The new season of Arrested Development has arrived, and if you followed our handy guide to streaming the series on Netflix, you should be elbow-deep in Bluths right now.
Season Four of Arrested Development is as dense with visual puns and call-backs as ever. We’ve got more extensive coverage planned for later in the week, but in the meantime — and assuming you’re about halfway through because you’re a whole lot cooler than we are and have actual things to do — here’s a list of five hidden Easter eggs you may have missed in your first viewing.
Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments.
1. The Mural At Phoenix Airport
When Michael’s ill-fated attempts to secure a copy of an in-flight magazine land him in Phoenix, he takes a sad trip down a moving walkway at the airport. But wait — the mural behind him tells the story of Arrested Development seasons one to three.
There’s a mansion on a barren plot of land, a stair car, a yacht, the Mexican church where they abandoned Ann Veal, a double-decker bus driving through Wee Britain, a boat sailing off into the sunset, and, last of all, a loose seal.
2. Ron Howard’s Illegitimate Daughter
Isla Fisher plays Rebel Alley, Ron Howard’s secret daughter, but the character is actually a subtle play on recent Hollywood gossip. Actress Jessica Chastain is famously tight-lipped about her upbringing, so when she had her big break after Terrence Malick’s Tree Of Life, gossip blogs began speculating that the redhead was Ron Howard’s secret daughter.
The show plays on this gossip through Fisher’s character. Rebel Alley is Ron Howard’s daughter, but he likes to keep this fact a secret, so she won’t get special treatment. She is a beautiful redhead, and we’re told that she got a big break when she appeared in a Terrence Malick film.
Everything in Arrested Development is planned meticulously, and the pieces all fit: Alley’s character is clearly a dig at those (obviously false) rumours.
3. Real Estate Humour!
Ed Helms returns as James, the realtor who sent Lindsay some very mixed signals during an open house in season two. This time, he has a full name: it’s James Carr. ‘Carr’, as in, the things he doesn’t sell, because he sells houses, because he’s a realtor!
This is one of the show’s cornier jokes, but if we’ve learned anything from Modern Family’s Phil Dunphy, it’s that TV realtors live for corny jokes.
4. Lucille Says Hello
The Bluth family matriarch Lucille spends a large chunk of these episodes under house arrest for various crimes, but looks fabulous all the same. She is often seen wearing apatch on her blouse, with her prison number, 07734. If you turn that upside down, it says HELLO. The Korean word for ‘hello’ is ‘annyong’. Annyong is the adopted Bluth child who set the SEC on Lucille, as revenge for the time the family stole his grandfather’s banana business. Annyong!
The Bluth family reserves its cruellest jibes for Ann Veal, also known as ‘Plain’, ‘Egg’, and most often, ‘Her?’. Even Ann’s own family have it in for her. At her wedding to GOB – he proposed by accident, then realised his huge mistake almost immediately – these are the decorations.
Her dad is the pastor at the Church of the Holy Eternal Rapture, though, so it’s totally legit. (And we may be reading too much into this, but the question mark is shaped a little bit like a hook, no? A certain Bluth is rocking a hook for a hand — and based on the trail of destruction he leaves in these episodes, he still hasn’t quite learned how to use it…)
At this point, it seems even Ann is resigned to being ‘Her?’.