In a show famous for obscure in-jokes, endless double turns and elaborate plot points, there's still a wealth of hidden gems to discover in Arrested Development. But after five complete viewings of this endlessly engaging comedy series, my favorite secret storyline puts George Michael #Bluth at center stage.
And It All Starts With The Opening Title Sequence
There it is, the summary of three seasons' worth of comedic hijinks in one line:
"The one son who had no choice but to keep them all together."
The audience automatically assumes that this son is #MichaelBluth, but over the course of the show we see that he habitually chooses the Bluth Company, or even his own personal needs, over that of his family. His son George Michael, on the other hand, amid a veritable tornado of familial selfishness and unpredictability, consistently puts the family first.
There's evidence for this in nearly every episode, but the pilot ep alone establishes the basic pattern that the rest of the show follows: Michael is upset with the family and decides to leave. George Michael, afraid of losing his family again, convinces his father to stay.
We're first introduced to Michael and the rest of the the dysfunctional Bluths at a yacht party, where George Sr. is about to announce his successor to the Bluth business.
The narrator then says this about Michael:
"Yes, this is his family, so why is Michael so happy? Because he's decided never to speak to these people again."
That doesn't sound like the description of a guy determined or coerced to keep his family together. Michael promptly decides to leave because his father didn't make him the new CEO of the Bluth Company.
Just like every other time Michael will threaten to leave, he drags George Michael with him. And this time, just like every other, it's George Michael who wants to stay, who reminds his father that family is worth the frustration.
While Michael does inevitably take it upon himself to keep the family together, only one son in the family truly has no choice in the matter, or any matter for that case.
You Gotta Have Faith, George Michael
The one who never knows if he'll be living in an attic, a bunk bed, a boarding school, Phoenix, or a stair car. Who does everything asked of him, no matter how it affects him personally. Who is thrown into almost every situation unwittingly, but still manages to make the best of it by putting family first.
George Michael is perhaps the only Bluth to ever genuinely declare: "I like the family."
George Michael even fights against his own romantic feelings for his cousin #Maeby Fünke because he's afraid of how they will affect everyone else. He is torn between his desire for them not to be related so they can be together, and his desperate attempts to keep the family intact so he can spend more time with her.
Throughout the show, Michael's feelings about his family shift from positive to negative; from apathy to love to loathing. His sense of responsibility toward them also ebbs and flows. For all his noble intentions, Michael's primary motivation at all times is running the company and using the family to fulfill his own personal need to be needed.
None of the Bluths are perfect, or perfectly selfless, but after a careful viewing, it becomes clear that while Michael is dedicated to the family business, George Michael is dedicated to the family.
Whether you've never seen the show before, or have seen it more times than you care to mention, it's worth watching #ArrestedDevelopment from the perspective of George Michael, the one son who had no choice but to keep his family together.
Arrested Development Season 5 is slated to begin filming in early 2017. Catch past seasons streaming on Hulu. And tell us about your favorite character in the comments below.