ByMark Newton, writer at
Movie Pilot Associate Editor. Email: [email protected]
Mark Newton

The imminent return of Arrested Development on Netflix has proven two things. Firstly, that internet based subscription services have the clout to produce their own shows, and secondly that a comedy God does exist.

Arrested Development is sublime. In fact, it is sublimely sublime. One of the things that makes it so hilarious and endearing is its countless running gags that weave throughout all three seasons. Here, for your pleasure and reminiscence, are my Top 10 Arrested Development running gags. HUZZAH!

10. "No Touching"

"No touching" is a strict prison law which is being constantly barked at George Bluth Sr during his incarceration at the Orange County (don't call it the 'OC') Department of Corrections. My personal favorite moment is George Sr staring down a prison guard using his newly acquired Judaism. Oh, the guards also don't allow bees in there either.

9. Gene Parmesan

Gene is the Bluth's family less than efficient private eye. Although he might lack basic investigative skills, he more than makes up for it with inventive disguises. Gene only appeared in one episode of Arrested Development, and unlike Gene, it was one of the best.


8. "Hey Brother"

Buster's adorable (and precise) greetings have continued all the way through the entirety of Arrested Development. They've also invaded the greetings between my brother and I.


7. Charlie Brown Sad Walk

Arrested Development might be a non-stop laugh-athon, but it also has some sad and tender moments. Examples include Ann dumping George Michael and Tobias being unable to find where the [email protected] his hard boiled eggs are. All these tearful moments are marked by the now classic 'Charlie Brown Sad Walk'.


6. Oscar's Father Moments

Joan Baez may have once called Oscar Bluth "the shallowest man in the world," but there's a lot more to George Sr's pot-smoking identical twin than meets the eye. For example, he harbors one of the family's darkest secrets. Although thanks to Oscar's less than ambiguous hints, everyone figured it out pretty quickly.


5. G.O.B's Suits

Want to buy something that will always increase in value? Well, can I suggest one of G.O.B's suits? In a desperate attempt to earn the respect of his co-workers, G.O.B increasingly inflated the value of the same suit whilst simultaneously insulting his colleagues. His plan didn't work...


4. Mrs. Featherbottom

In a misguided effort to get closer to his estranged daughter, Tobias dresses up as an English nanny and adopts the alias of Mrs. Featherbottom. As the Narrator explains: "It was exactly the plot of Mrs. Doubtfire... with a bit of Mary Poppins thrown in."

3. Chicken Dance

Whether it's "chaw-chee-chaw," "a-coodle-doodle-do" or "a-coo-coo-cha," each Bluth member has their own way of doing an offensive impression of poultry.


2. The Seaward/C-Word

While debating G.O.B's recent purchasing of a yacht named The Seaward, Lucille inadvertently hears the name as 'the C-Word' (y'know THAT C-word). However, by season 3 we discover that G.O.B's new yacht has indeed adopted the rather offensive moniker. It's definitely a subtle joke, but it's use of word play, Lucille's expression and the fact the joke is referred to almost 2 seasons later means, in my opinion, it deserves one of the top spots.


1. Tobiasisms

Now, Tobias Fünke could generate his own Top 10 list of running gags. The former-doctor-turned-'actor' had some of the best lines in the entire show. Whether he's just 'blue' himself or admitting he 'prematurely shot his wad on what was supposed to be a dry run,' Tobias has a way of inadvertently turning any sentence into a homo-erotic double entendre. It was hard to pick my favorite of all the Tobiasisms, so here's a veritable smörgåsbord of everyone's favorite never nude:


So, there you have it, my Top 10 Arrested Devlopement running gags. I know I've missed some out, so if you have a favorite (or you just want to scream in block capitals about how excited you are for season 4) let me know about in the comments section below.

You'll finally be reunited with the Bluth's when Arrested Development returns May 26th on Netflix.


Latest from our Creators