Dear mystical gods of comedy, thank you. You’ve done it again.
I went through a rollercoaster of emotions leading up to the release of a reunion season of one of my favorite shows, Arrested Development, on Netflix. There was the initial excitement and spine-tingling elation at the thought of more Tobias Fünke in my life. Then came the terrifying fear of disappointment upon realizing that nothing could ever live up to the flawlessness of the first three seasons.
Thankfully, that fear was way off the mark. While it was definitely different (what on earth happened to Lindsay’s face?!), Season four was still utterly magnificent. The show’s knack for subtle deadpan humor and recurring jokes was back in full swing and it produced some uproarious new jokes. Here are some of my favorite gags from this season. WARNING: Spoilers ahead!!
10. Young George Sr. and Lucille
Starting off the season with a flashback to a young Lucille and George Sr. would probably have just been a simple, insignificant moment, but of course, the brilliant writers decided to make one of the best casting decisions ever: Seth Rogan and Kristen Wiig. Genius! They’re both so recognizable and arguably two of the funniest actors in Hollywood right now. Also, making Lucille “The Grinch” was almost too perfect to handle.
9. Showstealer pro
Here’s a perfect example of how Arrested Development can take subtle jokes and turn them into the funniest running gags. The watermark on every flashback claiming the clips were ripped by “Showstealer Pro,” poke fun at the show’s premature cancellation.
8. Registered sex offender
Oh Tobias Fünke, you beautiful, beautiful man. Why is it that every single thing you do/say manages to be funnier than the last? This plot line was chock-full of the ambiguously inappropriate lines Tobias delivers best, as he accepts a wrongful charge as a registered sex offender all for a few seconds of fame on a To Catch a Predator-esque television show.
George Michael may have gotten older, but he definitely didn’t get any wiser. College senior George Michael finds himself wrapped up in an extremely complex lie about a new privacy software he is developing. The irony of the situation grows with every episode as Michael, Maeby, a beautiful actress, and even the viewer are completely under the wrong impression until it is finally revealed that the software isn’t actually for piracy protection – it’s just an electronic woodblock app.
6. Mustard and parmesan
Understated jokes tend to be the absolute funniest, and this one is a perfect example of just that. It is quickly established without any explicit commentary that if you’re low on money and struggling to get by, the only food items in your house are mustard and parmesan cheese. A few different characters are seen devouring this stomach-churning concoction as if it tastes like chocolate cake (I’d put good money on that being false). It is only referenced later when Maeby stops herself from taking a bite of the mixture and says, “What am I doing? This is disgusting! I’ve got money for meals.”
Everyone loves Egg – whoops, I mean Ann. The world’s blandest girl was always forgotten in the first three seasons, leaving everyone asking, “Her?” whenever she was brought up in conversation. A series of misunderstandings lead to the marriage of Ann and Gob at the Church of the Holy Eternal Rapture. What’s so funny about that, you ask? Well how about the massive initials spelling out the church’s name above the altar. Priceless.
4. Get away, Getaway
Get ready, because the rest of this list is very Gob-heavy. This joke comes in when Gob joins the entourage of a few young artists, including up-and-coming singer Mark Cherry. He earns the name Getaway due to his knack for driving the entourage and attempting to escape tricky situations, but he soon becomes a total nuisance and the entourage begins avoiding him at all costs. Mark Cherry releases a passive-aggressive song called “Get away, Getaway” in an effort to drop a hint to Gob, but he doesn’t pick up on the message. In fact, he makes the song his ringtone.
3. Hello darkness, my old friend
Simon and Garfunkel are a great band. Their song, “The Sound of Silence,” is a beautifully haunting classic, so what better way to feature it than as Gob’s internal monologue of regret? The tight zoom on his solemn face was hilarious the first time, but by the eighth or ninth time I was practically rolling on the floor in tears.
Wordplay gets me every time. As if Tobias’ Season three declaration as an “analrapist” (half annalist, half therapist) wasn’t funny enough, he went ahead and outdid himself this season. In an effort to give his life “a new start,” Tobias gets a license plate that reads A-NU-START. No problems there, right? Wrong. Rearrange those spaces and you’ve got yourself an ANUS-TART. Unreal. Un. Real. Lucille calling him an anus tart without even seeing the license plate may be one of the best things to ever happen on this show.
1. Gob and Tony Wonder are gay
"I'm here! I'm queer! Now I'm over here!" It’s too hard to sum this plot line up in just one moment, so I recommend that you watch the entire episode titled “A New Attitude.” In this episode, Gob and Tony Wonder each develop a plan seduce each other in order to gather enough evidence to ruin their rival’s magic career. Unfortunately – or rather, fortunately for the viewers – their true feelings for each other get in the way, and make for some flawless television. There were tears streaming down my face from sheer hysteria as the two men bonded over the things that they have in common – a scene that can be summed up in one word: saaaaaammmeeee.
BONUS: This little clip was too good not to throw in as well.
Photos screenshotted by Samantha Costanza/Gavel Media.
All screenshots by Samantha Costanza/Gavel Media