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The following is a list of the main characters from the Fox television comedy series Arrested Development. The main characters are made up of the Bluth ( , ) and Fünke ( , ) families. They are each listed in the opening credits and appear in most episodes. This list is arranged in the order in which they appear in the opening credits. For other recurring characters, see List of recurring Arrested Development characters.

Family tree

"- - - -" = adoption

Michael Bluth

Biography

Michael Bluth (born December 14, 1967) is the second oldest Bluth son, and the father of George Michael Bluth and (presumably) an unknown child with Maggie Lizer.In season 3, it is revealed that there is a typo on his birth certificate, which reads Nichael Bluth. Michael's wife Tracey died of ovarian cancer two years prior to the first season. Possibly as a result of this, he is very close to his son, George Michael, which is shown partly because, whenever an opportunity to spend more time with his son presents itself to him, he will jump at it, as well as his secret dislike of anyone George Michael falls for, such as Ann Veal. His role in the story is that he is the one son who has no choice but to keep the family together, and he serves as the straight man in the comedy series.

When his father George Sr. goes to jail, Michael becomes head of the family and CEO and president of the Bluth Company. His authority, however, is constantly undermined by his family. Often, when agreeing to something before thinking (trying to be "a good guy"), he mouths behind the person's back, "What's wrong with me?" (e.g., with Maggie Lizer). He remained the president throughout season 1, but was replaced by Gob in season 2. As vice president, Michael was the Bluth Company's de facto head, doing all the work of the president while being scrutinized by the SEC for his father's crimes. In season 3, Michael was firmly in charge again, though the sibling rivalry and family interference did not completely recede. He escapes with his son, and father in-tow, to Cabomarker; leaving most of the family to fend for themselves.

Concept and reception

Michael is generally the straight man in the series. However, creator Mitch Hurwitz says that in some respects Michael is "the craziest one" in that he cannot see much of what happens around him.

Michael is portrayed by actor Jason Bateman. Hurwitz did not know if Bateman was right for the part, as he seemed associated with more conventional sitcoms, but Hurwitz said that in trying out for the part, Bateman "gave this dry, confident performance." Bateman also explained his performance by saying he could be "naturally... dickish" like his character. Bateman said of his part, "it's the best job I've ever had, hands down," and it may have also been his most famous one. Bateman and his character were also well received by critic Robert Bianco, who wrote "the key to the show's success is the hilariously deadpan Bateman." Bateman won a Golden Globe for the role in 2005, and was nominated for several other awards, including an Emmy.

Michael Bartel plays Michael Bluth as a young man in six episodes. Ryan Slough plays Michael in an episode. In a flashback in the series finale, Brandon Killham plays young Michael Bluth.

Lindsay Bluth Fünke

Biography

Lindsay Bluth Fünke (born 1965 as Nellie; real last name unknown) is the adopted daughter of George Sr. and Lucille, but is ostensibly Michael's twin sister. She never finished college because her father, George Bluth Sr. gave her a job at the Bluth Company. She is also the wife of Tobias Fünke and mother to Maeby Fünke. Lindsay believes herself to be a dedicated activist. In reality, she is quite shallow and superficial, only supporting current trendy causes for the social status of holding extravagant charity drives from the Bluth Company money. These causes include but are not limited to anti-war protests, the removal of the 10 Commandments from the front of the courthouse, the right to die, and "graft vs. host" (GVH).

Lindsay is portrayed as trying to be promiscuous, often flirting and pursuing relationships with men other than her husband, usually with no success. She has become interested in (and even dated) characters such as Moses Taylor (who plays Detective Frank Wrench in the television series Wrench) and Tom Jane (star of Homeless Dad and Junk). In season 3, Lindsay becomes interested in the family's new lawyer Bob Loblaw, and becomes the nanny of his daughter Hope to gain his interest.

In the last episode of season 3, it is revealed that Lindsay is not actually Michael's twin sister, or even a Bluth at all. She was adopted at age 3 to spite Bluth rival Stan Sitwell, who was already in the process of adopting her at the time (she was "adopted out from under us" says Stan Sitwell). She also discovers that she is 40 years old, three years older than she had previously believed herself to be. Feeling that her youthful allure has now escaped her, she becomes desperate to marry a successful man, and divulges to Michael that they are not biological siblings and reveals her wish to divorce Tobias and marry Michael. She believes that he will accept, after misinterpreting Michael's brotherly compliments over the years as a sexual interest. However, Michael rejects Lindsay's offer of marriage, saying that he is not that into older women. Lindsay later reveals to Lucille that she is still pursuing a relationship with Michael.

Concept and reception

Creator Mitchell Hurwitz came up with Lindsay as the family's liberal figure, but Lindsay is also meant to represent a liberal who benefited from her politics more than she sacrificed, due to the image she built. The final episode of the series reveals that had Lindsay been adopted by Stan Sitwell, she would have been named Nellie.

Lindsay was portrayed by actress Portia de Rossi. Having previously appeared in Ally McBeal, she said that she was looking for a new series like it. De Rossi was also attracted to Arrested Development for what she thought was a "fresh new perspective on comedy." She played Lindsay as someone who "doesn't have much of a clue but... has a pretty good heart". She explained her approach by saying that, "with Ally McBeal, we were very rehearsed and staged. But this is a lot looser." Hurwitz felt that de Rossi made the character somewhat similar to Lucille.

Gob Bluth

Biography

George Oscar Bluth, Jr., called Gob ( , , as in the Biblical figure Job), is the eldest Bluth son and the father of Steve Holt.

By trade a part-time magician, he is a founding member of the "Magicians' Alliance", a group that was formed to preserve magicians' secrets; he was later blackballed by them for unwittingly revealing how one of his illusions was performed. He is known for incorporating over-the-top theatrics into his magic shows, including pyrotechnics, dance routines, and wind machines. He plays Europe's "The Final Countdown" before almost all of his major illusions. In the second season, he became president of the Bluth Company; however, he is little more than a figurehead, as he wields no real power while his brother Michael is still in charge.

George Sr. paid little attention to Gob as a child and has no respect for him as an adult. Gob's mother openly loathes him. On several occasions, Gob and Michael realized that their rivalry has been nurtured by their father and mother's manipulations. Gob is known to be the womanizer of the Bluth family. Eventually, Gob discovers that he is the father of the teenage jock Steve Holt. Toward the end of season 1 Gob marries a dealer of trained seals, played by real-life wife Amy Poehler, in a series of escalating dares. She later becomes infatuated with Tobias Fünke, Gob's brother-in-law, and joins the army in the hopes of avoiding her attraction.

When his confidence is shattered or challenged, he will burst into tears and cry with self-loathing or take extreme measures to cease the disgust he feels in himself. Examples of this include the time when he attempted to hang himself with his belt after being questioned about topics he was ignorant in, or when he ingested a 'forget-me-now' pill in order to forget that he has a son.

Despite Gob's "womanizing" abilities, he has no real friends; his closest friends are the Hot Cops, a group of strippers that Gob once worked with before almost getting his head blown off while on the job. He uses the Hot Cops in many situations, including a fake drug bust and for fake friends at a bachelor party. His best friend is Michael, though he denies it.

He is also the original creator and inspiration for the Mr. Bananagrabber character. Although he retains most of the rights to the character, he gave away the animation rights to Michael. It was later made into an animated television series that became an infrequent background joke. He also briefly had a ventriloquist act with a stereotyped African-American doll named Franklin Delano Bluth. Gob and Franklin produce an album together named, "Franklin Comes Alive." He is frequently seen throughout the series getting around on a Segway which has a pouch that says "GOB" on it. Gob's oft repeated lines are "Come on!" and, "I've made a huge mistake" which are also used in various forms by himself and other characters.

Gob is portrayed by Will Arnett.

George Michael Bluth

Biography

George Michael Bluth (born March 2, 1990) is the teenage son of Michael Bluth. He is a student, and he works at the family frozen banana stand, where he is "Mister Manager".

He is reunited with his cousin Maeby in the first episode, and develops a crush on her after she forcibly kissed him (to teach their parents a lesson for not letting them spend more time together, although it fails because their parents are entirely oblivious to it). In the second season, George Michael starts dating a girl named Ann, a devout Christian whom his father and Maeby dislike. Season 2 ends with George Michael and Maeby kissing, to his delight. After the incident, the two try to avoid each other for much of the third season. Later in the season, he and Maeby accidentally get married during what they believed was a fake wedding for Alzheimer's patients in hospital. They also kiss passionately later in the season, when George Michael tells Maeby they may not be related by blood (his uncle Tobias rebuts this, but it is later proven to be fact). In the final episode of the series, he decides to escape Newport with his uncle Gob's boat, feeling he doesn't belong there anymore. He reconciles with his father, and they escape to Cabo with $500,000 and a house waiting for them.

Besides his crush on his cousin, George Michael is also shown to be extremely close to his father, Michael, presumably as a result of the death of his mother.

Concept and reception

George Michael is portrayed by Michael Cera, and in flashback sequences by Christian Lavery.

Maeby Fünke

Biography

Mae "Maeby" Fünke (born September 22, 1990) is the teenage daughter of Lindsay and Tobias. Maeby's conception is an unanswered question and running joke throughout the series. It is frequently implied that she is a test-tube baby, although Tobias later confirms that she is not.

Maeby attended a progressive school called "Openings" before her parents moved in with Michael. Once she enters the public school system, she is not able to compete. She loses interest in grades and starts creating new opportunities to get into trouble. Maeby receives charity money on false pretenses by pretending to be a wheelchair-bound girl named "Surely" (the opposite of maybe) who suffers from a rare, debilitating illness called "B.S." Maeby cons her way into being a movie executive and maintains the charade for many episodes. Eventually, her age is discovered when her cousin George Michael sends invitations to her 16th birthday party to all the other studio executives in her address book.

It is shown throughout most of the second and third season that Maeby holds feelings for George Michael as well. Due to lack of space in the home, she is forced to share a room with him, which may only fuel their attraction towards one another. She also dates Steve Holt, who is discovered near the end of season 2 to be the son of Gob, and thus Maeby's cousin. While increasingly desperate to end the relationship, she continues to date him to avoid her crush on her cousin, at one point slipping him one of Gob's "forget-me-now" to avoid having sex with him and still make him think that he had. George Michael tells Maeby at the beginning of season 3 that Steve Holt is also her cousin (though it is revealed in the final episode of the season 3 that Maeby is biologically related to neither Steve Holt nor George Michael because her mother, Lindsay, was adopted by the Bluths). She spends a large part of season 3 avoiding her cousin, George Michael, only to end up married to him after a "fake" wedding ceremony the two put on to entertain Alhzeimer's patients goes wrong. In the penultimate episode of the series, Maeby turns 16, although nobody except George Michael remembers. George Michael spends the entire episode trying to prepare a celebration for her, although nobody else turns up. Eventually, he mentions that Maeby may not be related to him at all. Maeby is touched by the kindness George Michael has shown her and because of this, as well as his revelation (and perhaps the fake wine they're drunk on), the two share a passionate kiss. In the final episode, "Development Arrested", the two are secretly in a relationship. However, George Michael starts to feel uncomfortable after realising that, despite being informed that they may be related after all, she still intends to make out with him in the privacy of their room and tries to avoid her. In the end, she pitches her life story to her boss Ron Howard, who says that her story may be better as a movie.

Concept and reception

Creator Mitchell Hurwitz named the character after his daughters Maisy and Phoebe. Hurwitz acknowledged the peculiar result of this blending, saying "It just seemed like crazy extra fun to think of weird names. I don't want us to become too self-conscious about it but, yes, we do have some strange names." Maeby was initially imagined as a pseudo-conservative, to be a deliberate foil to her activist mother Lindsay, but eventually re-imagined to be a troublemaker in other ways. In making Maeby an opposite to George Michael (she is bolder and not at all reverent towards her father), Hurwitz thought this also contributed to the idea of George Michael and Maeby developing a romance.

Maeby is portrayed by Alia Shawkat. Shawkat tried out for the part with Michael Cera, who plays George Michael, in Los Angelesmarker, and the creators thought they both did well. The two were the first to join the cast. For her role as Maeby, Shawkat won a Young Artist Award in 2005 and was nominated for Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2005 and 2006.

Buster Bluth

Biography

Byron "Buster" Bluth is the youngest son of George Sr. and Lucille, though it is later revealed that his biological father is actually George Sr.'s identical twin brother Oscar (the two sharing obvious personality traits and a mutual habit for awkwardly giving people backrubs).

Buster is a professional student, having completed coursework in cartography, Native American tribal ceremonies, 18th century agrarian business principles, and archaeology. He also idolizes his brothers Gob and Michael. In the second season premiere, Lucille signs Buster up for the "Army", although his training is unsuccessful.

He is extremely immature and socially inept. He has frequent panic attacks, hates both closed and open spaces, is terrified of sheep, seals, and birds, and is wrathful towards his Koreanmarker-born adopted brother, Annyong. Buster has an unhealthy attachment to his mother Lucille. He sometimes tries to assert his independence by defying his mother's orders, as when he dates her rival, Lucille Austero. He has an alienating habit of greeting people with back rubs, and commonly addresses his relatives by their relation to him (for example, Gob and Michael are greeted with "Hey, brother" and Oscar is greeted with "Hey, uncle-father Oscar"). Buster's left hand is bitten off by a loose seal, and in subsequent episodes he wears a trans-radial prosthetic on his left arm, first a hook and later a prosthetic hand. After gaining his prosthetic hand, Buster becomes a technophile, believing himself to be a cyborg.

Concept and reception

Buster is portrayed by Tony Hale. Entertainment Weekly selected Buster as the uncle for "The Perfect TV Family".

Tobias Fünke

Biography

Tobias Fünke is the husband of Lindsay Bluth and the father of Maeby Fünke. His last name, Fünke, indicates German heritage. He was the chief resident of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospitalmarker until he lost his license for giving CPR to a man who was not actually having a heart attack. At one point, he was licensed as both an analyst and a therapist, making him the first licensed "analrapist" (pronounced ah-nall-rah-pist). At the beginning of the series, Tobias decides that his destiny is to become an actor, and he pursues this career throughout the series without success. He spends time trying to join the Blue Man Group, as a backup understudy.

Tobias suffers from "never-nude" syndrome (which, as the narrator states, is "exactly what it sounds like") and wears denim cut-off shorts at all times in order to avoid anyone, (including himself and his wife)seeing his buttocks or penis. (The condition is based on the real condition of severe gymnophobia, although the portrayal is largely fake.) His homosexual tendencies are a running joke in the show; he makes frequent sexual double-entendres to which he seems completely oblivious. Lindsay, who married Tobias to spite her parents, is convinced that her husband is a homosexual. He has experienced sexual difficulties with his wife. This leads to their joint decision to attempt an "open" marriage, even though Tobias himself acknowledges that this path rarely works. Tobias never follows through with the "open relationship", although, he continually takes acting lessons from Carl Weathers. Throughout the series, Lindsay pokes fun at Tobias's desperation to become an actor. In Season 1, Tobias lands a part as "frightened inmate number two", only to get fired because of his refusal to remove his cut-offs for a naked shower scene.

Concept and reception

Tobias is played by David Cross.

George Bluth

Biography

George Oscar Bluth, Sr., called "Pop-Pop" by his grandchildren, is the head of the Bluth family and the husband of Lucille Bluth. George Sr. was the CEO of the Bluth Company, which he founded. However, after years of "creative accounting" practices, he became the subject of an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and was imprisoned. While in prison, George Sr. continues to try to exert control over the company, often using Gob to undermine Michael's authority.

George Sr. escapes to Mexicomarker with a briefcase filled with evidence of his dealings with Saddam Hussein. In season 2, George Sr. fakes his death in Mexico and returns to America to hide in the attic of the Bluth model home. Early in the third season, after being discovered among the Blue Man Group in Reno, Nevadamarker, he is placed under house arrest. He told Michael that he had been set up to build homes in Iraq by a group of British contractors operating out of "Wee Britain", and admits that he may be guilty of "light treason." By the end of the series, however, it is revealed that he is under the control of his wife, Lucille. He escapes to Cabo with Michael and George Michael following the party.

George Sr. is also the inventor of The Cornballer, a faulty product which has been banned in numerous countries. He has a religious awakening twice on the show, once becoming Jewish after a period of isolation and selling a video series entitled "Caged Wisdom", and once becoming a devout Christian after reading a pamphlet in a garbage bag while hiding in the attic.

Concept and reception

George Sr. is portrayed by Jeffrey Tambor.

Lucille Bluth

Biography

Lucille Bluth is the matriarch of the Bluth family, portrayed by Jessica Walter.She is the mother of Gob, Michael, Buster, and the adopted mother of Lindsay and Hel-loh "Annyong" Bluth, as well as wife to George Sr. Her grandchildren George Michael Bluth and Maeby Fünke call her "Gangy" ( , ). She carried on an affair with George, Sr.'s twin brother Oscar.

Lucille is accustomed to an opulent and decadent lifestyle, which she funds with misbegotten Bluth Company money. She treats herself to repeated spa treatments and face lifts, and is known to abuse alcohol and prescription drugs and to mistreat her housekeepers. Lucille is domineering, and she emotionally abuses her children. She furtively wrests control of the Bluth Company board from Michael. She has a tight grip on her youngest son Buster, who, as a result of his mother's dominance and sheltering, is unstable, socially inept, and prone to panic attacks. She also insinuates that her daughter Lindsay is fat and lazy. She has also admitted that she never cared for Gob. In the finale, it is revealed that she is the mastermind behind the Bluth Company's illegal actions.

Narrator

The narrator, voiced by an uncredited Ron Howard, the executive producer of Arrested Development, narrates much of the Bluth family's lives, and often interjects quick comments while characters speak. He frequently brings up past footage to illustrate his points, and along with the cameramen can be excluded from the events of the story at times, in the style of a documentary narrator. In the episode "Spring Breakout", the narrator frequently criticizes the narrator of the television show Scandalmakers for having no talent and paying no heed to facts. In the season 3 episode "S.O.B.s", he begs the audience to "please tell your friends about this show" after George says that begging is "sometimes… the only way to stay in the game." The narrator has implied that he knows Maeby from her time as a studio executive. Indeed, in the final episode, Ron Howard (who is the narrator of the series) informs Maeby (with a hint of irony) that her life story would be better off being made into a movie than a TV series.

Concept and reception

See also



References

  1. Poniewozik, James. "THE GREAT WIT HOPE." Time. November 1, 2004, vol. 164, issue 18, pp. 81-82.
  2. Freydkin, Donna. "'Arrested' fails to develop ratings, but Bateman is up." USA Today, March 17, 2004.
  3. Bianco, Robert. "'Development': Not your father's family sitcom, thankfully." USA Today, October 31, 2003.
  4. " Awards for Jason Bateman," Internet Movie Database, URL accessed April 14, 2007.
  5. Breaking Ground: Behind the Scenes of Arrested Development. In Arrested Development: Season 1- Disc One, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Inc., 2004.
  6. Frazier Moore, "Portia gets expressive: Uses her comedic face in Arrested Development", The Province, Vancouver, B.C.: January 4, 2004, pg. D.13.
  7. Dana Gee, "Here's a sitcom that puts the fun back in funny", The Province, Vancouver, B.C.: November 2, 2003, pg. C.12.
  8. Alison Cunningham, "Mane event: Portia de Rossi trusts her instincts - and great hair", National Post, August 6, 2005, pg. TO.41.
  9. Audio commentary. "Extended Pilot." In Arrested Development: Season 1- Disc One, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Inc., 2004.
  10. Alex Strachan, "Arrested Development has a thing for weird names," Edmonton Journal, July 20, 2004, p. C.2.
  11. Benjamin Leszcz, "The essence of adolescence," National Post, January 4, 2006, pg. AL.1.Fr.
  12. "TV: Breaking Down the List," Entertainment Weekly," #999/1000 June 27 & July 4, 2008, 56.



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