The Inside Jokes & References In ‘Arrested Development’ Season 5 Part 1 Will Reward Any Super Fan Who’s Watching Closely
The legacy of Arrested Development was built with its memorable characters, clever quips, and left-field humor, but nothing sets the show apart from other series more than its long list of ongoing jokes. Not only are they fun to spot, but they're what turned this short-lived sitcom into a cult classic. But even longtime fans may miss some of the inside jokes and references in Season 5 of Arrested Development. Spoilers ahead for Season 5 Part 1.
The show's fifth season is a return to the format that made the show popular, which is good for fans who may have been disappointed with Season 4's experimental structure. However fans felt about the fourth season, the series seems to celebrate the show's first revival by Netflix, bringing back jokes introduced in that divisive season. From returning music cues and the repetition of famous Arrested Development lines to some updated versions of some of the show's best jokes, Season 5 of the series has nearly everything a longtime fan could ask for.
The first half of the season doesn't manage to continue every classic AD running joke, but viewers should hold out hope that Part 2 of Season 5 will see the return of the chicken dance and/or Franklin Delano Bluth. See if you managed to catch all the running gags that make a return in Arrested Development Season 5 Part 1.
- At the beginning of Season 5, Michael works at a popular search engine with a colorful logo whose name needs to be blurred out. It's implied to be Google, but who's to say? This is a callback to Season 4, in which Michael drove something that looked like a Google Maps car, but the show blurred out the car and could not use the word "Google."
- Steve Holt returns with his iconic yelling — in this case shouting out "George Sr.!" with his arms raised. Much like his father, Gob, George Michael and Maeby do not recognize the older, balding Steve Holt.
- Buster is found sleeping in the attic of the Sudden Valley model home, which was a popular sleeping spot for Michael, George Michael, and George Sr. during the original run of the series.
- Buster asks Michael “Am I that much of a monster, Michael? Even to you?” In the past, Buster has made no hesitation to declare that he is, in fact, a monster.
- Buster shares a Motherboy memory with Lucille “as Jackie O, me as JonJon," referring to Buster's JFK Jr. outfit in Season 4.
- Michael asks George Michael, "Are we good?" after telling his son that he's seeing Rebel Alley — who George Michael is also dating. It's the exact same question that Gob asks George Michael after it's revealed that Gob is dating Ann Veal.
- The concept of Dad Fights is introduced to the series, likely the latest in the Boy Fights franchise which the Bluths sold to profit on their son's competitiveness.
- Michael tells someone, “I’ve seen one person die,” referencing the death of the Sudden Valley postman in Season 4 that left a strong effect on him. It seems that, like the rest of his family, Michael has forgotten that he watched his wife pass away before the beginning of the series.
- Tobias tries to explain away his penchant for poor spelling choices, talking about his “Anustart” license plate and the unfortunate word one gets when they combine "Analyst" and "Therapist".
- Buster mentions approaching a situation “Milford Style,” referencing the school that taught Buster to be neither seen nor heard.
- Buster wants to "give momma a little scare” — referencing the family's love of scaring each other – most noticeably when Lucille tried to run down a man on a Segway because she wanted to give Gob "a nice little scare."
- Michael leaves a note on George Michael's door before leaving Sudden Valley, because every Bluth knows that you "always leave a note.”
- A missing car is referred to as a "runaway ostrich," referring the real runaway ostrich that would pop up time and time again in Season 4.
- The episode features the return of the acronym "MRF", with the "Mista F" jingle performed with a Mexican accent to indicate Mexican setting of the scene.
- George Michael's stroll through Mexico reminds him of his summer abroad in Spain — as seen in Season 4.
- When Michael walks into the Sudden Valley model home, various lines from the past go through his memory, including “I’m afraid i just blue myself” and “It’s vodka! It goes bad once it’s opened.”
- While in Mexico, George Senior tells Gob that “Daddy not horny,” in contrast to his previous claims in prison — "Daddy horny, Michael."
- Gob, having failed his attempts at hedonistic debauchery in Mexico, says “hello darkness… sorry, I’m taken,” referencing the "Sound Of Silence" music cue that would play whenever Gob reached a new low in Season 4.
- Upon revisiting the model home, George Michael starts going through "Total Regression," digging up old belongings, including a poster from the school production of “Much Ado About Nothing” he was in, a DVD of Les Cousins Dangeroux, his muscly Adam outfit, and the Cornballer. He even digs up a Darth Vader suit and returns to his Star Wars Kid origin tales.
- Maeby suggests that she plants a kiss on George Michael as an attempt to sabotage her mother's campaign, then asks herself, “How come I’ve never thought of that one before?” George Michael reminds her that she has – she concocted an identical plan in the first episode of the series.
- When George Michael sees a movie with Rebel Alley, she delivers the line, “You can say goodbye to these,” a phrase often said by George Senior's former assistant Kitty before she flashed whoever she was speaking to.
- Michael revisits the Bluth Offices, which were a frequent setting in the original three seasons, but seemed to have all but disappeared in Season 4. He discovers that Gob sold the office and bought the office a floor higher so they had a view of the Rite Aid roof.
- The Bluths attempt to have a campaign event at the Bluth banana stand — which is no longer standing. The Bluth banana stand has been knocked down and set on fire several times, but it seems the banana stand is now finally gone for good.
- Tobias, in his ongoing quest to portray the Bluth family, dresses up as George Michael and sleeps in his old bunk bed. His outfit is complete with braces, a banana stand shirt, and a commemorative cap from the television show Mock Trial w/ J. Reinhold.
- Everyone thinks that Michael’s wife left the family, continuing the long-running trend of the Bluth family being incredibly insensitive about the death of Michael's wife.
- Maeby tries to make herself look older, inadvertently dresses as Mrs. Featherbottom, a former alias of Tobias.
- Stan Sitwell calls Maeby by the name Annette, which she mistakes for a suggestion of “A Net”. This is a callback to Maeby's search for "one of those gold necklaces with the 'T' on it." Michael tells her it's “a cross,” and, Maeby replies, “Across from where?”
- Tobias claims, “I feel like a f*cking moron” while dressed in a banana suit, referencing the time that he felt "like a f*cking idiot" when he blue himself for a talk on depression.
- Maeby, having enjoyed her kiss with her cousin, suggests to George Michael, “Maybe we should kiss again, to teach them a lesson.” This is the exact same thing George Michael said to Maeby after their kiss in the pilot.
- Barry Zuckerkorn claims, “I got the worst f*cking clients,” a feeling that has been reciprocated by his clients many times.
- The Bluth Family's love of banners returns with a “Welcome Home From Jail, Buster” banner, that has the words Father, Mother, and Oscar crossed out.
- The nominee for District Attorney is named Lottie Dottie Da, following Arrested Development's love of strangely named legal workers like Bob Loblaw.
- Gob's inability to differentiate from the words "bee" and "bead" returns when he starts referring to something as a "G - O - Bead," not realizing his parents were referring to him. When he discovers the true meaning of the phrase, Gob is not on board.
- The song “Getaway” makes a return, which was originally recorded to indicate the singer's distaste with Gob in Season 4.
- While in prison, Buster is given a reminder that there is “no touching” in prison.
- Reference is made to George Sr.'s self-help series “Caged Wisdom.”
- Maeby, in disguise as a senior citizen, tells someone, "bury me!” This is a play on her brief high school catchphrase "marry me," which she would say to trick movie executives into believing she was an adult.
- Tobias jumps at the opportunity to pretend to be George Sr., and the narrator explains, “It was a part he had played before.” Tobias had previously portrayed George Sr. in a television series directed by Carl Weathers.
- At one point, Michael asks, "need a hop-on?” to someone getting into a car. Anyone who inherited the Bluth stair car was told, "You're gonna get some hop-ons."
- The “Gangy” horror movie franchise is discussed, a movie series inspired by Maeby's experiences with Lucille.
- George Sr., Michael, and George Michael make their way down to Mexico and revisit the hut that served as George Sr's professional retreat in season 4. George Sr. returns so that he can get some maca root, a drug that was popular among Oscar's friend group.
- Tobias’ nevernude shorts can be seen, along with Marky Bark's ostrich outfit from Season 4.
- While talking about the increase in Oscar's testosterone being caused by the maca root's proximity to a port-a-potty, the “coincidence” sound cue from Season 4 returns.
- When Ma Bark offers to buy Murphy Brown from Tobias for $500, an emotional music cue plays. It’s the same music cue peppered throughout the original series whenever Oscar implied that Buster was his son and not George Sr.’s.
- The Milford Academy Marching Band is barely seen and never heard.
- "The Final Countdown" plays during GOB's parade magic trick.
- As the magic trick goes on, the “Free At Last” music cue from the series' first episode plays.
- It's explained that Tobias isn’t allowed within 500 feet of children due to a “merry mixup” in Season 4 in which he was mistaken for a sexual predator.
- Tobias runs through the halls of a hospital with DeBrie in his arms, something he did frequently in Season 4. Soon after, he does the same thing with Murphy Brown.
Arrested Development Season 5 is chock-full of self-references and running gags, which should be surprising to no one. And these new episodes even introduce some new running gags of their own, such as Tobias' imitations of other Bluth family members; the concept of family-on-family self-defense classes; and the Mexican Romney family. With another eight episodes coming out to complete Season 5 at some point in the future, fans can expect even more references to AD past and present.
Editor's note: Season 5 is controversial due to the presence of Jeffrey Tambor, who was fired from Transparent after being accused of sexual harassment by two co-stars (he denies these claims); he also admitted to and apologized for verbally harassing Jessica Walter on the Arrested Development set in a recent New York Times piece. Co-stars Jason Bateman, David Cross, and Tony Hale were criticized for seeming to defend Tambor and minimize Walter's experience, in the same interview. Bateman, Cross, and Hale have since apologized.