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32 Times “Arrested Development” Was The Cleverest Program On Television

Nothing will ever effectively hide Arrested Development's thunder.

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1. “Arrested Development” was sued by the rap group “Arrested Development” for copyright infringement. They then made several pointed references to this throughout the show.

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Such as here, when Buster and Lucille competed in the Motherboy Competition and the narrator quipped about copyright infringement. (You’ll also notice that “Motherboy” is comprised of several cast members from the show.)

2. When they included the most meta product placement ever.

Carl and Tobias meet to discuss Tobias' upcoming role in Scandalmakers in a Burger King, they then have this conversation:

Carl Weathers: Thanks for meeting me down here at Burger King. I’m trying to get them to underwrite a new TV project I’m working on. Get some money in exchange for setting a scene here at Burger King.

Tobias: Well, as long as you don’t draw attention to it.

The producers of the show actually received money for this product placement from Burger King, although the show undermined the restaurant chain by partially concealing the G in Angus Burger every time a poster for it was in shot.

3. References are made throughout to previous roles actors in the show have had.

This depicts Henry Winkler jumping over a shark. The phrase "jumping the shark" comes from when Winkler, as Fonzie in Happy Days, literally waterskis over a shark and refers to when a show is about to decline substantially in quality, as signposted by one ridiculous scene.

To add further insult to injury, this happens as Barry Zuckerkorn is on his way to Burger King.

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9. In season 1, Buster pulls out folders of all the studies he's participated in.

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One says “HEMISPHERECTOMY SURGERY” which is surgery that removes half of your brain. Common side effects of this include "arrested development" and loss of extremities such as feet and hands.

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...but Nellie can.

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This is a reference to the fact that Lindsay might not be Michael’s biological sister. Nellie is able to finish Michael’s sentence because she is acted by Jason Bateman’s real life sister, Justine Bateman.

(Bonus: The scene between Lindsay and Michael even makes it into a song from Frozen.)

12. When they foreshadow Buster getting his hand bitten off by a seal to an almost ridiculous extent.

In season one, Gob marries a seal trainer (acted by Amy Poehler).

Buster skips out on Army to play a claw game where he wins a stuffed seal.

In the episode Buster loses his hand, George Bluth says about him, “What if I never get a chance to reach out and touch that hand of his again?”

Buster refers to his hand-shaped chair which had been given to Lupe and says, "I never thought I'd miss a hand so much."

Later, as Gob releases the infamous seal into the sea, he says "You’re not going to be hand-fed anymore."

Shortly before his hand is bitten off, a pedestrian warns Buster of a "loose seal" - creating a parallel between the seal that bites off his hand, and Lucille, his overbearing mother.

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Buster refers to his hand-shaped chair which had been given to Lupe:

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In the episode Buster loses his hand, George Bluth says about him, “What if I never get a chance to reach out and touch that hand of his again?”

Even the seal has a backstory: Gob married a seal trainer, when she leaves for army, he begins to use a seal in one of his acts. However, the seal gets a taste for mammal blood when a cat is trapped in one of the boxes with it. Afraid, Gob then releases the seal into the sea, saying: "You’re not going to be hand-fed anymore.”"

15. When the banana stand is pulled from the water in S02 E11, you can see it says "Get u Bluth - Hello."

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This foreshadows the revelation at the end of season 3 when Annyong reveals his real name is "Hel-loh" and that he has been trying to bring down the Bluth company after they stole the idea for the banana stand from his grandfather.

"Hel-loh" also translates to "One Day" so the words on the banana stand can be read as saying, "I'll get you Bluth - One day."

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16. Dan Castellanata acts Dr. Stein.

He is most famous for being the voice of Homer Simpson, and he repeats his famous line here. His first name is also Frank, making him Dr. Frank Stein - which is a nod towards his fondness of reattaching body parts in different places, as he does with Gob's middle and index finger.

17. In "The Ocean Walker" Buster dances inside his car to "Mr. Roboto" - a reference to a commercial the actor did in 1999.

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28. Every grammatically incorrect banner throughout the series.

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31. When they refused to go down without a fight.

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Arrested Development was constantly under threat of being cancelled and numerous references are made to this throughout the show.

In the premiere for season 2, Michael mentions that the Bluth's model home contract had been reduced from 22 to 18 homes - a direct reference to how the season's length had been reduced similarly.

The most obvious come during the episode S.O.B.s, s3e09: Michael says "The HBO's (Home Builder's Organisation) not going to want us" referencing that the network HBO doesn't pick up shows that have been cancelled by another network.

George Bluth then quips, "Well I think it's Showtime" - a reference to another network that was rumoured to be willing to take Arrested Development on.

32. And when Tobias was an albino black man.

This was a joke that had to be cut due to ever-shortening seasons. However, hints towards it are seen when he draws parallels between himself and private detective-cum-party-caterer Ice.

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For more amazing easter eggs like this, check out the Arrested Development wiki and the Reddit page.