If you've never watched "Arrested Development," please don't start with the new episodes debuting on Netflix. Why do that to yourself? Don't skip 53 installments of gold just to be lost in these 15 new episodes and miss out on all the inside jokes - which this series is notorious for pulling.
What's great about Netflix owning the rights to the canceled FOX series is that all the episodes are available to watch whenever you want. It's a great show for binge watching on a Sunday afternoon. So newcomers, start at the beginning. You won't be sorry. And stop reading now.
For those who enjoyed the series and are ready for new episodes, I'm providing a little reminder about the main characters and even a few minor ones who could show up again. Don't put anything past series creator Mitch Hurwitz and his brilliant writers - anything that's been in this show can always come back to haunt the characters or be referenced as a little side joke. THE BLUTH FAMILY
Michael (Jason Bateman): The second son of a wealthy family who's been trying to keep the family construction business afloat while his father tries to avoid going to prison for shady business practices. He's also a widower who lost his wife to cancer. Michael might be the most sane character in the bunch, or he might be the most crazy for continuing to put up with his family's nonsense. Either way, he's our protagonist with martini-dry humor. The name on his birth certificate is "Nichael."
George Michael Bluth (Michael Cera): Michael's son. He's painfully awkward and has a crush on his cousin, Maeby. In the last episode, we're told this has been going on for about 53 weeks. Fortunately for him, we also learned Maeby is not George Michael's biological cousin.
Gob Bluth (Will Arnett): Michael's older brother. He's a magician by trade, but has trouble booking gigs because he was kicked out of the Magician's Alliance. He started a side act with an African American puppet named Franklin Delano Bluth. They recorded an album together
that was not well-received. He lives on a boat originally called "The Seaward," but in the finale it was called "The C-Word." He was married for a while to a seal saleswoman (Arnett's real wife at the time, Amy Poehler) and in the finale he was dating an 18-year-old Christian girl. I forget her name.
Lindsay Bluth Funke (Portia de Rossi): Michael's twin sister, but we learned she's actually adopted, and three years older than she thought she was. She's an image-conscious prima donna who gets involved in a variety of charitable causes purely for the social stature it brings. She and her husband have an "open relationship" that really hasn't worked out. At the end of the series, she decided she wants to marry Michael because he's successful. But he's not into older women.
Tobias Funke (David Cross): Lindsay's husband. Claims to be the world's first licensed analyst and therapist - on his business card he calls himself an "analrapist." But he's left the medical field behind to pursue acting with no success. He tried to get into the Blue Man Group to no avail. He's also deep in the closet, but keeps giving himself away with painfully funny double entendres and gaffes. In fact, he lost his medical license by giving CPR to a man who wasn't having a heart attack. He is also a never-nude, which is exactly what it sounds like. He wears cut-off jeans even in the shower.
Maeby Funke (Alia Shawkat): Tobias and Lindsay's daughter. She's a crafty one, and even nabbed a studio job making movies as a teenager because studio execs are too self-absorbed to notice they're getting ideas from a child. She also used to pose as a child with a debilitating disease she called "BS" in order to get money from special benefits. Again - she's not George Michael's cousin, which makes the fact they were married toward the end of the third season a little more palatable.
Byron "Buster" Bluth (Tony Hale): Michael's younger brother, who is drastically immature. He's a man in his 30s forever attached to his domineering mother. They attend an annual convention called "MotherBoy." Buster also lost a hand in the ocean when a loose seal bit it off. Notice "loose seal" sounds like "Lucille," which is his mother's name. For a while, Buster awkwardly dated a much older woman - his mother's best friend who is also named Lucille.
George Bluth, Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor): Michael's dad. He's a ruthless businessman who used to have "Black Fridays" where he'd fire everyone in the office. He's also a philandering husband, and he may have poisoned two of his children's teachers with muffins when they were kids. He's also somewhat of an escape artist - repeatedly finding his way out of custody, sometimes with poor results. He was accused of "light treason" for building homes in Iraq, but we learned he was a patsy the whole time - hired by the US government to build the homes so they could bug them and listen in on Saddam Hussein's henchmen.
Oscar Bluth (Jeffrey Tambor): George Sr.'s pot-head identical twin brother who has been used as a patsy more than a couple times by his brother to escape. While locked up, he started a web site to let authorities know they had imprisoned the wrong man: I'mOscar.com. The site is still live at I'mStillOscar.com
Lucille Bluth (Jessica Walter): Michael's mother. She's a socialite who is perpetually drunk or on some sort of prescription medication. She's also the real brains behind the Bluth Company, indicating George Sr. might be little more than her puppet. We also know she's in love with Oscar, and Buster is their son.
Narrator (Ron Howard): He's not related to the Bluth family as far as we know - although that would be a fun twist. He seems to be an all-knowing narrator at times, and also sometimes surprised by these characters' behavior. Howard's dead-pan, matter-of-fact delivery is absolutely perfect. Howard is one of many "Happy Days" connections in the show.SIDE CHARACTERS/FAMILY MEMBERS
Ann Veal (Alessandra Torresani/Mae Whitman): George Michael's sometimes girlfriend who winds up leaving him for Gob. No one in the family, save for George Michael, can ever remember her name. Her high school year book named her as "Not Pictured." She's ultra-religious and enjoys book and music burnings.
Hel-loh "Annyong" Bluth (Justin Lee): A Korean teen adopted by Lucille to make Buster jealous. The word "Annyong" is Korean for "hello," but the Bluths think that's his name. Turns out, his real name is "hel-loh," supposedly the Korean word for "one day." In the season 3 finale we learn Hel-loh has been spying on the family and reports Lucille to the federal authorities. It's his vengeance for George Sr. stealing a business idea from his grandfather.
Barry Zuckerkorn (Henry Winkler): The Bluth family attorney. He's inept, and another closet case. The slogan for his law practice: "He's very good." Winkler is, of course, another "Happy Days" connection.
Bob Loblaw (Scott Baio): Another attorney for the Bluth family, and another "Happy Days" connection. His name is meant to sound like "ba blah blah." A slogan for his law practice: "You don't need double-talk! You need Bob Loblaw!"
Kitty Sanchez (Judy Greer): George Sr.'s secretary and long-time girlfriend. She knows the ins and outs of the company and regularly uses her knowledge to assert herself. She also has a tendency to flash people with her botched boob job.
Lucille Austero (Liza Minnelli): Lucille Bluth's best "frenemy," who suffers from extreme vertigo. She owns stock in the Bluth company, and has boffed two of the Bluth boys - Buster and Gob. But in the end, she left them all for Stan Sitwell. Also usually referred to as "Lucille 2."
Stan Sitwell (Ed Begley, Jr.): George Sr.'s worst enemy in business. He has a disease that prevents him from growing hair, and is usually found wearing ridiculous wigs.
Steve Holt (Justin Grant Wade): Gob's biological son. The relationship was revealed in season 3, and we're told, confirmed by DNA testing. He's a high school jock who has repeated his senior year numerous times. He also was once a crush of Maeby's - his cousin. Steve likes to yell his name a lot when he enters a room.
J Walter Weatherman (Steve Ryan): A former employee of the Bluth Company. He has one arm, and George Sr. regularly used him to scare the kids to teach them lessons. 20 CATCH PHRASES/JOKES OFTEN REPEATED
"Come On!" Usually said by Gob.
"Her?" or "Him?" Usually said by Michael in disbelief about someone.
"Marry Me!" Usually said by Maeby.
"I've Made a Huge Mistake" Mostly said by Gob and Michael.
"And that's why..." Used by Mr. Weatherman when he teaches the Bluth kids a lesson.
"Hey, Brother" Usually said by Buster.
"No Touching!" What guards yell at family members during visits in prison.
"Analrapist" (pronounced "uh-nal-ruh-pist): Tobias' self-given job title.
"Bland," "Egg," "Her": Names Michael has used when he can't remember Ann's name.
"That was a Freebie": At least 6 characters have used the line.
"The Final Countdown" Gob's intro music for his magic act.
"Steve Holt!" See above.
"Pop-Pop" Refers to grandfather George Sr., but has also become a euphemism for sex.
"Hermano," "Mon Frere,"
The Chicken Dance: Each member of the family has a ridiculous way of taunting someone.
Hot Cops: A team of male strippers that used to include "Gob."
Police Attack: Whenever someone is tackled by Police, one cop also comes in last to hit the victim with his night stick.
Illusion vs. Trick: Gob points out he does illusions in his magic show. Tricks are something prostitutes do.
Banners: At many family gatherings there is sometimes a banner to mark the occasion, and they're occasionally re-used with portions crossed out or covered.
Charlie Brown Walk: Most often used by George Michael - walking sadly while the Peanuts piano music plays.
Bleeps/Covered Curses: It'll be interesting to see if the Netflix episodes stay true to this, but on FOX all the F-words were covered by some movement of the camera and bleeped. I always found that funnier.
There's so much more to this show - I'm just scratching the surface here. The question now is how to watch these 15 season four episodes, and whether it will indeed lead up to a movie.