The appeal of “Arrested Development” is complex. At first glance, it seems like a somewhat typical sitcom about yet another dysfunctional family. But the more you watch the show – and viewing it with keen eyes and ears is a must – you realize it’s truly unique in a number of ways.
“Arrested Development” utilizes several long-running “Easter egg” jokes that are more complex and layered than in most other shows where the device is employed.
Some Easter eggs are out there for everyone in the audience to enjoy. Others are more like inside jokes left behind by producers that we’d never notice. Either way, we’re counting down the best Easter eggs hidden in “Arrested Development.” We bet not even the most dedicated fans know #10!
Golden boy Ron Howard has worked hard throughout his career, but the job as the narrator for “Arrested Development” basically fell into his lap. He was just a guy on the set filling in when the pilot was shot, but producers quickly decided his voice and delivery were exactly what they were looking for, and they gave him the job permanently.
Are Your Papers in Order?
Source: Simpsons Wiki – Wikia
Michael Cera, a Canadian citizen, didn’t have his work visa in order and nearly missed shooting the pilot. In a panic to make the taping, he scampered off to Tijuana, Mexico and got the necessary papers to work in the U.S. Just in case Cera was sent packing, Michael Angarano was waiting in the wings to stand in for him.
Plating the Past
One episode of “Arrested Development” features Tobias having license plates made for all the roles he auditioned for. What most viewers didn’t realize is that one of the roles was the title character in the hit show “House,” a role that David Cross (Tobias) actually auditioned for as an actor.
When David Cross and Jeffrey Tambor auditioned for their roles on “Arrested Development,” they were intended to be recurring characters. But when the producers and directors witnessed their performances during the pilot taping, they were instantly rewritten as regular characters. Who knew they’d go on to steal so many future episodes?
Dropping the Mike
Some inside jokes are no more than simple whimsy to make both writers and avid viewers smile to themselves. Case in point: Almost every single episode of “Arrested Development” begins with someone uttering either “Michael” or “Michael Bluth” as the very first words of the show. Makes you want to keep track next time you binge watch the show!
When the character of Rita (Charlize Theron) plans for plastic surgery, the “before” photo actually shows Theron in the title role for the critically-acclaimed 2003 movie “Monster.” She gained 30 pounds and wore a lot of special effects makeup to play the infamous real-life female serial killer Aileen Wuornos.
Feeling the Spirit
Source: Wikimedia Commons
“Arrested Development” often pokes fun at social and religious customs. The characters frequently mention a restaurant called Miss Temple’s and note how busy it is on Friday nights. Since Jews typically go to synagogue (temple) on Friday night, those who don’t go to Miss Temple’s the restaurant instead. As for the Christians…
Not to overlook anyone, “Arrested Development” also includes numerous references to a restaurant called Skip Church’s. Since most Christian denominations host their most attended services on Sunday morning, those who feel hunger for food rather than spiritual sustenance sneak off to Skip Church’s for a nice Sunday brunch.
When Alessandra Torresani first played George Michael’s girlfriend Ann in season one, her short performance was hailed as outstanding by the cast on the DVD. In the next season, Mae Whitman, who looks totally different, played the part. The inside joke was that Michael can never remember what Ann looks like.
Funny Man Face Off
The part of Gob Bluth was difficult to cast and a highly coveted role. After much auditioning, it came down to two veteran actors, Will Arnett and Rainn Wilson. Arnett emerged victorious and Wilson went on to fame and fortune as Dwight Schrute on the American version of the television comedy “The Office.”
Cuts and Slurs
In the second season of “Arrested Development,” the script revealed the fictional Bluth Company cut back its housing order from 22 to 18. This was an inside allusion to FOX cutting back the order of second season episodes from 22 to 18. The insult got worse when FOX cut the episodes down to 13 in the third season.
Source: A Fistful of Soundtracks: The Blog
No, it wasn’t the picture quality on your TV or overindulgence in adult beverages. In the pilot episode of “Arrested Development,” the model house and Lucille’s houses were both completely different than future sets. Furthermore, Tobias also wore different glasses, Buster had a longer hairstyle, and George-Michael’s complexion was noticeably darker in that episode.
Big Fat Lie
Source: The Second Take
Though most viewers never notice, the show tells them a big fib at the end of each “Arrested Development” episode. While the message clearly states, “On the next Arrested Development,” in most cases the preview scenes don’t appear at all in the next episode. The majority are scenes that merely wrap up outstanding loose ends from the current episode.
The Bluth Code
There was a shadowy cooler containing apparently damning evidence against George Bluth, Sr. featured in several episodes. The cooler had the name “H. Maddas” written across one side. Many fans had opinions about what that meant. Actually, it was just a sophomoric joke: “H. Maddas” written backwards is “Saddam H.”
George-Michael Bluth chose to change his name to stop being constantly connected to George Michael, the 1980s pop star who was nabbed for a lewd act (you figure it out) in a Beverly Hills public restroom in the 90s. But the new name George-Michael chose was not much of an improvement…
The name he chose was George Maharis. Unfortunately, Maharis was an actor in the 60s and 70s (“Exodus,” “Route 66” and “The Most Deadly Game”) who was twice arrested for soliciting sex from men in public restrooms. His second arrest in 1974 was for sex perversion (?) along with another man.
Gone and Soon Forgotten
Michael’s late wife apparently didn’t make much of an impression on her relatives when she was alive. The storage boxes shown in the attic contain her old clothes. But some boxes are marked “Tracy” and other’s “Tracey,” indicating that whoever packed them up after her demise didn’t even know how to spell her name.
To Thine Own Self Be True
No reason not to throw a little Shakespeare into the script now and then. When Buster finds out his biological father is actually George’s brother, Oscar, he regularly calls Oscar his “uncle-father.” This is a citation from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” Act II, Scene 2: “… my uncle-father and aunt-mother are deceived… I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.”
Fans of “Happy Days” will remember the famous “Jump the Shark” episode where Fonzie actually jumps over a shark. When Buster loses his hand, Henry Winkler (who played Fonzie) is shown jumping over the shark that bit the seal that bit Buster’s hand off. Some jokes are truly worth retelling … or adjusting to fit the occasion.
Source: Wildlife Sanctuaries in India
Unless you are familiar with the Hindi language, you probably didn’t get this joke, even though it was retold throughout Season 4 of “Arrested Development.” Lindsay and Tobias decide to rediscover their spiritual selves by visiting Shuturmurg, India. In Hindi, shuturmurg means ostrich. It’s no wonder they never became more enlightened.