The Political & Trump Jokes In ‘Arrested Development’ Season 5 Part 1 Highlight Just How Similar The Bluths Are To The First Family
While Arrested Development is a zany family comedy at its core, the show has never shied away from political commentary. And that still holds true with the political jokes in Arrested Development Season 5, the firsst half of which was released on Netflix on May 29.
In Season 4, a major plot point was George and Lucille trying to build the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico to keep Mexican immigrants from entering the United States. George Sr. bribed right-wing politician Herbert Love (Terry Crews), who was running for Congress against Lucille 2 (Liza Minnelli), to support the wall. As Donald Trump has promised to build the border wall as president, this storyline is painfully more relevant in 2018 than it was back in 2013. And in this new political climate, the wall jokes and other politically-charged barbs in the new Arrested Development episodes sting a bit more than the ones that have come before.
Due to President Donald Trump, the world has changed in unexpected ways since Netflix first revived Arrested Development. With that in mind, the cast told The New York Times (in that notorious interview) that showrunner Mitch Hurwitz actually cut some jokes about the president and the Trump family. "I think Mitch had said he had to scale back on it a little," Jessica Walter, who plays Lucille, said. "It's too obvious now. And you know, it's almost as if our family, just by themselves, are the Trumps. You've got the two dysfunctional sons. You've got Portia as Ivanka. George and Lucille."
But there are still plenty of Trump-related references peppered into the political jokes — especially as Lindsay runs for Congress with Herbert Love out of the picture. Here are the jokes from Arrested Development Season 5 that hit hard in 2018's political landscape. Spoilers ahead!
1"The Cruelty Of Your President"
In the second episode, Maeby joins Mexican volunteers who are giving food and water to deported Mexican immigrants. One of the volunteers tells Maeby, "They've been kicked out of the only country they've ever known for their whole lives because of the cruelty of your president — Barack Obama." The beginning of the line suggests a jab at Donald Trump — particularly how he said he'd put an end to DACA, which protects immigrants who arrived in the country as children. But, as this moment takes place in the past, the joke is actually a brutal reminder about President Obama. According to PEW Research Center reported, the Obama administration deported a record number of unauthorized immigrants in 2013.
2"English Spoken Here"
When George Michael relocates to Mexico for a stint, he finds that some Mexican business owners are catering to American's xenophobia with signs like, "English spoken here," "We speak English without an accent," and "No Spanish spoken here."
3"OK, That Is A Clever Twist"
Stan Sitwell stole Lucille's idea to build the wall back in 2013. But in June 2015, Lucille discovers that Trump also has taken her plan when he announces that he will be running for president. And in his speech, he says, "I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall" — which Lucille considers to be a "clever twist" on her idea.
4"Cry Me A Blizzard, Snowflake"
Gob and George Michael Sr. are bonding in Mexico in the third episode. But when Lucille tells Gob she wants him to run the company, he turns on his sensitive father by using the term "snowflake," which is sometimes used by conservatives to insult liberals.
George Sr., Lucille, and Lindsay talk about the "1992 African American riots" and say that the rioters had "every right." They're talking about the 1992 Los Angeles riots that occurred after police were acquitted for the brutal beating of Rodney King, who is African American. The Bluths perhaps are referencing how CBS News reported that one man at the time said, "These people are angry and they have every right to be." Or, since they're preparing Lindsay for a Californian congressional bid, they could be parroting what California representative Maxine Waters has said about the incident, per Huffington Post.
Whatever the reference, the LA riots have been relevant in the 2010s with people protesting police officers using excessive force against the black community. And knowing the Bluths, their "every right" comment is probably a talking point they memorized to seem compassionate.
6"I'm Probably Grumpy Because I Was Out Late Last Night Raping & Murdering"
Another nod to when Trump announced his candidacy comes from the employee at the Wetzel's Pretzels in Mexico. Fernando says this to George Michael, which is a reference to Trump saying in his speech that Mexico was "sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."
7"It's Like The More Offensive It Is, The More People Get Behind Her"
As Lindsay's campaign manager, Maeby tries to sabotage her mom's congressional campaign by having her give offensive remarks. But, just as uncouth comments buoyed Trump's presidential campaign, her ham-fisted attempts at campaigning only help Lindsay in the polls. In one speech, Lindsay mocks a Wee Britain reporter who has a speech problem — a reference to when Trump seemingly mocked journalist Serge Kovaleski's disability in 2015.
8"I Wouldn't Mind Grabbing Him By The Tush"
Another direct reference to Trump's campaign is the "damning hot mic piece." Calling back to the 2005 Access Hollywood recording between Trump and Billy Bush, Maeby prods Lindsay on her campaign bus to say that John Beard is attractive. "I wouldn't mind grabbing him by the tush," Lindsay says. In his hot mic piece, the current president said he can "grab [women] by the p*ssy." So narrator Ron Howard gently reminds viewers that Lindsay's comments "almost seem quaint by today's standards."
With Lindsay entering the rat race of politics for the 2016 election cycle, Arrested Development Season 5 forces viewers to relive how Donald Trump became president. But that also means there are plenty of jokes still left to make as the show catches up to the year 2018.
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, Will Arnett 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.