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The first three seasons of ‘Arrested Development’ was hands down the funniest three-season run of any TV show I’ve ever seen. During my sophomore year of college, Netflix-binging was just starting to become a thing, and I flew through it. The characters, the running jokes – you just can’t beat the hijinks of the Bluth family.
While the long awaited 4th season didn’t pack quite as much of a punch, the first three left us with enough comedic greatness to be celebrated, and we need a definitive ranking of the characters once and for all. Unlike a drama series, ‘Arrested Development’ didn’t have any characters we were meant to hate or even dislike a bit. Everyone was great, but I’m here to sort out the cream of the crop. This ranking relies heavily on Seasons 1-3, but positives from Season 4 will be factored in (#ANUSTART). If you don’t like this list, well, you’ve made a huge mistake.
20. Ann Veal
Too bland for a quote.
Bland, I mean Ann, wasn’t there to be a character. She was there for the sake of jokes and being forgotten by anyone who came into contact with her. And we loved her for it. Calling eating mayonnaise and egg a “mayonn-egg” was probably her shining moment.
19. The Literal Doctor
He’s going to be all-right.
You’d never want this guy delivering news to you, but watching him do it to the Bluth family is fantastic.
18. Steve Holt
Yes, ‘Arrested Development’ faithful, Steve Holt. Gob’s illegitimate son, four-year high school senior and football star, Steve Holt is the man. He lets everyone know that by shouting, “Steve Holt!” constantly. What makes the character great is that he’s generally a nice guy, but he’s just kinda dumb. You can’t help but feel some fondness for Steve Holt. Plus, that early stage baldness is something plenty of guys can sympathize with.
17. Kitty Sanchez
Say goodbye, cuz it’s the last time you’re gonna see these!
Frankly, I need a Kitty Sanchez in my life. By that I mean I need a woman who flashes her boobs anytime she leaves my presence. Kitty was the classic secretary who has an affair with her boss plus is batshit crazy, and it worked to perfection. Her stock really took a hit by getting drank under the table by Lucille, though.
16. Tony Wonder
Did somebody say ‘Wonder’?
I’m a huge fan of celebs having running side character gigs on TV shows, and Ben Stiller as G.O.B.’s idol/rival Tony Wonder definitely makes the list. A funny play on how much of a complete dick bag Criss Angel is, Tony Wonder spent the whole series one-upping G.O.B., culminating in Season 4 when he slept with him and then roofied himself. Power move.
15. Carl Weathers
Baby, you got a stew goin’!
Playing an unimaginably stingy version of himself, Carl Weathers exists to simply be the biggest mooch/small con guy on the planet. He makes money by collecting the inconvenience payout from being bumped from flights and “teaching” Tobias how to become an actor. Because of him, when I see a not fully eaten rib or chicken wing, I have to always inform the person that there’s still a little meat on there and direct them to throw it in a pot, add some broth, and a potato. Baby, you got a stew goin’.
14. Gene Parmesan
Gene Parmesan, how ya doin’?
Gene was “far from the best” private investigator in the business, but Lucille loved him sneaking up on her incognito so much that she kept him on retainer. Gene was most famous for originally being hired by Lucille to catch the always-cheating George, but he never could.
13. Barry Zuckerkorn
You’re not one of those silly men who’s dressed like a woman, are ya?
He may not have had a pivotal role in the show, but The Fonz portraying the Bluth’s transvestite banging, inept legal counsel was well worth the price of Netflix’s monthly rate. The bumbling and often mistaken lawyer is a classic Hollywood stereotype, and Zuckerkorn is one of the best (or the worst, however, you want to look at it).
12. J. Walter Weatherman
And that’s why you…
It’s my own personal failure as a father that I don’t have a J. Walter Weatherman in my life to teach my kid life lessons. George Bluth’s left-hand man, whose lack of a right arm gave him the ability to terrify the Bluth kids and drive lessons home the right way, is what every parent needs.
Weatherman also proved he still had it years later, as he taught adult Michael a lesson about trying to teach a lesson to his own son. If anyone has an armless friend with a sense of humor, holler at ya boy.
11. The Narrator
It’s Arrested Development.
He was the straw that stirred the drink. And the guy who directed Apollo 13. Half the jokes the show offered were set up by The Narrator’s monotone delivery, and he always gave you the inside info you needed. It’s a rare thing when a narrator can contribute to the laughs, but he never let us down.
10. Lindsay Funke
I was trying to be sexy. It just got away from me.
Adopted and living with the belief that she’s Michael’s twin, the best thing Lindsay brought us in the series was Tobias. Everything she does is to stick it to her parents, especially marrying a never-nude bald man.
Despite her constant conflict with her parents, she imitates their parenting style to a T by letting Maeby be her own person by not parenting her at all. Instead, she focuses on advocating for causes she doesn’t know much about and shopping. Lindsay is essentially a much funnier Kardashian.
9. Oscar Bluth
Oscar pays for his lifetime of freeloading and fathering a child with his brother’s wife by getting mistakenly identified as his brother and sent to jail. The man who brought us IMOSCAR.com after stress-losing his hair was definitely worth a few laughs. Just like in life, what really holds him back on this list is his more successful brother.
8. George-Michael Bluth
It’s… it’s Ann.
Before he was awkward Evan in Superbad, Michael Cera brought us the impossibly awkward George-Michael Bluth. Awkward relationship with his dad, awkward borderline sexual relationship with his cousin, and awkward to the world in general. Poor George-Michael spent the entire series trying to get space from his dad but also trying not to be a dick. A struggle we can all empathize with. He also tried to squash his attraction to his cousin. That’s a struggle anyone from Kentucky/Alabama can empathize with.
7. Maeby Funke
Maeby wasn’t the funniest or most awkward character on a show full of funny awkward characters, but I’ll be damned if she wasn’t the savviest. She was Arrested Development’s Frank Abagnale Jr., conning her way in and out of any situation she saw fit. If I’m in any sort of deep shit and someone tells me I can only call a member of the Bluth family, I’m going with Maeby in a heartbeat.
Not to say she didn’t have her flaws, as she was attracted to not one, but two of her cousins, but the girl still managed to have more success in the business world than anyone in her family, and that’s all while she was in her teens. Anyone who can bullshit their way into being a film exec is good in my book.
6. Michael Bluth
Have any of you ever seen a chicken before?
Given the unfortunate task of being the son who had no choice but to keep his insane family together, Michael spends the entire series trying desperately to save the Bluth’s while also being oblivious to anything going on in his own life. This causes him to unknowingly date both a blind woman and a mentally handicapped woman. He means well, but just always seems to overlook the obvious.
Michael saves face by being the only worthwhile adult in his family, but this just makes him a constant punching bag at the butt of any joke his family has. Every time Michael decides he’s leaving his shit family in the dust and getting his son out of there, he gets dragged back by some hijinks.
He’s also the awkward father I know I’m destined to be. The thing Michael understands the least is his son, especially in his Season 4 college years which is quite endearing. My old man had his share of Michael Bluth moments, and you will too. Watching him forget his son’s girlfriend’s name or placing him in uncomfortable situations is a joy to watch. It’s really Michael’s normalcy and sanity that holds him back in these rankings.
5. George Bluth
There’s always money in the banana stand.
Just like Bill Brasky, George Bluth was a son of a bitch and we loved him for it. Your classic big business, wife cheating, shady deal making, loose cannon, George is the reason for the insanity that is the Bluth family. Gotta respect a guy who can turn a banana stand into a real estate empire. Now he did this by being a shady piece of shit, firing his own brother, and working with Saddam, but who’s perfect?
We all want a guy like George Bluth in our corner. Do you want a businessman who does everything by the rules, or the guy who cheats the government, bangs his secretary, and hides thousands in the walls of a shack-like banana stand? You tell me. George may not have been the best husband (he was awful), father (equally awful), or brother (worst brother ever), but you can’t deny that the guy knew his way to a buck and was a good time.
4. Buster Bluth
These are my awards mother. From Army.
Sometimes spending 11 months in the womb doesn’t do a guy any favors. Buster’s inner-torture of being hopelessly attached but constantly resentful of his mother was great television. He was the ultimate momma’s boy, but that didn’t stop him from a litany of quirky accomplishments. In three seasons, Buster managed to lose his hand to a seal, date a senior citizen (to get back at his mother), join the Army, leave the Army, and engage in a fake coma.
When you get passed the social awkwardness and attachment to his mother, Buster lived the fucking dream. He was essentially a career graduate student living off his family’s funds; what more can you ask for? With a different mindset, Buster could’ve been the ultimate Van Wilder. If you combine his uncomfortable relationship with Lucille with his complete naïveté, you can make a case that Buster was the top character on the show.
3. Tobias Funke
I’m afraid I just blue myself.
A man of many trades, Tobias first was an analyst and a therapist, or the world’s first analrapist. Along with that, he also ran a family band, dabbled in acting, went horribly undercover as British nanny Mrs. Featherbottom, and was an amateur member of The Blue Man Group. Tobias was painfully deep in the closet and plagued by every sentence he uttered sounding a double entendre.
Tobias was special, as he was unwanted and exploited by everyone from Carl Weathers to his own wife. Along with this, Tobias counted himself among dozens of the world’s “Never-Nudes,” as he refused to ever be without his trusty daisy dukes covering his thunder.
As a bonus, Tobias was a part of one of the only funny moments of Season 4 when he got to drive around with his license plate displaying his proud new start (ANUSTART).
2. G.O.B. (George Oscar Bluth Jr.)
An illusion Michael; a trick is something a whore does for money.
I’ve made a huge mistake.
Gob gets two quotes because G.O.B. deserves two quotes. And no, he wasn’t the only one to use the running gag, “I’ve made a huge mistake,” but no one made more mistakes than George Oscar Bluth Jr. G.O.B. did make a fantastic choice in picking “The Final Countdown” as his magician entrance music, but good God he butchered everything else.
As a failed magician, failed boss at the Bluth Company, and failure in his relationships with both a Hispanic soap-star and his wife whose name he didn’t know, G.O.B. pretty much shits the bed everywhere he lies, but it’s fantastic to watch. He’s never had a relationship that didn’t implode horribly or one that didn’t start with horrible intentions. He’s never had a magic illusion that wasn’t successful. And he managed to make what was hands down the most racist puppet in human history, an inner-city black man named Franklin.
It’s really impossible to do the man justice. No one could make a mistake, an awful chicken dance, or rock a goddamn 6300 dollar suit like George Oscar Bluth. He was just the worst, and we loved him for it.
1. Lucille Bluth
I will have a vodka, though.
If I would’ve had an alcoholic, snarky, distant mother, I would’ve wanted it to be Lucille Bluth. Lucille was to the Bluths what Kris Jenner is to the Kardashians- money hungry and clueless to what’s best for her family- but at least Lucille was likable. No one could order a vodka rocks, be told it’s breakfast time, and rectify the situation by requesting a piece of toast as well as her.
Lucille may have been cheated on by her husband and loathed by her children, but she was the supreme overlord of the family. Not only was she a savage by continually nailing her husband’s twin brother, she drank his mistress completely under the table and then checked herself back into rehab. Despite never working a day in her life, Lucille was an absolute boss. She was constantly full of sass, dishing it out to anyone who came within earshot, especially Buster, but demanded constant loyalty from the entire family. And she usually got it.
Picking a #1 on this list was about as challenging a task as I’ve faced in the last month. ‘Arrested Development’ was the show it was because of the quirks of the entire cast. But no one brought it on a daily basis quite like Lucille Bluth..
Image via YouTube