20 Fun Facts About ‘Arrested Development’

Share on twitter Tweet
Share on facebook Share

Trivial Diversions

20 Fun Facts About ‘Arrested Development’

20 Fun Facts About ‘Arrested Development’

It was critically heralded but couldn’t find enough regular viewers to stay afloat. But after three seasons and a cancellation in 2006, Arrested Development developed a fervent cult following that urged Netflix to resurrect the series in 2013. And these aren’t even the strangest details of the deeply weird and wonderful sitcom about the often affluent, always outrageous Bluth family.

  1. Ron Howard came up with Arrested Development‘s shooting concept. The celebrated director wanted to produce a sitcom that had the documentary style of reality TV, but with a sharp script that would reward re-watching. He’d later be brought in to play the series’ uncredited narrator, by eventual show creator Mitchell Hurwitz, who was one of two writers brought in to pitch plot concepts for such a show.
  2. There are scads of hidden jokes on the show. Per Howard’s wish, Arrested Development has weaved tons of subtle gags and running jokes into the series that viewers won’t catch the first time through. All the better to keep audiences coming back.
  3. Enron’s scandals inspired the Bluths. Following the fallout of Enron’s corporate accounting missteps, Hurwitz pitched the idea of following a family going from “riches to rags.” And so the Bluths were born!
  4. The earliest incarnation of the Bluths was a rip-off off J.D. Salinger’s work. Hurwitz told the AV Club that his initial concept for the Bluth family was intended for a show about New York intellectuals that was heavily influenced by the Glass family from Salinger’s short stories. “Then The Royal Tenenbaums came out,” he recalled, “And I thought, ‘Well, that’s it, I can’t do that‘” When producer David Nevin came calling about Howard’s mockumentary concept, Hurtwitz radically retooled, creating a California family full of dummies.

    Netflix

    Netflix

  5. George Sr. was only supposed to appear in the pilot. Early on, the Bluth family patriarch was meant to be locked up and out of the show. This urged Hurwitz to push for a big star–like Robert De Niro–to make a one-time appearance. Ultimately, Jeffrey Tambor was cast. Fox execs liked him so much that they suggested getting him in the regular cast could help Arrested Development go to series.
  6. It was Carl Weathers idea to make his self-mocking character ridiculously cheap. A throwaway line had been written in an early episode about Tobias taking a workshop class with the Rocky star. When Weathers was later asked to play himself on the series, he agreed on the condition that it be more than Rocky jokes. He suggested making his character a mentor not just in acting, but in any possible way to save a bit of cash. And just like that, baby you’ve got a stew going!
  7. Rainn Wilson was considered for Gob. Stand-up comedian Andy Kindler also auditioned for the part. Of course Will Arnett won the role of the Bluth’s eldest son/illusionist. But Wilson soon scored his breakthrough on The Office as Dwight Schrute.
  8. David Cross was offered the role of Buster Bluth. He turned it down, preferring the role of Tobias Fünke, who was initially supposed to be a minor recurring character. However audiences responded so well to Tobias, that the character was soon upgraded to a regular part of the cast.
  9. Cross had to fight for Tobias’s terrible mustache. Fox had a standing rule for its sitcoms’ male characters: “no hats, mustaches, no fluffy shirts.”

    Fox Network

    Fox Network

  10. Tobia’s never-nude condition is real. The attachment to jean shorts might be a stretch, but the fear of being naked is an actual diagnosed anxiety. It’s called gymnophobia, from the Greek gumnos for “naked.”
  11. The end of episode teasers were a ploy to entice advertisers and test audiences. Hurwitz told AV Club the “On the next Arrested Development” gags were part of his attempt to stack the deck on the pilot. He hoped it would convince potential advertisers that there was already more of the could-be series shot. But moreover, he explained, ‘One of the questions they asked of the test audiences after they screened the pilot is ‘Would you see it again?’ It was a great way to get those numbers high. It was like, ‘Oh, I have to. There’s another one coming.'”
  12. The hip hop group of the same name sued Arrested Development. They cited consumer confusion and brand dilution. The case settled out of court, and was later referenced in the episode “Motherboy XXX,” where the narrator explains the Motherboy show was “legally required to make a distinction” from the band of the same name.
  13. Ann Veal was played by two different actresses. For Anne’s debut appearance in season one, she’s played by Alessandra Torresani. All subsequent episodes saw Mae Whitman in the role. Some fans consider the recasting as a part of Ann’s forgettable nature.
  14. Alia Shawkat and Mae Whitman were old colleagues. The teen ingénues who played Maeby Fünke and Ann Veal respectively previously co-starred on the family-friendly series State of Grace, about a middle class Jewish girl and an upperclass Catholic girl growing up in the 1960s.

    Fox Network

    Fox Network

  15. Shawkat’s first kiss was onscreen with Michael Cera. In the pilot George Michael’s first kiss comes when Maeby lays one on him to aggravate her parents. This one was Shawkat’s first as well.
  16. Michael Cera was nearly replaced by Michael Angarano. As a Canadian, Cera required a work visa to shoot the pilot. When complications with its processing popped up, producers brought in Angarano as a backup George Michael.
  17. A real husband and wife played embittered husband and wife. When Gob hastily marries a seal seller, the role of his new bride was given to his actual wife at the time, Amy Poehler. Gob inability to learn his spouse’s name became a running joke that turned meta. At one point Gob claims if he knew it, he’d mock her with it, saying, “Bad example: if her name is Amy, I’ll call her Blamey.”
  18. Jason Bateman’s sister played his possible sister on the show. Justine Bateman appeared in an episode as Nellie, a prostitute that Michael (Jason Bateman) believed might be his sister. The series made much tension and awkward humor over whether or not the real-life siblings would hook up onscreen.
  19. Recurring Fox 6 anchorman John Beard is an actual news anchor. Who better to report on the ongoing public troubles of the Bluths than a true newsman. Beard was based in Los Angeles when the show started, but has since moved to Buffalo, NY. He has also played a newscaster on the Spider-Man animated series, The Bernie Mac Show, and the Fox drama 24.
  20. Gone Girl’s author is a big fan. Before she was penning mind-bending crime novels, Gillian Flynn was a reviewer for Entertainment Weekly who called Arrested Development the best television show of 2005.
Related topics Arrested Development, Fun Facts, List, television
Next post Previous post

Your reaction to this post?

  • LOL

    0

  • Money

    0

  • Cool

    0

  • Fail

    0

  • Cry

    0

  • Geek

    0

  • Angry

    0

  • WTF

    0

  • Crazy

    0

  • Love

    0

You may also like

5772 Views
12 Celebrities Who Used To Be Homeless
Movies

12 Celebrities Who Used To Be Homeless

While celebrities are rich and famous, not all of them

5874 Views
10 Fun Facts About ‘Cheers’
TV

10 Fun Facts About ‘Cheers’

Do you miss that iconic TV series about the neighborhood

2278 Views
7 Failed TV Spinoffs
TV

7 Failed TV Spinoffs

A successful spinoff is no easy feat, but when shows