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Your normal family sitcom?  

Functioning on Dysfunction by  [Article  Author]  




safety,  could  be  advertised,  and   Alex  Albright  makes  the  

argument  that  “Arrested   Development  (2003-­‐2006)  takes  [the]   format  that  American  television   audiences  are  accustomed  to,  the   sitcom  centered  on  a  family,  and   makes  it  totally  dysfunctional”  (Not   Your  Typical  Sitcom  Family).  Be  that   as  it  may,  no  other  American  sitcom   acts  with  the  same  androgynous  and   reflexive  nature.    Arrested   Development  appealed  to  the  logic  of  

developed  a  niche-­‐market  while   simultaneously  being  able  to  violate   each  category  as  well.      Ultimately,   Arrested  Development’s  added   diversity  to  the  sitcom  formula  -­‐   which  networks  crave  –  led  to  its   demise .    





Ty   Mikan  





to  answer  such  a   calling.    The  show   was  a  sitcom   about  a  family   that  often  butts   heads  until  finally   realizing  that   sticking  together   is  the  best   option.    Sound   familiar?  Of  course,   many  shows  have  fit   this    description.  

Is  the  logic  of   safety  logical?    

The  logic  of  safety  is   perplexing  to  me  in   that  networks  desire   something  fresh  while   also  wanting  the  same   sort  of  material   because  they  feel   comfortable  with  it.     Arrested  Development   was  the  perfect  show  

articles  to  call  out  quick  reference  information   related  to  the  article,  such  as  contact   information  or  event  dates.   HEADING  5  

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Use  the  small  tables  provided  in  some  of  the  


Complexity within the sitcom genre.  

  Audiences  were  presented   with  running  coincidences   and  collisions  across   episodes,  elaborate  inside   jokes,  and  interwoven  plots   you  would  never  see  on   something  like  Everybody   Loves  Raymond  (1996-­‐2005).     Even  though  Arrested  

Development  delivered  on   the  label  of  a  “sitcom”  it   surpassed  the  normal   frequency  of  attentiveness   that  sitcoms  call  for  which   turned  off  much  of  the   show’s  audience.    






37 primetime Emmy’s  


  After  the  show’s   first  season,   they  were   awarded  a   writing  Emmy   for   Outstanding   An Emmy winning series. Comedy   Series.    Taking  down   nobody  could   Frazier  (1993-­‐2004),  Sex   and  the  City  (1998-­‐2004),   and  Scrubs  (2001-­‐2010)   relate  to  and  were   was  an  impressive  feat   for  a  television  show  in   thrown  off  by  (Not  Your   its  rookie  season.    With   their  new  hardware   Typical  Sitcom  Family).     Arrested  Development   certainly  gained  some   As  this  became  clear   marketability,  and  FOX   didn’t  hesitate  to   advertisers  grew  more   mention  the  show’s   Emmy  award  in   hesitant  to  continue  to   numerous  promos.     Oddly  enough,  the  show   advertise  on  a  show   didn’t  see  much  of  an   improvement  in   people  weren’t  really   viewership.   Despite  the  show’s  sharp   wit  it  was  centered  on  

characters  that  

watching  (Emmy  or  no   Emmy).  


On paper, Arrested Development’s (20032006) Bluth family will likely appear to be a successful, upperclass lineage heedlessly enjoying the perks of the American Dream. A more calculating examination of Bluths will reveal an egocentric entity that sexually others homosexuals,

The Bluths calling the kettle black.  

stereotypes different races, and practices misogyny.   THE  OTHERS  DO  THE  OTHERING    

In “Top Banana” (1.2) Lucille tells her Spanish maid, Luz (Lillian Hurst), to be careful with something because it costs more then Luz’ house. Once Michael leers at

her she assures him that they are only joking because Luz doesn’t have a house. More

characters without houses of their own? Only half the Bluth family: Tobias, Lindsey, Gob  .  




Tobias Fünke: Faux Pa’s and Fatherhood    


Father Figure Fruedian Slips Anyone carefully “It’s  nice  to  be  back  in  a   examining this queen.”   character will find that he is also a dedicated “Even  if  it  means  me   father and husband taking  a  chubby,  I  will   that desperately tries to suck  it  up!”   keep his marriage “You  can  zink  your  arrow   intact and be a part of his daughters life. In into  my  buttocks  any   the episode “Bringing time.”   Up Buster” (1.3) he “Let's  see  some  bananas   even takes a job as his and  nuts.  Oh,  perhaps   daughter’s drama we  should  just  pull  their   teacher to spend more pants  off.”     time with her. To state “I’m  afraid  that  I  just   it simply viewers that are only finding blue  myself.”   stereotypes in Tobias Fünke are only looking These offenses are for stereotypes in so frequent that the Tobias Fünke. The audience simply argument can easily be views him as a made that he is the homosexual most morally virtuous and redeemable adult even though it is never illicitly on the show.    

said in the series.  




Quite often when the Bluths are being racially insensitive they are merely brandishing their own cultural ignorance. Gob is behind what may be the most offensive character on the show, Franklin Delano Bluth, a jive talking AfricanAmerican puppet.

Franklin’s theme song- sung by Gob alternating between a white and black voice – contains the lyrics …


“It ain’t easy being white. It ain’t easy being brown… All this pressure to be bright, I got kids all over town”.                  





Those unfamiliar with the show may miss the irony of Gob’s racial curtness. In reality it is a running gag on the show that Gob fathered an illegitimate child, Steve Holt (Justin Wade), who currently attends George Michael (Michael Cera) and Maeby’s (Alia Shawkat) high school.

Steve   Holt  !  






The Bluth family is able to throw a wrench between the cogs of the American Dream prosperity mechanism, which states that hard work translates itself into success.


Analyzing the Bluth family you find yourself wondering who all of this hard work came from. George Sr. is under investigation for committing treason against the United States and is known to play dirty when it comes to anything from business to softball games.    



Michael is hard at work dealing with the company, but he is merely trying to hold the company together rather then expanding it. Gob is crackpot magician, Lindsay is a freeloader, Tobias is a talentless actor, and Buster (Tony Hale) is, well, Buster.  




Tossing   stones  in  a   house  of  glass  

Arrested  Development  fit  the   perfect  sitcom  criteria  on   paper,  but  deviated  from   what  was  expected  of  it  on   screen.  

The people they stereotype and other are harmless individuals that are almost always more upstanding than the Bluths themselves. The plausible homosexual is a better father figure then George Sr., and the family maid works harder then anyone who lives in the house. The Bluth’s are a family that seized what some call the American Dream only to participate in a manic and tiresome struggle to retain their status.  










Many see that cancellation of Arrested Development as one of the great television injustices in recent memory. The social network climate at the time of the show’s cancellation was far more passive than what we see today. If sites like Twitter, Tumblr, and Reddit were booming a few years ago the dedicated fan base of Arrested Development would have more of a voice when it came to their beloved show. Would FOX have listened to these third wave warriors? That is a question that will remain a mystery.  




Bibliography     Albright,  Alex.  "Not  Your  Typical  Sitcom  Family."  The  Poetics  of  Television.  N.p.,  n.d.  Web.   11  Mar.  2013.   Hurwitz,  Mitchell,  and  Richard  Rosenstock.  "Bringing  Up  Buster."  Arrested  Development.   FOX.  Los  Angeles,  California,  16  Nov.  2003.  Television.   Hurwitz,  Mitchell,  and  John  Levenstein.  "Top  Banana."  Arrested  Development.  FOX.  Los   Angeles,  California,  9  Nov.  2003.  Television.   Hurwitz,  Mitchell,  and  James  Valley.  "Let  'Em  Eat  Cake."  Arrested  Development.  FOX.  Los   Angeles,  California,  6  June  2004.  Television   Hurwitz,  Mitchell,  and  James  Valley.  "Motherboy  XXX."  Arrested  Development.  FOX.  Los   Angeles,  California,  13  Mar.  2005.  Television.   Snyder,  Peter  E.  "Arrested  Development:  Funny  and  "Kinda-­‐not  Cool""  N.p.,   9  Aug.  2010.  Web.  12  Apr.  2013.      


Functioning on Dysfunction