael (and once by Bob Loblaw when Michael isn't present).
      • Another connection to this is that Michael's wife died from Ovarian Cancer.
    • After Arrested lost its Monday night primetime slot, they had an episode called "Prison Break-in".
    • A couple of episodes were named in the Idiosyncratic Episode Naming of Friends.
  • Fake American: Michael Cera is Canadian, and it often shows from his accent (particularly his pronunciation of "sorry").
    • Will Arnett is also Canadian but has no discernible accent.
      • His use of the word "guy", however, is more telling.
    • Portia de Rossi is Australian, and it rarely if ever shows. (Although once you've noticed her distinctive way of saying "anything", "Mama" and "stupid", you'll never miss it again.)
    • In the inverse of this, Rita says ironically "You can always tell when they choose an American to play a Brit".
  • Fake Brit: Rita is a British character played by white South African actress Charlize Theron.
    • Her uncle Trevor is played by Canadian Dave Thomas.
  • I Am Not Spock: Regardless of all the Adorkable characters he's played since, Michael Cera shall always be George Michael Bluth.
    • If anything, Tony Hale and Alia Shawkat have been affected even worse.
  • Incestuous Casting: Justine Bateman, sister of Jason Bateman, plays a character who falls in love with Jason's character. It's also played with, where Jason's character believes that Justine's character is his sister (which turns out to be false).
    • "Marry me!" (Pause) "That's weird on so many levels."
  • Life Imitates Art: The building of the huge wall to Mexico in Season 4 parallels what Trump claims to do during his presidency.
    • The Wall has been something that politicians have been talking about for years. And Trump has been Tweeting about running since 2012, so it's possible that he tweeted about the wall then. Since Season 4 was released in 2013, it would have been fresh on the minds of the writers.
  • Name's the Same: Tobias can't get stuck as a hawk, and T-Bone isn't a car mechanic who's also a vigilante pilot.
  • No Export for You: While the news of season 4 spread worldwide, fans around (most of) the globe got a dose of reality when the season was released.
    • And now, Netflix is available (almost) worldwide. Except that the show isn't showing up in a lot of countries anyway.
  • Permanent Placeholder: Producer Ron Howard wasn't originally going to be the narrator. He simply recorded the narration as a placeholder until they found someone else. However, his voice over worked so well, they kept it.
  • Playing Their Own Twin: The Bluths and all the Richters are played by one person each.
  • Real-Life Relative: Season 4 reveals that Tony Wonder and Sally Sitwell (played by the actually-married Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor) have been sleeping/plotting against the Bluths together.
  • Reality Subtext: A number of examples. Besides several Actor Allusion(s), there's the fact that Portia de Rossi is a lesbian and her character on the show is married to Transparent Closet resident Tobias (while David Cross, ironically enough, is straight). There's also frequent references to the show's declining ratings coupled with Biting-the-Hand Humor toward Fox. The episode "S.O.B.s" is one of the more blatant examples. Finally, the character Nellie, whom Michael apparently erroneously believes is his long-lost sister, is played by Jason Bateman's sister Justine.
    • More examples: the Season 2 subplot about the development being cut from 22 houses to 18 refers to the second season order being cut to 18 episodes, and the several references to musicians having rights to certain titles ("Motherboy," "Use Your Illusion," et cetera) is in regards to a lawsuit from the band Arrested Development.
  • The Red Stapler: Certainly the intention was to do this to "Maeby" the same way Jason Bateman's sister did to "Mallory" back in the '80s. It has become somewhat popular... for dogs.
  • Star-Making Role: For Will Arnett and Michael Cera in particular.
  • Talking to Himself: Jeffrey Tambor whenever George Sr. and Oscar are in a scene together. This is even lampshaded in a season 4 episode when George encounters Oscar at the country club:
    George: I'll just sit across from you so it doesn't look bad.
  • The Other Darrin:
    • At least three different actresses played GOB's girlfriend, Marta. It doesn't help that one spoke perfect English while another had an accent...
    • Two different actresses played George Michael's girlfriend, Ann, though it was harder to tell.
      • This was originally meant to be a running gag, where Ann was played by a different actress every episode, or even replaced multiple times throughout a single episode.
    • T-Bone is depicted as a fairly slender guy in the Next Episode Preview of the pilot T-Bone in the next episode has a completely different body-types...
    • While in earlier seasons, the young George Sr. was portrayed by Jeffrey Tambor with a toupee, in Season 4, young George and Lucille are played by Kristin Wiig and Seth Rogen.
    • Young Michael and Young Gob are played by two different actors between the flashbacks with J Walter Weatherman, and in the scenes from the "Boyfights" movies. This is especially noticeable in Season 3 episode "Making A Stand", which contains scenes of both. The kids in the J Walter Weatherman flashbacks appear to actually be a different race (Buster included, which makes Lindsey stand out even more as a clearly white, blonde-haired blue-eyed child among her three dark-haired dark-skinned brothers), whereas the kids in the "Boyfights" segment are more clearly Caucasian and show more clear resemblance to Will Arnett and Jason Bateman.
  • Throw It In: David Cross stutters at the beginning of Tobias' community theater audition, singing "I'm a Bad, Bad Man". Though unintentional, the stutter take was used.
  • Un-Canceled: Season 4 was created for and by Netflix... although the show technically wasn't cancelled in the first place.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: The constant references to the Atkins diet, the Enron accounting scandal and the Iraq War date the first three seasons to the Turn of the Millennium.
  • What Could Have Been: Mitch Hurwitz planned for Ann to be played by someone new each episode to lend a meta-element to her characterization as The Nondescript.
  • You Look Familiar: The actress who played a nurse in a brief World War II flashback in "Notapusy" later plays Buster's nurse.