TV reviews

Arrested Development 5×03 – ‘Everyone Gets Atrophy’ – TV Review

“I want to be part of the problem, Michael.” – Lindsay Bluth

The Bluths – most of them – are awful people. Ignorant, arrogant, narcissistic. When these characters were created, originally, they were parodies, their unpleasant attributes taken to comedic extremes. And then along came a man who wanted to be president, with a screenwriter’s wet-dream of a despicable personality, and yet somehow he wasn’t an invented character, he was all too real. How do the writers of Arrested Development deal with such a person? Well, it’s simple really: they have the Bluths parody him right back.

This is the episode where, whilst musing on missing his family, Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) is surprised when he runs into the lot of them at Lucille 2’s apartment. And it’s a sharp reminder for him of just how selfish, unaware, and cruel they are when together.

Why are they in Lucille 2’s apartment? Because Lindsay Bluth (Portia de Rossi) is running for Congress and they needed somewhere to set up a film crew, and they just happened to have a key. And why is Lindsay running for Congress? Because she was manipulated into it by her mother, Lucille (Jessica Walter). Obviously.

Lindsay’s daughter, Maeby (Alia Shawkat), is Lindsay’s campaign manager, because – you guessed it! – she was manipulated into it by her mother. And despite Maeby’s best efforts to sabotage her, Lindsay is doing superbly in the polls. And the Bluths are giving themselves a Family of the Year Award, a fact about which they are all terribly excited. It’s all coming together for them!

It’s great to see the Bluths – with the exception of Buster (Tony Hale) and George-Michael (Michael Cera) – together again, and how inevitably chaotic they become. Once again, I was a little confused by the timeline, and by the sudden addition of Gob’s girlfriend, but this really is par for the course on Arrested Development, and no doubt everything will adequately unfold and be explained eventually.

There are a lot of enjoyable call-backs in George-Michael’s nostalgic delve into his childhood, including one incredibly current meta-gag that references both an old VHS tape and ‘a certain move that would eventually appear two years later in a Han Solo origin picture’. Gota love those Easter eggs! There’s Buster, who, true to form, has got himself in trouble by telling the truth. And then there’s Lindsay Bluth, mocking the speech impediment of a reporter, and I suspect that this season will bring more of this kind of thing if Lindsay’s campaign takes off.

And where is Lucille Austero? No one still knows!

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