You know why Arrested Development is amazing? Well, because of its first season, of course. But I’m talking about its second season. This shortened second season. Michael! I mean...Fox! (Takes a deep breath) Anyway, it’s because Mitch Hurwitz & Co. filled almost every second of airtime with something that delivers in either a visual or verbal or emotional comedic sensibility. For instance, the first two episodes of this second season bear titles similar to those of Friends episodes, beginning with “The One Where,” and then the third episode is just called “Friends,” albeit in Spanish, because part of the episode takes place in Mexico. Is it funny? Not especially, but it’s the kind of detail that makes you go, “Wait, did I just see some graffiti written on a wall in that alley? What did that graffiti say?” There could be a series that just aired encyclopedia pages on a split screen with Wikipedia pages about the same subjects, and it might come close to the amount of details that Arrested Development offers its viewers. Funny details, I mean. Not like, dates or whatever.
This is one of the few episodes within the series, beyond the openers, where you can almost step in without having seen anything previous, because it rounds out all of its characters in such a way that what is so familiar to some can still be picked up as refreshing for someone who doesn’t know anything about Arrested Development. As the current bossman of Bluth Company, G.O.B. immediately proves his incompetence. You don’t have to see him put the cue stick through the wall to know what happened there. It’s a pool table in the middle of an office with recently patched up walls. But if you’ve seen the episode, it reminds you of when he did it. This is why all the series that just reset after every episode can never match the comedic depths that this show reaches. Caw! Ca-caw! Ca-caw! Ca-caw!
”You’re the Chiclet. Not me!”
Take that profoundly odd chicken gesture that G.O.B. gives to what few people would recognize as a chicken. It’s a callback joke. But now we see that at one point, G.O.B. pissed off some Mexican folks because that particular dance was a derogatory slur. The joke now becomes something else, beyond just looking ridiculous. And then we find out that George Sr. is actually down in Mexico, and because G.O.B. believes that Michael’s search for their father is actually a getaway plan, we actually get a live (within the episode) scene of G.O.B. doing the fricking dance IN MEXICO, and he gets tackled, another one of the show’s common tropes. It’s roughly a billion things happening at once all within the context of what we only just learned within the last few episodes. This is like an entire city being built around a fictitious paperback novel called Best Jokes For Smart People that was only printed once.
“Don’t be such an Ann Hog.”
This episode gives us three significant things. Michael is allowed to really, really take a mental disassociation from Ann as a person - Who? Her? - both in his comments and by actually leaving her in Mexico and all. It introduces us to Gene Parmesan – SQUEAL! – Martin Mull’s private investigator who assumes all disguises and arrives all over the place throughout the episode; it’s one of those guest starring roles that cements itself within the memory despite a lack of screen time. And it gives Buster one of the most ludicrous and totally buyable C stories that a series can give its audience, in having him spend time at the housekeeper Lupe’s house, believing he’s escaped down to Mexico. You never believe Buster to be an unbelievable character. You just can’t believe that Tony Hale can possibly be someone other than this character.
”Make love in your own hand, Mother!”
Seriously, once you add an amended Buster banner – “You’re Killing Me Buster – with Lindsay’s flirtation with bounty hunter Ice, this episode is a classic through and through. And though Tobias’ appearance is minimal, he utters the line, “Well, I won’t know officially until 8:01. But I figured if I blue myself early, I’d be nice and relaxed for a 9:00 dinner reservation.” He’s got Blue Man Group make-up on. It’s a can’t-miss joke, people!
Things That Make The Episode Memorable
“Might as well keep this make-up on, since it takes so [bleeping] long to get off.” Tobias is talking about why he has to leave the paint on, but we’ve all seen just how easily the paint comes off, especially when he slides across the floor when Ice tackles him. Or when it gets left on every bit of furniture within the show. Details.
Cirsumvrent the law.
There’s a cornballer in the office!
“And second-of-ly, I know you're the big marriage expert - Oh, sorry. I forgot. Your wife is dead.” Delivered with the perfect amount of theatrics that David Cross steals scenes with.
After spending a long time with her and really getting to know her, Michael still doesn’t like Ann.
“I never thought I’d miss a hand so much.” Loose seal foreshadowing on the first degree.
”Two exits to Legoland.” Mo Collins and her Quincy Jones story.
“Way to plant, Ann.”
Chicken dance live!