The thing I love about Arrested Development is that they never wait for you to get the joke. If you happened to have been distracted by rooting a SunChip from its crinkly bag (side note: WHY IS THAT BAG SO LOUD OH MY GOD) and you missed the lightning-fast gag that zipped by onscreen, well, too bad. In fact, the only way you could truly appreciate the layers of subtle humor that show creator Mitch Hurwitz packed into every scene is to watch each episode over and over with your finger hovering over the remote while simultaneously engaging in a heated verbal dissection with a bunch of AD superfans.
Or you could just check out this list of 15 hidden Arrested Development jokes you probably never knew about, thanks to the observant folks at Splitsider. I don't think anyone's had time to thoroughly dissect the new season yet, but based on the number of clever easter eggs hidden in past episodes, you might want to have that pause button handy while you're watching season 4.
Hurwitz has said that he was motivated to include blink-and-you'll-miss-them jokes in the show way before it had the sort of cult following that encourages repeat viewings:
I look back and think, 'I really thought people would freeze-frame this show they weren’t even watching?' I wasn’t really asking anyone to take it in, though. I just wanted there to be these little portents and omens, and a funnier joke on the cover of every book or whatever that we flashed onscreen.
You could probably list Arrested Development's hidden gags all day long and never have an entirely comprehensive list, but here are my top 15 favorites:
1. Whenever GOB rides up on his Segway, he always changes the subject of conversation for the characters he rides up to. Because his Segway causes segues.
2. In "Best Man for the GOB," one of the side effects of the drug Teamocil is a "total shutdown of the pituitary gland." Pituitary gland controls growth = Teamocil causes arrested development.
3. In "Key Decisions," the hospital's soda fountain flavors are listed as "Spew," "Squirm," "Clear," "Blue," "Stuff," "Cola," "Orange Soda," "Ice Tea," and "Rootbeer."
4. In “Afternoon Delight,” there’s a scene that cuts to GOB in mid-sentence: “... king sixty-three hundred dollar suit. Come on!" Later in the episode, there’s a flashback to the first part of GOB’s sentence, where he says, “No, Al. I want to spill booze all over my fu ...” Sneaky non-censored cussword!
5. In this scene from “Notapusy,” George Michael’s shirt weirdly matches the color of the "candy beans" he's eating.
6. It's a running joke in Arrested Development for the actors to be hidden in other roles. Check out Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Tony Hale in the episode “Amigos":
7. In "The One Where They Build a House," GOB and Michael fight with a fake rock and giant pair of scissors. The narrator says, "Unfortunately, the whole incident was covered by the paper."
8. In "Queen for a Day," Lucille 2's vertigo doctor is located at The Plumb Clinic. A plumb is a tool to make sure things are level.
9. After George Sr. gets a hot tub in "Burning Love," there's steam coming from the house in the next establishing shot of the model home.
10. In "Spring Breakout," Lucille is sent to a rehab place called "Shady Pines." Shady Pines is also the name of the character Sophia's former retirement home in Golden Girls, where Mitch Hurwitz was a writer.
11. In "Best Man for the GOB," Buster has a line that foreshadows him getting a hook for a hand: "We have unlimited juice? This party is going to be off the hook!"
12. "Fakin' It" has a flashback to a previous episode with the caption, "Several weeks earlier," which references Fox putting the show on hiatus so often that season.
13. In "Development Arrested," the then-series finale, when Michael asks George Michael how long he's had feelings for his cousin, he says, "53 weeks." Arrested Development had been on for 53 episodes.
14. Right before Buster goes swimming and gets his hand bitten off by a seal, he's shown sitting on a bench by the water. The bench reads Army Surplus Official Supply, but Buster’s body blocks all of the letters except for “Arm" and "Off.”
15. After Buster loses his left hand in "Hand to God," George Sr. is at a used car lot and there's an inflatable figure in the background ... with its left arm deflated.
Did you know about these Arrested Development jokes? Are you finding yourself trying to catch the hidden references in the new season?
Images via Fox